Hi there! It’s been a while, hasn’t it?
Today I turn thirty. That’s a bit of a milestone. I was prompted by a note from my friend Anne this morning to think back on my time spent writing puzzles. I hope you’ll indulge me in some reminiscing. (If you do, there’s a new puzzle in it for you at the very end.) It was ten years ago this summer that I sold my first crossword puzzle. It ran in the Los Angeles Times on October 21, 2008.
Since then, I’ve written a few more puzzles. For two years, my puzzles appeared in my college newspaper. You might recall that on this very site, I posted around 100 puzzles. (Not that they’re all worth solving!) That helped me get the practice to put together a crossword meta suite all about board games. And now I’ve managed to sell about thirty or so to newspapers and the like. (My most recent newspaper puzzle also ran in the Los Angeles Times on Monday.) Here in this modern age of smartphones and digital distribution, I’ve also written close to fifty crosswords for the Daily POP crossword app. Crossword puzzle tournaments are also a thing: I wrote a puzzle for an early Lollapuzzoola, and I helped create the Indie 500, where I’ve had a part in writing multiple puzzles each year. And of course I’ve written the odd puzzle for a wedding, an anniversary, and a coffee mug.
All told, that’s over 200 puzzles. Some of them were solved by just one person, others by people all around the world. I think that’s pretty neat. Thank you for being a part of my journey.
To mark the occasion, I’ve written a small vowelless crossword. My goal was to make a vowelless crossword with thirty squares in it, but because I am not the best, there are two additional unchecked squares. This is an indie site, so I can do what I want, right? (I’m just giving you the letters in those squares for free to start you off.) Thus there are still thirty squares for you to fill in.
In a vowelless crossword, instead of writing out the complete answers for the clues, you only write the consonants in the grid. For example, if the clue reads [Cry inspired by an 1836 battle], you’d fill in the squares with RMMBRTHLM instead of REMEMBER THE ALAMO. And just to simplify things, none of the original answers to clues in this grid contain the letter Y, so you needn’t worry about deciding whether to omit it or not.
If you’re up for a challenge, try this harder version of the puzzle. PUZ | PDF
If you’re new to vowelless crosswords, you may prefer this easier version, which features enumerations. E.g., you’d see [Cry inspired by an 1836 battle (8,3,5)] to indicate the number of letters in each word. PUZ | PDF
If you get stumped, check out this solution file, which gives all of the expanded answers.
One last note: If you enjoyed this vowelless puzzle, go check out Peter Broda’s new vowelless collection, Made Without AEIOU. You’ll love it.