NOTE: Today’s puzzle contains visual elements that cannot be reproduced in electronic format. I’d recommend printing out the PDF to get that visual aspect, though you can still fully solve the puzzle as a PUZ…..and actually, the puzzle will probably be more challenging in PUZ format. I dunno. Your call.

Devil Cross PUZ button    Devil Cross PDF button    Devil Cross Spice Rating Medium Header


Devil-Cross-59-That's-a-Real-Stretch
First: see note above. Also, one of those visual elements appears in the clue for 30-Across, though it’s not thematic. I discovered that photo and…..well, I just had to drop it in somehow. If you’re solving the PUZ, you can either copy the URL for that clue in a separate browser, or just fill in the answer from crosses. It’ll probably be an auto-fill for experienced solvers, regardless.

Second: huge, massive thanks to Brian Cimmet and Patrick Blindauer for putting on yet another fun show in New York City last weekend at Lollapuzzoola 8. The puzzles were all fiendishly clever, with some really pushing the boundaries for tournament-style crosswords. I came in 38th place (out of 200+, though some were team solvers) and, for the second tournament in a row in which I was a competitor, I finished with no mistakes!….. Well, no mistakes that counted in my ranking, anyway. The tougher version of the final puzzle was an absolute monster that kicked every part of my ass. It was clever, no doubt, but…..man, did it drive me crazy.

Still, the real reason to go to these things is to chill with other puzzle people, both old friends and new. Here are Sara Nies and Andy Kravis making mince meat out of my puzzle from last week:

Lollapuzzoola-2015-Sara-&-Andy

Here’s Ben Tausig leading the room in a fun music game, with Brian (standing on the right) having a brief moment of uncertainty/coldness/danger (?).

Lollapuzzoola-2015-Ben-Tausig

And here’s a long shot of the three Express Division finalists Francis HeaneyErik Agard, and Trip Payne working on the final puzzle.

Lollapuzzoola-2015-finals

Just like the 2015 ACPT, this tourney had another down-to-the-wire finish (which you can watch here), with Francis pulling out the win with 9 seconds left on the clock! ‘Twas pretty amazing.

Congrats to all the winners, and let’s do this again next year, shall we?