Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Puzzle Thirty-Seven: Inktober Prompt Midi, October 19, 2021

Inktober is a "month long art challenge [in which] every day for the month of October anyone participating in the Inktober challenge creates an ink drawing and posts it online."

I made it to Day 5 this year before running short on time, ability, patience, and, literally, ink (I didn't know that you weren't supposed to use markers until Day 5, when I switched to a fountain pen that promptly ran dry and while I definitely have more ink around here somewhere, that doesn't mean I know exactly where it is...) 

There are daily Inktober drawing prompts, and after checking today's, rather than finding that ink, I just based a midi crossword around it. Online only. Hope you enjoy. 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Puzzle Thirty-Six: Deep Concentration (freestyle)

I've been waiting to drop this one. Hope you enjoy. 


Solving music: Dilated Peoples' "DJ Babu in Deep Concentration," a tribute to Gang Starr's classic "DJ Premier in Deep Concentration" 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Puzzle Thirty-Five: Put Your Foot Down (meta)

Why spend time searching for free clip art when
you can simply draw the image yourself on your phone

Hello solvers!

It's time for another meta. Week 2 this time.

The meta answer is a classic video game that debuted in 1998

Submit your responses before THURSDAY, September 30 at 12 PM EST at the link below:


PDF / puz

This was a hard puzzle to finish constructing. You may have noticed that there was no August meta puzzle, and no announcement regarding the same. I simply overextended myself with work, family and other puzzle commitments to the point where I ran out of the mental energy to construct a good meta for quite some time. They require at least twice as much time and planning as a regular blog puzzle. Hopefully the slump is over? 

In any event, some of the products of my other constructing labor appeared recently. I had last week's Spyscape puzzle and last Monday Will Nediger's blog Bewilderingly featured a puzzle I co-constructed with the great Kate Chin Park, aka Kate Schmate of Crosswords Schmosswords

As noted in the last meta email, I added a few optional questions to the form in hopes of getting a little more info about your solving experience. If you need a nudge to finish the puzzle, you can now note that on the form and exempt yourself from the drawing if you wish.  

Have you won a previous week's contest and not received your sticker? If so, I apologize - I'm STILL behind in mailing out the stickers. Please email me (if you haven't already)! It will speed up the process of catching up.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Puzzles Thirty-Three and Thirty-Four: Luck of the Draw, Parts One and Two

A few months ago I challenged myself to construct a themeless puzzle incorporating the first five words produced by an online random word generator. Part 1 below is the second such grid and the first full puzzle I've produced using this approach. You'll find out what the words are as you go.

More recently, at the end of July, Will Nediger (independently) concocted an even tougher random construction challenge: incorporate five letters selected at random at points in the grid selected at random, and five black squares whose locations would also be selected at random. I took on that challenge as well, and Part 2 is the outcome. The random letters and their locations are highlighted in yellow and the five mandatory "black" squares, the location of which made this a true challenge, are highlighted in pink.

Other constructors who entered the Nediger Aleatory Thunderdome and emerged with solvable puzzles include:

Trent Evans, Grid Therapy: "Random Association 1"
Brian Thomas, Puzzles That Need a Home: "Themeless #57" and the new "Themeless #59"

Thanks to Quiara for test-solving both of these. And to the 00s UK grime sensation Lady Sovereign for the solving music below (it got stuck in my head while constructing, okay?).

META UPDATE: Though I haven't posted one in six weeks, the contest meta puzzles will return soon. I simply hit an idea drought at the same time as I also ran short on time to do the extra tasks related to the metas, like catching up on mailing out stickers to past winners, making spreadsheets, writing clues, sending draft puzzles out to be test-solved, and so forth.


Thursday, July 15, 2021

Puzzle Thirty-Two: Summer Accessories (meta)

Hello solvers!

Be on the lookout for this Saturday's Universal crossword, entitled "Initial Directions," by yours truly. It features a grid that I'm particularly happy with. Many thanks to David Steinberg and Amanda Rafkin for their deft editing. 

It's time for another meta. Week 3 difficulty maybe?

The meta answer is a five-letter word for something you're likely to see at the beach in the summer. 

Thanks to Abide for test-solving.

Submit your responses before Tuesday, July 20 at 12 PM EST at the link below:


PDF / puz

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Puzzle Thirty-One: Rare Design (Grid Charlemagne #1)

Back in May, Adam Aaronson released the first Grid Charlemagne – as you might expect, a Steely-Dan-themed crossword puzzle. Another followed in early June. Chris Adams got in on the action as well and now so have I. Apologies if you aren't down with the Dan. There is no .puz file posted because this design requires the AmuseMe applet. If you'd like a PDF, you can print that from within the applet as well. Enjoy. (And thanks to Chris and Quiara for test-solving.)

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Puzzle Thirty: Takes Shorts (meta)

Meta answer is a two-word phrase

Answers go here:


Deadline Tuesday, June 8, 12 PM EST. 

Congrats to Puzzle 28 winners Hector and FrankieHeck! 

PDF / puz

Puzzle Thirty-Seven: Inktober Prompt Midi, October 19, 2021

Inktober is a "month long art challenge [in which] every day for the month of October anyone participating in the Inktober challenge c...