Keep It Up! (with Dan Schwartz)

Today I'm very excited to post a collab with ACPT star, Twitch cryptic solver, and adorable cat owner Dan Schwartz. You may know him from his Twitch channel danandbabka, where he solves puzzles with his cat Babka. After seeing his Tabula Rasa clues and meeting him at ACPT, I knew I had to make a puzzle with Dan, and this experience did not disappoint! He came up with both of our 15s in the theme, and I think there's a ton of good stuff from both of us in this puzzle. (And a secret shout out to this Robyn Weintraub puzzle from 2014, which we more or less stole the grid shape from after a great deal of struggling to find a grid that worked.)

From Dan:
"I met Rose at ACPT and she said she'd like to collaborate on a puzzle if I had any ideas. I sent her something extremely dumb and she turned it into something great because Rose is a genius.  This puzzle was really fun to make and I  hope everyone enjoys it! Thank you again to Rose!!"

On a logistical note, if you can use the Crosshare applet (or print/download from the applet) instead of using the puz file, please do--we're including the puz for the sake of the bots, but we had to change a few clues that puz couldn't support. And thanks to Kate for test solving! Her blog just hit its one year anniversary, so if you inexplicably haven't done her puzzles, 1. how are you even here, and 2. please do them immediately.

Four Cups

 Chag sameach! If you're reading this within a few hours of when I'm posting it, I am currently at my family's seder (or doing the mountain of dishes produced by my family's seder). Passover is one of the biggest holidays in my family, and since this is the first Passover since I started constructing, I had to make a puzzle for it. This also means that I had the brilliant idea to make my first oversized puzzle in about a day while traveling home for Passover. That said, I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, and given that most of this was clued while waiting out a flight delay, hopefully you'll forgive (or even appreciate?) the two Crazy Ex-Girlfriend clues.

Puz file | Direct link

It's All Falling Apart!


Yes, this sock I made did require 16 different strands of yarn

Welcome back to A Crossword Rose, where I have something special today--my first ever NYT submission, which, as is so often the case, became my first ever NYT rejection. I shopped it around a little bit and got some really great feedback from editors, but it's been long enough that I think it's time to post this one.

I made this puzzle last August, based on a theme I had over a year ago (before I even started constructing) when I was knitting a ton of socks (see photo). I've updated and livened up a small handful of clues, but otherwise, this is pretty much what I sent in then, so the clues probably are much closer to a mainstream style than this blog's normal absolute nonsense quality content. You may also notice that this grid was made before I learned to make a grid with an "appropriate" number of black squares or 3-letter entries, but honestly, I love the fill enough that I don't think that matters.

Magical Realism

And welcome back to something that, despite today's date, is much more conventional than my post from a few days ago! In fact, this one is conventional enough that it was the first theme idea I ever tried to make--by which I mean I spent about 15 minutes in February 2020 fumbling around with the trial version of Crossfire and a much worse version of this theme before I decided that this whole construction thing was just too hard. Two years later, I present you with what I hope is an actually fun version of the puzzle--it's lightly themed and hopefully not too tricky but still with plenty of my own personality in the clues. (You all know your Rent lyrics, right?)

Anyways, the real reason I'm posting this puzzle now is that I'm headed out to ACPT in a few hours! For those of you reading this before ACPT who will be attending, come say hi! I promise not to be too awkward. (Note: I may or may not be able to keep this promise.) And if any of you found this blog because you were introduced to it/indie puzzles in general at ACPT, welcome! I think this puzzle is a pretty good encapsulation of what I try to do here, so if you like it, please check out the rest of this blog or my "other puzzles" page, which has links to my published puzzles and some absolutely top notch off-blog collabs.

Thanks to Kelsey for test solving!

Direct Crosshare link | Puz file

Tabula Rasa (Rose's Version)

 Hi all! I'm back with something a little different today! Recently, meatdaddy spearheaded a project where they built a crossword grid and invited everyone to clue it in their own voice. I love writing dumb voice-y clues, so obviously I to get in on the project. You can find the whole puzzle pack here (and I highly recommend checking out what everyone else did), but here's my version.

From meat:

"One of my favorite things about crossword puzzles is seeing the many ways that different constructors will clue a single word - for just a moment, you get to peer inside the mind of someone else and at the expense of sounding cheesy, it's a lovely, intimate moment. Not only that, but I also frequently find myself thinking "man, I wish I would have thought of that cluing angle!" and it's a testament to the diverse skill sets and talent in our lil' community. The main goal of Tabula Rasa was to pick everyone's brains by sending them a silly grid with fun fill and words with a handful of different cluing angles. I also wanted to get new constructors involved - building your own grid for the first time is not only intimidating, but can also be cost prohibitive during *gestures at world events*. I wanted this to be an approachable opportunity for new constructors to get their foot in the door, and I'm very pleased to say that I think it was successful in that. Ultimately, at the end of the day, I just hope everyone had a lot of fun doing this and I'm really grateful for everyone's enthusiasm about the project!"

All that being said, I do want to give a quick warning that if, somehow, you're encountering my take on this puzzle before seeing any of the rest, first of all, I very much appreciate you for reading my blog, and second, this has not been test solved. Looking back over the clues, I do think it's reasonably approachable, but expect a handful more references to things that only I like or just dumb silly clues than normal.

Anyways, that's all for now! I'm hoping to be back later this week with a more standard puzzle, and I'll definitely be at ACPT this weekend, so come say hi!

Does It Quack?

Today's puzzle is a themeless 13x. Why 13x? Because I found two seeds that played well together, and they were both 13 letters long, and I did not want to try to fit a 15x grid around them. Other than that, not a whole lot to say about this one.

In broader news, I recently did a collab with Norah Sharpe on bewilderingly. As is so often the case with my collabs, it is probably much better than the puzzle in this post, and you should definitely do it if you haven't already! (And in all seriousness, I really loved building that puzzle--one of the most interesting things I've done as a constructor thus far.) Beyond that, keep your eyes peeled--I may have another puzzle dropping in the not too distant future.

Puz file | Direct Crosshare link

Double Speak

 Welcome back to another year of A Crossword Rose, where legally, all I can say about this puzzle is that this blog officially does not advocate any real life crimes, but cool heist teams are pretty sweet. This is actually my second puzzle posted this year. The first was a collab with Dob on the Crossweird site, which you should definitely do if you haven't done it yet! I think it's my favorite theme I've ever made.

Today's puzzle is an entry to this month's Crosshare midi contest, which had a prompt that lent itself nicely to this 2-entry theme set. As is so often the way, I set out to clue this at an easy level, and then... wound up not doing that. So expect the typical Rose puzzle fare: some footholds but also a bit of trickier wordplay, some musical theater, some silly meme-ish clues, and one possibly unfair (but hopefully not too unfair) Lord of the Rings related crossing. Thanks to my sister for testing, and enjoy!

Puz file | Direct Crosshare link