Holy Toledo, week 20 already?! To be honest, I didn't think much beyond the second week when I started this site. I'm going to take a page from the book of Matt Gaffney and set a goal for this puzzle series. Now, Matt's a complete fucking maniac, and his goals are fittingly maniacal. 10,000 daily puzzles!? 1000 weekly metas!? I'd be satisfied if I could think of one meta puzzle that's as good as any of his (speaking of which, I'm completely lost on this week's MGWCC - don't have a sniff. **Late-breaking update: just got it! Don't think I've ever gone 3 for 3 before. Outlook not good on 4 for 4, though**). My goal is decidedly more modest: The Cross Nerd puzzle series will run for at least (but maybe more than) 52 weeks. Since I pretty much started making puzzles at the same time as starting this site and I never know what I'll be doing with my life six months down the road, I really can't say whether or not I'll have the time or desire to continue beyond (or even until) then, but I guarantee another 32 weeks of puzzles.
Speaking of time and desire to make puzzles, this weekend I had neither. I was hit with my first flu in a few years, which rendered me more inclined toward laying in bed watching Twin Peaks than writing clues. I had come up with the theme already, thankfully, but left the grid and cluing a little later than I should have. As you'll see from entries like 4- and 27-Across, this puzzle would have benefitted from a little extra time and attention (for instance, I only noticed after filling most of it that it's a 74/35, which is low (and ill-advised) for a themed puzzle. In fact, I almost had the NW and SE corners filled with one less black square in each, but couldn't get around a few fugly entries). At any rate, I don't think the handful of clunker entries will ruin the solving experience (myself, I value solvability over all else), but I'm acutely aware of them at the moment because of a recent discussion about fill over at Tyler Hinman's blog. A number of top editors, constructors, and solvers have weighed in on the issue, so it's an enlightening read.
Lastly, last week's interview with Steve Riley was a huge hit. A number of people got in touch to say that they enjoyed it, so I'll be doing more. I've been talking with a few constructors about it, but I'd like to make it a somewhat regular feature, so if you're at all involved with puzzles, drop me a line and we'll set something up! Plus, if you're a constructor I'll gladly run one of your puzzles here.
More words, crossed and otherwise, next Tuesday.
Download the PDF and PUZ files here, or solve or download the Across Lite puzzle and/or software from the Java app below.