April 19, 2014

Themeless D


Another vintage grid finally ready to be opened.


Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:05 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 08, 2014

Themeless C


Another grid that's about three or four years old.


For the most part, anyway. I did do a little tweaking here and there.

Across Lite:
CLICK to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:50 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 25, 2014

Themeless B


B? Themeless A is coming soon. I just happened to finish cluing this one first. 'Bout time, too, since it's been gathering dust in a desk for about two years.


Across Lite:
CLICK to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)



The blog breathes!


Across Lite:
CLICK for .puz file

Just because it's that time again, here's the link to the Across Lite download page. If y'ain't got it yet, it just takes a minute to download, after which puzzles aplenty will be yours for the solving, on screen or printed out.
Download Across Lite

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

May 26, 2013

A couple more themelesseses


I'm not sure how far apart I made these two grids. But they have an answer in common so I figure that I should either post them together or post them far, far apart. I'll just get it overwith.


Across Lite puz:
Click to solve.

The next one sat around for a while because it repeated a word in two different answers and I couldn't find a way to fix it without re-doing half the grid, until yesterday.


Across Lite puz:
Click to solve.

For any uninitiated droppers-by who don't yet have, or don't know what is, Across Lite, it's a program that let's you solve crossword puzzles right here on your computer screen. The download page is HERE. It takes merely a minute or less to install, so get crackin', by cracky.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 22, 2013



I made this one about two years ago and didn't care for the excessive number of abbreviations and such. But I wanna post a themed puzzle, so here 'tis.


UPDATE: The answer at 37-Across has one too many circled squares. But, rather than type the whole shebang over from scratch, I'll just warn you about it.

"Real high-end operation we got going here, eh, Bob?"

Across Lite puzzle:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 19, 2013

Gallimaufry 2

Another mish-mosh.


Across Lite puzzle:
Click away.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Aliens on the Border


Thought of this one that day the New York Times clued ILLEGAL as a noun. When was that, anyway?


Across Lite:

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Gallimaufry 1

And, we're back.


Now that hurricane and blizzard seasons are officially overwith I feel like getting back to normal.

Most of what I'll be posting in the coming weeks will be crossword puzzles that I've made over the past four years but never posted due some fatal flaw I thought they had at the time. I've been able to re-do an area here and a corner there to fix old wrongs. For the most part.

First up, a themeless freestyle gallimaufry.


A coupla years ago, I was interested in coming up with grids that were asymetrical yet aesthetically pleasing. This one worked much better when I tried it as a 19x19, but I never completed the fill in that one. Ah, well.

Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:24 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 29, 2012

Untitled Themeful


Long time, no see.

I was about to clue and post two or three of the many puzzles I have laying around. But, the reason they're laying around is that I don't think they're very good. Even by my journeyman-level criteria.

But then I was lying awake a couple of nights ago and thought of this one. It's a slight variant on a widely used theme. But it's something. So I finally made a new puzzle. Woo hoo!


Across Lite:
Click to solve.

For anyone stopping by who doesn't know what Across Lite is, it's a crossword solving program that allows you to solve puzzles on your computer. It's easy to use and takes just 1.3 jiffies to install. Download it HERE.

Also, if you're interested in what the New York Times crosswords were like in the decades before Will Shortz took over the editing reigns, check out the Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project.

The goal is make every New York Times crossword puzzle from 1942-1993 available for reviewing and for solving. Currently, there are four years (1990-1993) of pre-Shortzian puzzles available for on-screen solving from the Eugene Maleska era (1977-1993), with more being added all the time.

Solve pre-Shortzian puzzles.

August 09, 2012

It Could be worse...

A crossword puzzle inspired by the fleetest of thoughts by our dear Amy Reynaldo.

Fear not. This one's easy peasy.

Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 02:36 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

July 04, 2012


Holy moly, I haven't posted a crossword puzzle in over a month?!

