Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"A+," by Katja Brinck and Andrea Carla Michaels

Constructors' Comments

Katja Brinck:  I am originally from New Hampshire but now live and work in San Francisco.  I am a longtime solver, a medium crossword competitor, and have been thinking about constructing crosswords for a long time but never really knew how to get started (beyond trying to making things in an Excel spreadsheet).

In January 2018, I joined the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory, a Facebook group that was created with the intention of supporting more women and other underrepresented groups in the world of crossword construction.

Through this group, I connected with a few amazing constructors and mentors, including Andrea Carla Michaels, who also lives in San Francisco.  Shortly after connecting online, we met in person, talking about all things crosswords, and just hit it off.  After several meetings and brainstorming sessions back and forth over email on a few different ideas, I had an epiphany in the middle of the night on one entry that was 15 letters—and that started this puzzle off!

A few versions later, thanks to some great ideas and a revealer from Andrea and some very helpful feedback from David Steinberg, I'm very excited that this will be my debut puzzle.

Andrea Carla Michaels:  Katja and I became connected thru a Facebook site  (Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory) that was encouraging women to become constructors and established constructors to become mentors.  By delightful coincidence, Katja and I both live in San Francisco.

This puzzle was shaped from  one of many solid ideas Katja had that simply needed a nice reveal and a step-by-step collaboration of theme entries, layout, fill, and cluing.

With extra constructive feedback from David Steinberg that made it stronger, Katja has what is just the first of many solid crosswords to come.

I'm particularly pleased to have a witty San Francisco–centric theme entry at its core.  And I hope solvers will also give it an "A+" for overall enjoyment!


  1. the title is indeed accurate! loved the bay area vibe

  2. solved this downs only and loved it, but completely missed the reveal--but now that i know it's there, i love it even more. well done!