Wednesday, December 21, 2022

themeless no. 20

hi, welcome back to crosstina. it's been a while, hasn't it? a lot has happened since we were last here, and two-plus months slipped through my fingers. i've been busy and life has been life—as in, all the good and bad and beautiful and terrible things that happen in life continue to happen. i've desperately wanted to post here, and i'm sure at some point in the past two months could have found the time, but i was also locked in a really negative head-space and have been very unkind to myself. to that end, this puzzle feels remarkable in that i even finished it. anything beyond that is icing on the cake!

i want to thank everyone who's shared their time/energy/eyeballs/laughter/creativity/passion with me this year. i had no idea what 2022 had in store, and was simply along for the ride. suffice to say, i love this ride. i'm enjoying the hell out of it. it is unpredictable and challenging and exciting and i feel very lucky to be on it. i couldn't have (and wouldn't have) done it if it weren't for every person who has done one of these goofy puzzles and enjoyed it. thank you, again, for everything.

that all being said! this is my official end-of-the-year puzzle— it is themeless, and only an 'end of the year' puzzle in that i have no plans on making another one in the next week. pet your dogs for me, tell the people you love that you love them, and celebrate your holidays in a way that makes you happy. see you next year!!

(thank you to alex for the test-solve— check out his latest doodad here!)


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

themeless no. 19 (feat. erik agard)

please welcome mr. back that azz up back to crosstina! this is now our third? collab? and hopefully not our last (can i say that? i'm saying it)— every step of making this puzzle was pure joy (i'm sad it's over!). you'll just have to take our word for it that, at one point, this was a really cute grid that looked like a panda. now? well, you'll see 😈.

in erik's words:

[erik could not be reached for comment? i think the grid got hi—]


so, uh, anyways— have at it! we're currently accepting rave reviews only in the comments, but will take criticism, if you tweet it, in haiku. but please do drop a line if you stream it, etc.


Thursday, September 29, 2022

themeless no. 18.5


here, have a midi! no reason!

this post is dedicated to my mother who routinely says motherfucker but once grounded me for a month in seventh grade because she felt that i was saying 'crap' too often.

for all the crossteenies playing along on twitter, this is NOT the puzzle i have been tweeting about for the past few days. this is actually a stopgap measure that happened, by chance, to have temporarily alleviated the out-of-control nausea i was feeling about not posting here all month because i've lost control of my life. but, uh. that's a blog post for a different day. or maybe just a different blog.

this puzzle was edited by will nediger (or maybe by kate? who's to say. it's almost like i'm telling you where this puzzle got pulled from)—surprise! and then un-edited by me—wahoo!

[ FULLSCREEN (for a midi? really?) | PUZ | PDF ]

Sunday, August 28, 2022

themeless no. 18

and not a moment too soon! i had some way, way, way overdue things i needed to get off my plate, as well as the chance to construct for lollapuzzoola (congrats to EVERYONE, you’re all winners, i loved seeing photos of the weekend), but as soon as i got those done i set to work on this! i love it. it's fun (i hope)! it's a themey themeless (the theme is, idk, stuff). i hope you like it, too. 

i’ve once again eschewed test-solving, so please let me know if you find any typos.

pet some dogs for me; wear your sunblock and re-apply every two hours; don't wrap pickles in tinfoil for a picnic, it makes them taste weird! xoxo


Monday, August 1, 2022

happy national crayon collection month from crosstina & kate


(we didn't have this test solved 🤞🏽)


Thursday, July 28, 2022

themeless no. 17

happy friday! here's a puzzle. it's deep summer, so that's...all i've got. i hope it's fun. be safe, stay hydrated, wear your sunscreen (and reapply every two hours).


p.s. this wasn't test solved! no one has vetted it! you'll just have to trust me. it was made in a shroud of secrecy and we'll talk about how much anxiety that gives me some other time.

p.p.s. aforementioned anxiety makes me want to defend this incredibly uninspired grid skeleton by saying this puzzle was originally intended for something else until i said 'fuck it crosstina eats first' and made a blog puzzle instead.


