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Kristian House author page

22 puzzles by Kristian House
with constructor comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
222/17/20095/25/20212
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1163425
CircleScrabble
21.65
Kristian House
Tue 5/25/2021
SCABPRATTVADS
TARALOBOHONEY
ENGREVENBETTER
IDONTBELIEVEIT
GONOWROD
NOFRIGGINWAY
CAMEBONNCONGA
RPIBIGSALEBOW
ASTROETSYJAGS
GETOUTTAHERE
NNEASHES
THATSCRAZYTALK
CHILISAUCEEDIE
HORDESINKRAZE
OREOSKNEESTAT

KRISTIAN: Mike had the initial idea for this puzzle, sending me a grid with three of the four theme answers that made the final cut plus another one that we ended up replacing to make the theme a little tighter. I suggested that we use the same clue for each of the theme answers, but the editing team decided to mix it up. Once we were happy with the theme answers, I took a stab at filling the grid, then we took turns tweaking the puzzle until we got a result that we liked.

I like how snappy all the theme answers are, and I'm a fan of 59-Across as an answer but not as a condiment, because I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to spicy food. Enjoy the puzzle!

MIKE: I hope that my 2nd NYT puzzle (another collaboration with old pal KH) doesn't give people whiplash, i.e. this here straight-forward-themed Tuesday after last month's themeless Saturday! As even editors said on acceptance, while this theme is more straight-forward than what they might normally publish, they liked the theme entries and some of the longer fill like CHILI SAUCE and EVEN BETTER and THE VOICE (and even the shorter BARNONE).

As usual, I sent Kristian an idea with theme entries and some fill, and he worked his mojo to fill the grid. I think K tweaked THATSCRAZYTALK from something else that I'd had in there, but I'm most proud of NO FRIGGIN' WAY — that's just a fun entry, theme or no theme.

I did insist to Kristian that our clue for ASTRO should avoid certain (ahem) cheaters, and so… The Jetsons! [sound effect of the Jetsons' little flying pods lol].

I hope you enjoyed our puzzle, and I hope to see y'all real soon on my own!

Sat 4/24/2021
DIMBULBFLING
AWAYTEAMMEANIE
WISEACREREDANT
NNEHARRYSTYLES
IRKREMOPFIRE
SWARMLEGOREST
PITIESNITTI
ANISTONSTRETCH
KABOBSENHOR
TEARSTEPEDENS
ALLITIARASUV
POINTOFVIEWSEW
TIGGERIMSOSURE
ASHLEYSPORTAGE
PETESSPELLED

MIKE: I had only wanted to publish a NYT puzzle on a Saturday someday so it's extra sweet that this is my debut! Kristian and I have written many puzzles, and most collabs have gone like this: I get stuck with about half a grid, maybe with a few marquee entries I'd like to keep, and then he keeps the best stuff and finishes the grid, also taking care of house-keeping issues like cheater squares and such.

He knows how much I love cluing, so he lets me have first crack at the clues, then he'll edit those and let me have a last look, and voila. I absolutely adore ‘?' clues — my fave part of the whole process is coming up with clever clues for as many entries as possible. It doesn't hurt our creative process that we've been close friends for over 30 years.

As for me, I've been an avid solver since 1996 or so, but I mainly solve (and construct) themelesses. My earliest constructions were dreadful. Early in 2020 (not originally having to do with the pandemic) I really dove in. I found dozens of unfinished drafts, and started many new projects. I work at crossword construction most days, some days for hours. I have a Ph.D. in poetry — my 2nd book, "Letter to So-and-So from Wherever," is available from C&R Press. I'm also a singer-songwriter — my band CLOP's album, Fame For Zoe, is available on iTunes, Spotify, and elsewhere. I'm also a self-described KenKen expert.

KRISTIAN: We met on our first day of college, and we've been friends ever since. I'm so happy that his debut puzzle is a Saturday NYT puzzle, as it has been a dream of his for years to get a themeless puzzle published in the Times.

