Tuesday 4 December 2012

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

Thanks for comin out, folks, to the final installment of the first Cross Nerd series. Sincere gratitude and big ups are in order for all of you solvers out there that were kind enough to give my puzzles a try, offer insightful feedback, and generally be awesome and interesting people to meet.

I'll be taking a bit of time off from puzzle making for what's shaping up to be a busy December full of festive season parties, musical engagements, and settling into new digs. Cross Nerd will be back up in the new year, albeit with a different format. Until then, amuse yourselves with the fine indie puzzle sites in the sidebar, or dig into the older puzzles here if you missed 'em. I particularly liked this one, this one, this one, and this one.

As for next year, I'll be posting aperiodically and less frequently. Keeping to a weekly schedule accomplished exactly what it was supposed to: I was motivated to keep up with constructing, I became efficient at turning vague ideas into finished work, and I was forced to make firm decisions about fill and theme entries rather than hemming and hawing indefinitely. However, I have found that making the weekly puzzles takes up just about all of the time in a week that I can/would be willing to devote to construction, and sometimes more. I want to be able to work at a more leisurely pace (which also means I'll be able to tackle some more adventurous constructions), and have a little extra time to spend on some of my other hobbies that I've been neglecting. Also, it will be nice to start submitting some puzzles for publication, now that I kind of feel like I know what I'm doing. Lastly, I'd like to focus some time and energy on doing puzzle-related work rather than solely making puzzles. Aside from the weekly puzzles, my intention with this blog (which I really didn't think out for very long before it launched) was to offer reviews and analysis of interesting puzzles, discuss the nuts and bolts of constructing, and produce and share software tools for constructors and other interested parties (notice the "For Nerds" page? Notice that's it's never been updated?). So, basically, stay tuned for interesting stuff in the new year. Either check back periodically, or join the Google group to stay in the know.

I struggled a bit with finding the right kind of puzzle to write to conclude the series. Was thinking an extra large themeless at first, but I did a themeless for the penultimate puzzle and also I had a busy work week and then moved into a new pad all weekend. Being short on time, I also knew it would be risky to try and pull anything too adventurous (I want to focus on weirder stuff once I'm free of the weekly commitment). No, the best bet was a straightforward daily-sized number with a tight and fitting theme. The theme came right away, thankfully. I would be surprised if it hadn't been before (kind Chronicle of Higher Education-y, I think), but I can't actually remember having seen it. Tried to make it nice and breezy; perhaps I'm feeling a bit sentimental.

More words, crossed and otherwise, coming soon...

Puzzle: Famous Last Words
Rating: XW-PG13
Difficulty: Gentle