Posts

Down and Out

Two weeks into 2023 and I'm finally starting to write dates correctly! I also decided to spit out a blog puzzle in the midst of some other crossword projects -- I'm not sure why I chose to pile on to my workload but I guess I really enjoy making these free puzzles for you! I want to kick off the year with a bit of experimentation in the online solver. I added images in several places to "enhance" some clues and I'm curious how this plays for you. If you prefer text-only clues, just download the .puz or PDF. Please share your thoughts  in the comments or hit me up on  Twitter  until it implodes (I've been saying this for a few months now and I'm starting to wonder if it might actually stick around??). Hope you enjoy the puzzle! puz  |  PDF  |  solution Matt's Musings Well, there you have it! Did the title lead you in the right, er, down direction? I hope it wasn't too much of a stretch to figure out was was going on with those three f

Gift Exchange!

'Tis the season for a holiday puzzle! I hope this one brings you a bit of holiday cheer, and I wish you a happy holiday season. This is the last mattsword of the year!! Thanks for sticking with me this long, and I look forward to seeing where this goes next year. I'm going in blind without any test solvers so this is as pure as it gets. Please share your thoughts  in the comments or hit me up on  Twitter  until it implodes. Enjoy! puz  |  PDF  |  solution Matt's Musings This month I set out with the intention of making a "holiday-themed" puzzle, and I wanted to keep it in the midi-range. I started with an 11x11, but expanded vertically to let the fill breathe a little more. Secret Santa is a time-honored tradition, and I thought it would be fun to hide a literal "secret Santa" in front of the theme answers. It's a classic "x precedes the first word" theme, but, I don't think a theme needs to be extra difficult to make a puzzle f

Juvenile Said it Best!

Rest assured, you do not need to know anything about crunk-era hip-hop in order to complete the puzzle! There's a funny tie-in that kickstarted my constructor brain that you can read about in Matt's Musings. Anyway, this is a cheeky puzzle and I hope it brings you some solving joy. I'm always open to constructive feedback, so please let me hear your thoughts  in the comments or hit me up on  Twitter  until it implodes. Enjoy! puz  |  ipuz  |  PDF  |  solution Matt's Musings Occasionally I'll queue up a "2000's hip hop" playlist and reminisce about my formative years, when I attended youth dances and learned how to grind as Akon's "Smack That" blared from the speakers. Good times! And, it turns out, great inspiration for a crossword puzzle! One memorable hit from Juvenile features a catchy hook that kickstarted my idea for this puzzle. In fact, I was going to use BACK THAT ASS UP as the reveal initially, but I struggled to find a g

Easy Peasy!

Easy and peasy?! No way! I guess I'll let the solve speak for itself, but at the very least I hope you find some enjoyment in this midi-sized puzzle. Why a midi, you ask? Well, because midi's can be fun, too! Sound off in the comments if you feel so inclined, or hit me up on  Twitter . I'm always open to constructive feedback! puz  |  ipuz  |  PDF  |  solution Matt's Musings This puzzle came about when the reveal popped into my head and I thought, "Hmm, I might be able to build something around this!" I first dabbled with a themeless concept, intending to make the grid and clues super duper simple (the "aha" coming when a solver realizes, "Oh, this whole THING is a piece of cake!"). However, I couldn't resist the temptation to cake it up a notch and search for a theme angle. I'm happy with the result, and the happenstance of the theme words being able to cross a lower-third reveal convinced me, "Yes, this is it!&

Hot Air Buffoon!

Hello again! Here's a puzzle that comes with a disclaimer: there is foul language here! Ok, you've been warned, please proceed at your own risk. As always, thank you to my test solvers for vetting this one. I hope you enjoy the solve! Sound off in the comments if you feel so inclined, or hit me up on  Twitter . I always appreciate constructive feedback!  puz  |  ipuz  |  PDF  |  solution Matt's Musings Well, shit! I'm glad you made it through the muck and I hope you found some enjoyment in this "colorful" theme. It's not altogether easy making a puzzle with foul language, because every solver has a different idea of what constitutes a thing as derogatory or offensive. I am definitely of the mindset that some crass words and wordplay can be used to inject humor into a puzzle. This probably won't be my only one that skews a little risqué, so I hope you didn't find it too off-putting. My favorite clue is 18-A and my favorite standalone entry is

Doh! Nuts!

Surprise! I wasn't planning to post more than one puzzle a month, but sometimes inspiration strikes and I can't restrain myself. I hope you enjoy the puzzle! Sorry to all the .puz-heads who have to suffer through a "boring" black-and-white grid. The rest of you get to enjoy the festive colors! Given the spontaneity of this puzzle I'm going live without any test solving, so if you catch any mistakes please let me know. Sound off in the comments if you feel so inclined, or hit me up on  Twitter . I always appreciate constructive feedback!  puz  |  ipuz  |  PDF  |  solution Matt's Musings A toast to all my August birthday buddies! There's a point in life where getting older just feels like getting old, and I think I'm creeping into that territory. Time is flying these days, due in no small part to watching my young children grow up so fast! I hope you enjoyed this calorie-free birthday donut... and yes, I think birthday donuts are a perfectly s

Now We're Cooking!

First, thank you to my amazing test solvers: Seth Cohen, Katie Hale, Susan Stanislawski, Tina Vozick, Bob White, and others who wish to remain anonymous. The puzzle would not be the same without their invaluable feedback.  Now, without further ado, I hope you find some enjoyment in this puzzle! Sound off in the comments if you feel so inclined. You can also hit me up on Twitter . I always appreciate constructive feedback!  puz  |  ipuz  |  PDF  |  solution Matt's Musings Whew! Glad you made it through. Thank you so much for solving my very first blog puzzle! I hope you enjoyed this one. I was spinning my wheels trying to kick this off with a straight themeless, but in the end I decided to add a short quip which I thought was appropriate for the launch. Since I generally dislike "quip" puzzles, I tried to make this play more like a themeless, coming in at 71 words (thanks to the asymmetry). I am especially happy to have squeezed in a few colorful long entries witho