Sunday, July 29, 2018

"Sunday Freestyle XXII," by Victor Fleming

Constructor's Comments

I like to take a new and juicy phrase, juxtapose it with something not so new, preferably with some relationship, and create a themeless puzzle around a minitheme.

FAST FASHION cropped up, I think, in a Merriam-Webster list of new dictionary words in 2017.  I balanced it off against TAKES IT SLOW and made a puzzle I thought was pretty solid.

But the area of the puzzle containing TAKES IT SLOW suffered a bit.  Plus, I realized that a too-obvious minitheme was a liability.  So, with encouragement from David, I dropped the latter entry.

I believe a themeless without 15s should have close to 15 ILSAs (in-the-language stand-alones, which include compound words, phrases, and hyphenated words).  By my count, this fill has 13, and they are of good quality.

I love clue writing and was happy to see that many of mine made it through David's excellent editing.

Editor's Comments

It's always an honor to work with a constructor who's been in the business for as long as Vic has.  He's mentored many other constructors over the years, and as anyone who's met him in person would say, he's one of the kindest people in the community.

What caught my eye about this puzzle was the lower left.  A single corner with the zippy HIP HOP STAR, FAST FASHION, WAIT A SEC, and SHORTIES combined with smooth short fill is top-notch gridding!  As Vic mentions, I asked him to rework the upper right corner of his original submission.  In the course of revising, he told me he added more than 100 entries that start with TAKE to his word list in order to find the best fill he could.  This shows just how dedicated Vic is to the crossword construction craft.

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