Saturday, June 16, 2018

"Free for All XVI," by Erik Agard

Editor's Comments

Erik always finds the perfect balance between liveliness and smoothness in his themelesses!  My favorite entries here are NO RESPONSE, SENTENCE DIAGRAM, DJ Khaled's catchphrase ANOTHER ONE, ESCARGOT, CISNEROS, GEM STATE, and MEETCUTE.  There are also hardly any three-letter entries (just two, in fact).  Reducing the number of three-letter entries helps the fill feel much less crosswordy, since three-letter entries in particular tend to get used over and over again.

Did you notice the FREE/MEEK Easter egg at 1-/5-Across?  I originally asked to Erik flip the Acrosses and Downs so the Easter egg wouldn't be quite so prominent, on the off chance it would generate controversy.  In the time between when the puzzle was accepted and today, though, Meek Mill was freed!  Thus, any potential controversy seemed like a moot point.  As an editor, I like to preserve constructors' voices as much as possible, so I made sure to flip the puzzle back to the way Erik had intended it to run.

Speaking of Erik, I just found out he'll be constructing a weekly 15x15 for the Arizona Daily Star, and I couldn't be more excited for him!  The Star ran a wonderful article/interview with him that I highly recommend.


  1. Like for the Free Meek easter egg, from a Philly guy. Also, I don't really understand the NODES clue - could you explain?

    1. So glad you enjoyed the Easter egg! In the "Pitch Perfect" movies, Chloe talks a lot about how she has NODES (vocal nodules) that affect her voice. She eventually has surgery to remove them. Maybe that clue was a little too specific to the movie, though.