Puzzle #45: "Meet in the Middle"

Sometimes, you have a theme idea that stubbornly refuses to yield enough entries for a full puzzle. So, here's a truncated puzzle, somewhere between a midi and a full-size--this theme is very goofy but it's the sort of thing I really enjoy. PDF Puz Fullscreen

Puzzle #44: "Inkblot's Inferno"

One of my favorite recent innovations in the crossword space is Caleb Madison's Inferno puzzles at the Atlantic, which get harder and harder as you descend. I tried my own spin on it and... they're hard to make! My main conclusion is: hats off to Caleb! But I hope you appreciate my attempt. PDF Puz Fullscreen

Puzzle #44: Themeless "It Is What It Is"

I've been trying to keep to a cadence of at least one post per month on this blog, but February and most of March saw me in the metaphorical trenches. So, here's a last-minute technically-March-somewhere puzzle for your patience! I've been trying to name my themelesses to keep better track of them, and am glad I hit on a perfect title for this (admittedly lightly-themed) puzzle.  Extremely excited for the upcoming ACPT (I will probably bring printouts of this puzzle to share there as well): at my second ACPT, I can't wait to upgrade from "knowing people's online handles, but not recognizing their names or faces" to "knowing people's names but still forgetting their faces." I will also be at Crossword Con the day before--say hi! And I will also be in scenic Carthage, New York the day after ACPT to try to see the eclipse; the forecast is "partly sunny," and I am extending a standing invitation to anyone who wants to go on an impromp

Puzzle #43: Themeless

Another themeless on the easy side for you, with some fun kind-of grid art! Enjoy! PDF PUZ Fullscreen

Puzzle #42: Themeless

Back at it with a themeless that yes, started with the clue for 20-Across and grew from there. Enjoy! EDIT: This puzzle has audio upon completion! The audio was previously Very Loud; it has been adjusted to hopefully be at a more normal level (the wild overcompression is deliberate and remains.) Sincere apologies to anyone who solved before this! PDF PUZ Fullscreen

Cryptic #1: Uh oh, I Made a Cryptic

Sorry guys, I don't know what came over me. I think it's mainly because I realized I can have such a great cryptic pseudonym. A nom d'énigme , I think the French might say maybe. Anyway, this is my first cryptic and has only been lightly test-solved, so please let me know what you think (both like, your opinion, and also if there are egregious errors.) PDF PUZ

Miscellany #3: "Crossword Puzzles as Puzzles"

This is the first of a three-part series of essays on crossword puzzles. I recently realized that I don't often think about crossword puzzles as puzzles : as problems to solve. When I picture a crossword, I think of the beautiful completed grid, the pattern of interlocking words and black squares. Perhaps because I've been focusing a bit more on construction, I haven't thought of crosswords much as an experience from the solver's perspective. So, here are some observations that might be trite or obvious, but were new to me: A crossword puzzle is a series of questions. Questions are trivia (testing knowledge/memory) or riddles  (with wordplay and misdirection), or both. At the start, you only know each answer's length in letters. The questions vary considerably in their difficulty. You may get some answers immediately, and others after some thought. However, even in an easy puzzle, many questions are initially difficult, and might truly be impossible , due to having