Kevin G. Der
Kevin G. Der 

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30 puzzles by Kevin G. Der — 29 solos and 1 collaboration (9 Sundays)

with constructor comments

See the answer words debuted by Kevin G. Der.

*** Click any puzzle to see the full view. ***


Fri 1/17/2014
SHOREHOTELBARS
MOPEDANIMALFAT
ONELSSANITARIA
GENIEASIRECALL
GYMCLASSESKIEL
IBISMEIRTODDS
EEKBOASFOP
REENACTLISSOME
OTOMANSPAY
SAABSLEVIJAKE
ARGODIMESTORES
BEETHOVENRATSO
ONTHEMENDANION
TOWELETTEINSUM
STORMDOORLATTE
I am a perfectionist. My mind fixates on anything suboptimal. When constructing a puzzle, this habit can be helpful as hundreds of judgements are made — whether a partial is worth it, are there too many plurals in the grid, etc. And since a submission can be rejected for a single flaw — e.g. one entry is deemed too obscure — diligence is needed. The trap is that the mind can go too far in this direction, dwelling on the smallest imperfection while forgetting the merits. I once spent days agonizing over a themeless with a single entry I disliked — FDR — before I came to my senses.

The company I work at is researching methods for peer feedback. We learned the greatest factor in whether a team is thriving and successful is the ratio of positive to negative feedback. The best teams used 5x as many positive comments to negative — while average teams only used 2x. Sometimes the human brain works in unintuitive ways. Since then, I've tried to apply the 5x to rule to myself when constructing. It's helped me remain objective about imperfections while still remembering the merits. I've found myself happier and more motivated to construct. As is commonly said, perfection is impossible to achieve.

Onto the puzzle. I became interested in 4-stacks while observing Patrick Berry's puzzles (even his 5-stacks are smooth) and wondered if mere mortals could do it. Began at the top right corner with 6-A and 16-A as fresh entries. 18-A is a plural not ending in S, which adds some nice misdirection. 11-D was a serendipitous discovery for BLACKO??. And I liked some other lively entries in the grid. But I wish I could change KIEL. While not totally obscure — it hosted Olympics events as recently as 1972 — many people won't know it. I personally didn't. For a painful time I considered scrapping the entire corner because of it. Now I feel the grid as a whole is good enough to accept it. Hopefully, solvers will get the crossings and be satisfied by learning a word. Finally, I noticed that Will kept many of my favorite clues, but also changed some to make the puzzle easier. It's helpful to know my instinct is writing clues that are a bit too difficult. Overall, I'd like to improve several entries, but the result is okay and I hope the next is better, even though it will be imperfect.

ADDED NOTE: This puzzle was used in the 2014 MIT Mystery Hunt. See this blog post for more details.

★POW Mon 11/25/2013
JESTSMITEPSIS
ALOHAIBEXLINT
MILANLEAPEDNA
IDRATHERBEIN
CIDPEDOLEBED
HONKIFYOULOVE
AWAITUSEINKS
NASTFINEDPENA
GNATUNCBEFIT
MYOTHERCARISA
AMPRUEHADTHY
WILLBRAKEFOR
ASIAAVESMAJOR
KENOMENUEVADE
ERGSANTSNERDY
So many good constructors are creating puzzles today that it's hard to find an original idea. Whenever I think of a theme that might work, I add it to a list on my phone, which I'll check later when I feel like constructing. In this case, I think I saw a bumper sticker on the street that began with "HONK IF YOU LOVE...", which had clear Monday possibilities.

In the grid, the theme entry lengths (12's and 13's) forced a certain pattern because I prefer to avoid two cheater squares for 13's. The result is two long vertical entries that pass through three theme entries, which drastically reduces the possibilities. (I now see that I could've just flipped the top and bottom pairs instead. No idea why I didn't.) The two vertical entries I found are consequently ok but not amazing. I tried to compensate by increasing the number of 7- and 8-letter entries. Finally, I try to avoid using 3 letter words that cross the grid's center, because it feels suffocating.

