(See Update below about solving this puzzle in Crossword Solver)
Behold the first co-constructed Devil Cross puzzle! My partner in crime is Jim Quinlan, a middle school teacher in New York and crossword enthusiast who I met for the first time at Lollapuzzoola this past summer. He’s relatively new to the puzzle-building scene; welcome, Jim! He’s also a patient sort — this puzzle is the product of back-and-forth collaboration over several months. It’s an unusual grid and breaks a couple of conventional crossword rules, for sure. But we both say, be merry and have a good time with it anyway.
In unrelated news, I also want to draw your attention to the artwork of Hayley Gold, a cartooning student at the School of Visual Arts. She runs the website Across and Down, where she produces a fun comic about the New York Times crossword each week (her latest comic takes on today’s Times puzzle by James Mulhern and Ashton Anderson). It’s pretty amazing how she’s able to pull together her cartoons in such a short period of time. More importantly, she also designs custom-made puzzle comics, and that would make for a great holiday gift for the puzzle lover in your family. Check out more information about that here. Alternatively, you could consider giving her a donation (there’s a PayPal link on her page). ‘Tis the season for giving, after all.
Enjoy the puzzle. I’m trying to get in the habit of posting them more often — like, maybe once a week. So with that in mind, there will be a new Devil Cross puzzle next Saturday, December 20.
Update, 12/14/14 @ 12:20 pm ET: There was a small typo in the clue for 18-Across. I’ve since fixed it.
Update, 12/16/14 @ 3:40 am ET: It has come to my attention that the original PUZ file does not read correctly in Crossword Solver. That’s because certain spaces on the right side of the grid are supposed to be voids (white spaces) rather than blocks (black spaces), which I guess Crossword Solver does not understand. However, if you still want to use Crossword Solver to solve the puzzle, try this file here. My apologies for any confusion.
Indie puzzle news abound!
1) Veteran constructor Tim Croce has started his own new site, Club 72. Looks like it’s a themeless puzzle joint on Tuesday nights, and he just posted a variety puzzle last night. Hit it up.
2) I’ve previously mentioned Adam Nicolle, a young gun puzzlemaker (like real young — 12 years old, in fact), and I recently helped him create this easy puzzle here. He’s still learning the ropes of construction, but the work on that puzzle is mostly his. Check it out.
3) Matt Gaffney is switching his Weekly Crossword Contest over to a subscription-based model beginning in January, for a low price of $26/year. Put that on your holiday gift list for the puzzle lover in your family.
4) In other news in the puzzles-as-holiday-gifts department, why don’t you head on over and give some tips to Brendan Emmett Quigley for some bonus crosswords and Patrick Blindauer for his upcoming 12-part Space Puzzlefest?
5) Dear new constructors who haven’t been published in mainstream puzzles that much: want to see your puzzle solved live before an audience? The five of us running the Indie 500 Crossword Tournament are accepting submissions for a sixth puzzle. If we like yours the best, we’ll pay you $500 for it. The deadline to submit is January 15, 2015. See more information here.
6) Finally: while I have not made a decision on this yet, there is a decent chance I’ll be increasing my Devil Cross output, moving from a bi-weekly to a weekly feature. Have to work out all the kinks, and all that, but either way, I’m posting a new puzzle later on this week. Stay tuned.
Enjoy today’s puzzle, and enjoy next Friday’s (Dec. 12) New York Times puzzle — that one’s all mine.