Saturday, May 19, 2018

"Free for All XII," by John Guzzetta

Constructor's Comments

I keep a list of phrases on the notes feature of my phone, and every now and then I'll pull a few from it to seed a themeless puzzle.  For some weird reason the SE section usually comes into focus first, and I end up working backward.

In this case, I really liked everything in the SE except EMPTY NESTS, which didn't sound quite right as a plural.  I decided to plunk a cheater square in the corner and try CLICK FARM off my list at 1-Across, and it all came together from there, except for the BANC/ASCH crossing.  I guess the cheater in the corner doesn't look all thaaaaat bad. . . .

Editor's Comments

This themeless is a beauty all around!  All 12 of the long entries are colorful and lively, and if that plus the smooth short fill isn't impressive enough, John even worked some goodies into the midlength fill (such as PLUS SIZE and MAH-JONGG).  If I had to pick five entries that stand out to me the most, they'd be CLICK FARM, FEATHER BOA, HORSE LAUGH, ZERO TO HERO, and MR UNIVERSE.  John has become one of my favorite themeless constructors in the business—watch for another one of his puzzles here in a couple weeks and be sure to solve his New York Times puzzle today, too!

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