Meta – Chris Words Origin Story: Gridwork (Part 1) #120-a



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 120!

It has been too long, but it’s not like I wasn’t doing anything! Over the course of this year, I’ve been onstage twice at two different crossword tournaments, and I published that book that surely is on your desk right now.

The year has been winding down, and the last meta I published on this blog was in January, so it is time to fix that. And this one is going to be big.

Presenting for you: Chris Words Origin Story

Since my new book was a book of 13×13 puzzles, it only seems fitting to have a meta suite involving puzzles that size. Starting today, and once per day, I will release a 13×13 crossword. The fourth and final puzzle will be published Sunday at noon. All four puzzles will be needed to find the final answer, but I do believe it can be solved without all four, so if you know the answer prior to Sunday, feel free to email me.

For this twenty-fourth meta, I’m looking for a three-word answer. When you think you have it, email me at with your answer by, let’s say midnight, December 31st.

Puzzle 1: Gridwork
Puzzle 2: TBA
Puzzle 3: TBA
Puzzle 4: TBA

Also, if you are stuck on anything, I greatly encourage you to work with someone else! I hope to bring people together, and I genuinely hope you like these puzzles.

Good luck, happy solving, and feel free to bug me on Twitter if you get stuck.



Environmental Actions (#117.3) + Book Today!

Order the book now!


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 117.3!

Finally, today is the day the book goes on sale! I hope you’ve pre-ordered your copy of “75 Easy-to-Read Crossword Puzzles: Medium-Level Puzzles to Challenge Your Brain” so that you can solve some puzzles cozied up with hot cocoa and your finest pen.

Today’s puzzle is also from the new book, which now means I have shared with you 4% of the book. But the other 96% is fantastic! Get this book for everyone you’ve ever interacted with regarding Girl Scout Cookies.

I hope to have some new puzzles of various sizes on this site very soon! Thank you everyone. And be sure to leave a good review. Show that Bezos crowd what is up.

Enjoy the puzzle!


Vowel Heavy (#117.2) + Book Info!

Amazon Pre-Order Available Now!


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 117.2!

Fun to publish on a Sunday, isn’t it? The future bestselling crossword book “75 Easy-to-Read Crossword Puzzles: Medium-Level Puzzles to Challenge Your Brain” is coming out this Tuesday! I am very proud of the puzzles in this book, and I hope you and everyone in your phone’s contact list will enjoy.

Don’t believe me? Here are some of the reviews that have already come out!

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Needless to say, when the book comes out, please feel free to leave a review, and feel free to describe the ways that crosswords and other activities sharpen your brain. Your countless wasted hours will be thanked!

And in other crossword news, Queer Qrosswords has published their second set of crosswords! Please donate to your favorite charity supporting LGBTQ+ causes, and solve some great puzzles by great people!

New puzzle on Tuesday, the day the book goes out! Have a great weekend!



Fruit Cocktail (#117.1) + Book Announcement!

Amazon Pre-Order Available Now!

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Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 117.1!

Been a while, but things have been busy. Turns out, I’ve been working on a book! I am very excited and proud to announce that the book “75 Easy-to-Read Crossword Puzzles: Medium-Level Puzzles to Challenge Your Brain” is being released this next Tuesday!


I am very excited to bring you 75 13×13 crosswords never before seen, and I certainly hope you enjoy them. If you’ve been with me for the last five years, I know you’ll enjoy the puzzles in this book. It’s the usual brand of nonsense. I can also say that it’s a very great book to give to someone who is just starting out in puzzles. I wrote the puzzles with the goal in mind that puzzles can be ultra fun, and there’s lots of good things in these puzzles.

I plan to have a book giveaway on this site very soon, but for now, I want to hype up the release of the book with a few free samples! I plan to post three puzzles that’ll be in the book: one today, one Sunday at noon, and one on Tuesday.

Today’s puzzle is “Fruit Cocktail”, and I hope it reminds you of the good old days, when we were making puzzles together, exploring Italy, watching gifs, and watching Back to the Future. What a time it was.

Link to the book at the beginning. Enjoy the puzzle! Pre-order your copy today, and for sure give me a good review on Amazon!


