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!
🚨🚨🚨 CELEBRITY ALERT!!! 🚨🚨🚨
The schmosswords gang-of-one is so excited to b̶r̶a̶g̶ ̶a̶b̶o̶u̶t̶ share this themeless collaboration with the one and only John Lieb! You may know John as the total mensch behind Boswords. He experienced a mild lapse in judgment this past autumn and asked if I would construct one of the puzzles for the Winter Wondersolve tournament, and I rewarded him by (a) relying EXCESSIVELY on his ideas and feedback while making it, and (b) roping him into further obligation by asking if he would team up on a themeless with me. Lucky, thy name is Kate.
I was completely delighted, though not at all surprised, to find that he is as wonderful as a co-constructor as he is as a host. I had a blast working with him on this, and I love the result. Here's what John has to say:
Along with working with Kate on the Boswords 2022 Winter Wondersolve, I had a fabulous time working with her on this themeless puzzle! I'm a huge fan of her puzzles -- on this site and, increasingly, in publication -- as her ear for great entries and her clueing voice are sublime. She pulled 11-Down out of thin air, highlighting one reason I love collaborations, for I would never have thought to have that entry in one of my own puzzles. Hope you enjoy this one!
Two important points to mention before I launch you into the puzzle. One is that John and I wish to thank Leslie Rodgers, whose grid for the Boswords Fall 2021 league we stole outright. Great grid, Leslie! The other is that, if you have by some miracle come to my puzzle blog but are not aware of These Puzzles Fund Abortion, I would like to request that you check it out and, if you can, donate!
Enough words - happy solving! Click here for applet solve because apparently embedding the iframe is preventing this post from appearing properly? And .puz below.
As certain crossword editors have reason to know, I am not brilliant at coming up with themes. It's something I'd really like to get better at, though, so consider this my latest humble attempt! It is, I hope, just a simple and fun one (both the theme and the puzzle) and, like my last post, this one should play fairly gentle.
Thanks is due to wonderful puzzlers Frisco and Zinna for test-solving and providing great feedback.
I'm very excited about this one: it's a true-blue indie themeless, with long rambly clues and cheeky observations, first-person perspective and various forms of silliness; but it's nice and breezy, for folks who maybe don't like or want a break from the extreme mental workout of a hard crossword. I had a ton of fun making it and I really love how it came out. I hope solvers enjoy!
There aren't a ton of gentle indie puzzles out there (not to say that there aren't any, but the universe of crossword blogs seems to skew tricky as a whole), so I hope this makes for a nice change of pace. If this seems to go down well, I'll gladly make some more (and would love to see other constructors do the same!).
Many thanks to Will for test solving and giving super-helpful feedback! Applet and puz after the break.
Without spoiling anything Hunt-related, I had occasion to make a mini this weekend, so I figured I might as well put it on the blog. Just a little amuse bouche for your Monday. Enjoy!