Holy moly, we're 40 weeks in already! In case you didn't know, the Cross Nerd series was intended to be a series of 52 weekly puzzles, which means the last scheduled puzzle will run on December 4th. After that, well, I still haven't totally worked that out yet. There will certainly be more puzzles, but it's unlikely that I'll run a new one every week. Rather, I'll probably focus on quality over quantity - posting less often, but offering more interesting, ambitious, and well-crafted puzzles. I instituted the weekly routine to a) force myself to keep at it for practice and b) build up a bit of a solver base. However, now that I'm somewhat more conversant with the nuts and bolts of puzzle making, I'd really like to play around a little more and attempt some more adventurous constructions (like this week's puzzle). The weekly deadline -combined with work, friends, bands, and life in general- leaves little time for experimentation, alas (not only that, but I do this without a net; I have, and have always had, exactly zero puzzles in reserve), and as of late I've been finding myself resorting to the same old tricks and falling back on themelesses rather than trying new approaches/theme types/etc. just to get a new puzzle out each week. I love doing it, but it's nearly time for a change.
Plugs from the cruciverse: if you missed the big unveiling of Erik Agard's Glutton for Pun site last Wednesday, check it now. Great debut puzzle chock-a-block with wit and wordplay; looking forward to see what he serves up tomorrow! You know what else is awesome? Neville Fogarty's puzzle blog is what. He's a couple months in now, and shows no signs of slowing down, thankfully. Last week's had a nifty theme, I thought. Keep 'em comin'!
On to the puzzle. So, remember what I said above about getting stuck in a constructorial rut due to the weekly schedule and wanting to experiment more? Forget all of it; this week's offering is more of an experiment than a puzzle proper, truth be told. It's kind of neat, I think. Maybe you'll hate it, I don't know. Either way, it contains a few things that I've never seen in a puzzle before, and if it inspires another constructor or results in a bit of contemplation and/or discussion then I'll consider it a success. I have no idea how difficult it will be to grok what's going on with the theme, so I erred on the side of too easy with the cluing and obfuscation (especially since it seems I buggered up the difficulty of last week's puzzle a bit). I'm interested to hear your feelings on this one, positive or negative, so don't be shy!
Title is a Will Weng quote, according to Will Shortz.
Oh, and this one would be easier on paper, only because Across Lite won't accept any correct answer you give it. You can solve it but you won't see Mr. Happy Pencil even if your solution is correct. That, and the web app can't seem to fit the whole puzzle without scrollbars. See the "Special Solutions" tab for the full answer and a bit more discussion.
More words, crossed and otherwise, next Tuesday.
Puzzle: Greeting Card -or- "It's your puzzle. Solve it any way you want"
Difficulty: Easy breezy clues, but theme may be tricky
Download the PDF file here and the PUZ file here, or solve or download the Across Lite puzzle and/or software from the embedded app below.