Constructor's CommentsThis particular puzzle actually started out quite differently—wasn't focused on various elements of a casino, was a bit of a mess, had LOADED DICE paired with HIDDEN CARD—these just wouldn't work.
Spoke to a friend, and he was, like, how about MARKED CARD and focusing on items used for cheating. I was, like, hmm . . . that could work. Spent the next couple of days doing research and was amazed at all the tricky ways to cheat—they were literally evening the odds.
Spent a couple days on grid design, creating multiple iterations of the fill and overall black square pattern—all whilst listening to some EDM [electronic dance music] and nu jazz. Music tends to keep me motivated, especially when the grid doesn't work—starting over is easier whilst listening to some tunes; each black square movement feels playful, making you want to get a lot more creative with the design.
Like switching it up in the design phase—won't stick to the regular black squares; they might be gray, blue, green, etc. Tend to gravitate towards the gray squares, though, since I like Cruciverb.com’s puzzle preview. Anyways, enough of my ramblings—hope you guys had a great time solving this one; looking forward to creating more amazing stuff.
Editor's CommentsI've been fascinated with casinos since I was six years old. My family was visiting Las Vegas, and my mom decided to teach me a lesson about gambling by feeding a nickel into a slot machine. "See," she said, "we're going to lose our nickel." To her surprise, the slot machine spit out five dollars worth of nickels!
Today's puzzle thus hits the jackpot for me. In fact, the theme is so narrow that I'm impressed Val was able to come up with four examples, let alone ones that can be arranged symmetrically. He also did a great job keeping the fill Monday-smooth—he even classed it up with an ESCARGOT. And finally, Val hails all the way from Saint Lucia, which makes today's puzzle extra-special. Happy Monday, everyone!