Monday, April 30, 2018

"Easy as 1, 2, 3," by Stu Ockman

Constructor's Comments

My inspiration for this grid was realizing that LOLITA, one of my favorites, begins with LOL.  Once I figured out that I could create a four-letter word by adding a vowel to LOL and the three answers would span the grid, the theme was set.  The next step was finding parallel themers.  I came up with PEPITA, ROSITA, NIKITA, and BONITA in my original grid; NIK and ROS were summarily deep-sixed, and the end result is the puzzle you see today.  As a bonus, the fewer themers allow for cleaner fill.  Hope you like it.

My other part-time job is President of the Project Management College of Scheduling.  If you'd like to learn more, check us out at

Editor's Comments

I always love when a constructor comes up with a type of theme I've never seen before!  It's also rare that a new idea is straightforward enough to run on a Monday.  With that in mind, I asked Stu to rework his original submission using just the three theme entries we felt were strongest, instead placing an emphasis on keeping the fill smooth for beginners.  I think Stu did an excellent job, and I especially like the bonus 15-letter (!) entries IN A RELATIONSHIP and PLAY IN THREE ACTS.  Finally, did you notice that this puzzle has a top-bottom symmetric grid?  Some traditionalists might consider that cheating, but I'm personally all for experimenting with different forms of symmetry.

Sunday, April 29, 2018


Greetings, crossword fans!  Welcome to The Puzzle Society Crossword Crossing, a blog about the daily crossword I edit for Andrews McMeel Universal.

The Puzzles

First, here are some details about the puzzles.  All grids are 15x15, and you'll notice a gradual increase in difficulty as the week goes on.  Monday and Tuesday puzzles are designed with beginners in mind, so the themes and clues are relatively easy.  Wednesday and Thursday puzzles are medium level, and Fridays are medium-challenging.  Saturday and Sunday puzzles are themeless and thus have the trickiest grids, but they're clued at a Wednesday level so both newer and more experienced solvers can enjoy.


In the upper right corner of the blog, you'll find a link to an applet where you can solve or print the puzzles for free.  Across Lite files aren't available yet but may be in the future.  The puzzles appear in numerous print and online sources, including The San Francisco Examiner and The Orange County Register, with more coming soon!


Now for logistics about this blog:  Each day you'll see a new post with the solution grid, a blurb from the constructor (if available), and editorial notes written by me.  Note that this is basically spoiler city, so be sure to read the blog after you've solved the puzzle!  There may also be occasional special posts with updates about The Puzzle Society Crossword.


The true stars of the blog, though, are all of you, and I'd love to hear your thoughts about the puzzles in the comments section!  Constructive criticism is also welcome as long as it's in good spirit.  In other words, no personal attacks, trolling, or foul language.  Also, please refrain from posting about politics—mentioning political events or figures if they're relevant to the clues, entries, or themes is fine, but this isn't the place for political opinions or conversations.  I will be monitoring comments as they come in and reserve the right not to publish any that don't adhere to these guidelines.  Keep in mind that comments won't appear immediately—there'll be a delay between the time you submit a comment and when it's published; depending on my schedule, that delay may be lengthy, though I'll review all comments as soon as I can.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy The Puzzle Society Crossword Crossing!