SQP124 – Themeless #36

Welcome, Crossfolks,

Thanks for stopping by. I’m back in themeless mode today and this one’s a challenger. Thanks to Brooke for test solving!

Some changes are coming to Square Pursuit’s release schedule soon, but next week is your regular old variety cryptic week, with a quiptic appetizer on Monday.

Take care and enjoy the puzzle. I’ll see you soon!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP118 – Themeless #35

Hello, crossfolks!

It’s themeless week at Square Pursuit. I prioritized getting a couple of entries I really wanted to see into this grid and it resulted in a somewhat different feel than many of my puzzles. I’m going a bit gentler here, especially since last week’s cryptic was so challenging. I’m very interested to see how the seasonal variety cryptic lands next week.

Thanks to Brooke for test-solving! Get excited for her blog puzzle next week, people — certified banger.

Thanks for coming by and trying the puzzles. Next week is variety cryptic week and it’s going to be accompanied by a survey about the site! I’m looking into ways to adjust what I’m doing here and maybe even expand things a bit.

Take care and enjoy!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP112 – Themeless #34

Hello, Crossfolks!

Thanks for stopping by! No cryptic business this week, just a tough themeless puzzle. It’s been a while since I’ve dropped a stumper on the blog, and this is definitely on the hard end for Square Pursuit. I hope you like it! If you’re looking for a gentler challenge, I recommend my WSJ puzzle from yesterday.

Thanks to Brooke for the test solve! I think most folks know this, but she was the one who refined and popularized the sort of layout you see here.

Things will be easier for the rest of the month. There’s a variety cryptic on the gentle side coming next Wednesday and a snappy Quiptic aimed at newer solves the Wednesday after.

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP102 – Bonus Demi w/ Brooke Husic

Hello Crossfolks,

What a treat — today I get to be a crossword twin with my friend and frequent collaborator Brooke Husic! Brooke has today’s Universal puzzle, and I’ve got the Universal Sunday! By the time you read this, I will have enjoyed solving hers, and I think you should too! In honor of the occasion we figured we’d make you an extra 11x demi puzzle together. This one’s a little bit trickier, but not as stiff a challenge as our respective themeless offerings. Check out Brooke’s idea at 29A, which I love! I hope you enjoy the Husic/Mossberg triptych today.

Here’s Brooke:

“I’m always happy to work together with Steve! Usually we collaborate asynchronously but with this very connected grid, it seemed like a better idea to fill together over Google Hangouts, which was very fun! I really like how this turned out and I especially love Steve’s idea for the 12A clue. I can’t wait to solve his puzzle today!”

Thanks to Will Eisenberg for the test solve!

Take care, enjoy, and see you on Wednesday with a non-cryptic tribute puzzle to a personal fave!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP099 – Themeless #32

Hello Crossfolks!

Number 99! This week, we’ve got a themeless with a classic shape. It should be reasonably challenging, but nothing too wild. I’m very happy to get the names of artists who mean a lot to me into this grid!

Thanks to Brooke Husic for the test solve, and to you for coming by. I’m so thrilled to keep having this puzzle conversation with the folks who visit the blog.

Next week is a cryptic week! There’s a variety cryptic on the way, and possibly a quiptic as well. I’ve been grateful to hear that those are working nicely for newer solvers!

Take care, enjoy, and see you in a few!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP093 – Themeless #31

Hello, Crosspeople!

I haven’t made a themeless puzzle by myself in a while! So many people do it so well these days, it begs the question: what is there to add in this golden age of indie crosswords? I’m not sure I know the answer, so I decided to just go with things that make me smile and try to apply my style honestly. I hope it’s as fun to solve as it was to make! I hear it’s pretty challenging, so if you’d prefer a gentler ride, there’s a version with a few of the hardest clues changed.

Thanks to Brooke Husic for the insightful test solve and for recommending I make a gentler version. Any bad decisions in either puzzle are entirely mine!

I appreciate you coming by! Take care and enjoy. I’m back with variety cryptic in one week!

harder: solve online / puz / pdf

gentler: solve online / puz / pdf

solution

SQP087 – Themeless #30 with Brooke Husic

Hello, crossword folks!

I’m pleased as punch to share this new themeless puzzle that Brooke and I made! She pitched me 33-Across as the seed, and I agreed it was a valuable thing to give real estate in a grid. Brooke is a great friend and collaborator, and it’s always a learning experience when we work together. She’s a great role model in terms of intention and rigor when it comes to construction, and I think her influence is apparent in the way a lot of folks in our community are making puzzles these days. I’m sure you already know this, but in addition to her published work and other collaborations, Brooke posts a very hard experimental puzzle every 27th of the month at her own site, which I highly recommend.

Here’s Brooke:

Collaborations with Steve have invariably been supremely fun and this was no exception — he set up this architecture around our seed entry (or, as my friend says, “anchor entry”) and I love all the great stuff we got in there without sacrificing Steve’s trademark hyper-cleanliness. I super love our cluing teamwork on 44D and Steve’s fresh takes on 12D and 42D. As always, I’m extremely grateful for Steve’s friendship/support and for all the extremely thoughtful 57A and discussions we have when creating puzzles together. Beyond this puzzle, I’ve so far shied away from cryptics but I really enjoyed Steve’s first quiptic, which I was able to finish!

Thanks to Will Nediger for the thoughtful test solve, and to you for taking the time to try our puzzle. I’ll be back in a week with a variety cryptic (and a gentle quiptic) and in two with a themed non-cryptic puzzle. Don’t forget to visit Brooke next week as well for an innovative challenge! Take care and enjoy!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP082 – Themeless #29

Hello, puzzle folks!

For this week’s themeless puzzle, we’re going asymmetrical. The hunt for an appealing shape with fewer rules got me thinking about abstract art, and my favorite painter, Joan Mitchell. Her “Ladybug” from 1957 is shown above. In hindsight I wonder if I might have used the lack of restrictions to leverage some ungainly fill I’ve been dying to use or to do something I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do. This time, however, I was just trying to come up with something pretty and here you have it.

In keeping with the desire for beauty over function, this isn’t the most challenging puzzle I’ve put up, but I hope the the jokes land and the aha moments entertain! It was very fun to make. Thanks to Brooke Husic for test solve!

Next week is variety cryptic week, and it’s going to be pretty gentle, so I hope you’ll drop by even if you’re on the fence about that style of puzzle. Take care and enjoy the themeless!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution

SQP075 – Themeless #28

Greetings, Crossfolks!

I’ve just finished the process of cluing an extremely hard themeless, and I am thinking, why not do something a little gentler for the blog this week, so you’re getting one! If you’ve been finding the challenge extra steep lately, this one shouldn’t give you nearly as much trouble. That said, I’ve done a few devious things and there’s definitely some broad factual content in there as well.

Thanks to Brooke Husic and Will Eisenberg for test solving! May their suffering make this one smoother for you all. I’ll see you next week for a variety cryptic that I quite like! After that it’s a fifth Wednesday, and I didn’t make any plans for what to put out on fifth Wednesdays! Should I try something new?

Take care, enjoy, and let me know what you think!

solve online / puz / pdf / solution