Thursday, June 29, 2023

PUZZLE #0014: A Marry Occasion

DIFFICULTY: Probably the harder side of Wednesday

Hey Constant Puzzlers, back at it with a new themed puzzle, this time a "quip" inspired by a Stephen King tweet. After some further digging, I am not entirely sure if King was the first person to use it, but it's funny anyway, so I made a puzzle around it.

.pdf file | .puz file | solve online | solution and notes

Of course, reception is mixed on quip puzzles. I personally enjoy them and think of them as a fun little Wheel of Fortune-like exercise. The problem is, it's very easy for naticks to slip into them. For my peace of mind, I've had a few more people than usual test this puzzle, and I'm happy to report that they were all able to solve it without outside help. So yaaaay. That being said, some knowledge of internet culture may be necessary to solve.

Enjoy the puzzle. See you again soon. --H.A.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

PUZZLE #0013: -- Sorry, I Zoned Out There (Themeless #9) -- and Recs for Pride Month

Hello again, dear solvers! It's been awhile. I hope this themeless makes up for it.

I honestly don't know how I managed to pull this one off -- in addition to falling under the 72-word limit, it has two really nice 10-stacks, perhaps a record number of entries from my seed list, a nice spanner that made its way in there by happy accident, and what I think is an aesthetically-pleasing grid pattern. I hope you like.

.pdf file | .puz file | solve online | solution and notes

Also, if you're reading my blog of all things, chances are you're deep enough into crosswords to know where to find the best queer-inclusive puzzles... but just in case, I'm gonna recommend some of my own favorite LGBTQ+ indie constructors:

  • Frisco17 (Good Clues for People Who Love Bad Clues) -- Puzzles full of meme references, good music recs, and off-the-wall (and occasional P&A) clues.
  • Ariel Haymarket (Haymarket's Squares) -- Clues that lean hard-left, are full of personality, and often approach Saturday Stumper territory.
  • Spencer Leach, a.k.a. Thoron (Power Grids, Crosshare) -- Clever themes that I often kick myself for not coming up with, and the themelesses are impressively smooth, even when they're wide open.
  • Ryan McCarty (McGrids) -- Tough grids full of sparkling answers, including such things as... Well, just do the 9/18/2021 NYT.
  • Ada Nicolle (Luckystreak xwords, Patreon, Xtra Magazine) -- Every. single. grid is super-lively and full of fun Gen Z stuff.
  • Be sure to tip your constructors where possible.

    There's also Queer Qrosswords, a project spearheaded by the fabulous Nate Cardin. There are two suites out, and by donating $10 or more (plz more) to an LGBTQ+ charity of your choice, you get a pack of queer-themed puzzles constructed by some of the best.

    Incidentally, Cardin had a cryptic in the Browser this last Sunday. The puzzle is a hella-queer masterpiece (no surprise there) and is free for all. Here's the .puz file.

    See you again soon. --H.A.

Monday, May 8, 2023

PUZZLE #33ff: Exquisite Jazz on Jacques's Sax (and Freebie updates)

Hello again, dear solvers!

So, I think I've been burnt out lately, which is why I haven't been posting any Freebies recently. I imagine I will continue doing them at some point, but as it is I've been overall less than satisfied with my output (though I've made a few Freebie puzzles that I really liked). So right now I want to take a bit of a break and practice my art some more.

That being said, the assignment for this month's Crosshare midi contest was too good to pass up. I constructed this grid the day the prompt was posted. Without giving it away, the grid is themeless, and a bit scrabbly. The title also follows the prompt. The spanner -- which I've been trying to use as fill for a long time -- was the seed entry. Enjoy!

Note: The clue for 17-Across is different for the .puz version, due to formatting constraints.

See you again soon. --H.A.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

PUZZLE #6bc2: Cell Division (Midi)

.pdf (with last week's Freebie solutions) | .puz

Would you call 13x13 a midi? Idk.

As soon as I can get my thoughts organized, I will be posting about the direction I'm hoping to take this blog from this point forward. Again, do not expect a Freebie this week, but rest assured that the puzzles will continue. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this crossword.

Cheers. --H.A.

Monday, May 1, 2023

This week's crossword will be up tomorrow

Apologies, dear solver. There may not be a full Freebie this week, for reasons I'll explain when I'm not so sleepy. However, you will still get a midi crossword, which I will be formatting tonight and uploading tomorrow. Last week's Freebie solutions will be included alongside.

Cheers -- H.A.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023


Freebie (pdf)

Admittedly, this week's puzzles are not the most mind-bendingly difficult. As I said yesterday, I had to change a few things at the last minute. Luckily, I already had some seeds for a mini Marching Bands, so I set to work building the one you are about to solve. Took me two hours -- OK, maybe three -- and I like a lot of the answers I managed to fit in. Fair warning: Some of the clues are given the "2 words" hint, and I'm using "words" rather loosely for some of them. You'll see what I mean.

Also enclosed is a kropki sudoku that I did for the Freebie about a year ago. I was proud enough to want to include it in my Best of 2022 roundup, but at the time I wasn't familiar with any tools with which to reconstruct the grid. Thank gods for Penpa. Now, my standards for constructing variety sudoku have changed since last April, but solving this thing should still be a breeze.

Enjoy! Come back next Tuesday for more. --H.A.

Monday, April 17, 2023


Hey folks, welcome back. I have another crossword for you this week... not sure where the black squares went though. I'm sure we'll find them.

Also this week sees the debut of LITS. The rules are a little complicated, but not hard to get used to. The puzzles themselves shouldn't be too difficult.

The Freebie (pdf)

Enjoy! Can't wait for next Tuesday.