Thursday, January 18, 2024

PUZZLE #0016: 'Tis Not Quite the Season (Themeless #11)

First puzzle of 2024. What what. Here's to many more. (Perhaps more than last year. Who knows?)

PDF  |  Across Lite  |  Online (Crosshare)  |  Solution and notes

So, minor spoilers in this paragraph, so continue reading at your own risk: This puzzle's seed entry is one I've been trying to use every December for the past three years, with zero success.... until now. Yes, it's January. I'm a bit miffed about that. And I have the patience of a six-year-old waiting for his turn on the Switch*, so there's no chance of waiting until next December to share this. Especially when there are two other spanners that I've been wanting to use for a while as well.

So uh... enjoy. More commentary on this puzzle in the solution/notes file if you're interested.

Thanks again to Ariel and Quiara for test-solving.

Peace --H.A.

*IDK if this makes sense. In my youth it was the N64.

Thursday, December 14, 2023

PUZZLE #0015: Salve Decem (Themeless #10) -- Also Updates Again I Guess

Constant Solver:

November was a freaking roller coaster. It started out with a serious health scare (I won't go into details) and then transitioned into holiday stress. Yay.

Ok so... I really don't know if I'm even going to attempt to continue the Freebies again, since it's been so easy for me to get overwhelmed lately. That said, I will continue posting puzzles, as time becomes available to me. I care about them too much to stop. Hopefully now I'll have more freedom to create the "big-league" puzzles that I've been wanting to focus on. I will still be producing the same content, give or take, but now instead of, say, an 11x11 Marching Bands, I'll be making standard 13x13 grids, etc.

Anyways. Below is a 70-word themeless for your perusal. It'll probably be obvious what the seed was. I've been told that, despite this not being the Newsday Stumper I hoped it would be, the clues are in fact more difficult than usual.

PDF  |  Across Lite  |  Online (Crosshare)  |  Solution and notes

Thanks to Ariel and Frisco for test-solving, and to Quiara for providing a better clue (and also for test-solving).

A happy final night of Hanukkah to my Jewish solvers, and if I don't see the rest of y'all until January, happy holidays to all of you.


Wednesday, November 8, 2023

WEEKLY FREEBIE: A Few Days After 11/06/2023

 Constant solver:

Sorry about that; went out of town for a couple of days and had no internet.

Simple fare this week. Enjoy.

Freebie (PDF) | The crossword (puz)

See you next week! --H.A.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

WEEKLY FREEBIE: 10/30/2023 (ft. Clover)

Constant Solver:

I have been waiting nearly all month to present to you today's puzzles.

To start off with, we have a variety sudoku by Clover, a constructor whose praises I have sung before. She's well-known on Cracking the Cryptic for creating puzzles that are quite difficult, until you find the key to the puzzle's logic -- and this key is never too complicated to work out. Do give this sudoku a try, and if you enjoy it, check out Clover's Patreon page, where every month, you will get eight (or more) hand-crafted puzzles that increase in difficulty, for just $2.50 per month.

Then we have an acrostic, one made especially for my local solvers (the rest you should be able to solve it without a hitch). Constructing acrostics was surprisingly not as difficult as I had made it out to be, and I do intend on making more in the future. Hopefully that'll encourage me to read more.

Freebie (PDF)

Enjoy! See you next week. --H.A.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

WEEKLY FREEBIE: 10/23/2023

Constant Solver:

I hope you enjoyed last week's crushword. Like I said last week, I constructed this one a little differently than the ones I've made for the Freebie in the past; this time around, I took some inspiration from PennyPress's Double Troubles, in which the words are typically split into their digraphs and trigraphs -- common letter combinations such as -CK-, -SH-, and -ANT-. To maximize fill possibilities, I aimed to avoid uncommon clusters of letters going into one box. With this strategy, no part of the fill felt forced.

Onto this week's offerings:

Freebie (pdf)

This week's crossword is diagramless. For the symmetry type and 1-Across placement, highlight the text after this colon: Symmetry is rotational. 1-Across starts in row one, column seven.

Enjoy! I have a real treat (no trick) for you next Monday. Be sure to drop in. --H.A.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

WEEKLY FREEBIE: 10/16/2023

Constant Solver:

Guess who's back. Back again. Guess who's back. Tell a friend.

Hallowe'en's coming up, so I made a Hallowe''en-themed logic problem. Should be fairly easy. At least my Math Ph.D. friend thought it was.

This week's crossword variant goes by several names. PennyPress calls it Double Trouble, Dell calls it Triplex, and Kappa calls it One, Two, Three. You know the one I'm talking about. I'm going to call it a crushword, since that seems to be the title that the New York Times goes with (although in their version, the boxes can have more than three letters).

I've made crushwords for the Freebie before, but this week's is one that I truly enjoyed constructing. In fact, it's half the reason I decided to pick the Freebie back up. In most of my older crushwords, some of the entries felt a bit forced. In this one, everything flowed very smoothly. Next week I may go into detail about the construction process -- what I did differently for this grid compared to the others.

But anyway, onto the puzzles. NOTE: The cover puzzle involves a color motif, but can be solved in black and white.

Freebie (color version) | Freebie (black and white version)

See you next week. --H.A.

Sunday, October 8, 2023


Constant Solver:

I'm back with the Freebies, and this time I intend to deliver.

I put the Freebie on hold back in April, thinking the puzzles were not as good as they could be. Over these past few months, I've kept on playing around with words and logic, exploring what every puzzle type has to offer. I think now I'm in a good place to show what I really got.

I have plenty of ideas moving forward with the Freebie. Expect to see more of the things you won't see in most other puzzle magazines -- things such as chess analysis, various ciphers, and mathematical digressions à la Martin Gardner. Everything will still be puzzle-related, of course -- that is the point of the Freebie.

I have other plans, too, but I'll hold off on announcing those until I have more of my ducks in a row.

Anyway, onto what you all came for. Here's this week's Freebie. Enjoy some simple beginning-of-the-month puzzles, featuring a themed crossword.

See you soon. --H.A.