Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Midi Puzzle

 I don't know what it is, but the past couple midis I've made have been just so much fun to construct and even more fun to clue. I hope this translates into your solving experience! The clue for 4-D might indicate that the entry itself may elicit a chortle, but I have to say writing the clue definitely elicited a chortle as well. Hope your week is off to a nice start! 🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Sunday, October 25, 2020

"A Little Bit Extra" by Amanda Rafkin & Ross Trudeau

 

It's great to be back with another Amanda/Ross collab! I wish I'd remembered to set this to post last night, but alas I didn't remember until I sat down this morning to watch football, so here were are to provide you with a puzzle to do over lunch instead of over breakfast! We hope you enjoy!🧩

Here's Ross: I think the idea for this puzzle came to me when I was considering bringing my cat on a 2-couple podding trip, and the revealer was my best frame for bringing my cat too. (I didn't).

Too bad, Ross. I think that would have been a memorable trip.

.puz file

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Midi Puzzle

 

I've been enjoying the Boswords themeless league so much, and last night's was particularly exciting because it was my puzzle being solved! If you've heard the crossword world talking about it and you're not yet participating, you can still go to the Boswords website and sign up and even get a discounted rate. Or you can just purchase the pack of puzzles if you can't show up live every Monday night. But the conversations have been a ton of fun to watch, as have been the live solves from some of the community's best speed solvers. All in all it's been something really fun to look forward to each week. I made this midi puzzle while I was still riding high on the excitement of this week's tournament. I hope you enjoy! 🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Midi Puzzle

 

This was the first puzzle I made after taking the week off last week, so naturally I went all out and had a very good time. In fact, I didn't even intend to make this puzzle -- I just started messing around with making a midi and then started having fun with the clues, and the next thing I knew...*poof* a puzzle! As it so often happens when you don't go out of your way to do something, I happen to really like this one. Go figure! I hope you enjoy it too 😊🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Theatre Thursday #22

 


Hello everyone! Usually, a big part of what I love about Theatre Thursdays is writing the post about the show the puzzle is about. But today, I'm thinking that less is more. On Friday, the filmed version of the show I seeded this puzzle with about is going to be streaming on Amazon Prime amidst the most important election of my lifetime, and perhaps of yours too. This show is one of the most critical pieces of theater I have ever seen in my life and, in my opinion, should be mandatory viewing for all Americans. I urge you to take advantage of this incredible gift we're being given and take an hour and a half to watch this show. I guarantee you that you'll be better for it. In the meantime, enjoy this puzzle and I'd love to hear your thoughts about the show if you do choose to watch it.

Amanda

.puz file

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Midi Puzzle

 

Very happy to be back posting puzzles here after a nice, albeit not as productive as I was hoping, week of to work on the Sondheim Puzzle Suite. It's coming along though, so hopefully it won't be TOO long before I can get it out into the world :) In addition to this midi puzzle, I also have today's NYT puzzle (my solo debut!) as well as today's USA Today puzzle, so I hope you're in an Amanda kind of mood! Happy solving everyone, and I hope these puzzles provide a good start to your week 😊🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Guest Midi by Sophia Maymudes

 

Very grateful to Sophia for sending me this great midi puzzle so that I could post something during my quiet week off where I'm supposed to be finishing the Sondheim Puzzle Suite, but most certainly will not be (though I did manage get my progress back on track)! Posts should resume here as normal this coming week :) In the meantime, I know you'll enjoy this gem from Sophia, who you can find on Twitter at @smaymudes where you can tell her yourself 😊🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Puzzle #21: "Heady Toppers" by Brian Herrick

 

When Brian approached me with a musical-themed puzzle (a Sondheim-themed puzzle, no less!), I probably said yes before he'd even gotten the sentence fully out. It definitely didn't hurt that it was also a fun and clever idea! I'm so thrilled that we were able to bring this puzzle from idea to finished product (and by "we" I mean Brian, with me responding to emails too slowly). I couldn't be happier to be featuring this puzzle here today. Brian is a stand-up guy and a great constructor. He's also clearly very bright and knew exactly what kind of puzzle to bait me with 😉 And yes, what he mentions below is true! Sometime in the next months I'll be releasing a Sondheim Puzzle Suite with 20 puzzles: one for each show, plus a general catchall puzzle. So if that kind of thing is your bag, keep your eye out for the release date. on Twitter. Many, many thanks to Brian for gracing me with such a fun and on-brand puzzle to share with you all today! 🧩

Here's Brian: Look--I made a puzzle. Where there never was a puzzle! 

