Summer Lovin’ (#74 and Variety Edition #2)


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 74!

First, I hope everyone’s enjoying MGWCC #421. Since it’s live, we’ll talk about that next week.

The big news for Chris Words is the release of my second Variety Edition! As the creator and main writer of the USC Puzzle Hunt, writing metapuzzles has been a part of me for five plus years now, and now that I have a crossword website, I can make you all play along.

Last year, I wrote The Horseshoe Letter, all about RAs working together at USC, but this year, we go destination wedding.

To quote the cover page of the meta suite:

The summer is now well under way, but the season of course belongs to the people getting married these next couple of months. Summer is certainly the time to get married, but there’s one underlining reason of the reason for the season. What does a summer marriage prevent?

And that is your question to answer for the next three weeks. Head over to where you can find the PDF of the puzzle suite, made of 15 puzzles plus the meta. Also there is an answer checker, so that can confirm any of your answers.

If you find any errata, please email me at cking.gow(at), and I will post them in the area below.

-On “Something Blue”, be sure to use the fullsized picture for Slide #4, not the thumbnail. All other slides match. This will be updated when I get better Internet.

On “Rice”, color and position of number is just a visual aid. The numbers, of course, are a disguised clue. Also, “local” should be “couple”.

Due to an error, the entire puzzle “Bridesmaids” has been fixed. Check to make sure your fifth line starts with “Rice”.

[Sunday 6/26 9:40ish, all errors in the PDF have been fixed. ArcGIS still same issue]

Last year’s time limit was 3 weeks, and that seems like the right amount of time to plan this wedding. By July 17th, be sure to send me your final meta answer. While you’re contacting me, please let me know the successes/struggles you have with any puzzles. I love feedback, and I like giving hints, so there’s never a bad time to shoot me an email.

Also, someone will win a prize. And it’ll be spectacularly unforgettable.

Sorry if this post seems a little short, but I’m currently in a Myrtle Beach campground, and I’ve been using my phone as a hotspot to make most of this happen. Words are a premium, but all good puzzle people know that. The errata of the puzzle will be fixed when I’m Internet capable for it.

I should be back next week with #75, which will be a meta! So until then, good luck with MGWCC, good luck with “Summer Lovin”, and just a general good luck to you!



Welcome to Chris Words!

Chris Words Logo-Blue v3

Hey guys, and welcome to Chris Words! This might very well be your first time coming to the site, so I just wanted to give you a quick tour of what we have to offer, before you have to go back to your Across Lite file.

The About Me page does a fine job describing, and you’ll be able to find all of my first 73 puzzles at my Archive page. Check out the Fun Stuff page, where you can read three of my “The X-word Files” crosswordese research articles, as well as links to a number of my various crossword research studies.

I publish a recurring sequence of themed, themeless, and meta, and as your sommelier, here are a few suggestions I’d make for you to enjoy RIGHT NOW.

Themed: Series Finales 52, Thanksgiving Stuffing 54, Just You Wait 72, Just Puttering Around 46, Hold Onto Your Butts 36
Themeless: Eleven, Thirteen, Seven, Eight, Twelve
Meta: That’s the Power of Love 50, Heads of State 70, I Could Count on Two Hands 35, Mark My Words 25, Meeting of the Minds 45

Also, I previewed my newest Variety Edition (a mini puzzle hunt similar to P&A Magazine), which was supposed to come out today. The meta coming out today is the one why you’re here, but I am releasing Variety Edition #2 this Sunday at my usual timeslot, and it’s going to be jam packed. Feel free to check out the first Variety Edition here.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Thanks for coming by, please subscribe to get your alerts about releases of Southern grown crosswords, and I hope you have fun this weekend.

Good luck!


Themeless Fifteen (#73)



Hey guys, and welcome to Week 73! First of all, I would like to thank Neville Fogarty and Erin Milligan-Milburn for the wonderful Twitter conversation in the last few days that inspired the seed entries. It’s a subject very near and dear to my heart, and it was a joy to put them into a grid. Nevertheless, there’s plenty of stuff that should keep you entertained, so don’t worry if 90s nostalgia is your gambit.

