So, I got a chance to do the daily puzzles before the blog post which was great for a change. (No spoilers for those so don't worry.) I thought Dana Motley's NY Times puzzle was great in sort of "just folks" kind of way. (I hope that doesn't sound condescending, I like a lot of her work.) Nothing flashy per se, but her grids are so workmanlike and deceptively wide-open that it's a refreshing change from the regular white chunks in normal themeless puzzles. Sometimes themeless puzzles come across like the constructor is saying "look what I can do." And depending on the puzzlemaker it can be either a wild success, or it can feel like a rote Autofilled computer-generated puzzle. I think Dana's work has a certain grace about it that doesn't really come across as showing off, but I do find her to have a very unique style. And standing out among the crowd certainly accounts for something in this biz.
Amy Reynaldo said in her blog write up about Dana's puzzle: "Rumor has it such a grid is easier to fill than the stack-heavy ones are." Let's kill that rumor right now, shall we? (Who started that rumor anyway?) Basically these grids are no different than a themed puzzle, and Lord knows I've made more than a few themed puzzles with themeless-level word counts (three examples are here, here, and here). And to continue to prove the point, and set up a little creative collaboration, send me suggestions for the long entries in a Dana Motley-esque puzzle via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. The most interesting entries, will be the starting points for Monday's Themeless puzzle.
In the meantime, share the puzzle. New Dana-Motley-esque puzzle on Monday.