Themeless Twenty (#98)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 98! Today’s puzzle is the last themeless puzzle before this site turns double digits, and I really hope you enjoy it! True, it is a themeless puzzle, but there’s a challenge found within.

My days are numbered, and I’ve already picked my replacement for when I move on from Chris Words. Who did I select? Feel free to let me know at cking.gow(at) if I’m doing the right thing. You might need to do some research for the puzzle so you won’t be befuddled, but hopefully a couple of six-letter words can give you some assistance. 


As we get really close to the three-digit mark, I want to thank all of you who have been regularly solving my puzzles for nearly three years now. Matt Gaffney once wrote “This guy’s blog is like a neighborhood restaurant that does no publicity or advertising and has no tourist trade, but the same 200 people eat there every week because it’s phenomenal”, and it makes me so incredibly happy that you folks will put up with my need for making puzzles that you have to print out because some cutting assembly is required, or that you have to solve online because there’s links to gifs and Imgur. I so tremendously enjoy writing puzzles for all of you, and I look forward to keep on doing the same thing.

Hey, the Indie 500 is this weekend! Of course, be sure to read my strategy guide before you go, but besides that, I really hope to see you! I’ll be the one wearing the Gamecock hat. It’s going to be a blast, and hopefully, easy as pie!

See you (hopefully very) soon!



Continental Break (#97)



Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 97!

I sincerely hope you enjoy today’s puzzle, as I had a bunch of fun writing it. If I ever get around to making a Patreon account, I promise to deliver puzzles exactly like this one.

I would also like to thank friends Andy Kravis, Neville Fogarty, and Drew Dixon for helping craft clues 18-Across, 37-Across, and 22-Across.

If you have any questions about my time writing the puzzle, I’m sure I can regale you on some tidbits. Hopefully, you’ll get me started when we’re hanging at Indie 500.

Hope to have Puzzle 98 for you very soon. Also, after you solved this one, make sure you complete #96. The 90s have been great for Chris Words.

Thanks everyone! Enjoy the puzzle!


Dream Catcher (#96)

Note: This puzzle has an additional step not featured on the PDF below. The answer to this puzzle and the instructions for the additional step are found below the cover photo. For sake of the puzzle, do NOT look at the solution or additional step until after solving the puzzle.

If you’re able to determine the final step of the puzzle without clicking the link, well done.



Answer Grid
Additional Step

Hey everyone, welcome to Week 96! Hope you enjoy today’s puzzle. I probably won’t be able to write one for the next little while, but this one should bide your time.

We had a meta last week, so let’s talk about it.

The answer to this puzzle was a 20th century year, and there was five long answers that seemed to stick out:

17A – [Piece of information that can devastate a listener when dropped] = TRUTH BOMBNew198-solution
24A – [Metaphorical shape that probably just uses two line segments] = LOVE TRIANGLE
53A – [Online dating service with an aquatic logo] = PLENTYOFFISH
65A – [Friendship symbol that is passed] = PEACE PIPE

Along with
39A – [British agency that closely monitors the households of underage wizards and witches] = MINISTRY OF MAGIC, from the Harry Potter books

Hopefully you brushed up on your English lit, or you typed some of these key answers into Google, as the first word of each of the four theme answers [Truth, Love, Plenty, and Peace] can succeed the phrase “Ministry of” to make the name of a major agency in the fictional world featured in George Orwell’s 1984. The idea of spying on citizens is shown in the Ministry of Magic clue, as The Trace totally does this.

Also, as bonus fill, the top row of this puzzle is CAIN, ALEC, and SHEMP. Those three overlook the entire puzzle, as they can all be described as big brother.


Altogether, 42 readers submitted the right answer. Congrats to those who got it! This week’s randomly selected winner was Tim Harrod. 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, and Regina Cassidy in a future section of the site. Congrats Tim!

Enjoy the puzzle!


Puzzle Predictions for the Indie 500 2017


Hey everyone! A reminder that there’s currently a couple days left to solve the current meta Watchmen. New puzzle on Sunday, and I hear it’s a good one. After that, not sure when #97 will come out, because work and trips, but it’ll come soon enough.

However, as tradition dictates, I am the certified prognosticator for the puzzles of the puzzles of the Indie 500. This year’s theme is time, but who knows what that means. This slate of folks are some amazing constructors, but I know there are some people who check out concert listing before going to the concert, so that’s why I am here. I have successfully predicted 100% of the puzzles up to this point, and I’m here to help you out once more.

The Indie 503 puzzles, in their website order:

Andy Kravis – As much as Andy loves to write crosswords, I think he may love to write warm-up puzzles even more. His Puzzle #141 was his contribution for a warm-up puzzle for the 2017 ACPT, and his Puzzle #1 was a warm-up for the 2013 ACPT. I forgot who wrote the warm-up last year, but the inaugural Indie 500 was by Neville. So, in honor of his love of the warm-up puzzle, Andy will write 2 puzzles: an easy warm-up puzzle titled “Hope You Remembered!” with some theme about the past or something, followed by a Puzzle 1 also titled “Hope You Remembered!” which is just the same grid as the first one, but with no clues. A memory test for the ages. I hope those theme answers will be super memorable.

Angela Olson Halsted – Angela is a huge fan of the non-best NL East team, Washington Nationals. And you may think that there’s not enough baseball crosswords out there. I can’t think of the last time I solved a baseball crossword. Well, Angela will not help you out this time. Angela’s puzzle will be dedicated to a non Big 4 sport. Will it be curling? Will it be the discus? Will it be cricket? Are you ready for some football? Well it won’t come up, so don’t worry about it.

