Puzzle #2: “Jazz Matriarchy”

As a person in jazz, I often roll my eyes at the way the genre is represented in puzzle grids. Usually we get ELLA Fitzgerald (jazz legend, good letters), ETTA James (great non-jazz singer who dabbled in the style in later years) and maybe Al HIRT (easy-listening trumpeter who had a great sound and played little serious jazz).

A couple of weeks ago, I solved an excellent puzzle by Will Nediger that contained more real jazz legends in one grid than I’ve seen in years of solving crosswords. It’s witty and fun on multiple levels. I hope you’ll pause here and consider solving that one. OK, we’re back!

Now it’s Women’s History Month and thanks to the advocacy of constructor and feminist Rebecca Falcon, solvers get to experience an exciting run of exclusively female constructors in most major crossword outlets! Please consider pausing and checking out these fresh voices and excellent puzzles. OK, we’re back!

Rebecca and Will’s work got me thinking about that near, dear field in which women do amazing work that is ridiculously overlooked. Today we have a puzzle containing the names of four important artists that many people may not know. With that in mind I’ve tried to keep this one pretty straightforward, but if you’re stumped, I hope you’ll consider doing some googling followed by some listening. I promise you’re going to hear something you like!




Puzzle #1: Themeless #1

Hot dang, it’s a 15×15 themeless!

The more puzzles I make, the more I’m able to appreciate the subtle genius of the constructors I admire.

I’ve been writing music for decades, and have found that the way towards burnishing that craft has been doing it regularly, again and again, and watching the lesser elements fall away as the the core mechanism gets stronger. As I’ve gained musical fluency, I’ve come to sound less like someone trying to compose meaningful music, and simply more like myself. In this spirit, I’ve chosen to lean into constructing some themeless grids of my own in hopes of seeing that same sort of gradual refinement, and if possible, to put something personal into these little squares.

By which I mean: enjoy the puzzle people, and tell me what you think!

puz pdf solution