Sunday, February 28, 2021

Excuse Me Ma'am, Do You Have a Moment to Talk About Our Lord and Savior Michelle Branch? (Monday Mini #8)



No, this is not a bit, The Spirit Room is a brilliant album. Well, it's not as good as the followup, Hotel Paper, which is just perfect from start to finish. Could you imagine if Michelle Branch had struck it big in 2020 instead of 2000, when she could have maybe had more agency and occupied the pop culture niche that, like, Phoebe Bridgers has now? She deserved so much better, you guys.

Applet under the cut.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

#16: Work Hard or Die Trying, Girl (Themeless #6)


difficulty: "hard as balls" (Saturday+)

This puzzle broke a couple test solvers' brains, I won't lie. But it's solvable even if you don't know the long proper names. (And if you don't know the long proper names, then after solving the puzzle, educate yourself!) Thank you to Jeremy, Norah, and Richard for not killing me.

Well, enjoy, insofar as that word is applicable to a puzzle of this difficulty. Applet under the cut.

EDIT (2/26): I slightly changed up some of the clues on the PUZ and the applet; the puzzle is still totally doable either way, and you won't be missing anything with the old PDF I'm not bothering to change, but if you're a PDF solver and you want the updated experience just cross out 28-Across and write "Gold source" in its stead.

Sunday, February 21, 2021

R2D2-Like (Monday Mini #7)



Doesn't 8-Across look like a godsend of a mini seed? Yeah, that's what I thought back in January, back when its relevance peaked. It's still funny paired with 3-Down though. Shout out to Alex Gold and Norah Sharpe for test driving this one - particularly the latter, with her cool new crossword blog.

Solving applet is (where else?) under the cut. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

#15: Will Wonders Never Cease?

medium-hard (Thursday/Friday)

I mentioned in the first post that many of these puzzles would be rejects from mainstream outlets, but this is the first one that actually fits these criteria. The puzzle you're about to solve was shopped around as a Valentine's puzzle, which got rejected because 1) some of these entries are a little tricky and 2) the theme isn't immediately obvious. Or rather, I have to tell people (ROT13) ybbx ng gur ynfg jbeq bs rnpu gurzre, and then they get the theme immediately.

Anyway, thanks to David and Quin for solving. Quin actually gave QVXwordz a shout-out on his new blog, which was very flattering. Anyway, applet under the cut - enjoy, and happy Valentine's!!

Sunday, February 7, 2021

#14: Buzz Cuts (Midi)


This is an album on exactly zero playlists and exactly one vision board (mine)

difficulty: medium (YMMV)

This puzzle is sure to delight anyone at the extremely narrow overlap between entomologists and music geeks; hopefully there's something in there for people who are neither. In my humble opinion the three marquee entries here are all stone cold classics in their own right and definitely get a hearty thumbs up from me.

Speaking of "hearty thumbs-up," lots of cool new blogs in crossworld: I have loved Mollie Cowger's puzzles ever since she did a themeless with the 1-Across entry PIZZA RAT, and her new blog Crosswords from Outer Space does not disappoint on that front. Also, Lyle Broughton (whose theme feedback has been extremely useful) has a new site called Jack of All Squares, which has this wonderful/revolting puzzle I am indirectly responsible for.

Anyway, enjoy the puzzle. Applet under the cut.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

#13: Light 'em Up, Poppy (Themeless Midi)



One of those cute "dual seed" midis, in the vein of Chris Adams' "Taco Grande." It's funny, just yesterday I got an e-mail from an aspiring constructor who wasn't sure about what do about pop culture references in this puzzle, and I explained the whole deal about avoiding naticks and all that - only to turn around and post a puzzle which is a veritable clusterfuck of crossing propers. Oops.

Thanks to Mali for testing this. Everyone here is solving 7xwords' daily 7x7s, right? They're quite good. It's the Super Smash Bros of crossword blogs - EVERYONE IS HERE! And I mean everyone. Agard. Husic. Pasco. Stock. The Sid's Grids guy. Even me (in December, I think). Very cool. OK, enough promoting better blogs. Applet under the cut. Enjoy.