July 31, 2009

Bonus puzzle!

This isn't my regular weekly puzzle (which should be up on Sunday). This is an homage to Ashish Vengsarkar's New York Times puzzle from yesterday (Thursday).

The theme is the same. The grid is the same. The two 15-letter answers are the same for reasons that will be obvious as you solve. But the eight theme answers (and everything else, for that matter) are all new.

So, for those who don't subscribe to the NYT puzzle, this will be your chance to enjoy Ashish's puzzle without actually doing Ashish's puzzle.

Ashish's theme answers seem to have 16 possible entries. (Or 17, depending on how you pronounce the word "ours".) Ashish used eight of them yesterday, and I used the other eight today.

One side note:

I'd completed the grid and began to clue it when I realized I'd used the same entry twice. (Early on, I'd been switching the theme answers around and, well, these things happen.) Rather than begin anew, I changed 63-Across and adapted from there. 41-Down, in particular, ended up being a pretty silly entry.
The original entry could have been clued as, say, "A tasty morsel" and, upon completion of the puzzle, it'll be obvious which entry I mistakenly had in the grid twice.

But enough jibber-jabber. Unto the brink!

Puzzle opens with AcrossLite.
Click to solve.

Regular weekly puzzle on Sunday. I hope. (It's a 21x21. We'll see if I get it's clued by then.)

UPDATE: Second side note:
For "newer Mac users", Alex Boisvert informs us in the previous comments thread that you can download (and finally make use of) AcrossLite by clicking HERE. I hope that works out.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:17 PM | Comments (134) | TrackBack

July 25, 2009

Puzzle 9

Yep. Another themeless. 'Cuz I still suck at coming up with themes.

I actually had four completed puzzles from which to choose to clue and post this week. But the answer at 34-Across was something I'd been trying to work into a crossword for a few weeks, yet with no completed puzzle.

I finally completed one this week so that's this weeks puzzle.

It's not the most consistant effort I've come up with, though. The crosswordese is a little too prevalent in the outer corners for my liking.

Since I began with no theme answers, a lot of the fill was haphazardly pieced together. That being said, I like a lot of the entries. Quirky partials. Gratuitous pop culture references. A nod to Pancho Harrison's Monday NYTimes puzzle.

Speaking of nods to other constructors, did you see Patrick Berry's grid from Friday? Here 'tis:


Hmm. I wonder if Mr. Berry swung by this little blog at some point recently because it looks uncannily like my grid from June 8th:


Okay, it's not that close. But, switch a few blocks around (as I just did to create these .jpegs) and there you are. My grid (as Patrick's may have also been) was based on this amazing Trip Payne 21x21 grid:


...which inspired to me to try to fill this grid:


...which is what my June 8th grid grew out of. Or, rather, shrank into.

I've attempted 7 or 8 times over the past 6 months to fill that grid. Finding two 15-letter triple-stacks is hard enough. Success in extending those stacks in that grid -- and then contecting them to the center area -- has proved illusive to me.

But I'll bet that there are at least four constructors out there who can do it. Not do it with ease, of course, but do it. They are (the aforementioned) Patrick Berry, Frank Longo, Trip Payne (obviously) and Brendan Emmett Quigley.

Brendan Emmett Quigley? Hey, the guy's a dynamo. He invited his readers to challenge him to create a puzzle in the style of other constructors. He emulated Trip Payne's Something Different **slash** Wacky Weekend Warrior puzzles (which I can't enough of) with impressive aplomb.

Now, I'm not issuing an official challenge here or anything. (Mainly because, based on the comments threads, I have no idea if anyone is actually reading this blog and/or doing these puzzles.) But I would be impressed if the above 15x15 grid (no black squares in the corners, cheaters!) showed up somewhere reasonably soon. :)

Anywho, I hope you enjoy my latest serving of crossword tripe.


Puzzle opens with Across Lite.
(Sorry "newer Mac" users. Still no more PDFs until, either, I can buy some software that'll turn a .puz file to a .pdf, or someone tells me what my search for a way to do it for free has overlooked.)
Click to solve

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:33 PM | Comments (112) | TrackBack

July 18, 2009

Air On The G String

I couldn't think a title for this puzzle so I decided to steal one from Bach.


As usual, puzzle opens with AcrossLite.
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:47 PM | Comments (86) | TrackBack

July 11, 2009

Sounds Right To Me

This one was a lot of fun to create. The grid may not be pretty but, hey, give a little get a little.


As usual, puzzle opens with Across Lite.
Click to solve

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:27 AM | Comments (53) | TrackBack

July 05, 2009

Overdue Themeless

I hope you all had a rip-roarin' 4th of July and no one blew off their fingers.

It's been a while since I last posted a new crossword. It's not that I've gotten behind in creating them, it's that my standards are raising. A puzzle that I might have been eager to post when I first started is just too amateurish for me now.

Over the past few weeks I was working on four different puzzles simultaneously and couldn't get any of them to gel to my liking. One of them I even finished clueing two weeks ago, yet still didn't post because I didn't like the northeast corner and I couldn't hold the symmetry throughout.

This is that puzzle.

In the mean time, I've just finished a new puzzle that I will post as soon I've clued it. But, I figured I'd put this one up anyway just because I don't want all that work to go to waste.

I didn't try to make this a stumper by any stretch, mainly because I don't think it deserves the effort. But I did try to make it somewhat interesting.

Of course, most people who solve several puzzles a day will probably say, "Bleh, ordinary. Wouldn't have run in any decent newspaper." But I think it has it's moments, so here 'tis.

A much better, more interesting themed puzzle is coming shortly. But, for now...


Puzzle opens with AcrossLite.
Click to solve

P.S. Sorry, newer Mac user(s), but the trial software I was using to convert AcrossLite to PDF has expired. Unless someone can tell me how to do the conversion F.O.C., that's it for the PDF versions for now.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:02 PM | Comments (77) | TrackBack
Site Meter