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24 puzzles by Julian Lim
with constructor comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
241/6/201011/1/20200
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2115438
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64101
Julian Lim
Sun 11/1/2020WEST-SOUTHWEST
ONSTARICUEBERTCHUG
REPOSERAGXAXESROME
SWAYUPHIGHQUANTASIN
EMTSODESUMMERSWEAR
RESTAPLEPOISWANLAKE
ORALSORSOSPA
SWARMRECEPTIONSPITES
AONETRENDTHORSNARK
MENSCHDIKEROCTERI
SEADOVEAIWAOBOE
FORWANTOFABETTERSWORD
OPEROEUFOTHELLO
ARTYNASOBIESUPERB
MARESMEANCELIAOLAY
SHORTUSPARKLINGSWINE
ANYACUEELATE
ISCARIOTCDTSANDREEF
SWEPTFORJOYSTYDANO
LILIOHYOUSWISHLISTS
APTSROSINHALSEVERS
MESHMOTETATLTIEDYE

With other commitments in life, I've had much less time to construct crosswords in the past few years, that is, until the pandemic restrictions in Singapore left me caged at home with nothing but time. Happily, creating puzzles is still as fun now as it was when I started 10 years ago, although keeping up with the vocabulary of young people is becoming increasingly challenging — sometimes, I feel like I need to get a couple of my undergrads to help me maintain my wordlist.

The theme of this puzzle is also admittedly a bit old-fashioned. I like the theme set I managed to come up with, though, so I hope people in the mood for an old-fashioned Sunday will have a good time. Or if not, just an old fashioned instead. Ganbei!

Sat 12/21/2019
JOECAMELETCH
SULTANATEMIRE
SANDALWOODIMAX
POKEVARCLOVE
OPENERICTHERED
NAMARIZ
GUAMHOTSYTOTSY
ELIAAURASLOKI
SOLOARTISTARID
JUDDPAD
SQUADGOALSTERI
TUCCILIPODES
ROOKTREVORNOAH
ARNEAAVERAGES
WANTINERTGAS
Sat 10/8/2016
SCRAPSSTRAWMAN
MOOLAHTHEPIANO
IMWAYAHEADOFYOU
TOSSACOINPIONS
SKUNK
DECRYREGROMAS
IGLOOSROBOCALL
EGOSURFDETENTE
GONEGIRLTILTED
ONENOEELSOARS
EMIRS
SHOWSMOVIEFONE
LIMOUSINEDRIVER
OVERLOUDEILEEN
GENDARMESEENTO
Fri 5/6/2016
CARDCATALOG
GAMEOFTHRONES
GOTINTOHOTWATER
LASSOESUSSTATE
OTCTSP
SEALABSITSLATE
SENEGALSATINON
ARNOBRAT
CJCREGGNOGUCHI
HARNESSSTEPHEN
AGAIRE
SUNDOWNPLANFOR
MAKETHEBESTOFIT
RECRIMINATION
DOAGOODTURN

NYT crossword fanatics may recall that I had a puzzle in February last year that used a similar figure-8 grid. While I was constructing that one, I was forced to add cheaters to the 7th and 9th rows to get clean fill, which ended up leaving me vaguely dissatisfied with the shape of the puzzle. This ended up nagging at me so much that I thought I'd have another go at filling the grid I really wanted to use, and this time managed to succeed. Happily, Will liked the second puzzle too, and I got to sleep well at night again after it was accepted.

It will come as no surprise that 12-Across was my seed entry at the top. Given that the current constructing community skews young and geeky, it's a little strange that the entry is only making its NYT debut at the start of Season 6 of the show — might be the awkward 13-letter length.

Played around a lot with the middle of the grid, going through about 4 or 5 versions before I was finally happy with what I had. I especially wanted everything going through CJ CREGG (another seed) to be unambiguous — you're out of luck with that name if you weren't a West Wing fan.

Clue I was saddest to lose: I originally had 41-Across as {Fry in England}, but Mr. Colbert took his place. Apologies to all my QI-loving friends.

