(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.