This puzzle started the way most of our collaborations start — Mike sent me a partial grid with some great entries, and I worked through it to try to fill it without compromising the good stuff while trying to minimize the not-so-good stuff. I'm really happy with the result. I really like Mike's stack in the upper left corner and I like 9-Down and 30-Down. I also love some of the clue changes that the editorial team made, with my favorite being the clue for 63-Across. I hope everyone enjoys the puzzle as much as I enjoyed working on it with Mike.

Thu 11/12/2020
LAMAMOSTDPLUS
ICONAMISELIDE
AASKYLARKRUMOR
MISHEARDIMGONE
SNLULNAS
SKATALKUULATER
TASHAYETIWADE
ARTISANITBANDS
FORTPDASEYDIE
FLOATSOUTCCYET
NOENDAKC
RANDOSIMPOLITE
ABORTBBORNOTBB
REVUEALAIVISA
ELANDDEBSESPY

This puzzle started with 61-Across and I worked from there. I originally had a couple different theme answers that Will asked me to change. After some tweaking, I was able to work in some new theme answers, and this is the result. I'm so happy I able to get 7-Down into the grid. I love that song, and "Songs in the Key of Life" is a masterpiece.

Will changed a few of my clues to make the puzzle a little trickier, but as a Yankees fan, I was a little sad that he changed my original clue for 27-Down which was "Disgraced Houston ballplayer." It's probably for the best that he did. I hope you enjoy the puzzle!

Sat 9/26/2020
DUCTTAPEKIMCHI
INHEAVENIDAHOS
GLAMPINGROMERO
GILSACAILMENT
EKEDSALKORSO
RETIEPURGATION
NFCCORNHOLE
REGRAPINOESOS
OXYMORONWNW
ATMINSIDEDIJON
DENSNATEZANE
BRACKETHAHGST
INSANARAGEQUIT
KAISERENERVATE
ELATESNERDCRED

I always have a list of words and phrases that I would like to get into a crossword puzzle, so I decided to plunk a few of those into a grid and work around them to see what came out. This puzzle is the result of that experiment. A few of my favorites are GLAMPING, CORNHOLE, RAGE QUIT, and NERD CRED. I'm especially happy that I could cross RAPINOE and LUCINDA in the center because Megan Rapinoe and Lucinda Williams are both amazing at what they do.

Will changed a few of my original clues to make the puzzle a little more challenging than when I originally wrote it, but I'm glad he kept my clue for CHEERIOS. I love nerdy trivia like that. I hope everyone enjoyed the puzzle!

Sun 11/3/2019 ALL THE RIGHT MOVIES
STEWSTHESEIBISTICS
COCOAWOPATNEKOASHE
AROOMIEWITHAVIEWVAIN
MELDPRICYLEGHEALS
ESCAPEFROMNEWYORKIE
TODAIMATEARN
ASCAPAMICADANESEA
KIRIIDOLRAGINGBULLY
IRONYMANBRANDSNUKE
TEMGAMERACATMAIS
ANALOGYENHRHASTHMA
GOREBOAELECTSPAM
ETNARAINONJOHNWIKI
GOODYFELLASPOTSOLES
OWNARALCARBSTRESS
TRODAGAVEZAK
STRANGERSONATRAINEE
CHUBSETATTESTTALK
URISAHARDDAYSNIGHTIE
ZONEGALABRUTEAIMEE
ZESTEMMYASPERICEUP

This is my first published Sunday puzzle in the Times, which is exciting for me because I've had at least one puzzle appear on every other day of the week, which means I've finally "hit for the cycle."

I had a lot of fun coming up with the theme answers for this one. The first theme answer that I thought of ended up being a great hint to the puzzle's theme, so I decided not to use it in the puzzle, and I made it the title instead. The puzzle originally had the extra theme answer BULLETPROOF MONKEY in the middle of the grid, but the movie "Bulletproof Monk" was a little too obscure, so I had to remove that answer. However, that allowed me to add some nicer long down answers that hopefully improved the overall puzzle.

