Saturday, June 30, 2018

"Free for All XVIII," by Mark Diehl

Constructor's Comments

I remember treating a WWII-era veteran in the early 1980s, and when the appointment was over, he asked me, "Do you want to see a picture of my pride and joy?"  When I nodded yes, he pulled out his wallet, flipped through the plastic sleeves, and paused at a photo, which he held up with a triumphant grin.  It was a photo of two bottles standing side by side of LIQUID SOAP labeled Pride and Joy!  We both roared with laughter!

One thing I enjoy about weaving together freestyle puzzles is the memories a phrase will sometimes trigger in my head.  LIQUID SOAP was a corker for me.

Editor's Comments

Grids with triple-stacks of 9s, 10s, or 11s in all four corners are always tough to fill, since the connecting center region is extra-constrained.  You'd never guess that by looking at this puzzle, though—the center is clean as a whistle, and Mark even wove in an 8- and a 9-letter entry extending from each corner.  I would've expected to see just one of the two, given how hard such an arrangement is to fill.  Truly a feat of construction!  Grid design aside, my top five favorite entries are LIQUID SOAP, HILO HAWAII, PFIZER INC, SPEED CHESS, and DC UNIVERSE.  ENGINE BELL and ANKLE BITER are close runners-up.

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