Saturday, September 4, 2021

This Puzzle Funds Abortion -- Bonus Puzzle 4 (Rafkin & Husic)


Sometimes it can feel really tough to know where to start when you want to help, so when someone gives me a concrete action that I can take, whether it's donating money, giving my time, or even making puzzles, I find myself really grateful for the opportunity. In this case, I owe a big thank you to Rachel Fabi (@FaBioethics) for organizing this brilliant fundraiser. Lately, I've found myself feeling frustrated by the number of conversations that have made basic elements of healthcare (be it vaccinations, abortion access, or other) feel like fodder for debate or an outlet for one to turn their personal feelings into litigation or action that affects the health and lives of others in a negative way. I hope there is a way forward and out of this mentality -- one where we can access more empathy, open-mindedness, and a renewed trust in science and the people who have literally spent their entire lives studying this stuff so that we can be as safe and healthy as possible.

To see more of what Rachel has put together, including the puzzle pack released to raise money to fund abortion + all the bonus puzzles that have been released this week as more money has been raised, head on over to Just Gridding!. That link will take you to the puzzle pack, and the bonus puzzles can be found on the site's main page. 

I love this puzzle that me and Brooke made. I hope that you love it too. Fun fact: many months ago, Brooke and I both individually made separate puzzles with 29-Across as the seed -- ON THE SAME WEEKEND. I had already been looking for evidence that we were BPFF (best puzzle friends forever, obviously), and I think that was exactly the proof that I was looking for. As they always are, this collab was an absolute joy and I'm honored to see our names side by side yet again. Happy solving!

PS: Happy Bey Day to our collective queen Beyoncé.

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Sunday, July 18, 2021

Guest Themeless by Malaika Handa


I'm couldn't be more honored to be posting a themeless by our 7xwords queen/overlord Malaika Handa today! I've had such a great time solving those puzzles (and her others!) and really enjoyed making one or two as well. Her name is showing up all over the place these days, and I'm really happy to be adding Brain Candy to that ever-growing list! Definitely check her and her stuff out if you haven't already -- she has a really unique voice that's a ton of fun. This themeless was totally untouched by me, so you'll really get to see Malaika shine in all of her glory. Enjoy! :)

Here's Malaika: So grateful that the one and only Amanda Rafkin is hosting one of my crosswords! I always do a little happy dance when I see her name on that day's New York Times puzzle / Universal puzzle / USA Today puzzle / 7xword / Inkubator puzzle / etc etc. I hope you enjoy this sassy little themeless, whose seed came from, where else, Twitter. (follow me pls xoxo.) If you'd like to solve other Malaika Puzzles, I've got plenty over on my website, and one coming up in the Boswords summer tournament. (I am very very excited for the Boswords puzzle!!)

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Friday, May 14, 2021

Demi Themeless by Erik Agard and Brooke Husic


We are a fortunate bunch today, because we get not one but two brooke/erik collabs! Feel free to enjoy this one as an appetizer or as a dessert in your puzzle meal that includes today's USA Today crossword, which was also written by them. What a way to end the week! I'd say "enjoy," but with a pair like this that goes without saying!

From brooke and erik: "we leave it to the solver to decide who said the quote in the 23-a clue to who. for another agard/husic collab, head over to the usa today."

Monday, March 29, 2021

Midi Puzzle


Excited to be back with my first midi puzzle in a little while. Trying to keep the ball rolling over here! I hope this adds some joy to the start of your week! :)

PS: um, we need to have a conversation?

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Thursday, March 18, 2021

Trivial Pursuit #2


Excited to be able to come back so quickly with another Trivial Pursuit puzzle --  the bite-sized nature of these really make them easy to fit into my schedule! I really appreciated all of your kind words after the first one, and I hope this one is just as fun for you. Big thanks to Brooke for test solving so this little guy could be as fun as possible. Enjoy!


Sunday, March 14, 2021

Demi Themeless by Brooke Husic & Amanda Rafkin


Brooke and I love making puzzles together. This sure as hell was no exception! 