Sat 2/27/2016
THISJUSTINCALF
HAVEITMADEOLEO
ATALLTIMESSPAR
YENLETINTASK
ERISREATAACHE
RSVPSSMITHILE
EEKITSASNAP
DREAMUPYELLOWS
ROCKIDOLAVE
IMOSOWEDAWAIT
NANSSHOEDSINE
KNOTAPRILRTE
SIMISTAMPALBUM
TAILPARISIENNE
ONCEANDSOTOBED
Wed 10/7/2015
MARCDURANTDJS
AREAINALIEYAO
TICKLEDPINKNIL
TATERTOTSTALE
MORNDOOM
PRINCECHARMING
HOAXABMSCIA
USBPROBONODVD
BIBKOOLHUES
STINGOPERATION
TUSKEDEN
JOHNDRIVETHRU
EGOTRAINEDSEAL
ELLMADMENALGA
ZEEINSERTTMEN

I actually constructed 2 versions of this puzzle before deciding which to submit, one with and the other without the central theme entry. This is the one with 5 themers — it has slightly worse fill, but I think the compromises were worth it to get BONO into the mix. A set of mononymous singers wouldn't have felt complete without him.

Fri 2/27/2015
GRACEPERIOD
PRISONEROFWAR
THISISSPINALTAP
ROSEATECATSEYE
ANTBOT
MELISMABUSLANE
PSYCHICBRIARS
HOMOGARP
IMAGERUNEARTH
EDITIONNONZERO
DINGAP
YOUANDISHALLWE
STEPHENJAYGOULD
STORAGESPACES
SPARETHEROD
Wed 2/4/2015
MIREHYATTFIEF
AMEXMOTESIOWA
CHECKOUTCOUNTER
SOFIABAHREARS
TYPEBAGASSI
TAKEOUTORDER
ALLSETYEATGIF
LIEDIYCPRECO
LIEFTASTEHRAN
LOOKOUTPOINT
SATURNSNOOT
ALONESOYSPOSE
WORKOUTROUTINES
TATEMARKSNEAP
ODEDSTYESKATY
Sat 10/4/2014
BROMANCERIBALD
EASYPOURECOCAR
NTHPOWERLAOTZU
TEARGASDINKIER
EERDUGIDY
SAUCEVARIED
AGNIMARIONETTE
GOTORACKANDRUIN
ABOUTTURNSNEMO
SERIESWISES
RIBITDSHE
ASAGRAYSTIRRER
MIDAIRDIETCOKE
BALZACANNERICE
OHYEAHGETRIDOF

My big worry as I dropped this one into the mailbox was whether DURIANS were well-known enough to appear in a NYT crossword — I don't recall ever seeing one in my time in the States. I'm glad they passed muster with Will! Curious to see in comments if anyone has had the pleasure of eating one.

The other thing I noted about the final version of this puzzle is that most of my "?" clues survived the edit. I'm fond of writing them, but I think they often come out a bit too crazy for editors' tastes. It's nice that [Mixer for losers?] made the cut — the image amused me when I thought it up (or perhaps I'm just very easily amused).

Sat 7/26/2014
GETSREALMOVIE
ALITALIAWINONA
STMORITZOCULAR
JOEPESCIWASABI
ERLHOOFTIN
TOYOTAPAUSING
POSTERCHILD
SEACREATURE
JERSEYSHORE
MULATTORUNDMC
ILEINSTOOO
RICRACTENSPOTS
RATEDAATOMIZES
ONENILLOVEBITE
RADONKNOWBEST
Sat 2/15/2014
KAMASUTRALONGS
EGOMANIACENERO
PENNYANTELEGAL
TROISTERRANOVA
OASENOTES
SWMHOUSEMDIST
THISUSERSKATY
BALLPAXILOTOE
OLIONIECEPENA
NETMARSHESDER
IBANEZPOM
FORELIMBSNARCS
ANILLRATIONOUT
CEELOALANMOORE
ESSENZENGARDEN

I constructed this puzzle almost 3 years ago, and my main memory of it is having a titanic struggle completing the southwest and northeast corners after starting to fill the grid from the center. As a result, I think there's more ugly short stuff than I'd like in a themeless I'd construct today, particularly the yukky AN ILL. C'est la vie. I am happy that KAMA SUTRA made it into print with my original clue, which still kind of amuses me. (Or maybe I'm just easily amused.)

