Thursday, July 22, 2021

Collab № 2 (Themeless w/ Brooke Husic)

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Hi everyone - back again with another collab! Very excited to bring you this indie collaboration with superstar constructor Brooke Husic! Over the past year Brooke has probably helped me the most grow with my cluing - in particular thinking more considerately about difficulty, inclusivity, diversity, and creativity. Hopefully that comes out in this puzzle! We were both interested in exploring some fun 14s, as they often get the short end in 15x15 puzzles, so we opted for a 14x14 that features seven of them!

You can check out more of Brooke's puzzles on her site xwords by a ladee.

A note from Brooke:

Obviously Ryan is one of my crossword idols, and I solve his puzzles as soon as they drop. His geometric/filling/cluing style is so different from anything else I'm solving and I super admire it as a solver ,,, and now as a collaborator! I hope you enjoy this decidedly made-for-indie puzzle!

Thanks to Will Nediger for test solving. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Asym № 2 (Themeless)

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Back again - with an asymmetrical grid this time! The story with this one is that I got the NE quad stack corner built, and then couldn't for the life of me find a compelling matching corner in the SW with rotational symmetry.  So, I switched things up and made a charcuterie board of black square shapes in the middle, including a T, +, and my ol' reliable staircase. 

I also have the Saturday puzzle over at the New York Times today! If you're hungry for a Chasm-like treat, check it out 😄

Thanks to Will Nediger for test solving (check out his Freeform Freestyles for more asymmetrical goodness!) Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Collab № 1 (Themeless w/ Matthew Stock)

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Happy July! VERY excited to be sharing my first ever McGrids collaboration, and with the inimitable Matthew Stock no less! I've been impressed with Matthew's consistently high quality puzzles and reputation as one of the nicest constructors out there, so it was naturally a joy to work together. I didn't make this one easy for him by sending over a particularly wide open corner, but he jumped at the challenge with some excellent gridwork, and after a lot of iteration we ended up with this feisty fiesta of a grid you see here! It's a bit of a toughie 😅

You can check out more of Matthew's puzzles on his site Happy Little Puzzles.

A note from Matthew:

So honored and excited to be a part of the first McGrids collab! I’ve been a fan of Ryan’s themelesses for as long as I’ve paid attention to bylines on crosswords, and I was stoked when he sent me the opening corner of this one as a potential collab. Ryan makes it look easy, but working these wide-open grids is so challenging (I didn’t make it any easier on us by taking out most of the helper squares Ryan sent in his initial layout). I’m super thankful for his flexibility and patience as we hammered this one into shape, and I’m really proud of what we ended up with. Hope you enjoy!

Thanks to Brooke Husic for test solving. Hope you enjoy!