Sun 9/9/2012CIRCLING THE JOB LISTINGS
SIDEBORINGSNEWTON
OBERONGALILEEELROPO
BASEBALLPLAYERODORED
ARIFLOEPYLONNINA
GULAGARCHAEOLOGIST
FUNNYJULIUSPAH
RIFTRARESTCOSMICRAY
ONLINEMARKETERPOLICE
STALINLOYINCAANNA
HAWLOBSMETALWORKER
CLIOLIARSBACK
LIBRARYPAGECALCOER
EDIESUMOCRYNUANCE
TONSILCARDIACSURGEON
OLDSCORESARMLETHOLD
EVASTREETCAFES
PIRATECAPTAINSALSA
OMARKERRISUPEKAA
RBIMANCONCERTPIANIST
TUNETOSAGETEAAVANTI
SESTETMYLADYENDIT
Sun 7/29/2012DEBUT PROMOS AT THE WORLD'S FAIR
ASIAAMUSESGOTOCAMP
IAMSMAGPIEANILAGAR
XRAYMACHINETELEPHONE
IMLATEREFUELMANRAY
ACEIRINAWITAGO
SLOAUDITTOUCHSCREEN
TYPEWRITERHESHE
ORELSADAPEELASPS
WARMEDALHEINZKETCHUP
ASTORIAVEEBAHAMA
AVGHUMANOIDROBOTRAM
GOOSESIDAONALARK
ICECREAMCONESTIRITUP
NEROTEEMWHATFATE
UNITSWALLOUTLET
FERRISWHEELTEENSESS
ANAGOOGLIDEEEL
KENNELBEDLAMOSMIUM
ESCALATORIMAXTHEATER
ICONTAXIEMILIORAGE
TOROENYADELISTSHAQ
Sun 4/15/2012GRID IRON
SOFTBOSCSOJAYSDSOSBASSI
ELIHUALLOKMENORAHSOUTHAMPTON
EASERLEONIIMTHEKINGOFTHEWORLD
MYHEARTWILLGOONROSSITSK
KALIFLISFSTAFINEGG
FRNSFELFREETACETMILASAFRAF
EDITSDEISTSITATOPCIRRISNAFU
DAFPOUFFSANTAFLATEFESSTAFFD
ETATNOAHPABSTEEG
VHSNORAHADONAIBASEPAYTREMOR
WOOEDDRILLTILLNOWRAGESELOPE
SPUDMOMMIESCTEAMAGNACIDDEF
RASAAIREEBBSRIDQED
WINSLETDICAPRIOREGANSOU
OZONEAMISHELEVENACADEMYAWARDS
VOTEDLEVEEESSENCELUXURYLINER
EDERCHASMTREOSETDSSLAWS
Thu 2/9/2012
ISTOYSERPABST
THRUACMEAREAS
SEARCHOUTLATTE
IWISHUSEASBAIT
NOTERRANYCDS
LOSEAGAMESALE
FRAZIERJAMES
MIDSEASON
DEPOTUNASKED
ESOSRESTSEASY
PTLEELISPPEP
ROYALSEALHOOTS
ENSUECELTICSEA
SICEMTREKHOST
SAILSSOSOSSTS
Fri 10/7/2011
IPODADIAUSEME
NARRATORSPIXAR
MACINTOSHSTPAT
ERATADEPITOME
VOCABUDE
THINKDIFFERENT
TOADYGIFSLIV
AWLSSNITSNINA
LAVSHODOOHED
CREATIVEGENIUS
NEVAOLER
TRUDEAUWESZIP
REMAPSTEVEJOBS
APPLENOSECONES
POSEDATTNNEXT
Sun 3/27/2011GET READY TO ROLL
BUSYREPASTSSSR
ALPESTARSPOTPTA
GADSUSSENATENAG
SNOOPGYSERPBERS
CREAMWARETART
AITARAILMOOD
TROMPINTROSSCAT
UNREPAMOIASU
BASALAMSTELSBOT
TEARUPNEOGENE
CHEWGASLITLODGE
RAGAOLEICHAY
TIGGERTHOUATIT
NOTABADIDEABOU
FIONAALEROBBGUN
AVGLIMECORDIAL
TESTTAMIRESORT
ADOASAHIEVIE
ATARIUNIQUEBETS
SATPREPOUTSAT
HUPKNOWNASCECIL
