Happy Chanukah! (#87)


Hanukkah Background Seamless Pattern

Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 87!

This puzzle is going live on sundown, December 24th, as we have our first non-Christmas holiday puzzle! All of the great dreidel puzzles have already been written, so I hope this simple theme was please you for the next 8 days.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a meta puzzle for my return, so let’s have a recap.

The answer to the puzzle is a good two-word alternate title for this puzzle, and the PDF reveals 20 5×5 puzzles, just like those NYT minis.

After solving them, it should be clear that one letter hangs off the edge of each grid. The following picture should hopefully take you all the way.


WHAT GOOD THINGS COME IN clues SMALL PACKAGES, and that is the answer to this meta.


For the return of CW, a good number of you all submitted the correct answer, and some of y’all got close with things like CENTER SQUARE, but didn’t see the next step. Altogether, 48 readers submitted the right answer. Congrats to those who got it! This week’s randomly selected winner was Kathy Johnescu. He will join Jon Delfin, John L. Wilson, Jim Quinlan, Eric Maddy, Andy Keller, David Cole, Roger Barkan, Patricia Miga, Erik Agard, Charles Montpetit, Steve Blais, Mike Ruslander, Matthew Breen, David Stein, Justin Weinbaum, and Tyler Hinman in a future section of the site. Congrats Kathy!

Thanks everyone, and have a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, and any other holiday you celebrate around this time! Except for the Solstice one. That’s not a holiday. The fact you are looking at a website proves to me that you’re not attached to an agrarian culture.

See you in 8 days!



Square on the Nose (#86)

[Strong suggestion: solve using the PDF version]


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 86!

I’m glad I’m back for the holiday season, because as long time CW fans know, I’m a fan of holiday puzzles. Today’s puzzle is the fourth Christmas puzzle on the blog, and I’m a big fan of the final result. A special shoutout to friend-of-the-show Paolo Pasco for the title of the puzzle.

Be sure to solve and submit your meta answer for last week’s challenge, and I’ll be accepting answers until this FRIDAY, which is a slight change from my Saturday deadline. If you haven’t solved it yet, people tell me it ain’t bad, so I hope you’ll enjoy it too.

And in holiday videos: someone made an hour-long video that incorporates 400 different versions of A Christmas Carol throughout TV, film, radio, picture books, and more, and it is amazing. If you want to see Mr. T, Screech Powers, Sanford and his son, Matlock, and David Hyde Pierce doing a radio performance, this is the video to watch.

Thanks everyone, and have a great holiday season and a merry Christmas! Chris Words will be back with a new puzzle next week (hey, I’ve got to make up for some lost time)


Meta: Thoroughly Modern Minis (#85)

[No PUZ]


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 85! And, as this puzzle ends with a 0 or 5, it’s time for a meta!

Mini crosswords are all the rage, and there’s a great interest in solving puzzles in less than a minute. So, for your pleasure, a set of 20 5×5 crosswords for your solving pleasure.

For this seventeenth meta, I’m looking for a good two-word alternate title for this puzzle. When you think you have it, email me at cking.gow(at)gmail.com with your answer. I’ll accept answers all the way to late Saturday, December 24th.

Hey everyone. So, I’m back. This semester has truly been something else. The semester has been pretty taxing, as I’ve had a tough class schedule and have been preparing for my master’s thesis proposal. I have successfully passed that, but I still have a thesis due in the spring. I have no idea how it’ll affect my time at this site, but I’m worried that it’ll do the same thing that took place this semester. I’m genuinely upset that I wasn’t able to post more than I did, and I’m worried it’ll be the same thing next semester. Either way, I’ll be posting new puzzles throughout the winter break, and I look forward to being back with you guys.

Hope you enjoy the puzzles, and do send me your answers!


Periodic Updates (#84)

Additional Notes


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 84!

Today’s theme comes from well-known territory, but I think I’ve got a new twist I haven’t seen before. Kind of wonky grid, since 12/14/8/8/14/12 isn’t that common of a theme, but I do hope you enjoy it! If there is something in the theme you don’t quite get, be sure to look at the “Additional Notes” above.

Also, let’s all wish Adam Nicolle to the indie game! Looking forward to many installments from this high schooler.

Meta coming next week! Have a great week everyone!


Puzzle #84 Tomorrow


Hey everyone!

So, busy weekend for me, partly due to the Gamecocks’ first home game and visit from the parents led to not having all the clues done by Sunday. We will have the puzzle done by noon Monday, so be sure to tune in then.

Until then, do like me and entertain yourself by watching videos of hot dog eating champ Matt Stonie put away incredible amounts of food. This dude is crazy.

Today’s cover photo comes from me searching for “Funny” on Google Images, while setting the image size at 800×300, and this appeared on the first page. I don’t see what’s funny in it either.

Enjoy your Sunday!


Themeless Seventeen (#83)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 83!

Before we start, I would like to say that this week’s title contains 7 E’s and no other vowels.

Hope you enjoy today’s 13×13 puzzle! Since I don’t have much to say, here a fun side story. In my list of seed entries LA QUINTA didn’t make the puzzle. And as a geography master’s student, here a link to an article where one person tried to determine the truth about a Mitch Hedberg joke about La Quinta and Denny’s using ArcGIS.

