My first themeless, created on 5/22/2014, made me decide to construct primarily themeless puzzles thereafter. I started under the impression that, as a woman, I would have to construct a themed puzzle in order to be published in the NYTimes given the abysmal stats for number of women themeless constructors.
I decided to try crossword construction on a whim on 3/25/2014, a few days before my birthday. I figured that because I solved crosswords so regularly I should try my hand at making one. I started on graph paper with a simple rhyming theme and made a ton of mistakes (see below).
With Scrabble tiles strewn about and 18 browser tabs in various states of Regex queries, it wasn’t too long before I asked Rex Parker, via Twitter, if there was any shame in using computer programs in construction; he said there was not. I had looked into Crossword Compiler, and was ready to put down the pencil and speed the process up a bit.
I quickly saw that even if you have tools like auto-fill at your disposal, the human element is absolutely essential in grid filling. And there’s certainly no algorithm that can generate a truly delicious questionmarky clue.
So off I went and started with themed puzzles. I respect and am in awe of those who make amazingly clever themed puzzles– I just don’t have it in me. Mine sucked and I didn’t enjoy the process. I mostly don’t do the NYTimes Monday-Wednesdays, and rarely Thursdays, filling my puzzling time with indie delights instead. I prefer solving themelesses and I prefer constructing them as well. So there.
Welcome to my blog!
I have studied and respect the guidelines, rules, and conventions followed by the NYTimes when constructing as much as possible, and am always looking for feedback for improvement’s sake. However, I always make faux pas that wouldn’t fly for publication’s sake and I’m okay with that. Although one day I hope to see those Fri/Sat gender stats even out, I’m currently more interested in making and sharing puzzles than I am in submitting to syndicated publications.
So I will post, one by one, the whopping seven-puzzle backlog here with varying degrees of commentary. After that, updates will be sporadic until I see if I can get my shit together enough to post, say, biweekly.