Tuesday 21 August 2012

Those Cultured Moose Javians

I like sleep a lot, but I rarely get enough of it during the week. So, on Friday, I fell asleep reading A Feast for Crows (that would have never happened if I was still on A Storm of Swords. That shit was gripping to the point of addiction, but the story's kind of in a slump now. Fellow Throne-philes, tell me it picks up again!) after work and woke up at midnight. Since I wasn't about to go out at that point and didn't feel like going back to sleep, I stayed up the whole night filling this week's grid. That was fortunate, really, because I don't know when I would have done it had I gone out carousing on Friday like I intended. The rest of the weekend was jampacked. Show with my band Ink Road on Saturday out at the beach, along with our BFFs Indigo Joseph and Fur Eel (indie rock fans, check 'em out. Barring implosions and/or "creative differences", both bands are poised to take over the world, and deservedly so. Indigo Joseph play intelligent and zany indie rock, while Fur Eel keep it tight and funky with grade-A chops. Where that young whippersnapper Travis Reshaur learned to play bass with such taste and maturity I'll never know). Camped out at the beach after a fair amount of whooping-it-up, nursed a hangover all morning, and then caught the matinee performance of Pirates of Penzance in Moose Jaw, of all places. It was extremely well done, and I've still got the "Modern Major-General" song stuck in my head. Capped off the weekend with a couple sets of tennis with my buddy Donnie. We're pretty evenly matched (i.e. he's almost as lousy as I am. Sorry Donnie), so it's always a good hit.

Oh, and thanks again to Erik Agard for the interview and guest puzzle last week.

On to today's puzzle. I seem to recall promising a themed puzzle for this week, but, to be honest, I've had a bit of writer's block lately. I'm having trouble coming up with solid and innovative theme ideas, and, once Friday rolled around and I still had nothing, I got to work on a themeless. Of course, any of the tried-and-true workhorse themes would do in a pinch, but my goal with this series is continual improvement. If I'm going to do a themed puzzle, I want it to be more original and clever than the last. If you'll permit me to toot my own horn for a minute, I think I've whipped up some neat themes here and I want the next one to be even better. While falling back on a themeless may seem like kind of a cop out, I also want the themelesses/freestyles to improve, so don't go thinking I've been slacking. It's a 15x15, believe it or not (17 themelesses and this is the first 15x15), with only 66 words (my first sub-70!). There are a few questionable entries, but nothing too dodgy and overall I'm pretty darn happy with the fill. Wish I could have avoided the "helper" squares and squeezed one or two of the meta contest-winners' entries in this one (god knows I tried), but neither were happening. Oh, and this motherfucker is tough, and a little saucy too boot. Don't say I didn't warn you.

More words, crossed and otherwise, next Tuesday.

Puzzle: Themeless #17
Rating: XW-18A
Difficulty: Brutal

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.


e.a. said...

don't like the REST duplication. but i love everything else. some very timely entries and just the right level of difficulty.

Bananarchy said...

Yeah, I wasn't happy about that either. Definitely could have avoided that (I had ARMREST in there early on, but had tons of choices for the long center entry), but unfortunately I only noticed once it was too late.