Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Monday, May 21, 2018
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!
Sunday, May 20, 2018
Constructor's CommentsHello, everyone! My name is Claire Muscat, and I am a recent college graduate living in Chicago, Illinois. I've had puzzles published in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the American Values Club Crossword, Queer Qrosswords, and The Orange Country Register. I'm thrilled to be adding Andrews McMeel Universal to that list, and I look forward to contributing more!
I always try to start a themeless with a few really fun entries I can build the puzzle around. In this case, my springboard was HEART EMOJI, an entry I really like because of its modern flair and clue-ability. That was followed by entries like ATHLEISURE, GLUTEN-FREE, and SLEEPER HIT (as well as the dumb-luck cross of THOR and RAGNAROK), and I was pleased to have a puzzle with so many fresh, exciting entries.
However, I always find the balance between entries I really like and acceptable fill a hard line to walk. There is fill in there I definitely would be happier without—TCI and ELY in particular, which serve as a good reminder that there is always room for improvement. However, at the end of the day, I'm proud to put this puzzle out there regardless!
I hope the solving experience is a good one. Lastly, I am always looking for feedback, so don't hesitate to reach out!