EPASONYCARNE
NERFKEEPONUMINN
LEISONEBSESO
AJAXALLABOARD
PLAYALIEDOLAFII
RIDCALLSIGNMOOR
EVETHETIMESBUNK
ZEDSHYSTEROLES
Sun 1/30/2011CIRCLE OF LIFE
BRASSMREDRHMMWIG
ADRIANIIIVEXATIOUSIKE
DRAGGEDONENTRACTESNEA
INFRENGAIOISPSDEAR
GOTSOREANNMCLALOOF
NOTARYCOOSNICOLAS
ORCSWACOSHUNITSADATE
NEROETTUTIERODSESTA
HPOWERINJUNASIPORKYP
BRANDENDUREDROPINS
AITIALDDSICALLGRR
CSITWELVEYEARCYCLEROO
KEAIONIAZSAESAABO
HOLIESTOLDCARVENOM
SSKINSNEVDOORSDEMOCR
PIEDMESSTINOHSOALOE
ICEDANCEHAAGUELEGAPS
TAPEREDROTCACROSS
INTWOOWEHUHWAITSON
PENDSNOGMAXIMFOILY
RIGAMARETTOSNEGATIVES
ENOSALARYCAPGOLDENAGE
ZENENDRRUNTWOODS
Fri 1/28/2011
SIMULCASTCOPSE
CRAZYIDEAOMAHA
RADIODIALMEDES
INONEERWENTBY
MINDRUSTYSHAW
PANELSEMSANI
SNAFUVITALSIGN
ANTIVENOM
CASTAWAYSSABOT
RIPRELSHRINE
IRAQASAHITEEM
STRUCKDAZENAP
PATIOJAZZDANCE
EXACTAGELIMITS
DINKYWERETOAST
Sun 12/19/2010HOPE FOR CLEAR SKIES
ONTAPEDAHLADZETHINLY
BOUTONAVIASIAMAENEID
STRIPEMANYMSAGOCROWNS
AFTERDDEIONDHORSE
HOWYOMTURNREDASIDAW
ONADEAPOSGTMUGCDAGE
VERAONERSVICESLYES
GAPPEABRAINSCEY
BENCELESTIALBODIESALB
INUTEROTOORDERONASSIS
DARESAYMEAWAIKIKI
ERSTATTHEESCOREICED
AMERELIRAPLOYJESSE
AMATEURASTRONOMER
TAJBRYANMOEGSUITSAG
ALOMARKENNEDYSWANNS
LITERATITIAMOMAHARANI
LASAGNESTOTEMXRAYSPEX
TOTALLUNARECLIPSE
AGASREOAVGNAME
CASTINGGOESDERASHADOW
OPHELIAINBUILTTEELINE
PEEWEESCOWPOKEONESTAR
Sun 9/19/2010MUSICAL PLAY
JUKEAJARAPSECIERA
OPALLUKEBAHALENTEN
BIZETASABEAVEROLDHAT
MISTARCEDOVERICE
THINKOUTSIDETHEBACHS
CIAYANKEEMAHI
ADITCESCHOPINSPREE
RAREFIESGAINSHIPPO
ALDRINOMSKAEOLIAN
FLYINGOFFTHEHANDEL
EYEOBLAANTIPST
NATIONALLISZTPARTY
ATWORSTWEALOHDEAR
SERRAIHEARMARIETTA
HAYDNGOSEEKDENNEIN
OVIDVOODOOENT
MYBIGFATGRIEGWEDDING
APOGEALEIDERREOS
ERWINSGRASPATSTRAUSS
VELVETIOTACOOTAGUA
ESSESSWAYEDNACHEX
Fri 7/30/2010
STOCKINGSTUFFER
MACHINEREADABLE
AUTOACCESSORIES
SRASARETESFIT
HIVEDONERLISA
UNERESATCOLOR
PESTERERPOTENT
HARDCLAMS
SPEARSHAVEACOW
HINNYBIZETARR
RAFEDUTYOMEGA
INACUTESYELAN
VINTAGECLOTHING
ENTERINTODETAIL
LOSEONESBALANCE
Sat 4/10/2010
PATSAJAKSTOMPS
AQUACADEAERIES
DUTCHMANFLAYER
DIEYINDELMAR
ENESROSEMAZES
DOSIDOPLIEADA
BEQUIETSKIN
NOWYOURETALKING