Stump the Schwa (#117)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 117!

Last weekend was the Indie 500, and I crushed it.

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Besides winning the handwriting once again, of the 198 people at the tournament, I had the 30th best time, which is wild. I’ve never expected to do this good at a tournament, and I’m so pleased that I blazed through it. Congrats to Ray Hunley and Daniel Feitel who both had better times than me on the Outside Track finals puzzle.

Also, whenever the puzzles become available to the public, I hope to post my handwriting sample either on here or on Twitter.

Today’s puzzle was distributed to participants at the Indie 500, which took place June 1st. The event this puzzle involves occurred May 30th, and was constructed essentially after midnight, May 31st. That is a quick turnaround. Huge thanks to Evan Birnholz who created the puzzle’s grid.



Puzzle Predictions for the Indie 500 2019


Hey everyone!

So, it has been a while. In short, holding a full-time job decreases some puzzle making, but I promise you I’ve still been making puzzles. I’ll have things to announce soon, but hopefully during the summer, we’ll have some more puzzles on this site.

Tomorrow is the Indie 500 tournament, the indiest crossword tournament this nation has to offer, and I will be in DC later today! Very excited to see everyone once again, and I’m gearing to bringing home some more hardware.

So, for the last four years, it has been my solemn duty to predict every puzzle in the Indie 500, and to date, I have had a absolutely, 100% correct rate. About this ability, Will Shortz once said “Chris, I can’t believe you solved that Puzzle 5 in under 2 minutes”. It’s a gift.

So, once again, here are the puzzles we shall see in the Indie 505.

Look, this tournament has made it impossible to guess which constructors are paired up, so as tradition, I’ll use the organizers as the base.

Andy Kravis – Andy thinks because he’s crushing puzzles Downs-only on Twitch, Andy finally shakes it up and has a puzzle Acrosses-only. I mean, any puzzle can be Across-only if you make the thematic clues Downs, so Andy finally puts his hobby on its head, or more correctly, on its side.

Angela Olson Halsted – You know, we’ve been promised pie for half a decade now, and I have yet to see a pie puzzle, so Angela finally delivers the baked goods with a puzzle all about pie. Of course there is folly, as writing a pie puzzle will often result in a pie to the face, but Angela will weather the decadents with a puzzle FINALLY about pie, which will be rated tin out of tin.

Erik Agard – Erik is certainly a musically inclined person, who really tries to include many musicians and songs in his puzzles, especially highlighting R&B/rap musicians as well as current musicians. And keeping with this musical tradition and appealing to a mass audience, Erik’s puzzle will be a puzzle based on The Beatles. Especially with the new movie coming out, this puzzle will feature some of your favorite songs symmetrically placed.

Neville Fogarty – Like me, Neville spends a lot of time on Twitter. So, Neville finally put Twitter to good use by having a puzzle that includes Twitter (15)s. If you are active on crossword Twitter, you’ll know that people try to come up with new grid-spanning phrases, and most often, they never go into a puzzle. In the last year, Neville came up with the (15)s of BRAND AMBASSADOR, POOP TRANSPLANTS, YOU MAKE MY DREAMS, TWITCH GAMER LIFE, READ THE SYLLABUS, RNG MANIPULATION, SCROTATION MARKS, and I’LL SEE YOU IN HELL. Looking forward to some fun quadstacks this weekend.

Peter Broda – The most technological savvy of this crew, Peter sticks with his computer roots and writes a puzzle with words debated by the Cruciverb-L email list. Featuring the best constructors of the 90s, this email list debates the usability of words like OH BAH, WABI-SABI, ACHOOED, BESRA, II SAMUEL, WINGDAM, and HI SCORE. Peter wrangles all these together for a fantastic puzzle.

If you’ve been practicing other puzzles, please shred those posthaste, and start working with these prompts.

It’s going to be a good one. Looking forward to seeing you all out there!


Initial Changes (#116)


Note: Puzzles were updated on 12:48pm Sunday, due to major misspelling. Thanks to Jenna LaFleur for letting me know.


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 116! Today’s puzzle is a nice and pleasant crossword. Feel free to solve it downs only, and throw it up on Twitch. Is it asymmetric? Does it matter? It’s fun! I hope you enjoy it.