Friday, July 1, 2022

happy national anti-boredom month from crosstina & kate!

how do kate and i fight the good fight against boredom this month?

it's simple, really! we write all the clues for a puzzle in a marathon session on a thursday night and then realize we did something wrong and have to strip that puzzle down to the studs and REWRITE IT on friday morning.

have a great weekend, folks! wear sunblock and be safe. we love y'all.


Saturday, June 25, 2022

themeless no. 16 ½ (feat. will eisenberg)


boy are y'all in for a treat: i'm pleased to announce will eisenberg's crosstina debut! how did this come to pass, you might ask? well, the story is quite simple: i demanded it. be the change you wish to see in the world!

screenshot of me demanding that will let me clue his puzzles for him
if you aren't sure who is who in this conversation, i can't help you

we wound up doing TWO grids together and now you, dear reader, have the distinct pleasure of solving the world's first Half-Baked™ Hot Crosstina Buns™. 

will's notes:
[ed. note: all will did when asked for a comment was stare into the middle distance and start laughing. he's still going, he hasn't stopped—it's been days. i think i broke him?]

thanks to alex for test-solving! applets below the jump, pdfs and fullscreen links here. bon appetit!

Saturday, June 18, 2022

themeless no. 16


this puzzle isn't themeless— it's more of a mood than anything. it's the puzzle equivalent of someone being like "hey are you okay" and you being like "yeah everything's good...but if someone hugged me i might start crying". let's call it a vibe check. if you solve this and are like "hmm, seems like she has a lot on her mind"—reader, i do! don't hug me!

it's been a little quiet around here—i've been popping up elsewhere, though, if you know where to look! i can't wait for some exciting other things to come to fruition soon to tell you about. i think that's all i've got for now. hug your dogs for me (this does NOT mean hug your cats if you don't have a dog).

kate tested this, so any complaints should go to her, actually.


Thursday, June 2, 2022

one-in-a-minion: a crosstina, kate, & meatdaddy joint


step 2: come back and solve this puzzle

we hope you hate it :) 
(feel free to avert your eyes)

some early reviews: "never seen a puzzle with a final boss before" - will eisenberg

Sunday, May 22, 2022

themeless no. 15

i would have put out a puzzle two weeks ago but, well, i was very busy with my print debut (imagine there are, just, infinite emojis here) (and by busy i mean 'i popped some g-rade and made a lot of people do my puzzle at proverbial gunpoint'). after that, my brain broke* and i threatened to walk off into the woods and never be heard from again. but i'm here now! i’m so here, i promise i'm here. crosstina will always be my priority— my child with whom i am well pleased.

not much else to say here! i hope this puzzle finds you well. i hope the weather is getting nicer where you are. get some sun, if you can. open a window, catch a nice breeze, and enjoy this with a generous pour of passionfruit gatorade on the rocks. that's an order. happy solving, xoxo.

*i spent a week trying to make a more challenging puzzle and then i was like 'why am i doing this to myself? this isn't fun. this won't be fun for anyone else, either, if i torture myself to make it'. so here's this puzzle instead. it makes me happy.

thank you to kate and quiara and brooke for their various kindnesses and assistance that kept me from actually walking off into the woods because it was a very genuine threat.


Thursday, April 21, 2022

themeless no. 14

i thought we'd be here sooner this week, honestly. i had a complete grid last saturday but it was ugly. i spent monday and tuesday making three more grids...that i wasn't happy with. a few more iterations and mild crises later, here this is! i tried to make this one a little smoother sailing than #13, but we'll see how it plays.

this puzzle is brought to you by a 32 oz. jamaica, engaging in mutually assured destruction with crossfire, and mascaras with inexplicably horny names (i am here to DIS-endorse better than sex, perversion, and mile high club. in this house we love and support monsieur big, fetisheyes, and climax.) i would also like to note that i was lauded for showing 'admirable restraint' with one of these clues. it's called personal growth!

"""thank you""" to quiara for the test solve, and kate for being my 3am anxiety sounding board. if you're an avcx subscriber, you'll also be seeing a "themed" puzzle from me this weekend.

(p.s.— please let me know if you stream it!)