OVALACDELCO
REXHIHOIDAHOS
DRWHOINGALOUT
TOAMANANGETO
HORDESFUJIFILM
INKJETEGOMANIA
DESICAWEBPAGES
Fri 2/12/2010
GEOMETRICSERIES
ACTIVEINTERESTS
THEDESCENTOFMAN
STAINLESSSTEELS
TARFIR
RAJAHSLARCOWS
OZONEEASETRAP
YOUKNOWTHEDRILL
ALLAPOKYAIOLI
LEEJAKECYGNET
JARFOB
ESSENTIALORGANS
TELLSITLIKEITIS
REALESTATEAGENT
EDMONTONESKIMOS
Sat 12/26/2009
WINDJAMMERABCS
AMERICANMEMAHI
CLAYMATIONFRED
KITIDIGTIMBRE
OKEDINHEATRUB
SENORATILTABE
JONESESTWIT
LETONCHIBALMS
IVESTOYOTAS
VANMONAHOTPOT
EMTANOMIEERLE
JAPERYACREIDA
AREADALAILAMAS
ZIGSONARAMPAGE
ZESTWINECOOLER
Wed 9/30/2009
RALPHWALDORAJ
ICILYAPAIRUKE
OCTADDUBAISRA
TRAEMERSON
NATHANIELNEONS
ATESITUPTL
CHEWMERLAIRS
LOUISAMAYALCOTT
SPLATSEISWAY
IWOIONSEIN
OWLETHAWTHORNE
THOREAUSOB
HIDELMERWALLE
ENGTIARAEMAIL
RYEHENRYDAVID
Sun 7/26/2009STORY CIRCLE
MEDALOPTINDISKS
TEXACOUPTOSNUFFONENIL
ESCROWGUIDERAILSKEINS
CHAINOLMOSENRONINGOT
LANNIPSCERANAH
KAISERSSESAESDOGSTAR
NUBCHICOYONERICASNO
ORUTITANNAGNINERONT
BARLINESNOTIFBEATIFIC
ACESAIDHELLONHL
KOMBUSIUSYESSULTRA
EXISTLOFATVIDEOREHEM
ICSYAOENVYINGCASEVE
TATADIEUSAXENCYCREN
HRSNANSDESEDIONOOAR
STOCKSABOTNEALSUVULA
FOESIRRFGSLRON
ENAMELAMILATEETUDES
JAVAODONGASISAOSTYE
EVASWORDINTHESTONEARI
CALQUESTFORCAMELOTBIZ
THOIPSOFRIARMERCLEE
SONNSAYEANSRAHESS
Fri 7/3/2009
TIMEWARPKEITHS
OSOLEMIOOPTOUT
SAILBOATHOOPLA
CARESSILLSDAG
ACERMOESJOSE
YAWINGBILKS
STESALSAALLIE
WAXWORKLOSTART
AXTONMEADERTS
ZEROGANGELO
IVESLITEBLOC
LAMAUDIATTILA
ADIEUXCOQAUVIN
NETTLEEMULSION
DRYADSREALEASY
Thu 2/19/2009
TMANEMILOHJOY
JERIYODABUENO
MARMEBAYWINDOW
AGEOFHUHS
XRAYOFHOPELIVE
XERCIAEVOKED
TURBANLEGEND
CBERSLIETOADY
RADIOSAMIGOS
URGENTNNEAME
ZEESAWESCRAVEN
DRAXSQUAD
EXTRAEXTRAULNA
MYBADEONSASIS
OZAWASLAPSETH
Fri 11/7/2008
KAWASAKIALIGHT
BRAVEMANMONROE
TAXICABSINCITE
OBISNUTMEGDIS
YINSAKAIIRISH
SAGANINSTORSO
LOSTHAWSOUT
KARAOKEMACHINES
ICESKATEKEN
DANKTASSLAIKA
SPEARISAAKNNW
MEWIMLATEUVEA
ELAPSEGIRLTALK
ALLIEDERICIDLE
LASERSSEEDLESS
Wed 10/15/2008
HOTTIPPEABBC
IPHONEBURBLOO
GRANDPOOBAHURL
HANGPROSOMEGA
SHEDEEMCRAW
WARMSTOCHAT
ASSETHOEHALE
SITBACKANDRELAX
ELECROKATEST
COPAASAJOKE
SMUGLODESAD
BOOSTBANDACME