Amanda is one of my absolute favorite constructors and it's a real treat to have a guest spot here. 

I've written many music-themed puzzles, but never a musical-themed puzzle. That changed when Amanda tweeted that she was considering doing a Sondheim puzzle suite. The idea just popped right into my head. We DM'd about it, and she offered to host it. After a few weeks of it sitting in my head, I finally got down to writing it and here we are. 

Speaking of which, I am SO EXCITED for her Sondheim suite. It's going to be amazing.

Thanks again to Amanda for her editorial prowess and friendliness. The crossword community is lucky to have her. I hope you enjoy it!



Saturday, October 3, 2020

Midi Puzzle


Today's puzzle features diagonal symmetry (if you want to do some puzzles by the queen of diagonal symmetry, check out Brooke Husic's new site or just keep an eye out for her byline in general), and I'm convinced that basically all diagonally symmetrical grids look like creatures. Usually I think they look like bugs, but I think today's looks like a turtle. In fact, I think it looks exactly like the turtle pictured above.  This puzzle started off with 13-Across because it's a word/clue pairing I've been hoping to incorporate into a puzzle for a while, and then I basically just tried to build out a fun grid from there. As usual, I had fun with some of the clues, and even got to get a bit snarky with 10-Across, which I honestly put into this grid solely for the purpose of making this joke. Hope you enjoy! 🧩

Amanda

.puz file

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Theatre Thursday #21: Happy Birthday Julie Andrews

 


Today, our Queen Julie Andrews turns 85 years old. I feel so stupidly lucky that her birthday falls on a Thursday this year so that I have a completely acceptable reason to make a puzzle that centers wholly around Julie, which every puzzle should probably do though even I can see how that could maaayybbee alienate some solvers. If you don't love Julie Andrews, I kind of don't know where you've been and I also have some pretty serious questions about your taste. I'm tempted to write a short biography here in this post, but instead I'll just choose to point out some highlights from Julie's career that are worth celebrating:
  • Born October 1, 1935 in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England
  • Made her professional solo debut at the London Hippodrome singing the aria "Je suis Titania" from Mignon as part of a musical revue called "Starlight Roof"
  • At age 13, she became the youngest solo performer ever to be seen in a Royal Command Variety Performance before King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the London Palladium
  • Appeared on the West End in the London Casino, where she played one year each as Princess Badroulbadour iAladdin and the egg in Humpty Dumpty in 1949
  • In 1954, on the eve of her 19th birthday, she made her Broadway debut playing Polly Brown in The Boyfriend. Near the end of this contract, she auditioned for and got her role in My Fair Lady
  • During her run of My Fair Lady, she was cast by Richard Rodgers to star in the TV version of Cinderella, for which she was nominated for an Emmy
  • 1960 cast in Camelot
  • 1963: cast as the titular Mary Poppins. She then got pregnant, but Walt Disney told her he would wait for her to give birth so she could play the role (QUEEN!) PS: she won the Academy Award and Golden Globe. In an acceptance speech, she thanked Jack Warner, who had chosen to cast Audrey Hepburn in the My Fair Lady film over her, freeing her up to play Mary Poppins.
  • 1965: cast as Maria in the film version of The Sound of Music, which remains the third highest grossing movie of all time (adjusted for inflation)
  • In 2000, Julie Andrews was made a 9-Across (see puzzle) by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the performing arts. 
  • There are honestly too many other films, TV shows/appearances, books written, and achievements to list ("Julie's Greenroom" on Netflix is very cute, by the way), but I encourage you to check them out for yourself. YouTube also has a host of incredible things to watch. Her career has been truly insane. 
  • In short, Julie Andrews is a treasure and quite possibly the best human ever to live.
I hope you enjoy the puzzle, and please feel free to share with me all the ways that you are celebrating this blessed day of Julie's birth. Also, in case you missed it, a pack of Musical Theater Midis that I wrote are now available in the NYT crossword app! Happy solving! 🎭🧩