It’s been a busy month since I wrote my last post, but I have a few updates I wanted to share. Let’s get right to them:
1. First, my inaugural Sunday crossword for the Washington Post Magazine has been published! It’s called “Heroes Welcome.” That puzzle, along with all new Post puzzles going forward, will be posted at this link each Sunday. And, of course, they’re free to solve. That being said……
2. Only the previous four Washington Post puzzles will be publicly available as time goes on. So don’t fall behind, or at least make sure you print out a copy each week to ensure that you have it for your records.
3. Currently, there are no .PUZ files available for my Post puzzles at this time. I do apologize for that, but it’s an issue that’s beyond my control right now. That may change at a later date, and if so, I’ll let you know. For now, you can either solve online on the Post’s browser widget, or you can click on the widget’s “Print” option and get a hard copy.
4. I have taken puzzles #62-68 off of Devil Cross. Why would I remove them? Well, if you had a chance to solve them earlier, you’ll recall that they were 21×21 grids. There’s a distinct possibility that they may become Washington Post Magazine puzzles sometime down the line. Maybe not for several months or even years. But even so, I still want to preserve the surprise of those puzzles for newer Post solvers. I apologize for that inconvenience as well; but on the bright side, there are still 62 other puzzles available for free solving.
5. Because I’ve been swamped with my Post-related puzzle duties, I haven’t been able to write my 70th puzzle for Devil Cross. That will have to wait until my schedule frees up, unfortunately. I am also putting together an easy-to-navigate archive of my past Devil Cross puzzles so that you can access all of them on a single page (the only exceptions being the removed puzzles #62-68).
6. Even though there will not be any regular Devil Cross puzzles for the time being, I will try to continue to use this site on occasion as a general crossword blog. Maybe I’ll have a few “behind-the-scenes” notes on specific Post puzzles. Or, maybe I’ll write about other interesting things in the puzzle world. Who knows? I certainly don’t.
7. You see those links on my sidebar for other independent crossword writers? Solve their puzzles.
Finally, a couple of social media notes. My Twitter handle has now changed to @evanbirnholz. I’d recommend following me there for all Post-related updates since my participation on this site will be pretty sporadic for the most part. I’ve also created a public Facebook page for myself and my new position at the Post — if you Like that page, you can post comments there directly.
I think that’s all for now. I’ll see you around and I hope you enjoy the Post’s new crosswords!
Dear friends, solvers, readers, and puzzlers everywhere:
It is with immense pleasure and gratitude to announce that I have been selected to write the weekly Sunday crossword for The Washington Post Magazine, a position long held by the late, great Merl Reagle. The first puzzle will run on December 6. I can barely put into words just how excited I am for this new journey I’m about to take; but I’m gonna try to put it into words. Today, by the way, just so happens to be the ten-year anniversary since my wife Vicki and I started dating, so today seemed like a great day to share the happy news.
It goes without saying that I have some very, very big shoes to fill. Merl wrote some of the funniest, most clever puns you will ever see in a crossword. He was a pioneer in the indie crossword movement, something for which I owe him a huge degree of credit. As I wrote in late August after Merl passed away, my biggest regret as a crossword constructor was that I didn’t get the chance to get to know him better on a more personal level when I had the chance. So I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to do his legacy proud — and maybe create one of my own — by writing a good, regular puzzle each week for a long time just like he did. It’s the best way I can get to know him better now.
A Big Life Change like this often means making some changes elsewhere, and the first one I need to address is this website. While I’m excited to begin my work at the Post, it’s a bittersweet moment for me to announce that I will no longer be writing a weekly puzzle on Devil Cross for the foreseeable future. I’d grown attached to this place, chatting with many different readers and sharing what I love to do each week. Devil Cross is not going to end completely, however — I may write the occasional blog post when the inspiration strikes, and in fact, my hope is that I will publish at least one more puzzle here before my first Sunday Post puzzle goes live. I’m just one short of my seventieth free puzzle, and that seems like a good number for wrapping things up. And you never know; maybe one day, when I’m more settled in with the Post and I’ve got some spare time, I may write more Devil Cross puzzles again. In the meantime, though, please keep supporting the other independent puzzle writers in my sidebar by solving their puzzles and showing them some love. They’re the main reasons I started my own site.
The second big change for me is that I am also no longer going to be an editorial and organizational co-leader of the Indie 500 Crossword Tournament. As much as I loved helping to run the inaugural tournament last May, my new responsibilities with the Post are likely going to keep me pretty busy. But I know that anyone who’s at all interested in attending the next tournament or solving the puzzles from home will be in good hands with my other co-founders. If I can make it for the 2016 tournament, you’d better believe I will be there.
There are really too many people for me to thank for this opportunity in one blog post, so I won’t list everyone right now. I’ll be sure and write a more thorough post about that later. I’ll just say that many, many people deserve my deepest gratitude for helping me along the way to become a better puzzlemaker and inspiring me to make crosswords my career. It’s not every day that a person can say that he’s found his dream job, but I feel confident that I’ve found it — and never in my wildest dreams did I think that when I started Devil Cross that it would lead me here.
I hope to see you all on December 6!