Thursday, April 14, 2022

Sunday, April 10, 2022

themeless no. 12

whoomp, here it is.  

not much preamble for this one— i actually filled this puzzle three (3) unique ways in one (1) day, and ultimately resigned myself to this version as my best and final. in the immortal words of cher horowitz: it's a full-on monet. if you look too close it's a little ugly (i think i called it cardboard and horse glue?) but i am not displeased with the full effect of the thing. this grid was on the ambitious side, so the result is similarly...y'know what? i'll just let you look at it yourself! have a great week. 

p.s.- f's in the chat for this grid which, somehow, has none. no clue how i managed that.

thanks to franci, noted tom nook apologist, for the test solve!


Wednesday, March 30, 2022

meatdaddy69420's tabula rasa project

greetings, friends and loved ones! (i am boldly assuming i have no enemies reading this— but i could be down to start publicly beefing with someone, if you want to identify yourself as such. drop me a line!)

summer 2021, i started watching a crossword stream on twitch called jibbyMAX. i didn't know crosswords were a thing people streamed, i didn't know that indie crosswords existed, i had not yet had an inkling of a thought to try and make one myself. i tweeted about this habit of mine—watching someone solve crosswords online—fairly often. it was so novel to me and so bizarre to all my friends. one of the people i encountered there, in the sidebar twitch chat, went by 'meatdaddy69420'. they were so funny and their humor was so familiar i was convinced it was one of my friends pranking me online.

it's an honor and a thrill to now consider meat an actual friend—and you're all so much more cursed for the fact that we both got into crossword construction. we've even done a puzzle together, which you should give a try if you have not already. all of this is to say that, when meat came up with the idea for this project, i would have signed up for it sight unseen and devoted my entire ass to it even if the grid was 'fart', 68 times. but it wasn't! it was so much better.

tabula rasa is an incredible concept that meat came up with to not only platform voices that you may not otherwise find around the crossword community, but also to allow people to understand the viscerous connections every person has with language and how that influences the angle from which they approach puzzles. with one grid, clued nineteen ways, it's a choose your own adventure that i was absolutely thrilled to be a part of. you'll find my puzzle below the jump. you can download the puzzle pack, which includes one clued by jibbyMAX himself (among others!), AT THIS LINK. below, i've included meat's thoughts on the puzzle they made and their vision for this wonderful project that is near and dear to my little freakazoid heart. (you can tell meat wrote it because it's written in sentence case— nerd!)

"One of my favorite things about crossword puzzles is seeing the many ways that different constructors will clue a single word - for just a moment, you get to peer inside the mind of someone else and at the expense of sounding cheesy, it's a lovely, intimate moment. Not only that, but I also frequently find myself thinking "man, I wish I would have thought of that cluing angle!" and it's a testament to the diverse skill sets and talent in our lil' community. The main goal of Tabula Rasa was to pick everyone's brains by sending them a silly grid with fun fill and words with a handful of different cluing angles. I also wanted to get new constructors involved - building your own grid for the first time is not only intimidating, but can also be cost-prohibitive during *gestures at world events*. I wanted this to be an approachable opportunity for new constructors to get their foot in the door, and I'm very pleased to say that I think it was successful in that. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I just hope everyone had a lot of fun doing this and I'm really grateful for everyone's enthusiasm about the project!"


Friday, March 25, 2022

themeless no. 11


hi! how are you? how are things? this month got away from me, which is why i'm getting this in just under the wire (of the imagined deadlines i place on myself that no one is making me adhere to). i wanted to do a really goofy puzzle and, mercifully, this came together without a lot angst. i hope you enjoy it. 

put your feet up, stay a while. i'm glad you're here.

(p.s.— if you haven't already, please check out TPFA2! they're so close to their goal and i can vouch that the puzzle pack is top-to-bottom bangers)

(p.p.s.— thanks to josh for being the canary in the coal mine on this one)


33a: alt clue lol 


Sunday, March 6, 2022

themeless no. 10

can i hear a little commotion for the poster!?

this puzzle is 10 out-of 10, no notes.

just kidding. i'm posting here a little less frequently (i say, posting a second puzzle within a week) because as (some) of you know, i'm going to be doing some fun monthly puzzles over at avcx! my debut there hits inboxes in a few weeks, so jot that down/pencil me in/save the date!

alex and zinna had the dubious pleasure of test driving this and they're both still talking to me, so it can only be but so bad!

tally ho!

