“Final Warning”

[PDF] [AcrossLite] [Solution] ☠️ ☠️ ☠️

Yesterday, at an old friend‘s bachelor party in Minneapolis, I left my phone (and all my IDs and cards) in a cab, and couldn’t recover any of it. It’s just a happy coincidence that the puzzle I’d decided to post today dovetails so neatly with the nightmarish project of trying to sort out the dependencies of how to replace all that stuff a few states from home. (White privilege, by the way, is clearing TSA in ~20 minutes with naught but a shrug and a smile.)

This is a 69-word puzzle, which is even lower than the maximum word count for NYT themeless crosswords. In a nutshell, that means that it’s a wide-open grid with relatively few black boxes. Oftentimes, low word-count puzzles can be more challenging to find that all-important toe hold that gets a solver started. But I intended this puzzle to be somewhat breezy. I’ll be curious to know if it solves that way in the end.

“Fall of the British Empire”

[PDF] [Across Lite] [Solution]

I love grid circles. My crosswords are full of them. They’re full circle. The tool allows you to achieve some interesting visual effects with a grid, and I dig how this one came out. That being said, they can get overused, so I’ll try to space them out.

It’s surprising to me that more mainstream crossword puzzle outlets don’t support the full such “gimmicky” gamut: circles, rebuses, shaded boxes, etc. They offer such potential in terms of new ways to execute avant-garde themes, and it doesn’t seem too terribly difficult from a backend perspective. This site runs PuzzleMe, which has rebuses/circles native to the software.

Oh, and before I’m accused of piling on the British, some of my best friends are from the U.K. So.

Plus… if Alex Morgan is wrong, I don’t want to be right. 🍵

“Match Fixing”

[Solution] [PDF] [Across Lite] 🇺🇸 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 ⚽️

“Match Fixing” is a special installment for anyone enjoying watching Team USA kick ass in France this summer. *SPOILER ALERT* This puzzle is… different. If you’re delighted, pissed off, or confused, scroll down for an insight into its construction. (Or just peep the solution.)

Megan, heroically protecting you from the spoilers

“Match Fixing” is an example of a quantum crossword, where two possible answers can both fit in the same spot. The most famous such example came in the New York Times back in 1996, when the puzzle appeared to have predicted the winner of presidential election. In fact, CLINTON and BOB DOLE were both viable answers.

In “Match Fixing”, you can put either AMERICA and ENGLAND as the winner of tomorrow’s match, with all the relevant down answers creating two different words that can be clued the same way. For example, [A]YE and [E]YE are both [Homophone for “I”]. The other down clues are:

GRAM / GRAN: Mom’s mom, informally BAE / BAG: An instagrammer might show this off on her arm #newaccessory! 😉 ART / ALT: Music genre modifier ISU / ASU: Sch. that lost an 11-v-6 seed match-up in the 1st round of the 2019 NCAA hoops tourney CODE / NODE: Computer network component ETD / ETA: Flight board fig.

All that being said, we know who’s *really* winning tomorrow. -RT