Sunday, October 15, 2023

themeless no. 29

video of me writing clues for this puzzle

it's always great to be back here. it's not like i ever really leave, but it's kind of an 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' deal. the time i spend not constructing for the blog is spent longing for the creature comforts of home; i'm never happier than when i'm posting puzzles here. i hope that comes across, in some way. maybe it will be conveyed with the new CONFETTI POP feature of the nexus solver, under the jump!! i started half-jokingly asking alex for this feature a while back, and as an all-around good person who has long-suffered my insufferability, he actually took on the challenge to delightful result (if i say so myself). i think it's joyful. (p.s.— there is also a surprise for people who solve in amuselabs! volume ON)

if you're looking for some crosstina-in-business-casual-clothing, i have six (6) eight (8) puzzles running between late october and mid-december that i'd love for you to check out. i am very fond of all of them, especially an upcoming usat collab with amie walker. please enjoy!

i can't promise i will get another puzzle out here before the end of the month, so i do want to wish my beloved blog an early 2nd birthday! i started crosstina on 10/31/21 and...quickly realized this was something i really, really enjoyed. my first byline was a lil avc x on 3/28/2022, my print debut (usa today) was ~5 weeks later, and...the rest is history! as you can imagine, it's been a wild ride. there is no possible way i could have predicted any of this, and it makes it incredibly hard to guess where i'll be at this point NEXT year. however i really, truly, madly, deeply want to thank every single person who has ever solved, left a comment, sent a dm, etc. it has all meant so much and sharing this with you is the deepest well of happiness in my little life. 

[ nexus solver below the jump | amuselabs (fullscreen/mobile) | .pdf | .jpz ]

Friday, August 11, 2023

themeless no. 28 (feat. brooke husic)

*extremely airhorn sound effect moment* IT'S AN A. LADEE x CROSSTINA COLLAB! 

if i may get sentimental for a moment, having a puzzle with brooke on the blog is quite the occasion. when i had the opportunity to join the lil avc x roster last year, it felt completely out of left field and i had to pinch myself because i felt so lucky to get to learn from her. brooke was the first editor i ever worked with, and that first puzzle was challenging! i was as excited as i was clueless. from there, though, i like to think it has been onwards and upwards. fast forward ~18 months, and her guidance and friendship have been invaluable; her talent, humor, and patience with me are legendary, and i am never not trying to sponge up some of her wisdom. she has been a shoulder to cry on and, on more than one occasion, has helped intervene to stop me from throwing my computer in the trash and walking off into the sunset. brooke is so generous with her time, knowledge, and skills and we're all so much better off for it. this is not our first collab—if you count another one that is out in the world today, it's actually our third—but it feels very special to have someone who has always been so supportive of me finally appear on the blog (my baby, the thing of which i am most proud, my favorite thing to do). 

a note from brooke:

these barbies made today's new yorker! yee-haw!

and that's all we wrote (besides a few puzzles)! we hope you love this, because we're so fond of it and so excited to have both of these out in the universe today. xoxo ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›


Thursday, June 29, 2023

themeless no. 27


i've spent the past ~3 weeks convinced i had completely forgotten how to make a puzzle and was truly descending into complete madness.

then at midnight on wednesday, i had a eureka moment. curse, broken. crops, flourishing. snakes, no longer manifesting in my home. this puzzle is hopefully breezy enough that it does not require any intimate knowledge of the bear, but....go watch the bear. that said, no one test solved this because i've gone rogue.

also, i have the universal on saturday. it has approx. 1600 characters in it. this one has...more than that. 

click here to see what this grid was supposed to look like before amuselabs told me it couldn't connect to a server and i lost all my progress


Monday, May 29, 2023

themeless no. 26

this time last year i was in a really shitty place, mentally. i made a whole puzzle about it, vaguely, if you will recall. i'm not going to go back and look at it though, because i (as some of you know) grade myself on all of my puzzles in a very unhinged spreadsheet, and when i revisit old ones i get the urge to downscore them because...reasons. i see a million little things i could have done better, or fill i wouldn't use now but felt fine using then. the lesson i learned last year (unrelated to crosswords), and why i am not indulging my worst habits now, is that it's okay to be nice to your past self. you didn't know everything you know now, and you should extend yourself the same grace that other people do/did. we're all learning! 


totally forgot what i was talking about. um. this puzzle did not come from a bad place! it came from a place of unadulterated whimsy and i think it's fun. i hope you think it's fun! i hope you're having a good summer, and so help me god i hope you are wearing sunblock while you do so. 

this was test solved by alex. huge surprise, i know. his new mondrian puzzle is so good, please check it out. (i should add that will nediger also made a mondrian puzzle??? [what is in the water???] so do that one, too, while you're at it)


Sunday, May 21, 2023

"themeless" no. 25


as someone who has never made a themed puzzle in my life, it gives me no joy to announce that this is maybe not a themeless puzzle. i'd call it a 'choose your own adventure' but, well... i chose for you! i tried to make this one pretty easy breezy because...y'know what? let me stop while i'm ahead. this puzzle was both encouraged and tested by alex, so please direct all your complaints to crossword butler. without further ado...

(ED. NOTE / SPOILER: gur nygreangr gvgyr sbe guvf chmmyr vf "bbcf, nyy qbjaf!")