In other exciting news, I plan to release my second Variety Edition! Last year’s The Horseshoe Letter was a huge hit, so it’ll be great releasing this year’s product. It’ll contain 15 puzzles plus the meta, and will be fun for the whole family. And, since I’ll be on vacation starting this upcoming weekend, this set will go online on Friday before my vacation gets into the swing of things. Thus, this will be puzzle #74, but you’ll read more about that on Friday.

I guess I should note that I’m [on Twitter], so feel free to follow me all of you puzzle people. And, I’ve written almost 600 questions on my other site Five Course Trivia, so be sure to give that an email subscribe.

Enough self-advertising. Enjoy today’s themeless, and I sincerely hope you enjoy the meta on Friday!


Just You Wait (#72)



Hey guys, and welcome to Week 72! Besides the source material, today’s puzzle was inspired by puzzles written by Patrick Blindauer and friend-of-the-show Neville Fogarty. Patrick’s puzzle should be apparent, and Neville’s is a bit more subtle, but it’s still there. Also, for all those who are heavily invested in the theme material, I hope this puzzle does it justice. Probably not. Talk about high bars.

Also, Neville made this fantastic observation yesterday, left as an exercise to the reader.
Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 12.41.29 AM

Now, onto the meta!

The puzzle was looking for the appropriate US state, and the four long answers of two-word phrases in this puzzle were, from left to right:RushmoreSol

18D – [*Political topic with a lot of heat?] = GLOBAL WARMING
6D – [*Bloody Mary majority] = TOMATO JUICE
25D – [*Confectionary since 1896] = TOOTSIE ROLL
10D – [*Delta Sky Club, e.g.] = AIRPORT LOUNGE

With the title “Heads of State”, the ‘head’ of each phrase gives us the initials GW, TJ, TR, and AL. These initials are also the initials of four different US presidents or heads of state: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. With these four presidents, and arranged from left to right, this should clue you in on Mount Rushmore, a monument displaying the heads of heads of state. With Rushmore as the key, the appropriate US state will be SOUTH DAKOTA.


Thanks to some self-advertising at the Indie 500, and a generous link someone provided in the WSJ puzzle comments (thanks, loyal fan!), we had a total of 56 correct entries for this week’s meta! There were several people who I know solved the meta there in DC, but didn’t submit an answer because they had other things to deal with. Nonetheless, congrats to all those who got it! This week’s randomly selected winner was David Stein. 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, and Matthew Breen in a future section of the site. Congrats David!

I hope to have an Indie 500 recap up soon, which really rests on when I’ll get the drive to write it, and when the organizers say spoiler alert buffer period is up. Themeless next week, so that’ll be exciting. Also, big welcome back to Sam Ezersky.

Well, looks like I’m done writing like I’m running out of time. Enjoy the puzzle!


Full-length Features (#71)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 71! First of all, if you are joining Chris Words for the first time, a hearty welcome! It was great seeing so many of you over the course of the weekend, and I hope you’ve enjoyed the two sample puzzles I distributed as a sample. Just a little taste of what we here at Chris Words provided for you the solver.

In CW news, I would like to extended the #70 meta another week. There was enough interest at the event to delay a little bit, so I have no problem kicking the deadline a week down the road. And to be fair, I do extended the deadline for ACPT reasons, so no reason not to for the Indie 500.

Also, what a puzzle weekend it was! I would like to once again give a shoutout to Andy, Angela, Erik, Peter, Neville, Kameron, Joanne, Lena, and Sam for writing some damn great puzzles and putting on an amazing event. Like last year, I’ll write a review of the puzzles in a few weeks, after the organizers give the ok for when we can.

This year, I was 42nd out of 77 in the Outside Track, and 82nd out of 117 overall. Honestly, I’m shocked my ranking was as low as it was, since I had three correct solves this year. Last year, I had none, but still ended up 81st out of 100.

Huge congratulations to Roger Barkan, Al Sanders, and Glen Ryan for finishing top 3 in the Inside Track. Due to my flight, I couldn’t make it to watch the Finals go down, but I’m sure they were exciting to watch.

And unfortunately, I am not the defending “joon pahk Award for Worst Handwriting” winner. That title now belongs to Michael Sharp. Ah well. I feel like the fix was in after a no-name won it last year. A hearty congrats to one of the hardest working people in crossword journalism.

This week’s puzzle is a nice, easy theme for those who need a detox from this weekend’s brain busters. Be sure to submit to me your meta answer for last week’s meta.

Thanks everyone, and it was great seeing many of you all again!