Written on Feb, 28, 2015 by in | 2 Comments.

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If you’ve been on Facebook and Twitter at all over the last couple of days, you’ve probably filled your quota for ridiculous viral memes until at least 2018. Another constructor suggested that somebody should make a Schrödinger puzzle (a crossword with more than one correct solution) to commemorate the now-infamous “what color is this dress” photo, where the entry BLACK AND BLUE can morph into WHITE AND GOLD as long as the crossings on the terminal words can be made ambiguous enough to accommodate both possibilities. I’ll admit I was tempted to try it during the 11th hour, but Schrödinger grids are tough to pull off cleanly, and to do it on a highly topical subject on very short notice made it a non-starter for me. So consider it a challenge for other indie constructors out there.

Instead, I’m going with a theme idea I’ve had on the shelf for a little while but didn’t flesh out until now, with a larger-than-normal 17×17 grid. In case you’re wondering, I didn’t exactly plan for the similar combos at 1-/2-Down and 80-/83-Across, but it worked out that way and I’m sticking with it.

In other puzzle news, there’s a crossword tournament coming up one weekend from now in Ithaca, New York, and the proceeds go to Tompkins Learning Partners, a non-profit organization that provides literacy tutoring. I likely won’t be able to make it out there, but it does sound like a fun time. However, there is some exciting Indie 500 Crossword Tournament news on the horizon and it should drop pretty soon. Stay tuned….

Enjoy the puzzle. There will be a new one on March 7.

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Written on Feb, 21, 2015 by in , | 7 Comments.

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Two announcements today. First, you have one more week to enter the contest for Patrick Blindauer’s Space Puzzlefest, a series of 13 interconnected mini-meta puzzles that lead to a final meta answer. I solved it this past week and it was tough but fun. It’s $17 for the set and there are hints available if you need them.

Second, I might as well make this official: I will be publishing a new Devil Cross puzzle every Saturday. And I’m just gonna keep going until I tell you otherwise.

When I started this website last year, I wanted to keep my publishing schedule relatively modest at one puzzle every two weeks. I figured that would be tough enough to handle with my school schedule. But then I saw plenty of other indie constructors pumping out a puzzle every single week while having busy schedules of their own, and then I wondered, shouldn’t I try to keep pace? As of this past December, I’d been publishing once a week just as an experiment to see if I could do it. I can and I’m still happy with what I’m producing so far.

So what will this change, specifically? If you’ve been coming back here each week since December, not much. However, it may mean that a larger proportion of my upcoming puzzles will be themeless. There’s a simple reason for that: I find them easier to create than themed puzzles. Or rather, I find it easier to start a themeless puzzle and build it from scratch than to design an original, well-executed theme. The latter requires you to take some time combing through various lists for possible theme entries before you can actually begin building the puzzle, and those answers have to be funny and consistent for the theme to work. With the former, you can just start in the grid right away. A themeless grid may be tougher to fill smoothly than a themed puzzle, but with no theme to worry about, the name of the themeless game is easier: just fill the grid with as many kick-ass entries as you can and limit the crap. That’s all there is. Your mileage may vary, as they say.

What time will these puzzles be published, you ask? I can’t give you an exact to-the-minute time right now, but I usually aim for a morning time posting around 10 am ET. If I can’t post it by 10 am, I’ll let you know. I’ve updated the FAQ to reflect these changes. And as always, you can catch Devil Cross updates on both Twitter and Facebook.

Enjoy today’s tough puzzle, and the Oscars (if you’re into that sorta thing). There will be a new puzzle on February 28.

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