[ fullscreen | pdf | .puz ]

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

happy women's history month from crosstina & kate

this puzzle is the product of a clamor of demand generated by the triumph of our black history month puzzle. just kidding—this was borne of us saying to each other WE SHOULD DO THIS AGAIN and no one else saying anything because we are ARTISTS UNAPPRECIATED IN OUR TIME apparently. honestly, if you don't love this puzzle are you really listening to women? something to think about.

april is national fresh celery month, you're all ON NOTICE.


Friday, February 18, 2022

puzzle no. 12: throw some d's (feat. erik agard)

i'm so excited to finally post this—it's been burning a hole in my pocket all week! he needs no introduction otherwise, but this is erik's debut on the blog! (a feather in his cap, i'm sure). it's hard to explain how this came to be, but it started with me listening to THROW SOME D'S by rich boy (2007 BET  award nominee for ringtone of the year), and ended in...a crossword. erik is, among many things, extremely funny and wrote some all-timer clues for this puzzle. we toiled and troubled (neither are true: making this was a blast) over it for a few weekends, and i hope you love the end result.  

in erik's words: solving crosstina puzzles has made me fall in love with crosswords all over again, and i had so much fun getting to collaborate on this one. hope you enjoy! 

shit tight, no slack, just bought a cadillac...

fullscreen | pdf | .puz 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

happy valentine's day from crosstina aquafina

darkness falls across the land...the midnight hour is close at hand...creatures crawl in search of blood...

wait, hold on— wrong holiday, my bad.

happy valentine's day, y'all! i think this puzzle is a real treat, and speaks for itself. you will never, in a million years, guess what the inspiration/seed fill was because some sacrifices had to be made to pull this off, but i think the results are well worth it. i'll say no more! happy solving ❤️‍🔥

(thanks to meat for the test drive. questions? concerns? marriage proposals? tweet me or leave a comment!)

fullscreen | pdf 

Monday, January 31, 2022

happy black history month from crosstina & kateschmate

the image is a no-context puzzle spoiler. just go with it.

kate and i put this puzzle together over the course of an afternoon because we were deeply inspired and wanted to get out ahead of what is sure to be a tidal wave of not-at-all cringey and weird black history month content in the crossword puzzle universe.

please enjoy! don't @ us (or do!) 

also, major thanks to crosswordnexus and the 'boisvert machine', as we're henceforth calling it.


Monday, January 17, 2022

themeless no. 9


(tshirt from @goodshirts)

happy tuesday! i wasn't going to post a puzzle this week—i don't know how i wound up posting puzzles with any sort of frequency, to tell you the truth—but here we are. i like this one; it has some fill in it i've been noodling with for more than a month, and i'm happy to finally share it with people. i hope something here makes you happy, too. have a nice week.

meat test solved this for me AFTER an evening at their latin reading group— forever indebted to them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

themeless no. 8


in this house, we love and support al roker. this is a no-context spoiler for the puzzle, by the way. you'll know it when you see it.

not a lot to say, again. on any given day there's just really not a lot going on in my brain, truthfully; it's a real 'the lights are on but no one's home' sort of situation. i had fun with this one, though, and i hope you do too! 

kate and quiara both test solved it, and were both exceedingly nice about my persistent inability to identify an adjective. grateful for them!

Sunday, January 2, 2022

themeless no. 7: i never claimed to know anything about thermostats

it's still setting in that it's 2022 for me— how's it going for you? 2021 was a year of starts and stops; one that i can't really eulogize succinctly. so i won't! instead, i'm gonna offer you all this puzzle and say happy new year: onward and upwards! or, in the immortal words of a fortune cookie i once had, let go or be dragged. 

some constructor notes: an asymmetrical grid? on my blog? it's more likely than you think. it was playing a little more challenging than i intended (i never set out to make a hard puzzle— there's nothing fun about stumping people) so some blocking was done to ease up a few crosses. hopefully it spares a few DNFs!

my entire kingdom to kate for testing this and very gently reminding me to, like, use commas. life-changing stuff! also thanks to dob from crossweird for working some free-jazz magic. it takes a village.