Sunday, May 13, 2018

"Sunday Freestyle XI," by Ryan McCarty

Constructor's Comments

I really enjoy constructing low word-count themeless puzzles with wide-open grids.  When I heard about these themeless puzzles being of medium difficulty, I decided to take on the challenge of making a typically difficult low word-count puzzle more accessible.  That meant doing away with all of the obscurities, difficult proper names, etc., that you might be able to get away with in a harder puzzle, which was no easy feat.  I came up with this 64-word grid design specifically because it used a lot of shorter, more familiar 3-, 4-, and 5-letter Down entries that would (hopefully) help to reveal the longer, jazzier Across answers.

When I'm not making puzzles, I do tech consulting at the SEC and sing in and compose/arrange music for various groups in the D.C. area.  I hope you enjoy the puzzle!

Editor's Comments

When Ryan sent me this wide-open grid, my jaw dropped!  I then shifted my attention to the fill, where I expected to see at least a few iffy entries holding everything together.  Nope—in fact, there isn't a single entry I'd ding anywhere in the puzzle.  "Okay," I remember thinking, "constructors often get stuck with bland long entries when the short fill is that smooth."  Wrong again—there are so many entries I like here, especially WELL SHUCKS, ARGYLE SOCK, I'M TERRIBLY SORRY, SIDE SALAD, ALOE VERA GEL, BREADBASKET, LOW-ENERGY, HIMALAYAS, UNDERCOVER AGENT, SNEAK A PEEK, and the wacky-looking KC ROYAL.  Ryan may be relatively new to the game, but he's already becoming one of the top themeless constructors in the business.

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