Alas, yes. So I speed-created this one. And then speed-clued it. (Though, I must say, cluing the puzzle takes a helluva lot longer than creating the grid. At least, in this case.)


The four 15-letter answers came rapid fire, and the rest is what is it. But, just solve it before midnight, so all will be right with the world.

Across Lite:
Click to solve.

I didn't proofread it before posting. Hopefully, everything's in order. :)

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 24, 2012

Freestyle 15


Across Lite puzzle:
Click to solve.

And, on the off chance that some visitor has no idea what AcrossLite is, or hasn't yet downloaded it, here is the place to get it ---> Download AcrossLite software. Just takes a few seconds. Real easy-peasy like.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 13, 2012

Good Clean Fun



Across Lite file:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 03, 2012

Thin Themes

As an autodidactic apprentice, I'm a little self-conscious about what I post. Since I have no "mentors" or "test solvers", I'm left to judge for myself what's postworthy or not.

Since I haven't made a brand spanking new crossword puzzle in a while, I've decided to make it up you with a three-in-one post, made up of puzzles from the pile of thin-themed crap.

First up: A weak theme if there ever was one. I'm pretty sure that this dates back to my "make a real puzzle no matter how boring" days. Nine months ago, I think.


Newly clued, of course.

Across Lite:
Ye must clicketh.

Of today's three, this next one is the most recent. I had big dreams for it, at the time. But I just couldn't hit on that bigger idea that would've made it more than it is:


Mozel tov!

Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Third up: I don't even remember making this one. I think it's one of my better early puzzles, but it contained too much garbage even for my standards at the time. Imagine that.


I just finished cluing it so at at least it has that going for it. :-D

An Across Lite file follows almost immediately:
Clicky doodle.

My next post will consist of either a new puzzle or more old crap. Time will tell.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 16, 2012

Themeless 14


Themeless. No point. Just a puzzle.


Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 02, 2012

A Long Way From Home


Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 19, 2012

Turning Up the Pressure


I've made several versions of this puzzle over the past four weeks. The sad thing is, I don't know if this version is much better than the first incarnation. Hah!

The above picture has nothing to do with the puzzle. I made it in PhotoShop and don't expect to find any use for it, so there it is.


Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 06, 2012

A Cheerful Puzzle


I've been working on one particular puzzle for over two weeks now and am still not happy with it. But, rather than go another week without posting, I grabbed one from the old pile of unposted grids.

This is probably about a year-and-a-half old.



Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 20, 2012

Freestyle 13


So anyway, I was over at BEQ central on Friday solving the Friday Bonus Puzzle and reading the interview with guest constructor Tim Croce. Tim wrote:

But quad stacks? That's where I draw the line. Soon as I saw the partial "O' TEA" in a quad stack I solved, that was it for me. Don't wanna even try anymore.

So, of course, I figured I'd try a quint stack, placed in the center of the grid.

After about an hour of entertaining that silly idea I decided, instead, to pick three 15-letter answers that were on my list of words and phrases that aren't in Matt Ginsberg's clue database, and to see if I can make them work. The only non-random criteria was that the first three letters had to allow a coherent Down answer.

My first three choices didn't pan out. But I replaced one of them with another and I was off and running. The result of that Friday afternoon grid-building is, for the most part, this puzzle. (I tweaked a few areas on Saturday, and clued it on Sunday.)


There are two entries in here that are not only fresh, but that I've never heard nor seen before. One is one word, the other is two words. But they're legit. And they're not Latin or otherwise foreign. I tried to make the clues mediumishly challenging, but even one of the 15s might be a tough nut to crack for latter-day Xers and millenials (and maybe even some geezers).

Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:52 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

February 12, 2012

Crossover Artists


Two puzzles this week, since I missed last week.

The first one should be an easy solve. It's a theme that we've all seen a hundred times. It's okay to fall back on an old staple, now and then.


