Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Midi Puzzle

 

If you've never heard of the Nevis Swing (as featured in 11-Across and in the above GIF), give it a Google. Ideally with video, to really capture the nightmare that it is. I can barely complete this post because that image alone is making me woozy. (I very much do not care for heights). Similarly to how I feel about skydiving, I am 100% certain that I would die of a heart attack if I tried this. But god bless anyone who is capable of indulging in such adventures. I am the exact opposite of an adrenaline freak, which I guess would make me a...GABA freak? (the neurotransmitter that reduces neuronal excitability). Anyhow...this puzzle started off with 12-Across. A different and equally valid phrase starting with the same word showed up as a fill option when I was working on a puzzle for a mainstream outlet, and I found myself discouraged by the fact that I felt I couldn't include this phrase in the puzzle. While I didn't include that exact phrase here because I couldn't figure out exactly how I'd want to clue it (perhaps some other time), I was happy to include something related since it is, after all, a perfectly normal and real element of life. Happy solving! 🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Puzzle #19: "Try This Coat!" by Thomas J. Heins, Will Eisenberg, and Olivia Mitra Framke

 

I'm super excited to be posting Brain Candy's first ever three-way collaboration -- a puzzle by Thomas J. Heins, Will Eisenberg, and Olivia Mitra Framke! When they pitched the idea to me, it brought a big smile to my face and I think all of you fellow crossword lovers will find yourselves equally amused! Big thanks to these three lovely people for giving me the pleasure of running this puzzle. Now I'll turn things over to your constructors:

Will: This theme emerged out of a discussion (okay, out of me strong-arming Thomas and Liv into making a puzzle with me) on the Crossword Discord server, aka Crosscord, which can be joined here: http://discord.gg/zHnQtGG. I can be found on Twitter at @TLMBERWOLVES, and on Discord as Lebronswanson.
 
T.J.: Thanks to Will and Liv for having me on; I'm thankful to have had the opportunity for my first collab.
 
Olivia: The second I saw the idea for this theme being discussed in Crosscord I absolutely loved it. I hope you will too!  
 
 

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Variety Crossword: Get The Picture?

 


Today's puzzle was born out of a crazy idea I had when I learned that the Amuse Labs platform allowed you to include photos with your clues. Because I'm a little bit of a nut, I asked myself whether or not I thought it was possible to clue an entire puzzle using only photos and no words. Because I imagine the novelty would wear off pretty quickly (plus there's no room for fun word play), I decided to give it a go in the format of a mini puzzle. So...here we are! Some of the photos are very direct and are pictures of what the word is, other photos have something in them that's described by the word in the grid. So keep your eyes peeled and, hopefully, have fun! Back tomorrow with an awesome 3-way-collab guest grid that should give a good laugh to all you folks in the puzzle community.

Amanda

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Theatre Thursday #19


Today's puzzle focuses on a show that I'm currently having some deep-seated FOMO around -- The Band's Visit. I had been dying to see this show since it opened on Broadway, and it was supposed to finally be in LA in May. I think at this point we all know what the outcome of that was. The Band's Visit is a very unusual musical by many standards: where many of the shows that come through Broadway are large and extravagant, The Band's Visit is quiet and subdued; the style of music is wildly unique and unlike most anything else you'll hear from a Broadway cast album; and the level of intimacy is extraordinarily high. Despite it's departure from the norm, The Band's Visit is one of only four musicals in history to win the unofficial "Big Six" Tony awards (Best Musical, Best Book, Best Score, Best Actor in a Musical, Best Actress in a Musical, and Best Direction of a Musical). It also won the 2019 Grammy award for Best Musical Theater Album.

The story itself takes place in an Israeli town where every day feels the same. Local cafe owner Dina has long given up her dreams of finding romance and spends her days daydreaming. But when a band of Egyptian musicians show up lost, she and her fellow locals must take them in. This results in a magical night in which all are able to overcome their cultural differences and find companionship through an undercurrent of shared melancholy, leading to a permanent change in the town and its people. Watch the cast of The Band's Visit perform a Tiny Desk Concert here. The music is truly beautiful, with a beloved classic being Omar Sharif. Give the album (or these videos) a listen if you're not already familiar. I think you'll find yourself enchanted 🎭🧩

PS: There is a picture in one of the clues, so take a peek here in-browser first if you're planning to solve the .puz file.

.puz file

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Midi Puzzle


Happy to be back here after a couple days off! Though I didn't have any puzzles here over the last couple of days, I did have the USA Today puzzle on Monday and the NYT puzzle yesterday, so you weren't quite rid of me despite your best efforts ;) Today's puzzle is mostly solvable in the .puz file, but I tried something new here that's a really cool feature of the PuzzleMe platform: attaching images to certain clues. There are 3 in this puzzle, and these images will not be accessible in the .puz file so if you can, I'd suggest solving here in the browser today. Hope you enjoy! 🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Puzzle #18: "Toys Are Us"


Ahh toys. For those of you with kids, these are certainly not a thing of the past. But for folks like me, there's a sense of nostalgia to places like Toys "R" Us and FAO Schwartz. An upsetting and irrelevant fact about me is that I still have the FAO Schwartz Friendship Tree's little poem memorized from when I was a child. You know...the one that he says with his rubbery little mouth when you push the button on his side. Woof. ANYWAY, this puzzle is actually quite old -- one of the first I ever made on my own! The theme is silly, but the revealer is deeply on brand for this site. I ended up re-doing quite a bit of the fill around the edges and wrote a bunch of new clues as well, which I had a lot of fun with. Hope you enjoy! 😄🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Guest Midi by Paolo Pasco


I couldn't be happier to be hosting a midi puzzle today from the incomparable Paolo Pasco, whose constructing and solving chops are both to be envied. He's also just a genuinely nice human, which is always a supremely exceptional bonus to talent. I won't ruin the puzzle by saying more here, but I will say that if you aren't familiar with 26-Across, definitely click this link after solving! Enjoy!

