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Puzzle #73: Panic! At The Ballet

 Hi friends, Hope you're doing well. If you didn't see it on Daily Crossword Links , I recently wrote an essay about crosswords entitled " On Trust ." I hope you'll give it a read if you're interested in constructing puzzles, or just in learning about the constructor's mindset.  In the essay, I talk a bit about what I think goes into making difficult puzzles that are still satisfying to solve. Though my 🧩  generally tend towards the easier side, this one's an attempt to make a puzzle that's a firm challenge throughout while still being fun and fair. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! Many thanks to Norah and Steve for helping to test this one. .puz PDF   Solution   Mmm, flourless chocolate “wave” cake

Puzzle #72: Sounds Like Music

 Hi friends! Here today with an easy themed puzzle for you. I think this should play a bit more straightforward than usual, so put your speed-solving caps on and get to it!   No promises, but we might shake things up next time with a harder-than-usual themeless. In any event, thanks to Kelsey and joshsolves for helping to test this one.   .puz PDF Solution       Mmm, pine nut tart with walnuts and rosemary

Puzzle #71: Get In Loser, We're Starting A Podcast

 Hi friends, Themeless this week, playing around with a grid skeleton that allows for a lot of spanners. I think you'll enjoy this one! Many thanks to Quiara and Norah for helping to test this one.    .puz PDF   Solution Mmm, chocolate truffles

Puzzle #70: She & Him

 Hey folks, Back after a bit of traveling with a themeless for ya this week. This one features a seed suggested by Norah Sharpe after I made another friendly sports bet and my Twins lost. Norah says: "Since Will's team like almost never plays mine, I reluctantly agreed for one time only to root for the Brewers. My sacrifice allows for this goofy and fun puzzle, so you're welcome." Thanks to Norah and also Steve Mossberg Hope you enjoy! .puz PDF   Solution   Mmm, chicken pesto pizza  

Puzzle #69: Sports Betting

 Hey folks! Back this week with a themeless I think you'll really enjoy! This one came about as a result of a bet between Brian Thomas and myself. Brian's Mariners were playing my Twins, and we agreed that the loser of the series would make a puzzle using a seed entry suggested by the winner. Our teams ended up splitting the series 2-2, and here's my puzzle!  Thanks to Brian for the idea, which I hope catches on more, and for helping to test this one out--thanks also to Kate for her help with this one.     .puz   PDF   Solution Mmm, homemade pita and Greek-American gyros

Puzzle #68: The 4-H Club (cryptic)

 Hi friends! Super jazzed to bring you a cryptic this week. As usual, these are a lot of work and a lot of fun. Copious thanks to Norah Sharpe , MP , and Steve Mossberg , for helping to test and improve this puzzle, and to Frisco for some inspiration. If you're completely new to cryptics, watching a stream is one of the best ways to start learning how they work. Here are some channels I've enjoyed that solve cryptics, some of which have been nice enough to stream some of mine: mentalplayground Liari Crossweird   Glentopher Joeadultman Dan (and Babka) elderism Catherine   brknfixie   Will Nediger/bewilderingly   Haruib0 A reminder that I include parses along with the solution-those will show you not only the answer but how the wordplay works. If you've got a question about any notation in there, feel free to ask--the most common is FODDER* to indicate those letters are being anagrammed. Next week, a themeless with a novel method of seed generation! Talk soon.  .puz   PDF Sol

Puzzle #67: The Scottish Puzzle

 Hey folks! Happy to be back with a themed puzzle this week I think you'll find lightly challenging. I've got a themeless and a cryptic more or less ready to go, so we'll see if I can't publish weekly for a bit. Hope everyone's summer has been going great! Mine's been filled with disc golf and brewery patios. Many thanks to Norah Sharpe and Steve Mossberg for their help with this one. As always, go solve their puzzles.   .puz PDF   Solution Mmm, strawberry cheesecake