NOT A SINGLE BLOG PUZZLE IN AUGUST ?? though I did have puzzles elsewhere in the world. I've been trying to keep the "non-schmosswords crosswords" page up to date. I'm also now constructing and editing for Crossword Club, which publishes daily midi-sized puzzles that are easy but lively. The great Will Nediger is my co-editor, and in addition to the two of us, the constructor team includes Kelsey Dixon, Erica Hsiung Wojcik, and Quiara Vasquez - no skips! My favorites of my own crosswords there so far are the ones from 8/20, 8/28, and 9/1. Try out our puzzles, and send them to your parents, your friends who only do the NYT mini, etc.
I have a little trifle of a themed puzzle for you here today. I hope you enjoy!
I decided I wanted to post a deliberately difficult puzzle. It's hard to do well! (See below for documentary footage of me working on it.) Thanks to Alex for the test solve, Kelsey and will (explainer) and Will for clue inspo that they weren't warned about in advance, and Stella for her words of support. Good luck, have fun!
Taking a break from irreverent themelesses to post a special collab puzzle with my friend, and streaming solver of Crossweird fame, Dob Olino.
The title of this crossword is Turtle Island, so it should be no spoiler to say it is a puzzle that seeks to highlight Native cultures of this continent. A couple of things should be said about this. Foremost among them: we are not Native. Our knowledge, what there is of it, comes from searching things out and reading, not from stories or family lore or being part of the shared history of a people. We in no way suggest that the contents of the puzzle are complete or perfectly representative, or that anything qualifies us in particular to be the authors of it, other than our interest in doing it.
We do, however, hold ourselves responsible for ensuring that puzzle content relating to Native people(s) is not trivial or trivializing. We tried to write clues that were honoring or celebratory. We sought out information only from sources maintained by Native people and projects, whenever possible ensuring that at least two Native sources were in agreement on facts. We saw that it is fraught to rely on names that are derived from colonizer languages or translations, even though those are often used by nations in a formal sense, and endeavored specifically to highlight indigenous words and self-names in clues. Incidentally, we attempted to place nation names with rough geographical fidelity, but acknowledge that this succeeds at best partially.
We're very grateful for resources such as Partnership with Native Americans (PWNA), Native-Land.ca, the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, and dozens of websites dedicated to specific indigenous languages or maintained by individual nations themselves.
We recognize that as a land acknowledgement, this is a small gesture, as many land acknowledgements are. But we hope that as a puzzle, this succeeds in honoring its subject. And, of course, we hope that you enjoy the solve!
Click here to solve, or download .jpz file below.
It seems like every time I go into some sort of rage fugue, I emerge on the other side with a crossword grid. This weekend I was around a lot of inconsiderate behavior (not towards me) and it put me in a screamy headspace; this is the result. I hope you enjoy!
I don't wanna brag, but (*dusts off shoulders*) it's an Erik Agard co-production!!! You might know Erik from such works as "making brilliant puzzles" and "changing the crossword landscape enormously for the better." I'm also really grateful to Erik because he's a big reason I was able to find a mentor and am now able to BE a mentor. (Am I really qualified to be a mentor, you ask? Sorry, it would be unethical for me to reveal the names of my mentees for you to ask them)
Here's what Erik has to say:
grateful i got to collaborate with kate, one of the best constructors and coolest people in crosswords. she's such a talented clue-writer that i was nervous about trying to keep up with her, but i had fun and i'm very happy with how it turned out. hope you enjoy!
This puzzle has taken literally months to come together, which is definitely a product of us toiling away responsibly on it and definitely not a situation where we were both so busy that it lingered for ages in cluing purgatory. Enjoy the fruits of our unceasing labor!
Many thanks to the wonderful Will Eisenberg for test solving!!
Fugue-state puzzle inspired by the Snow queen, Megan Thee Stallion, and her rage anthem, which helped me shut out the world the other day. Have fun!
O HELL YA
Do you ever happen across a book by an author you didn't know about before but that completely wins you over with their voice because it's somehow completely familiar and pleasing but also totally distinct and full of their personality, and you decide within pages that you need to seek out whatever else that author has written so that you can spend more time with them?