Also, I’ve got a Sunday-sized collaboration effort in the pipeline for CW. Be excited.

Enjoy the puzzle!


Strange Things Are Happening To Me (#82)

NOTE: Even if you solve the .puz version, be sure to check out the PDF version.


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 82!

In case you hadn’t seen it, FiveThirtyEight featured an article discussing the indie crossword movement this last week. Friend-of-the-show Neville Fogarty got a line in saying “My favorite thing about indie puzzles is the timeliness”, and I couldn’t agree more.

Today’s puzzle is a tribute to the sleeper hit of the summer, and one of my favorite pieces of TV this year. Technically, I should preface it with [Spoiler alert], but I think it’s just fine the way it is. If you haven’t checked it out, I strongly recommend that you do.

Besides that, can’t think of too much else to say. Hope your Labor Day weekend is going well! And since it is Labor Day weekend, I would be remiss not to include puzzle great Mark Halpin’s Labor Day Extravaganza puzzle suite. Take a crack at them. He’s good, and they’re fun.


A Late Summer Night’s Puzzle (#81)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 81! This week’s puzzle might be a tricky theme for some, but I wanted to write one more summer puzzle before the season was up.

Last week, we had a meta, so let’s look at that:

The answer to the puzzle is a well-known 80s band, and there’s no obvious theme entries. There’s a 15-letter running across the middle, which is our main hint.LanguageBarrier-solution

36A – [Problem encountered when traveling abroad] = LANGUAGE BARRIER

The idea of a language barrier plus the title “Use Your Alliteration”, the trick to this puzzle was identifying alliterations. None of the grid entries feature alliteration, so you have to go to the clues.

The trick to this puzzle is looking at an crossword trope of language answers. More often than not, a constructor will clue a foreign language word with alliteration, which has been done 9 times in this puzzle.

14A – [Girlfriend, in Granada] = NOVIA
27A – [Einstein’s ego] = ICH
28A – [Dresden donkey] = ESEL
49A – [Homer’s Hs] = ETAS
50A – [Crowned figure, to Caesar] = REX
66A – [Ingres’s income] = RENTE
7D – [Abbey title, in Assisi] = FRA
56D – [Fat, for Francois] = GRAS
60D – [Bogota bear] = OSO

After finding all nine entires, the clues all use the alliteration of a letter from A to I. When you arrange the answer words alphabetically by clue, you get the order FRA, OSO, REX, ESEL, ICH, GRAS, NOVIA, ETAS, RENTE. The first letters spell out FOREIGNER, our answer and appropriate answer for a puzzle about foreign languages. Needing a symmetric grid entry for GRAS, the clue for MICK is [Rocker Fleetwood, Jones, or Jagger], and Mick Jones was in fact the founder of Foreigner.


Tough week for meta solvers. Altogether, 11 readers submitted the correct hot blooded band. Congrats to those who got it! This week’s randomly selected winner was Tyler Hinman. He will join Jon Delfin, John L. Wilson, Jim Quinlan, Eric Maddy, Andy Keller, David Cole, Roger Barkan, Patricia Miga, Erik Agard, Charles Montpetit, Steve Blais, Mike Ruslander, Matthew Breen, David Stein, and Justin Weinbaum in a future section of the site. Congrats Tyler!

Thanks everyone, and I hope you have a great week!


Meta: Use Your Alliteration (#80)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 80!

Before we get into today’s puzzle, I’d like to thank everyone who I got to hang with in NYC for last weekend’s Lollapuzzoola. It was great seeing longtime friends again, great making new ones, and great seeing you, the humble Chris Words audience. I so enjoyed the weekend, and I hope to make it to next year’s. Hell, I hope to make it to Stamford this year.

Thanks to Brian and Patrick for putting on a great event, all the volunteers who made the event possible, and all the constructors who wrote some tricky puzzles. It was a phenomenal weekend for us all. Also, congrats to friends-of-the-show Paolo Pasco and Erik Agard for winning LPZ9. I hope to one day be as accurate as these guys. Speed, probably not, but accuracy? Maybe.

Well, since this week’s puzzle ends with a 5 or 0, it’s time for a meta.

In honor of my 80th puzzle, for this sixteenth meta, I’m looking for a well-known 80s band. When you think you have it, email me at cking.gow(at)gmail.com with your answer. I’ll accept answers all the way to midnight ET Saturday, August 27th.

I’m too tired to write anymore, so that’ll do it for me today. Have fun and good luck this week!


Um, Waiter? (#79)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 79!

I’m currently in Virginia for a quizbowl event this weekend, so I’m posting this on the hotel wifi. Also, I don’t have a whole lot to say.

A couple of admin notes:

-Come see me in New York this weekend at Lollapuzzoola! Also, if there any breakout events/escape rooms/games/shindigs, you’d be great to let me know.
-Today’s puzzle is certainly food heavy, so this is a great time to plug my other site Five Course Trivia, where basically all the food mentioned in #79 have been asked about at some point.

Hope you enjoy today’s puzzle, and I hope to see you this weekend! I’m so excited!