Erik Agard – Anybody that knows Erik knows he has crossword idols. It just happens that in the last few weeks, one of his idols wrote a puzzle that’ll be remembered for a long time. But you know Erik, he likes to step up his game. And thus, Erik’s puzzle will be a puzzle that features only six letters in the fill. The current record of seven is hard to beat, but I’ll look forward to solving a puzzle with just the letters R,S,T,L,N,E. Erik couldn’t be more proud.

Neville Fogarty – You know, I’m sure Neville’s thought about it for a while, but I honestly believe this event he’ll finally get to the Pokemon Go crossword everyone’s been waiting for. Neville was known for his Pokemon references on his old site, and its very possible we’ll have an interactive element similar to the cell phones or red light / green light seen at LPZ. Make a grid that looks like the Pokemon Go interface, and you’ve got an instant classic.

Tracy Bennett – Tracy makes her Indie 500 debut this year! Thrice seen in the NYT, Tracy is no spring chicken to crossword writing, or chickens of any other season. Seeing her previous work, I think Tracy’s puzzle will involve wordplay. Anagrams, puns, rhyming words, rebus squares, it’s all fair game with Tracy! Wordplay often tends to be really difficult, so I’m hoping it’s not too difficult! Really looking forward to being proven right.

Paolo Pasco – One of the rising stars in the crossworld word, Paolo is here to kick your butt and chew gum. And the Indie 500 is all out of gum but good on pie. Paolo is here to one-up everyone, and his contribution will be a 51×51 crossword. You think Longo’s 50×50 was good? Wait until you see Paolo’s. You’ll plop down DOUBLE DOUBLE TOIL AND TROUBLE FIRE BURN AND CAULDRON BUBBLE crossing NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE and you’ll be on your way. Now you may think “Won’t this take a while to grade?”. In a way. The time on the clock will only be 45 minutes, but it’s a test to see how much you can get done in that time. I’m sure there will be some metric to determine how much of the grid you get done, but the it’ll be a race to get 50%.

Allegra Kuney – Remember how I correctly predicted Sam’s ERNEST HEMINGWAY tribute puzzle last year? Well, Allegra cites her love of dumplings in her Indie 500 bio, so it’s clear she loves food. And in a moment that I’m sure Erik will hate himself for not including in a certain publication, Allegra’s puzzle will feature seed entries like ENGLISH MUFFIN, FRENCH TOAST, DANISH PASTRY, and SPANISH OMELET (with a potential IRISH COFFEE tack-on if you make the grid 14 columns wide). Off the top of my head, the puzzle might be called “Continental Breakfast”. I’m sure it’ll make all of us hungry…for American pie!

Now, as you may have noticed, there are 7 people, but only 6 puzzles. Whichever of these 7 are pairing up for one puzzle, just mix the themes seen above together to get their actual theme. I really want to see the 51×51 RSTLNE puzzle.

And if for some unknown reason I’m wrong, I look forward to seeing the puzzles and hanging out with the folks that make them. I’m really looking forward to being there, and I’m sure it’ll be a bunch of fun.

Oh, I’ve got my music already picked:

Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 12.02.05 PM

Look forward to seeing you there! Solve the current meta! New puzzle on Sunday!


Meta: Watchmen (#95)



Hey everyone, welcome to Week 95!

New puzzle coming to you on a Friday, slightly trying to ride to Gaffney wave, but also to not avoid posting on Easter. And since this week ends with a 5 or 0, let’s have a meta:

For this nineteenth meta, I’m looking for a 20th century year. When you think you have it, email me at cking.gow(at) with your answer. I’ll accept answers all the way to late Saturday, April 22nd.

Shout out to Neville Fogarty and Mike Nothnagel who authored the clues for 37-Down and 28-Across respectively.

Have a good weekend everyone, and I’ll be back with a new puzzle soon enough. Also, get ready for my third annual prediction of the Indie 500 puzzles, where I have so far been guessing with a 100% accuracy rate.

Be sure to send me your answer!


Quartet for the End of the Tournament (#94)


NCAA Basketball Tournament - East Regional - South Carolina v Florida

Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 94!

Congrats to Dan, joon, and Tyler for a great ACPT! I couldn’t go this year, but I read and saw a lot of good things about the event. I look forward to solving the puzzles, and I look forward to not posting my times here.

Today’s puzzle is inspired by some recent events here at USC. Sure, the theme is straight forward, but I hope you’ll enjoy the fill and clues. 2-Down is a personal favorite of mine.

Also, most puzzles are still not online yet. I plan to start working on this later today. However, if there is a certain puzzle you’d like access to again, shoot me an email, and I can make that a priority.

Go Gamecocks!


Down Only Temporarily

Hey everyone.

So, Chris Words is going to be temporarily down for a bit. Yes, this is partially due to my busy school work, but the main reason is because all of the links on this site have been deactivated.

On March 15th, Dropbox changed their policy about sharing links on the Public folder, and all links that were made no longer do not work. In order to fix it, you have to copy and paste the new link into the blog, but with now 93 puzzles published online, you can imagine the amount of work to be done.

I’ve greatly loved how easy it is to upload files into Dropbox and then link to here in order to not have to pay WordPress for file storage. I do not have a problem with Dropbox, but I’ll admit this new change is annoying.

Also bonus, I’m mailing my MacBrook Pro to New Mexico today for a repair that needs to be done, and this will further delay the edits needed to make the blog run smoothly.

The blog will be hopefully back to full capacity in a week and a half, and I do plan to have another puzzle on here very soon. Apparently, crosswords are going asea, and I smell a theme.

Good luck to everyone going to Connecticut this weekend! We’ll be back soon!