Puzzle #19: Themeless #10

Hello puzzle solvers!

It’s another themeless week here at Square Pursuit, and I’ve got a couple of cool celebrities making their debuts (as far as I know) in this grid, as well as a sneaky nod to one of my favorite clues of the year. What a pleasure to hit my 10th themeless blog puzzle in your company today!

I like making these themelesses pretty challenging, though I’m always endeavoring to refine the craft to keep them as fair as possible. My favorite puzzles to solve each week are the hardest ones I can find, but if your tastes diverge a bit from mine in this regard, please remember that GOOGLING IS NOT CHEATING. Whatever way you like to get down, may this week’s grid make you happy!

On another note, Black lives matter. I hope you’ll join me in explaining this to those who still don’t get it.

Enjoy, people! Back next week a summery-themed offering.

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Puzzle #18: “Put Them On Mute”

Hello again, puzzle people!

Making indie crosswords has really thrust me onto social media. I’m grateful for the crossword Twitter community, but public talk and self-promotion aren’t really in my nature. It’s an awkward moment for me. This one goes out to everybody who feels the same way I do.

In other news, regardless of how bad the the noise gets on our giant socially-distanced fora, I hope you won’t give up on talking about and pushing for equity and social justice. I promise not to give up either.

Enjoy the solve, folks. I’ll be back in a week with another tricky themeless!

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Puzzle #17: Themeless #9

It’s been only five days, puzzle people! I hope you’re not too full on themeless crossword fun!

One of things that I value about the wider awakening surrounding Black Lives Matter is that oppressed people are speaking out for themselves and allies are starting to listen. That’s why I absolutely had to get 4-Across into a grid today. I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time, and I’m deeply moved and inspired by her brave and eloquent actions in the past couple of weeks. The other themeless that was supposed to drop this week will make its way to you eventually, and hopefully it’s a nice challenge as well.

Again, crosswords are a sustaining break for all of us, but I hope you’ll join me in continuing the work we’re doing as humans to ensure that this moment of awareness and potential change doesn’t flare out.

Back next week with a playful themed puzzle!

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Bonus Themeless w/ Brooke Husic

Photo credit: Wittylama

Hello puzzle people!


I hope your weekend is going well so far. I’m absolutely thrilled to offer you a bonus puzzle this fine evening. It’s a collaboration with star constructor Brooke Husic!


I first solved Brooke’s work in USA Today, where I was struck by her inventive cluing and finely wrought grids. Many of you, and I as well, have enjoyed her individual voice in guest spots on other puzzle blogs. Constructing with her was highly educational, and a real treat!

From Brooke:

Steve and I started talking after I was super impressed by his Universal puzzle a month ago. Now that we’ve collaborated, I’m 10x as impressed with how deliberate and thoughtful Steve is around every aspect of gridding, cluing, and inclusivity/framing, and I’ve learned so much from working with him. It’s an honor to be featured here and I’m excited for future puzzles from this shared byline!

Be safe, have fun, and enjoy our themeless collaboration! Back with a regular offering on Wednesday!

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Puzzle #16: “Wait For the Drop”

Hello again, puzzle people!

It’s themed week at Square Pursuit. Since we crossworders have such big brains, I think its useful for us to enrich and deploy them in this time of increased awareness and potential change. May this puzzle be a good, nerdy break from all the sharing, listening, learning and supporting that I hope you, along with the rest of us, are doing right now.

After the drop, I hope you’ll consider looking at the work that Erik and Paolo have already begun if you are in a position to do so and haven’t already. Puzzle solvers and creators have a lot to offer the world, right?

On a far less critical note, I’ve had some kind requests from folks looking for ways to follow my puzzles as they come out. As a non-tech savvy constructor, it took some figuring, but I think the e-mail subscription field to the left should do the trick. Please let me know if it doesn’t.

Thanks for solving! Back with a fresh themeless grid next week.

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Puzzle #15: Themeless #8

Hello, dear solvers! For me, and you perhaps, puzzles are an important escape from the world. Please permit me a brief aside about humanism and crosswords today.

Because I believe silence is complicity, I feel compelled to express my outrage over the murder of George Floyd and the violent crackdown on peaceful protestors and journalists in its wake. As a crossword person, I’d like to amplify a couple of voices in our community right now.

Two of our brightest stars in crossworld are using their art to support organizations in the Black Lives Matter movement. Erik Agard is offering some of his great puzzles with your donation to a 1StruggleKC. Paolo Pasco is offering a typically excellent creation of his own as well as some puzzles from other constructors (including myself) with a donation. His website also links to some informational resources which I encourage you to explore if you’re sufficiently fired up and curious.

Thanks for hearing me out! Be learned, stay safe and enjoy! Back with a themed offering next week!

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Puzzle #14: “The Mini”

Greetings, crosspeople! It’s time for another full-sized themed puzzle.

What a great time to be solving crosswords! I feel surrounded on all sides by excellent constructors of small grids, from indie makers like Amanda Rafkin and Matthew Stock, to respected crafters like Matt Gaffney and Elizabeth Gorski, who have both started publishing little puzzles in major outlets. Is the age of the mini?

Well, some day you’ll get an actual mini from this guy, but for now you’ll have to settle for a corny puzzle tribute to the talented people that keep us entertained in tiny little bites.

Take care, enjoy, and I’ll see you next week with another themeless offering!

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Puzzle #13: Themeless #7

Photo Credit: NightRider63

Hello hello hello, puzzle people!

I’m so happy to be able to throw a new themeless onto the pile of amazing puzzles people have been making these past couple of weeks. We’ve just been swimming in excellent crosswords and I’ve been talking with all sorts of cool nerdy people and learning a ton. It gets me charged up to put new grids together, and then I get the extra pleasure of having you solve them.

Stay safe and enjoy! Back next week with a themed offering.

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Puzzle 12: “Power Up!”

Hello, crossword people!

This week’s creation marks a couple of firsts for me as a constructor. For one, it’s the first time I’ve ever been able to have someone test solve the puzzle before it saw the light of day. I picked really well: Christopher Adams at arctan(x)words is not only a fantastic constructor (yes please go over there and solve his excellent weekly puzzles), but also a really sensitive and thoughtful examiner of the process. He wrote me generous and detailed insights about my work and how to make it more accessible and smoother for all solvers. It’s a whole lot better because of him. Thanks, Chris!

And as for the rest of you, here’s hoping you’re getting by OK out there in puzzle land. Please enjoy the offering. Back with a fresh themeless next Wednesday!

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Puzzle #11: Themeless #6

Hey there, puzzle people!

I’m still out watching the birds every day, and all of a sudden it seems like spring has sprung. The cold rains of April have blown away and in their wake come blossoms, bugs, and warm weather. It sounds like it’s time for some cooling refreshment.

It’s themeless week at Square Pursuit, and I can assure you that this puzzle supplies absolutely no cooling refreshment, but I hope it brings some challenging entertainment. Try a scoop!

Back next week a themed puzzle that’s a bit different. Take care, stay safe, and enjoy!

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