Here's Paolo: As a longtime Brain Candy fan, I’m very grateful to Amanda for the opportunity to have a puzzle on the site! I think this is the first anniversary puzzle I’ve made—they’re not normally my bag, but the event in this puzzle is too close to my heart to not commemorate. Many of the clues were attempts to hit the high high cluing bar Amanda’s set in terms of fun/quality (and, for 6A and 10A, hit the Broadway tone I love on this site). Hope you enjoy!

.puz file

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Theatre Thursday #18


Hello everyone -- please step aside, for your queen has arrived! (See above). The show that is the subject of today's puzzle is in the puzzle itself, so I won't be referring to it by name below.

As mentioned in the puzzle, this show was the final collaboration between Rodgers & Hammerstein (Hammerstein sadly died of stomach cancer nine months after its Broadway opening). While the stage version of this show was certainly successful in its own right, the award-winning film version truly put this show on the map as the beloved classic it is. In fact, I will go on record as saying that this might be the one and only show I can think of that I think actually worked better as a film (full disclosure: I am completely blinded by my love for Julie Andrews and everything she does). There were two songs written specifically for the film ("I Have Confidence" and "Something Good"), and since Oscar Hammerstein had died a number of years before the film went into production, Richard Rodgers was tasked with writing these two songs in full -- both music and lyrics. The film soundtrack is one of the most successful soundtrack albums in history (again...Julie Andrews), and the original Broadway cast album (starring Mary Martin) spent 16 weeks as the Billboard #1 album. The Carrie Underwood television version never happened, and you cannot convince me otherwise. I'd better stop talking or I will find ways to keep circling back to how much I love Julie Andrews. I hope you enjoy the puzzle! 🧩

PS: I really missed the annual sing-a-long at the Hollywood Bowl this year. Picture 18,500 fellow fans singing along to this film under the stars (often in costume)...😍

Amanda

.puz file

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Midi Puzzle


Back today with a midi puzzle, and I had a lot of fun making this one. I don't always experiment with grid design as much as I could, so I really enjoyed creating this funky-looking one and trying to squeeze as much good stuff into it as possible. The clue for 20-Across is one I've been waiting to use for quite a while now :) I hope you had a nice relaxing long weekend! 🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Puzzle #17: "That's A Stretch" by Ricky Cruz


Happy Sunday, everyone! I'm very excited to get to run this guest puzzle by Ricky Cruz today -- the concept is really fun and the revealer is certainly right at home here on this site! He's got his own puzzle site Cruzzles as well, so head on over there and check out some of his other stuff after you're done solving here! And if your Sunday is anywhere near as relaxing as my Saturday was, then I couldn't be happier for you. Enjoy!! 😄🧩

Here's Ricky: Very happy to be running a guest puzzle here! I always like to tailor guest puzzles for the blogs they’ll be on, so hopefully it fits right in. Thanks Amanda! Also, I’d like to plug the Crossword Discord Server here; if you’re into solving or constructing, come and join us to talk puzzles! discord.gg/zHnQtGG

.puz file 

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Saturday Midi


Happy to be back with another midi, with some clues that I hope you'll find entertaining! The clue for 37-Across comes courtesy of a realization I had about a year ago while watching Scooby Doo with my 3-year-old niece...there's always one random person in addition to the gang in each episode, and that's always the culprit! So glad to have made heads and tails of that enigma in my 30's. Tomorrow will bring another guest puzzle that I'm very excited to feature. Have a great Saturday! 🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Theatre Thursday #17


It's that time again, and this week's show choice is Kitt & Yorkey's 2014 musical "If/Then", starring my second favorite human after Julie Andrews. If you didn't get a chance to see it, there's a pretty good recording of it on Youtube starring the one-and-only Jackie Burns. The show opens in a park, where the protagonist is faced with a choice: go hang out with her friend Kate (who wants her to open herself up to new experiences and new people) or go with her friend Lucas (who thinks she should focus on her career). The remainder of the show then depicts the two paths that the protagonist's life could take if she made either decision. The ultimate message: while the choices we make do affect our future, if something is truly meant to be then it will come to pass. The show was met with mixed reviews -- many people found it confusing and hard to follow (this writer disagrees) -- but the score is truly incredible and was actually the highest-charting Broadway cast recording since "The Book of Mormon". I recommend giving it a listen! It's good, and also...you know...10-Across. Enjoy! 🎭🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Midi Puzzle


Back again with a midi puzzle, and today's marquee entries are both drink mascots. Why? I honestly couldn't tell you. I saw 9-Across on Twitter (I have no idea how/why) and then just ran with it. Decided to have a little fun with the black squares today too. Hope you enjoy! 😊🧩

Amanda

.puz file