Puzzle #2 – Suggestibility

size: 15x15
style: themed
difficulty: 3/5 I think? I don't really know how to gauge this yet.

I'll try to be quick with the body of this post since I'm trying to work on my brevity in writing. Today's puzzle is themed. I think it works well, but it could have been better if other potential themers had the forethought to match letter counts with each other. Oh well. I'll let the puzzle speak for itself.

Also, from now on the flavor image will simply be a still from any movie (or TV, selectively) scene I was reminded of while making the puzzle, which doesn't have any direct connection to any clues, without any other context. Bonus points if you can identify the movie and what connection it may have to any of the entries (the connections may be pretty cosmic—my brain tends to connect things that aren't really connected pretty often). Today's should be pretty easy.

Anyway, enjoy! 

puz / pdf / solution

Other potential themer entries included GEORGEBUSH, FREDDIEPRINZE, JOHNKENNEDY, KINGLOUIS/KINGHENRY/etc. and others I'm sure I'm forgetting. I absolutely did not mean for this puzzle to end up as being quasi-sports themed, but here we are. I also would have loved to include more female entries, but the nature of the theme made it practically impossible (if you can find any mothers who named their sons after them, let me know! Jada Pinkett Smith/Jaden Smith was the closest I could come up with) for the themers. 

Puzzle #1 – Use Your Words!

size: 9x9 (midi)
style: themeless
difficulty: 2/5 

Okay, so, I'll be the first to admit—Puzzle #0 was kind of a disaster, but that's why I called it Puzzle #0! It had too many problems to list: Problems with grid fill, with entries, and with cluing. I appreciate all of the feedback, negative and positive, and I especially appreciate everyone who has given me tips so far on how I can make the next one better.

And here's my attempt at better! It was clear to me that one of my biggest problems was grid fill—I simply settled for crappy fill in my first puzzle way too often, and it led to poor entry choices and weird cluing angles. With this puzzle, I focused on getting a nice, clean fill before doing anything—then I had fun with the cluing. Those of you who liked my cluing style from #0 should enjoy this one as well. It's on the easier side, with less ridiculous wordplay/obscure geography trivia, and more cross references/funny clues.

Thank you to Quiara Vasquez for the test solve! This would have gone up with lots of head-tilts (not the 5-down kind) and minor technical errors had she not provided her thoughts. Happy solving!

puz / pdf

"Buzz, your girlfriend! 7-across!"

Puzzle #0 – What a Score!

Oh, hi! I'm new here—to crossword construction, crossword critique, and the crossword community. I've been solving crosswords for about... 10 years now? What started as a way to kill time between classes has become a daily fixture of my life, and earlier this year I discovered it was possible to actually make my own. What a revelation. After about a dozen scrapped puzzles, lots of really really horrible entries/clues (some of which may have even made it to the final draft below!), and some extremely constructive feedback, I was able to put together a puzzle I'm proud of.

But I guess I should also write a little about myself so you know what to expect from this blog! I'm a run-of-the-mill Millennial living adjacent to NYC with keen interests in cooking, baking, geography, linguistics, mathematicssciencemusic (incl. music theory and such), outdoor recreation, video games, and film. I have strong opinions on all things food, I am a dog person, and I prefer warm fuzzy socks to slippers. Expect puzzles on anything bolded—don't expect too many literary references, modern pop culture references, or history references (though I'm very interested in history, I just don't know too much about it... yet).

Well uh, here it is. The first puzzle that I've both 1) completed, and 2) felt enough confidence in to publish. It's a classic themed 15x15, and the theme may have ended up a little ham-fisted, but I'm hoping the cute bonuses and wordplay make up for that. Also, a few of the entries will probably make you groan and roll your eyes, so I apologize in advance. Have fun and let me know what you think!

puz / pdf

"Hey Benny! 6-DOWNNN!!!"

Thought I'd include this little spoiler block below the puzzle too so I can talk about spoilery things in the post. If you haven't finished the puzzle yet, get outta here! Finish the puzzle!

Anyway, obligatory clip from Total Recall (really nothing else to say about it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kujd9IbAbIo

SURESHOT is the weird entry that kinda throws off my theme (which, if you didn't figure it out, is song lyrics that reference analog film). KODACHROME and POLAROID both fit great, and are very gettable lyrics, but the Canon Sureshot was not as well-known and was a camera, not a film format. So it's a bit... off. This is on top of the fact that Sure Shot by the Beastie Boys isn't a super-well-known song. I don't feel great about that one, but I couldn't find anything else and I was so zeroed in on this theme. Oh well. I also deliberated heavily on the revealer, with other possibilities such as FILMMUSIC, FILMTUNES, and several others I'm sure I'm forgetting. I just couldn't find anything else that quite fit while also allowing for symmetrical themers and whatnot.

But hey, if you got this far, I'm assuming you had a good time. I'm hoping to stay on a weekly schedule with a variety of puzzles -- minis, midis, themes, themelesses, and even a few 21x21's up my sleeve already. I'd also love to experiment with wacky formats and meta. Stay tuned!