Monday, March 20, 2023


So first off, to whoever is putting my Freebies on the Daily Crossword Links page -- I owe you my gratitude, and I hope to live up to the honor. So let's kick things up a notch.

This week's Japanese puzzle type was going to be my latest obsession: chained block. But they're still a new creature to me and I have no idea how to construct one worth solving. So instead, I am bringing back nurikabe -- a puzzle type that's no sweat once you wrap your head around the rule set.

This week's word puzzle is a vowelless crossword, my largest for the Freebie thus far (still a 13x13 grid, but the average word length is 5.21, so make of that what you will). For those of you viewing online, the enumerations to the full answers are on page 3 of the PDF.

this week's Freebie (pdf)

Side note: I fully intend to do a Puns & Anagrams puzzle for the Freebie in the future. Since the New York Times has removed the variety crosswords from the Games app, there is now a Puns-&-Anagrams-shaped hole in my heart, and outside of the NYT, there are not enough of these delightful puzzles. So I may as well try my hand at these. "Be the change you wish to see in the world" and all that. But do expect my first attempt at a P&A puzzle to be anything but a wide-open grid.

Enjoy! Come back next Tuesday for a new Freebie. --H.A.

Monday, March 13, 2023

WEEKLY FREEBIE: 3/6 and 3/13/2023

 This week's Freebie (which is also last week's Freebie)

Now that I've had an extra week, I'm all caught up on this month's Freebies. Some tougher puzzles coming at you next week. Check in each Tuesday. That's when they'll be uploaded.

Happy Pi Day to all who celebrate! I will be getting myself a cherry pie for this very special occasion. This month's Crosshare midi contest prompt is "pi", so there's sure to be some awesome ideas this week! (I don't have a puzzle planned for the contest, but I do have this.)

See you soon. --H.A.


So I moved about a month ago. I have my own place again, and things are much quieter here, which is just what I needed. Hopefully that will make me more productive.

Submitted for your approval: a moderately-difficult 17x17 themed puzzle. Perfect for speed-solving. OK, that was a joke. You can solve it slowly if you like.

.pdf file (right-handed) | .pdf file (left-handed) | .puz file | solve online | solution and notes

Enjoy! This week's Freebie (which is also last week's) will be uploaded tomorrow. --H.A.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023


This week's Freebie

This week's logic puzzle is a slitherlink variant called wolves and sheep -- in which you have to loop in all of the sheep in the grid, and leave all of the wolves on the outside of the loop. Since the wolves and sheep are not numerical clues, they can be touched by any number of line segments, which caused some difficulty when trying to minimize the clues.

Also this week is a special crossword in which one letter must be taken out of the answer before it's entered in the grid. Dell calls this a Downsized Crossword. It is a fun and potentially challenging variation; my only beef with Dell's version is that oftentimes -- and by that I mean "every time I've done of Dell's Downsized Crosswords" -- there are multiple valid solutions; for example, BERET crossing BEFORE at what could be either a B or an E. For the sake of satisfactory solving, I made sure that this puzzle has only one solution.

Enjoy! --H.A.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

THEMELESS #8: Do I Look Like I Know What A JPEG Is???

PDF file | PUZ file | Solve online | Solution and notes


What's shaking, puzzle pals? Here's a new themeless for you. The bottom right was the starting point for this one. Actually, I had built a puzzle with what I think was a fantastic upper-left stack, but upon finishing the grid and writing all the clues (isn't that how it goes?), I had noticed a whopping three rather egregious dupes in the finished product. So of course I had to abandon the effort... but I couldn't let the bottom-right stack that I had come up with go to waste. Hence this construction. Enjoy.

You'll likely be seeing the upper-left corner that I came up with in a future puzzle. The black-square layout will of course look very similar to the one in this puzzle (the aesthetics of which I quite like, actually -- it's not one I've seen before, it has a nice balance, and it's not near-impossible to fill).

Be sure to try out my entry for this month's Crosshare midi contest (and vote for me at the end of the month if you like the puzzle). The theme this week is "repeats".

Tomorrow's Freebie -- along with this last week's -- will be uploaded tomorrow. There will be a nice mini Marching Bands this week -- stay tuned.

Happy puzzling, as always! --H.A.