The eagle-eyed may have noticed that both this themeless and my last one have drug names debuted in them (CIALIS and now PAXIL) — I'm not shilling for any drug companies though, honest! On the other hand, I am generally plugging any graphic novelists/novels that find their way into my grids, so if you haven't read anything by ALAN MOORE, please do so immediately.

Sun 11/17/2013VOWEL PLAY
MOCHACROWECARBHAIL
AARONOKRASABAAAGRA
CHATEAUOILSMEDIABIAS
SUNLAMPROUEAIRLINES
ERATHUNOTINIT
ELBABOASTSSCALIA
GOADSUNIHENNAITERS
OOHUNDERSEAOUIJAIOS
SPARREDPOSTGAMEBABA
ISEEMILONEWSROOM
SOVSFINDPEACETAUT
STEPTURNRUDETACT
LAUDSANDBARSDIRECTV
ATVMAUIOENOPHILEOWE
VERSADELCOEEEDEMON
SNEAKSASGARDREST
GETREALEKESHU
ADIEUOARSMANCHEDDAR
DONTPANICPRAGUEAIOLI
ANNETACOSEWONTTOPS
MESASTATESSAYHESSE

This puzzle started life with CHAI EUONYM as part of the theme set. Will didn't think many people would know what a EUONYM was, so we went to PRAGUE AIOLI (changing CHATEAU OIL to OILS), and I refilled the grid for the first time. I thought at that point I was done, but Will wanted another rewrite because I had long downs at 5d and 64d* that were longer than my themers at 36d and 40d. I personally hold the philosophy that breaking that convention is OK with certain themes (for instance, where the theme answers are all clearly nonsense phrases), but I may be in the minority on that point. Fortunately I had come in at 138 words in my original version, so I was able to split those answers up without completely gutting the grid. Still not the end of the story though — Will e-mailed me a couple of weeks before publication to tell me I'd misspelled OEUVRE (oof) and that he had redone the left side of the grid. Talk about limping to the finish line.

In any case, I'm very pleased to have my first Times Sunday puzzle in print, and I hope people enjoy it despite its tortured birth!

* for interest, 64d in the original grid was LAUREL WREATH {Leaves in triumph}, and 5D was BREASTAURANT (!)

Sat 9/7/2013
BURJKHALIFAPIC
ONAUTOPILOTGMA
WISDOMTEETHTMS
EXPOSITSOLDHAT
LEOAMERICA
CIALISSTATERUN
ASIANSUITETLC
NORMSENDSYEAH
TMCMAINESEETO
HELSINKICORNER
ATEINTOEON
CRANIACRONYISM
KINMAJORLEAGUE
ICEANDSOITGOES
TSRLASTRESORTS

It might be of interest that I started constructing this puzzle almost immediately after actually visiting the 1-Across. I suspect it might be the one and only puzzleworthy entry with a JKH consonant string, which of course made its use irresistible.