Let’s go over the answer to #115, and it appears I haven’t written a meta recap since April 2018. Jesus. Let’s get into this.

For the puzzle, I noted I was looking for a creature, and this puzzle had four clues that featured an *asterisk as well as [bracketed numbers]

18-Across {*Swiss, in other words [6] } = EMMENTALER CHEESEPNG115sol

23-Across {*Professional who studies exits [2] } = HIGHWAY ENGINEER

54-Across {*Carpenter’s bottleful [10] } = WOODWORKING GLUE

59-Across {*Czech tennis player and former world No. 1 who lost to Angelique Kerber in the 2016 US Open finals [9] } = KAROLINA PLISKOVA

A few long answers, but circles were left in 18-Across, and those letters spelled out MEECHEE. If you had no idea what that word meant, hopefully you Googled it, and discovered it is the name of a character from the 2018 animated film Smallfoot, about abominable snowmen living in Nepal. While the movie I think did fine, it might be best known for a meme titled “Zendaya is Meechee“, with a fantastically catchy song.

It turns out, the other three entries also contain the name of an abominable snowman from the movie. GWANGI in HIGHWAY ENGINEER, DORGLE in WOODWORKING GLUE, and KOLKA in KAROLINA PLISKOVA.

The [numbers] in each of the clues come in here. The [10] isn’t very useful for DORGLE, but if you use the voice actor names, it works out. After all, Zendaya is Meechee.

Meechee = ZENDAYA [6] = Y
Gwangi = LEBRON JAMES [2] = E
Dorgle = DANNY DEVITO [10] = T
Kolka = GINA RODRIGUEZ [9] = I

Those letters spell YETI, which is the appropriate creature that is this puzzle’s answer. I had this idea for the puzzle back when the meme was super trendy, but hey, nothing wrong with a puzzle about a 2018 movie. That’s what the last meta was about too.

Altogether, 47 readers submitted the right answer. Coming back after a long absence might do that, so thank you regular viewers who check their inboxes. Congrats to those who got it! This week’s randomly selected winner was Grayson Holmes. 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, Tyler Hinman, Kathy Johnescu, Regina Cassidy, Tim Harrod, Laura Mendyke, and Anna-Marie Ruoff in a future section of the site. Congrats Grayson!

New puzzle soon. Hope you’ve got a great week ahead!


Meta: Cooler Temperatures (#115)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 115!

So, after a couple of months, I’m back with the meta. No time like the present. But hey, let’s go ahead and take care of the instructions.

For this twenty-third meta, I’m looking for a creature. When you think you have it, email me at with your answer by February 10th.

Shouldn’t be too hard of a meta for you, and if you need help, Google can point you the rest of the way.

I’ve been doing well, and I hope you have too. Job is rolling right along, and I’m still doing puzzle and trivia things. A week ago, I was at the 2019 MIT Mystery Hunt, and I plan to have a review post on this site in the next week or so. I’m hosting two gigs of trivia in Columbia, so if you ever need questions, feel free to hit me up.

In 2018, this site got less puzzles than it did in 2017. There were 15 on CW in 2017, and only 13 in 2018. Granted, some of them were all-time greats like Wash Your Mouth Out and Rock Group, but still, a dearth.

I think a great way to increase my puzzle writing for 2019 is to do collaborations with you fine people. If you’ve got a puzzle idea, and would like to see it published somewhere, feel free to get a hold of me, and we can make it happen here. Longtime constructor, and first time wannabe, I’m here to make it happen.

But don’t worry, I’m still very in tune with the puzzle people, and anyone who follows me on Twitter can see that.

I’ll be back soon with more puzzle stuff, but until then, enjoy the meta!


A&Q (#114.1)

Solve Online with PuzzleMe


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 114.1!

A nice 13×13 quote puzzle today, but I’m glad to finally use it in a puzzle. Today’s puzzle is a tribute to my friend Erik Agard, who recently went on the TV and did a very cool thing that I sincerely hope I get a chance at one day. Great job Erik. You were so close to securing a high-profile Indie 500 contestant.

Hope to have another puzzle before you know it!