That's what it was like to come across, and get to spend some virtual time with, my collaborator on this puzzle. Carly is such a joy and so brilliant and with such a keen and glowing voice that I quietly wondered for weeks whether she'd consent to collaborating with me before I finally got the courage up to ask. This is only her second puzzle, but her constructing instincts are so good, and I'm utterly smitten with what we made together.
Here's what Carly has to say:
hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii thanks for clicking on our puzzle ur gonna love it!!!! kate was so nice to ask if i wanted to work with her and she helped me so much and i’m very happy i did it [:
big thanks also to twitch dot tv slash crossweirdtv and their lovely community, especially meatdaddy69420, whose tabula rasa project taught me i can write clues that dont stink!
trans rights <3
Carly also points out that the above is 69 words :) And here is her Tabula Rasa puzzle, so you can see that her cluing chops are no accident!!
Thanks to the great and powerful crosstina aquafina for test solving this! Enjoy!!
Back with another breezy themed puzzle today, this time coming to you from the brilliant mind behind the Crossword Nexus ecosystem of mind-bogglingly cool and useful puzzle tools - that's right, it's the Crossword Butler himself, Alex Boisvert! Let's see what Alex has to say about this collab!!
Really, though, Alex is one of the best puzzle pals out there. It's weird that we haven't put out a joint puzzle since our Yacht Rock installment way back last summer, because I feel like we work together behind the scenes on lots of little things, which I love. (Also, solve that crossword; it's a fun one!). Anyway, Alex had the idea for this puzzle and let me hop along for the ride. I hope you enjoy! Puz and .puz after the break.
This is no ordinary crossword post!!! It's my contribution to the Tabula Rasa project spearheaded by the inimitable [government name redacted], known around crossword parts as meatdaddy69420. Part of their explanation is below, but honestly I think you should click on over to their blog and read their full write-up. It's only a few paragraphs, you can handle it! GO. Did you go? Are you back? Wasn't that a great post?! Ok so then as long as you're not a liar, you can skip the quoted section.
One of my favorite things about crossword puzzles is seeing the many ways that different constructors will clue a single word - for just a moment, you get to peer inside the mind of someone else and at the expense of sounding cheesy, it's a lovely, intimate moment. Not only that, but I also frequently find myself thinking "man, I wish I would have thought of that cluing angle!" and it's a testament to the diverse skill sets and talent in our lil' community. The main goal of Tabula Rasa was to pick everyone's brains by sending them a silly grid with fun fill and words with a handful of different cluing angles. I also wanted to get new constructors involved - building your own grid for the first time is not only intimidating, but can also be cost prohibitive during *gestures at world events*. I wanted this to be an approachable opportunity for new constructors to get their foot in the door, and I'm very pleased to say that I think it was successful in that. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I just hope everyone had a lot of fun doing this and I'm really grateful for everyone's enthusiasm about the project!
There were 19 (!!) puzzles that came out of the Tabula Rasa project, all using the fabulous grid created by meatdaddy, and each clued by the individual contributors, who have a range of experience levels, ages, styles, genders, ethnicities, interests, and approaches to crossword puzzles generally. Some folks, like me, are posting their puzzles on their blogs; for a number of others, meatdaddy is hosting the puzzles on their site. Many of those ones are by new or even first-time cluers, which is rad.
I guess strictly speaking you can only "solve" one of these 19 puzzles (and it doesn't have to be mine!). But that's ok, because the point here is to look at all the clues. I've looked at the 9-ish puzzles that are online so far at the time of posting and it's been the most fun I've had in ages. I especially loved looking at the ones on meatdaddy's site by folks who don't have their own blogs and have less or no construction experience. They are SO GOOD!!
As for my version of this puzzle, I adored the grid meat put together, and I had an absolute blast cluing it. I think the result is a super-fun, medium-difficulty, fairly cheeky themeless. Puz and .puz after the jump. Enjoy!