PS: the clue for 6D was inspired by Nate's tweet (spoilers)

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Monday, March 8, 2021

Trivial Pursuit #1

It's been a little while since I've been able to post anything over here, which makes me sad, so I'm extremely happy to be able to pop in today with a new type of puzzle I'm calling Trivial Pursuit (sorry Hasbro) because 1) it's all trivia, and 2) it's a mini puzzle so it really is a fairly trivial pursuit for you as a solver. Normally, I tend to eschew trivia-heavy puzzles, but one of my favorite parts of the puzzle making process is the element of clue writing that involves research. Through the process of cluing, I've come across so many strange, unique, and interesting facts that I thought it could be fun to explore a puzzle based entirely around that premise, but on small scale. It also doesn't hurt that so many puzzle people happen to be big trivia buffs! I hope you find this bite-sized bit of trivia/puzzling fun to be interesting and entertaining. Back with more puzzles soon, I hope!


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Variety Puzzle: Get The Picture?


Back again with a "Get The Picture?" variety puzzle, which is a crossword devoid of any language-based clues. Instead, each entry is represented by a picture that either directly or in essence describes the word in the grid. I've done one of these before and they're sort of a unique challenge to make in that all of the entries in the puzzle have to be something that can be described pictorially. For instance, entries like "EAT AT" or "I THINK SO" are basically a no-go since they would be too hard to clue with only a photo. I ran one of these back in September as well, so if you like it and you missed the first one, feel free to dive into the archive and dig that one up too. Maybe next time I can try for an even larger grid size. I hope you find this to be a fun and bite-sized addition to your solving rotation today!


Sunday, February 7, 2021

Guest Themeless by Brooke Husic & Rachel Fabi


What a huge honor and delight to have the opportunity to feature the work of the brilliant Brooke Husic and Rachel Fabi here today! I've been pretty preoccupied in the puzzleverse lately, and I couldn't be happier to have the first puzzle on Brain Candy in a while be the work of these two lovely humans. I really adore and respect them both as people and as puzzle makers, and getting to publish their stuff here at any time is really the best. Their bylines are all over the place these days (and Brooke has her own crossword site xwords by a ladee with some delightfully tough puzzles), so I know it won't be long before you see more from both of them. And what more could we ask for on this Super Bowl Sunday than a collab from these two? Enjoy! (And if Tom Brady wins one more Super Bowl I swear to god...go KC!)

Here's Brooke & Rachel: A lot of love went into this puzzle, especially its grid design, and we are so excited (and grateful to Amanda!) to have it on Brain Candy.

It is not acceptable to rely on the relatively small number of Black puzzlemakers in the community to center Black content in puzzles. For this month and every month, ask yourself what you can do to actively make the crossword community a positive and welcoming place for Black solvers, constructors, and editors, both future and current.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Midi Puzzle


If we're Twitter buddies, then yesterday you may have seen me ask about a midi puzzle that went slightly awry. This is that puzzle. Spatial awareness isn't exactly my forte, and those of you who also construct puzzles know that in CrossFire, the only symmetry that has automatic support built in is rotational symmetry. So if you want to do mirror, diagonal, or any other type of symmetry you're basically on your own in terms of making sure it's actually symmetrical. Well, suffice it to say that mistakes were made and this one has a slight imperfection. The photo for today's post captures my expression upon making this discovery. But the lovely folks of Twitter showed some incredible support for this special little guy and so, straight from the Island of Misfit Crosswords, I present to you this not-quite-diagonally-symmetrical puzzle. I hope you enjoy it! 


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Sunday, January 3, 2021

Midi Puzzle


First midi puzzle of 2021! New year, exact same me. Hopefully you see that as a good thing ;) Normally I post midi puzzles during the week and a full-sized grid on Sunday, but since I posted a full-sized grid on New Year's Eve, I thought I'd switch things up and give you something bite-sized to enjoy this weekend. Until next time!


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