Thu 5/30/2013
BAHSSCARFBADE
OLEOTIMORILER
WOLFDNABBEGITA
LEDTOLOSLOBOS
WEIVRETNITIXE
JEANNIESOAR
ALTNAPNYLON
CHEWORCTAEIVE
KIRBYSECFEW
ELANNEUTERS
WONTISEODYSAE
OMAREPPSDIVAS
VEGAEASTTOWEST
EGGYCLIOSANKA
NAYSTIETONTSB
Wed 4/10/2013
LANCEAMPUPAFI
ACORNTEARSEAR
HERESJOHNNYSTA
PUENTECOAT
ISEEDEADPEOPLE
PDAOIL
AIMATIRREGAAR
YOUHADMEATHELLO
STELLAHEYSTELLA
ASLEVOKEHEMEN
ANIALS
IWANTTOBEALONE
DAFTNACHOS
ELFETPHONEHOME
ALISHOALWEWON
SEXCUTIESALAD
Sat 3/16/2013
STEPSITUPTOQUE
WELLAWAREINURN
ALMAMATERGEIST
MOSTESTFRESCAS
ISTOHERTREK
JARULEABMS
DUCTEDBESTSUIT
MCRAEABEBOCCI
ALANPAGEHANKER
JAZZPARLOR
YAKSYUMLARA
WHINIERMENACED
HADINEXPLETIVE
ATEATCLEAREDUP
THANEDVDBOXSET
Thu 12/27/2012
POPSATEITKISS
SNOWVOLVOIRAQ
HALFNELSONSEAU
AHLENDERAMARE
WOODCUTAMELIE
PIECEOFWRITING
LOQRAIDZEE
ASHEPOXNENE
SPABROZPSY
PARTIALECLIPSE
IMDONEHANDAXE
RACKSBOOYAFAA
ALOESEMIFINALS
TORNCISCOORLY
ETESINKERHIYA
Thu 4/26/2012
ITSTRIPODSEAW
NEORENOIRCLUB
CANDYAPPLERIGA
ISLAPIPESIN
FIRSTWWARAWEEK
LAONROTC
OMAHASROOTCROP
ASMALLWAFTERALL
TOSSDOWNONTIME
REIGNTAU
MATRIDEODORANT
UNHINGEMERE
MEINAWHOLENEWW
BERGGEARTOGAL
OLDWABBESSOXY
Tue 12/20/2011
HOWLATGPAMCAT
AREOLAOILCODA
SEEPINGOPPRAM
HOPEAGAINSTHOPE
ASSUREYENTL
SOIRSLEEPEASY
EXCERPTREE
NOIDEANASCAR
HRHMYSPACE
ROPEADOPELYES
ONELBSANCTI
LANDSCAPEARTIST
LUNERNASUPPLE
UTESANYATEOUT
PORTBAASHADES
Wed 12/7/2011
KNEWSALSADAR
GOTHATEUPAOKI
BRAINWAVESFUEL
LESLEYCABLE
LETSROLLPARLAY
ABITOFPINCE
TOMFULLCIRCLE
ELENASAETYROS
RISINGSTAROTT
STAIROPTSTO
BBQPITPASSESAS
LOUISCAREEN
USACZENERCARDS
TURKINANECIAO
ONEGOMADEMMY
Mon 9/19/2011
ARRRCROPAPPS
NOAHLOVESROOT
DAVYJONESLOCKER
IRISESREAMEMU
LEASTAVAST
TALKLIKEAHER
ATOINIEMAGOG
BASSOONPENGUIN
DEMONPADINGA
NECPIRATEDAY
BOOTYANKLE
ACTTICKLAALAA
SHIVERMETIMBERS
IRMASAYSOBACH
NEETNEONAHOY
Fri 8/12/2011
BRASSDRAMA
RUSHINGFLEERED
INHALERLONGBED
ELGRECOAVARICE
FORONCEBERATED
WANTONSSIDES
YAKITCHIER
ENJOY
KLINGONPIG
FIENDEFFACER
PANTHERERRATIC
OLDTIMETORNADO
RAREBITTWOSTEP
CLERICSINTEARS
HADATSENSE
Thu 4/21/2011
FREAKCYSTEBBS
RINSOHOPESULU
EACHONEWORDCLUE
YALELAWTRIAGED
AGUAAMPERE
INTHISPUZZLE
BEARDCOZYNES
MAKEMATEOROCK
STELEHISAVOY
ISAHOMOPHONE
ARARATNATO
LETITBETRINARY
OFITSACTUALCLUE
HELILTYREATIN
ARTSLORERAINS
Wed 1/6/2010
AMENDBEADSGST
RENEEUNMETYEW
FLYSPRYLYBYPRO
TATTOOTEASES
SHIFTSSYNE
COSIFRAIDYCAT
HAYNESARTIER
ERNALLWISEYEA
CASUALADAPTS
LOTTERIESPTAS
EBRODRYMOP
STYMIEZIPLOC
AASPYGMYRHYTHM
GITORANGITHEE
ENSSEPOYROOFS