ANNTALKISCHEAP
BMIELIAOPENTO
YETRIPNAMEIT
Tue 10/7/2008
BRITDWARFBAWL
MENURAVELOHIO
WAFFLECONEYANK
SMOTECOWLMOI
SIMBABOZO
ANDFOODPYRAMID
BOOSOBOENIECE
OCTANTSLEARNOF
MACROUSTAETNA
BLOGOSPHERESST
MEINORNOT
JABLOEWNAGAT
ATOZRUBIKSCUBE
ITOOERIKAERIN
LAMEDOZENTUTS
Fri 9/5/2008
SHARICCUPTARA
TOTEMAUTOPILOT
IMOFFCREDULOUS
REMESTASTEHEE
MIMETICMTDANA
LOCALEAMOI
IVANIWOODNYMPH
DIGINTONIGERIA
SEEAGHOSTTAWNY
LUSTNOSHES
TALMUDILOSTIT
ISAACGMAILPRO
STRIKEOUTEXPEL
CRAZYTALKEELED
HOSEODIEPRESS
Sun 8/24/2008COME FLY WITH ME
LAMBMI5AS1OF4THMAGE
AVERESCTHEDAARIATOM
VENERATEAHYESCILANTRO
CUTALONGTHEDOTTEDLINE
TOYOTAISRAEL
APOSTAPCASAUTO
CULFOLDTHROUGHEACHNOI
CHEROKEEHYDRASPOONFED
LABRATSOILTEARFUL
MENSPAIROFNUMBERSCROW
PADITSELFPALESTLOW
3SETSTADKUMSTEP2
EROICACLEARERBOARDS
IKONHARVESTEURO
INTHEGRIDSEQUENTIALLY
JOEYSEENYPDASSLOES
ANE3RSETSBY2BAH
BODEGASPAPAYASSUCROSE
ULM5AGAINST4POE
PICOASTRTILTWIKI
GOTHROWTHEPAPERAIRPLANE
POORIDEAEATERNOVELLAS
SPREADERDO1INESSAYIST
Fri 8/22/2008
RUSSIANLANGUAGE
INTERLEAGUEPLAY
ASANALTERNATIVE
THRONESENRICOS
AUERRAGESMATH
STRAGGLEDSENTA
SLEETVESTED
RICUNSAFERESE
EMOTESTINTO
PALOSMARESNEST
IGORCENTRENTO
PISTOLARADIOER
INSURANCEBROKER
NEARESTRELATIVE
GREENHOUSEGASES
Fri 5/16/2008
JACUZZIWHASSUP
EVASIONAAMILNE
TOPSPOTVIBRANT
SCISMILERSYEA
FATESMITSMERL
ADAMSANOCARVE
NONSTICKPARSED
POLYGEMS
SQUAWKFACEBOOK
OUNCEDIVLANCE
DIKEDOJOSRETE
AXEDORITOSMAP
COMPILETOWLINE
ATPEACEETAILER
NETIZENSHYNESS
Thu 4/3/2008
LEVIHADACSCLS
OXENALIBICPEA
CARDLYLIONSAAB
ERNASAINNSRI
EMORYULEETNN
DYNEAMPRECUSE
COCOASDUROS
WHERESTHEBEEF
CHIDECRITES
AENEIDEVATHAW
BETDADELAUGH
ULEAIRMBABEY
NODERIDEEMCBOY
GUAMYEARNELLE
ATTSCSHEDREDS
Fri 3/14/2008
USBANKSOAPSUDS
NORTONAPPLEPIE
CHAMPAGNEBOTTLE
LESECARDWAILS
ELSEKEEPSELOI
SPRATAMATETNN
AMATOLOGRES
METONYMEUROPOP
NOMADMILANO
NIMFAREDEARED
EDAMNYLONROTC
BAYATJUTESDOA
UHOHSPAGHETTIOS
LORRAINEDECENT
ASSERTEDAMUSES
Mon 3/12/2007
ODDERAHABHAHA
CRONYTOFUIMAX
CONTENTSFRAGILE
UNOYETISHELL
RETAKENROAD
SKIDAMPATTY
INTANDEMANYHOO
VIAKEEPDRYIRK
ENCASELETMESEE
SAKERTESPAS
RHEASCHTICK
ADLAITIERDOI
PROTECTFROMHEAT
TINEPOSTSAULT
SPEDROOSGYPSY