UPDATE: And I just realized that there's a slight "problem" with the third theme entry. You may see it right away. But, I think I'll just leave it as is as a reminder of what happens when one constructs and clues a crossword puzzle on very little sleep. :)

"53 Across"
Across Lite:
Click to solve.


This second one should be more of a challenge. I don't want to say too much and reveal spoilers, but this is a theme that you may have seen before.

It went through a couple of re-dos, complete with different theme entries and, of course, entirely different grids and fill. I'm still not satisfied with the way it turned out, but not so much that I want to try building another version from scratch. (Hopefully, I'm just being overly self-critical.)


"Crossover Artists"
Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:46 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

January 30, 2012

Spare Change

Here's one inspired by Chris Handman's New York Times crossword from Wednesday, January 18th.


Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 16, 2012

Caveat Emptor


The good thing about making up your own quote is that you can tailor it to split evenly for the grid.


And, being a quote puzzle, I made this one nice n' easy. I think.

Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

January 08, 2012

Freestyle 12

Feelin' hungry?


Feelin' happy?


Feelin' brave?


Across Lite puzzle:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 01, 2012



I made two puzzles with this theme sometime in this past spring or summer. I posted one then and saved one for now, just to put some space between them. It's a standard theme idea, taken one step further.


Happy New Year!

Across Lite puzzle:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 20, 2011

Ginger Snaps


Actually, it's "Freestyle 11". But who's counting.


Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Continue reading "Ginger Snaps"
Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 11, 2011

Sweet Sixteen


I made the above PhotoShopTM when this puzzle had the wrong title. Oops. Took too long to make it to let it go to waste, though.


Anywho, it's just for fun, and should be an easy peasy solve.

Across Lite puzzle:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

December 03, 2011

Bones of Contention


This one's for the Trekkers out there, past and present.


Across Lite:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 21, 2011

More Fun with PhotoShop

So anyway, I came across this beautiful photograph of the galaxy named NGC 3041. Or, as I like to call it, Snookums. It looked so much like a painting that I decided to put my PhotoShop semi-skills to good uselessness. And since my version is over ten years old, this may be as good as my PhotoShop Fu gets.


I grew up wondering why I couldn't see the bright center of our galaxy, even on a moonless night. Now, of course, I know that it's because of interstellar dust and the lights of the cities. Needless to say, living within 50 miles of Times Square isn't the most condusive environment for stargazing.

But I found a photo of the Milky Way above a tree-line, and decided to PhotoShop it with a Manhattan skyline. The blueness of the sky contrasts (read: clashes) with a colorful cityscape.


I like the boldness of the contrast between the "macro-natural" galactic center and the man-made beauty below, but not the lack of realism. The two elements don't appear to be occupying the same universe.

So then I found a clearer picture of the Milky Way and put it together with a different New York skyline photo, and threw in the moon for good measure.


I like the mix of that one much more, but I regret having the Milky Way perfectly horizontal. So I tilted the same photo and added yet another skyline shot.


Aah, now we're talkin' 'bout a penthouse view.

But, based on the Earth-bound photos, I seem to have placed the Milky Way too far off in the distance.

The center of the galaxy is very far away, but it is frickin' huge.

Anywho, I then grabbed a more real-color photo of the Milky Way above a treeline, and added something beautiful that is both natural and man-made.


Love the J-Lo dress.

And finally, for now, the previous background with the pyramids that were built along the Nile, which was thought to represent the Milky Way.



A timelapse recording of the galactic center passing over a popular stargazing spot in Texas at about 5,000 ft elev. with clear dark skies.

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party from William Castleman on Vimeo.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 14, 2011

Freestyle 10


I really gotta start coming up with titles for these themeless puzzles.


I had eight different southeast corners for this one. The cleanest ones were the dullest, of course, so I went with one of the dirtier ones. I opted for this one in particular once I found a clue for 55-Down that was more "user-friendly" than what I thought I'd have to use. (Something to do with politics in the Great White North.)

Across Lite puzzle:
Click to solve.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:45 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
More Cool Blogs