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Puzzle #79 - Themeless 62

10/8 puzzle - just gonna take this one off :) been busy wrapping up projects before winter. Be back on the 18th!

A couple nights ago, the Seattle Kraken played the first (preseason) game in their history. Even cooler than that, it was in Spokane! Right down the street from me! Tickets sold out in about 15 minutes, and I was fortunate enough to snag four. Once again, bought them back in the summertime, and as cases and hospitalizations began to rise, we were debating whether or not to go. As some of you may know, we also planned a trip to The Big House to watch the UW @ Michigan game a few weeks back. After a year and a half of awfulness, oh how naive I was just a few short months ago to think "oh cases are down, and we have vaccines...thank goodness we're almost done with the pandemic!" :( :( :(

We ended up cancelling the Michigan trip, but keeping the Kraken tickets. Big difference in 100,000 people vs. 10,000 people. Even bigger difference was that Michigan had literally zero COVID protocols for the game. In contrast, Washington required vaccinations or a negative test within 3 days + masks all the time (I would guess maybe 80% of the arena kept their masks on the whole time...pretty good for Eastern Washington. Although boo to John Stockton who was sitting behind us unmasked...). I was a little nervous beforehand, but am really glad we went. It was a blast, the arena was rocking, the boys had a great time, we got to witness history, the Kraken won (yeah yeah preseason, shrug).

I always have struggled with sorting out my emotions and thoughts - takes me a while to process and really figure out how I feel, and it's even harder to try to explain it to others. The pandemic has sucked, and it has sucked even more so knowing that so many people are making extremely selfish choices and prolonging the misery for everyone. It's a personal struggle reconciling the fact that it has sucked for us, yet has sucked for so many people so much more, and becoming comfortable being uncomfortable with how privileged we are, and actually doing something with my time and money and efforts around how absolutely fucked and inequitable our society is. I think back to this May. May absolutely sucked for us - I really don't wish having to take your 2-year old to the ER twice with COVID and a 105 degree fever on anyone. Anyways - it felt really good, for one night, to do something fun and "normal" and probably pretty safe. Go Kraken baby!

First ever puck drop for the Kraken
 
While I'm yammering about hockey, I really disliked the name Kraken when it was first released. Felt a little too corny. It's growing on me, and the nifty Space Needle anchor logo is definitely helping. Although I still would prefer the Metropolitans. First American team to win the Stanley Cup! And these gorgeous sweaters! *swoons*

Anyways...uh yeah this is a puzzle blog not a hockey blog. And I don't know nearly enough about hockey to turn this into a hockey blog. Seeded this one with the 21-Down/24-Across pair. Pretty jazzed how it came out - feel like the grid has a nice flow to it.



Puzzle 78 - Themeless #61

A day late - been busy rebuilding our garage! The roof collapsed last winter and it's finally been not-100-degrees and not-miserably smoky (nothing was in there, it was an ancient detached garage we weren't using with uh...natural skylights in the roof). Trusses up, off to put the OSB, tar, and shingles up today!

sunday afternoon edit: big fat lol at morning me's optimism

(also opinions on OSB as fill?)

You can watch the grid construction of this puzzle on Twitch here.

PUZ - PDF - Solution


Puzzle 77 - True Colors

I have had a lot of thought swirling in my head lately about The Catastrophic Shithole Of A World, but will not subject you to reading/scrolling past them today, for a couple reasons. One, I'm just too tired & lazy to write them down in a somewhat coherent way. Two, there's too much good news and this is a happy blog today!

  • I have a kindergartener as of today! Incredible! He is a rockstar and I'm just beside myself. We met his teacher yesterday in a little parent-student-teacher 1-1 introduction/meeting/assessment, he rocked it, his teacher seems like the perfect balance of chill enthusiasm, he's got one of his best friends in his class...life is good :)
  • My wife and I are going on vacation in a couple days. It'll be our first kiddo-free vacation in ... well since the kindergartener was born. We were going to go to The Big House to watch UW @ Michigan, but canceled that trip a couple weeks ago b/c covid <3's 100,000 people in the same spot. And then UW pooped the bed against Montana anyways sooooo.....a long weekend when we get to sleep in past 6:30 is gonna be great (we are headed to the third deepest lake in the US! suck it great lakes!)
  • You should check out all of the puzzles in Rachel Fabi's These Puzzles Fund Abortion - especially puzzle #3 by Kate Leiserson and I!
  • This puzzle! I've said this before - I love all my puzzles, but there are some that I really love, and this is one of them. It's been in the works for quite some time, and you get to pick if you want to solve it in Light Mode or Dark Mode - for this week instead of embedding the puzzles you can click through to the Solve Online option of your choice

Puzzle 76 - Themeless #60 (Spread the Wordlist)

Howdy - bonus puzzle time!! Today, Brooke Husic & Enrique Henestroza Anguiano released Spread the Wordlist! One of the barriers for new constructors is the lack of a wordlist - having a quality wordlist makes life approximately 100 times easier. Removing one of the big financial barriers will help more folks get into crossword construction and ultimately result in more great puzzles for everyone to solve! This was one of the big items on my Things I Wish Were Different About Crosswords (tm) (not to say that I get any credit whatsoever, this is all Enrique & Brooke). Anyways, super excited!

They were generous enough to share the site with me a few days ago, and I was so excited that I made a themeless puzzle  100% entirely using only their wordlist. I know you'll like the puzzle, and I'm happy to attest that the list is great and I'll be using it going forward!

(Also! If you're a new constructor, the other free wordlist I'm aware of is Peter Broda's - which is also a great resource & another one I use - it is more comprehensive but requires more judgement calls/weeding out.)

PUZ - PDF - Solution