I've been told by my test solvers this puzzle was a bear. This was probably not by accident. I was trying to do a super-wide open bizarre-o symmetry Frank Longo-esque themeless. Frank's work is always going to be wide open, always going to have a couple new intelligent entries that are vocab builders, and a comical amount of white chunks with no unnecessary black squares. Seriously, check this book out. It's some crazy shit. Oh, and Frank's a whiz of a clue writer/editor. Basically, his contributions to modern-day puzzlemaking can never be repaid.
Side bar: Frank's got the single most amazing ranked database of entries in puzzledom. There's a handful of us who are always trying to stump him with entries that he doesn't have. It's a daunting task, because this guy's pretty much thought of everything. Doesn't mean I haven't contributed a handful of stuff: mostly neologisms, fractured slang and obscure sports figures. They're almost always ranked so high to guarantee they'll never appear in any of his puzzles.
Anway, I learned a couple things while making this themeless:
- Symmetry-be-damned puzzles invariably will have some corners that are nigh-impossible to fill in. (This one I know has diagonal symmetry, still.) But after doing the daunting NE first, then the two chunky 4x8 corners in the NW and SE, I realized the SW was pretty much impossible for me. I tried and tried and tried to get something slick sans cheaters. No dice. Forgive me.
- It probably doesn't deserve another numbered point, but let me reiterate: that SW corner was my Waterloo. The black square to the left of number 42 and it's symmetrical partner were locked-in, and I tried every damnfool permutation of square placement to fill this sucker in. I thought a 3x10 intersecting another 3x10 area would have been cake, until I remembered that when I try to do this stuff I always, always, always start at the intersecting bit, not the other ends. Man that corner was brutal...
- ... But not as brutal as the SE. I know in crosswords there are tons of words that appear all the time in puzzles that are hardly ever used in everyday language, but they're perfectly fine words. The reason I say this is that the compromises I had to make for the SE corner (consensus hardest corner) had (count 'em) three S.A.T./spelling bee words at 32-, 40-, and 42-Across. And they stack! A thousand and one apologies for that one.
- I realize I'm not very good at trying to copy other people's styles.
Anyway, hope you enjoy it.
Oh, and before I go I gotta say "The Hangover" was pretty good. Zach Galifianakis (who provided the theme for one of my puzzles) totally stole the show. Anyway, new one coming on Wednesday.