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14 puzzles by Frederick J. Healy
with Will Shortz comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
145/24/20042/11/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
01000310
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59000
Frederick J. Healy
Puzzles constructed by Frederick J. Healy by year
Sat 2/11/2017
LASERTAGSQUIBS
USEDTOBESUNDAE
SPIKELEERATEDA
TINOLAWSDOCKS
ERECTTHAWSLAO
REDHATILADARN
YOWZAHORME
HAWKEYEMOPHEAD
ACHECARIOU
VTENASASPASMS
EANDREWSSTOIC
ALTHOLEHITODO
COHOSTGETSATAN
ONELAPGEEKCHIC
WENDYSSTAYHERE
Sat 5/28/2016
ZIPPERGLACES
SNARLUPRESULT
ASSESSEDINSTIR
ZOTATTELETGTI
SNOBSELIGBLIP
AGRIPSULCEASE
GALAXYQUEST
NATOMEMBERS
HIPHOPMUSIC
CANESRONNATTY
ONESHADSTNEHI
ASIROSETEASEP
TORNUPLETSSLIP
ELOISERETRACE
DONNEDSOISEE
Sat 3/21/2015
JUMPINJACKFLASH
AHOOSIERHOLIDAY
NOCAUSEFORALARM
EHSZAPSACTSIN
FUNINK
ITEAUSMMAGE
ORANGEPOPSICLES
TURNEDTHETABLES
ATTENTIONPLEASE
SHODLTDAYES
MOTDSL
YESBUTEDUCSLO
ONEAFTERANOTHER
GETSTOFIRSTBASE
ISTHISSEATTAKEN

I remember when I accepted my first triple-triple-stacked crossword for the Times. It was by the illustrious, triply-named Martin Ashwood-Smith back in 2000. I rushed it into print on May 19 of that year, because I thought it was so cool.

Over time, though, I've become a little less enchanted with triple-triple stacking, partly because, well, it's been done multiple times now (22 times, including today, according to XWord Info). Also:

  1. Today's grid design is inherently flawed, because there's so little connection among the three parts of the grid. Just two letters link the top to the middle, and two others link the middle to the bottom. An elegant grid provides greater flow among the sections, giving the solver more options for how to proceed.
  2. This grid has an oversupply of three-, four- and five-letter words. Of the 70 entries here, 56 (or fully 80%) are of these short lengths. And almost necessarily there's a lot of crosswordy stuff, like EHS, ITEA, USM, EDUC, ENES, SETT, EAR TO, POA, EDT, SO HOT, EFS, ADAS, IAL, LESE, OREN, etc. Altogether these don't make for lively solving.

What sold me on this puzzle, when I accepted it in April 2012, was the liveliness of the nine 15s. Every one of them is a gem, in my opinion. So the puzzle does provide some genuine pleasures, and I give Fred Healy major kudos for these.

But this is to report ... today's crossword is the last triple-triple-stacked puzzle in my files. And it's likely to be the last one I publish.

I'm still a sucker for elegant construction challenges, including crazy stacking, but it's time for this design to be retired.

Sat 12/28/2013
JUMBOFRIESSRTA
ONIONRINGSUIES
GUNSLINGERGPAS
SMAEDGERPASSE
PAGOGARNET
MOJAVESTUCCO
EDUCEBORNTORUN
WISEBARAKATNO
LETSPARTYSTEPS
PEORIAPIERCE
ODETTEMILD
FIATSATOLLDAD
ONCESMILEYFACE
LAHRSENTIMENTS
DRYSANYONEELSE

Years ago Will Weng wrote that in his opinion a crossword was a good one if 10% of the entries were fresh and lively. By this standard, Frederick's puzzle is a wild success. Some of the entries I like in it are JUMBO FRIES, ONION RINGS, BORN TO RUN, LET'S PARTY, SMILEY FACE, ANYONE ELSE, SUGAR-COATED, RIP-SNORTER, JUST PEACHY, and SILLY ME — and not too much GUNK! That's handsome work.

Sat 11/23/2013
JUJITSUJAZZAGE
ELATIONSHOOTUP
TAKEAIMBOOTEES
SLAMSALARMDST
FURSSPICAVISE
AMTDEPTHFARSI
NEATIDEASALTON
ACEDZANE
FIBBERHANGTIME
APLUSPANTSCOX
SAISLANZABART
TNTAUSSIPENTE
CEZANNEBUILTIN
AMERIGOATACOST
RANKLESRESHOES

My favorite entries here are JUJITSU, JAZZ AGE, TAKE AIM, NEAT IDEA, HANG TIME, GUESS SO, FAST CAR, BLITZEN, and ZANZIBAR. That's a lot of great stuff. There are some minuses, too (the obscurish PIAS, the variant TABUS, and RESHOES). But overall, very handsome. The constructor, one of many Canadians who contribute crosswords to The Times, hails from Port Coquitlam, B.C.

