Wednesday 23 April 2014

Testing, testing

Busy times here at Cross Nerd HQ. Final exam on Monday for which I'm woefully under-prepared, a gig with a new band on Friday for which we're woefully under-prepared, and moving day on Wednesday for which... well, you get the idea. Luckily some of my old crap is still in boxes from the last time I moved. My new crap maybe I'll just throw out. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I probably won't be posting a puzzle next week. You might have noticed that these posts having been getting farther and farther from their original Tuesday morning timeslot with every passing week. Hopefully I can catch up with this short break. Actually, I'm fine with posting sometime around the middle of the week and not worrying too much about a fixed schedule, but I do worry about the quality suffering. Last week's puzzle contained a few grievous errors and I may have missed the mark a bit with the cluing. A few very fine solvers found it tougher than usual and a little lackluster so I've got to up my game.

But not this week! A few unfortunate crossings and some substandard fill in this one, I'm afraid, although I think there's some fun stuff in there too. Plus, there's a bit of a mini theme going on. I wanted to flesh it out into a full theme, but I couldn't think of two more tight answers (had one that kind of worked, though). Anyway, see what you think.

More words, crossed and otherwise, in two weeks.

Puzzle: Freestyle #33

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Watch Rick and Morty's a darn good show, I've recently learned. Concluded binge-watching the 11-episode run while making the grid for this puzzle. Funny stuff and it starts to wade in some heavier and darker waters later in the season. Highly recommended.

Just another vowelless this week. Trying to make the clues more fair and straight-forward and the grid more diabolical and deceptive than the last as always. Inspired by all the sci-fi cartoons, I was thinking of trying out some alternate dimensions for this puzzle. However, I remembered that Erik Agard has been approaching his goal of a sub-10 solve on these (ridic!) and I'd hate to mess with his progress. So 15x15 it is. Regular symmetry because I'm lazy.

You know the drill: no Y in any answer.

More words, crossed and otherwise, next week.

UPDATE: the original files I posted had a few errors. They've since been corrected and reposted. Carry on.

Puzzle: Vowelless #10
PDF (no hints)
PUZ (no hints)
PDF (with lengths - easier)
PUZ (with lengths - easier)

Full Answers

Wednesday 9 April 2014


Finally got this puzzle done! Wrestled with this grid for a long time, and made some large-scale last-minute changes to the bottom half yesterday. Kind of got burnt out cluing this one and wasn't feeling as inspired as I sometimes am, so forgive me if you find it a little dry and maybe on the easy side. The pdf comes in two flavours today: large print 2 pages and small print 1 page.

Oh, and this one has nothing to do with castles or chess, just a plain old freestyle.

More words, crossed and otherwise, next week.

Puzzle: Freestyle #32
PDF (one page)
PDF (two pages)

Thursday 3 April 2014

You're still here?

Sorry for the delay, folks. If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm ok with having a bit of a flexible schedule here, but I still don't like to let things get too out of control. Seems that life keeps wanting to intervene, as of late, so I hope you'll bear with me. 

Gearing up for a busy weekend of music: 3 gigs in 3 days, with 2 different bands. Two local gigs, including the debut of my latest project, a really loud trio called Kafkaless, and one show just south of the border in Plentywood, Montana which I know distressingly little about. Oh well, should be fun. I haven't been to Plentywood for years, but I always have a great time there so it'll be nice to get back. Objectively it's not much to write home about, but when you live in southern Saskatchewan it's a wonderland of cheap beer, smokes, and seedy hotel rooms just a hop skip and a border crossing away. True story: 5 of us went down there for a bachelor party many moons ago and bought a round for the whole bar because liquor was like 1/6th the price we were used to paying in Regina. I think we each spent under $20, and it was almost certainly the only thing that kept us long-haired nerds from getting roughed up by drunken hicks.

The puzzle that I planned to use this week still isn't finished since it ended up getting quite large (I'll run it next week). Instead, I dusted off this one that I started a while back and finished it up. I wasn't too excited about the grid at first, which is why I had shelved it, but it's ok I guess, and I tried to spice it up with some devilish cluing. Speaking of which, if you want to see an actual quality themeless puzzle, check out Evan Birnholz's latest offering. One of the smoothest grids I've seen in a long time (seriously, it's Berry smooth), yet with no shortage of awesome shit. Seriously, dude's got chops.

One more thing: only after this grid was filled and partially clued did I realize that there's another 12-letter entry that could use more-or-less the same clue (or at least most of the same clue words) as 14-down. Might've made a good symmetrical mini-theme, but to be honest you might start to wonder about me if I ran a mini-theme like that. Maybe you wonder about me as it is, I dunno.

More words, crossed and otherwise, next week.

Puzzle: Freestyle #31

Difficulty: Harder than usual, I think

Tuesday 1 April 2014


Post and puzzle will be up tomorrow evening. Sorry for the delay, grid got out of hand this week. See you then.