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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Puzzle #10: “Migrating Birds”

Blackburnian Warbler (Dendroica fusca). Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada. – MDF

Hello, bird puzzle fans!

It’s that time again. Every spring, I strap on the binoculars with a whole bunch of other birders, and we go out for a few weeks to watch the migrating songbirds come through. This year, I’ve got to go it alone, but that’s pretty easy to do when you’ve got lots of woods around, as I’m lucky to have. It’s amazing to go from a possible 10-20 bird species on your trail walk to over 100 and then back down again in such a short period of time. What a wonderful way to take notice of our planet.

Some disclaimers about this crossword:

  • You do not need to know anything about birding to solve this puzzle. I didn’t put anything like “Red-eyed vireo” in the grid.
  • If you’re a birder, you won’t find much scientific accuracy here. It’s hard to make a pun or linguistic twist out of “Prothonotary warbler.”
  • The difficulty level is, hopefully, a bit gentler than it’s been lately. My intention is to challenge people, not to hurt them! A major reason for doing this blog is to learn how to make my puzzles better and more fun. Everyone has been phenomenally kind in their feedback, but it’s apparent I’ve been a little rough on solvers these past couple of weeks.

And with that, enjoy, keep in touch, and I’ll see you next Wednesday with another tricky themeless!

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Puzzle #9: Themeless #5

Luigi Anzivino - https://www.flickr.com/photos/ilmungo/74897638

Bon app├ętit, puzzle people!

It’s pasta night err… themeless week again, and this time, I decided to step up to a personal layout challenge. There are all kinds of cool ideas popping up on crossword blogs these days and I’m feeling inspired. I feel lucky and incredibly thankful to be able to solve and create and learn from others right now. Here’s hoping the puzzle looks pretty and stumps you just the right amount!

May all your pasta nights be delicious. Back with a seasonally-themed puzzle next week!

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Puzzle #8: “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”

Hello, puzzle fans! I hope everyone’s well out there. When you’ve got a crossword blog, you’re allowed to publish puzzles about stuff that might not make the cut in mainstream venues. While the subject matter of this one isn’t niche in the least, it is specific and certainly outside the dominant culture in our country.

You don’t need to know anything about this puzzle’s subject to solve it, but this week we’ve got a timely tribute to a genre-creating figure who isn’t as much of a household name as he deserves to be. His innovations were always made at street level. Perhaps that’s why we don’t hear about him as often as we should.

Enjoy the solve, people, and take care of yourselves! Back next Wednesday with a themeless offering.

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Puzzle #7: Themeless #4

It’s another holiday week for many of us in crossword land, and I hope this week’s challenge is hard enough give you a bit of extended entertainment! If you’re celebrating something yourself this week, please stay safe and accept my warmest wishes. If not, I wish you a happy non-holiday week full of springy weather and plenty of puzzling and joy!

So here’s your themeless puzzle. Enjoy and let me know what you think! It’s been great to meet and talk to other solvers and constructors because of this blog so far. Back with a timely themed puzzle next week!

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Bonus Variety Puzzle: Pangram Midi

Hi all, I’m quickly popping in with a Monday special! Sid Sivakumar, the excellent constructor behind Sid’s Grids, came up with a new puzzle concept last month. In his Pangram Midi, solvers get an 8×8 grid in which every letter of the alphabet is used at least once, along with a set of unnumbered clues. It’s the solver’s job to figure out which answer goes where. It’s an elegant form that I absolutely had to try making myself. I did so, and with Sid’s encouragement, I’ve decided to post the result here. Before solving mine, I hope you’ll go try the ones on his site, linked above.

Below you can find my stab at an 8×8 Pangram Midi in .pdf format. Page 1 is the hard version with no letters in the grid. Page 2 has a few free squares filled in to get you going, and page 3 is the solution. Enjoy! Back with a regularly scheduled themeless on Wednesday!

.pdf (Hard, Easy, Solution)

Puzzle #6: “April Rules!”

It’s April, fools!

In these last few weeks I’ve been able to take lots of walks in the woods behind the house with my family. We’ve been watching nature day by day, and the changes are beautifully apparent. Up here in New England, magnolias are starting to bloom, the blue jays are flocking, the robins are singing, and the spring peepers are peeping from every vernal pool.

In honor of this fine, rainy month, I happily offer you a mildly tricky little holiday crossword. I hope it makes you smile!

Back with a themeless next week. Stay safe, keep in touch, and puzzle on!

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