Puzzle #14: Playing on a Loop

[AcrossLite][PDF][Solution] ↕️↕️↕️🤮

Aaaaand we’re back.

Apologies for the radio silence, solvers. I was out of commission for a while there thanks to a misfiring tumor suppressing gene. If you’re interested in donating to a great cause, visit my Neurofibromatosis fundraising page. I’m among the ~1 in 40,000 people who suffer from this disease, and most of my peers have it a lot worse than I do, and many of them are kids. Proceeds benefit the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

As such, this week’s puzzle is dedicated to life’s many ups and downs. Spoilers below.

Strikes and gutters, dude.

This puzzle was inspired by an ingenious grid by Patrick Blindauer. It’s the kind of puzzle that sacrifices a little solving pleasure for some grid art razzmatazz, which I’m here for in small doses.

Whatayasay? Worth the gimmick? Drop me a comment.

Puzzle #13: All Shapes and Colors

[AcrossLite][PDF][Solution] ★💜💎🟢🆘

You know what? Let’s keep it light this week.

I’m feeling the warm puzzle fuzzies. Why? Because I just signed up for my fourth ACPT, the epicenter of an IRL puzzling community that never fails to buoy my spirits and reaffirm my faith in humanity. You really should go, fellow puzz nerd, whether or not you consider yourself “good” or “fast” at solving crosswords. The point is mainly to meet the other members of your tribe, a tribe which, so far as I can tell, is among the warmest you’re apt to find.

One such tribeswoman is Adrienne Raphel–whom I met at ACPT 2017–author of the forthcoming “Thinking Inside the Box.” She’ll be there next March, presumably hawking her excellent book, and *you* shouldn’t miss the opportunity to befriend her. Or me!

Pre-order meow!

Anyway, Adrienne’s book is a smooth read, with relatable themes, and some fun insights and interesting trivia. Which, incidentally, are some of the hallmarks of a good crossword puzzle.

So to honor the essence of crosswording–fun, intellectual fulfillment, having something to chat to your nerdy tribe about–I’m posting a light n’ easy puzzle this week.

See you at ACPT (?!?!).

Puzzle #12: Last Call

[PDF][AcrossLite][Solution] 🍺🍺🍺🍺

A fun thing happened a few weeks ago.

I was puzzling at my regular spot at the bar at Lamplighter Brewery, when exceptionally handsome operations manager Jack asked me if I’d be down to make them a custom puzzle for the label of their new brown ale, Word Play.

Why yes, Jack. Y-E-S.

I’m calling the puzzle “Last Call” here, but the beer is called Word Play, and it’s delightful. Try to get over to the Lamplighter taproom in Cambridge to enjoy the best puzzling environment this side of the Charles. (And stay for the Pepita coffee and breakfast tacos.)

Puzzle #11: That’s the Spirit!

[PDF][AcrossLite][Solution] 👻🎃

I’m posting this week’s rossword puzz from the Artisan Boutique hotel in Las Vegas. Each room is *covered* in reproductions of a different painter, and I’m in the Gustav Klimt suit. “The Kiss” is missing, but “Woman in Black Feather Hat” is staring down at me from above the desk. (Down in the lobby, the theme breaks down and just becomes, well, “Art”: Picasso next to Munch next to Warhol. Motif!)

ANYway, ’tis the season, so this week’s puzzle is pumpkin spiced and pre-TP’d for your solving pleasure…

HJO, 1999

What a performance this kid put on back in, Jesus, 1999. That’s right! We’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of a classic thriller, straight-up, with a twist. (N.B.: Haley Joel Osment was cast as a plucky reporter in Alpha House, written by my dear old dad.)


I think hidden word puzzles can be a fun solve if there’s an, ahem, *solid* raison d’être for the concealment. Hopefully the reveal on this way feels like an, ahem, *substantive* aha-moment. Happy solving, thrillnerds!

Puzzle #10: Act IV

[PDF] [AcrossLite] [Solution] 💁🏾‍♀️🧕🏽🙋🏽‍♀️ 💁🏻‍♀️

As of 2018, my congresswoman here in Cambridge, MA is Ayanna Pressley. When the Massachusetts 7th sent her to Congress, none of us imagined she’d have quite the platform she does, or quite the peer group…

Ayanna et al.

This puzzle is for the newshounds and policy wonks among you. The upcoming 2019 elections might feel like a muted preamble to 2020, but if you really want to participate in democracy and feel like your vote/voice count, primaries and local politics are where to start.

Hopefully this puzz will get those juices flowing… 🇺🇸