Sat 8/24/2013
XENOALISTGRAF
ATONLENTOHALO
CHOCOLATESHAKES
TAKENOPRISONERS
ONSCUTANDPASTE
GUTMOT
ZAIRESEAWORTHY
ARNOSPURNASIA
KICKSTARTONKEY
PERMFG
IMAGINETHATSAM
COMETOTHERESCUE
APPLEPIEALAMODE
RULEARUDEUNIT
EPEEDENSEGETS
Sat 6/4/2011
XINGKARAOKEBAR
EWERADAMANDEVE
RATENOSIREEBOB
OSCARSSNEERNA
XHOSAPLODMALT
EASYRIDERLEVEE
DDTETASPOSEAS
IBISWASH
ACTSINBRIESAO
CARETLOANSHARK
CLUESOAPIOWAS
LOSGARSSTITCH
ARTOODETOOSOHO
IIMAGINESOTINO
MEETHEADONSTET
Sat 4/30/2011
JAMBDOJOBLOG
USEEENOSQUILL
BILLBELTBUCKLE
IDOUBTITRAKEIN
LEDGEEVADES
AFRAIDSOEER
NRANAIVEROOD
TOMSDRILLOVIS
MAPSSTIESEMP
ROBZANEGREY
DANUBETOWNS
ALICESNOTSOHOT
HAVEITMADEDEVO
LIEUTENDSILER
SNAPNASTEMLY
Sat 2/6/2010
HARSHNONCE
ARETEPRERECORD
BAGELRUSTEATEN
IMIMPRESSEDUVA
BESTWISHESCPAS
HANSENTOTS
AVENGEDMIROS
NATTERFANNIE
ICIERBASKETS
MADDLUTHER
BANEMOTHERSDAY
ATTCENTERSTAGE
DILLINGERDOREN
GOODDEEDSARENT
ENTREMESTA
Fri 2/6/2009
JANEFONDADEPTS
IMONADIETOWLET
GOLDWATCHREINA
GROINIAMAROCK
LASTOLDNAGCEE
ELSGREEDYKENO
UPENDBANTU
HANSOLOLEANEST
IDEESSILKS
GRADTICKLEKOS
HORGASHESKARN
SIBERIANSYRIA
PTEROYOURHONOR
OLEOSNONEATALL
TYROSOKEYDOKEY
Fri 10/24/2008
JULIACHILDSAKS
IRONMAIDENAMAT
MICRONESIATERR
ASKOUTSEARLE
ROBOTANIMA
HESSREMITSCAM
OXLIPANNIEHALL
THEBESTYOUANDI
TIESAKNOTPRMEN
ALPLAIDONMENE
MAEVEKATEY
ARRESTWAFERS
LACSONECALORIE
ETATDEADRINGER
SERASTRIKEZONE
Sat 1/12/2008
KICKSTARTSPLAT
CLEOPATRAPEABO
ALLCOMERSERNIE
RESHIPSDEFIES
LETSLIDE
SCORERMTPOCONO
HERODREGISTRAR
EDELSALONTADS
REALITYTVAERIE
MDDEGREEASNEAR
ROADRAGE
SHEBOPCAPECOD
PILAFFIRSTTAKE
EFILERAISINPIE
WIELDINDICATED
Fri 10/19/2007
SQUEEGEESOHWOW
AUSTRALIADUANE
NONEATALLINITS
ETASEYESEATIT
REVSNEADNAPE
DYERENDUPSTR
NOSSIMOLEON
BIGTALKPALACES
OVERDONESOS
RETSPAMSSTIR
AHATSPOTSNOB
BALESSTEPABBY
ODISTAIRINGOUT
RIFLECONCOURSE
ATEAMKNEEPANTS
Mon 5/24/2004
DIRETRAMPCASA
IDOLRECURAVON
REDSKYATMORNING
TSEHIPSAVAIL
BANSFINANCE
SPRANGSOAKS
IRANKINTETWO
DOGDAYAFTERNOON
EWERENTSOGRE
SNAGSDREAMS
TEMPERAHEAL
ALOESSOLIACE
BLUESINTHENIGHT
LENDBEAUTREIN
ENDSNOTMEEDNA