Sunday, May 20, 2018

"Sunday Freestyle XII," by Claire Muscat

Constructor's Comments

Hello, 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!

Editor's Comments

Claire put together a lovely themeless, and I'm not just saying that because HEART EMOJI is in the grid.  There are just so many great entries, from the ones Claire listed above to WHITE HATS (clued as [Ethical hackers]).  I also laughed out loud when I saw HAIRY LEGS—that's the kind of unexpected yet totally legitimate entry I enjoy uncovering most as a solver!  Crossing THOR and RAGNAROK is another elegant touch.  Watch for more of Claire's themelesses in the coming weeks!

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