I tried to be as silly as possible with the cluing of the theme answers, but some were a little too "out there," so Will changed a few to tone down the silliness. Thankfully, he kept my clue for 54-Across, which is one of my absolute favorites. I hope that everyone gets a chuckle today and that they enjoy the puzzle.

Mon 11/28/2016
CABSBLEWPAGAN
ABLERAZEEDUCE
ROARATRATASED
TRIBUTEALBUMS
SCRIMPTENIAN
APARTHEIDERA
MSNSCARAIDES
OHOHKNITSPUNT
ROGUEBULBPAY
SWORNENEMIES
ESOALACROPUP
DUCKDUCKGOOSE
DUNSTISLETNUT
AMIGONEARHERE
DAKAREDYSESPY

It's my first Monday puzzle in the New York Times! I've been trying to write a solid easy puzzle for a while, but it's not as simple as you'd think. I have a lot of respect for constructors who can write clean, easy puzzles so prolifically.

This is my second attempt at this theme. I submitted an earlier version with "SMEW" hidden instead of "EIDER." Will felt that SMEW was too obscure, so I tinkered with the grid, and this is the result. I actually like this one better than my original, so it all worked out. I really like GUSSIEDUP and its counterpart NOGOODNIK, even though they're both a bit old-timey. I hope you enjoyed the puzzle!

Fri 9/9/2016
GAZILLIONSPECS
OMINOUSLYERGOT
UPTOGRADEAIOLI
RECSKIPTUGSON
DROPSARDISUNK
SEMISHOOPSREE
TISSUPERFLY
BAYONETPELISSE
IRONGRIPDIV
GTSEVERTGASUP
WHEWODORSLENO
HOMIESFOIEARP
OUIDAJUMPSSHIP
OSTERUSPOSTAGE
PEERSTEENANGST

This was a fun puzzle to create. I started with ZITCOM, STINKEYE, BIGWHOOP, and JUMPSSHIP and I worked from there. The bottom right corner was a little tricky to fill in, but I was able to get it relatively smooth, so I was pleased with the outcome.

Will and company changed a few of my original clues, but they kept my favorite — the clue for 36-Down (BIG WHOOP). Enjoy!

Fri 5/20/2016
ROGERTHATBOTCH
AROMARAMAACHOO
REFUSENIKRHETT
EGOHAGEMERGES
GARBEDBOAEIRE
ANTISFONDARIA
SOHNITOOUTLET
EGGMCMUFFIN
ANJOUSBFFTENK
SOUMAGOOMIXIN
PUGSFAXCOSTCO
ERUPTEDMENDEC
CILIAGUESTBOOK
TSARSEARTHTONE
SHREKTREASURED

I had a lot of fun making this puzzle. I love the string of consonants in EGGMCMUFFIN, so I put that in the center and worked in the two long down answers. From there, it was a matter of seeding the bigger corners with interesting entries and building it out.

My favorite part of the puzzle is the upper left corner, and I love the (accidental) placement of AROMARAMA next to ACHOO. I imagine a lot of sneezing going on as the different scents were sent wafting through the movie theater.

I hope everyone enjoys the puzzle!

Sat 5/9/2015
MUFFINTOPKEBAB
ONEINFOURIVANA
ASIFICARENOTIN
TENETSPYGLASS
EATDIRTSUTURE
DTSAEONMUTATE
PLAYATTINTS
AGHAMETOOOGEE
NOUNSDARWIN
YENTASLUISFAR
SKYLABSEAHARE
AGELIMITDUTCH
MARINDOCTORWHO
AGENAENTERTAIN
HADESTENNESSEE

The seed entries for this one were 1-, 17-, and 58-Across along with 12- and 31-Down. I wasn't sure if 31-Down would pass muster, but I gave it a shot, and Will was okay with it. I wanted to get 58-Across into a puzzle for a little while since my boys are big fans of the show, and they begged me to try to work it into a grid, so I was pleased when I was able to get it into this puzzle.

I really like the mini-theme in the upper right side of the puzzle as well; 11-Down crossing 29-Across was a happy accident, so when I moved to the center, I decided to take it a step further by getting 42-Across in there, too.

I had a lot of fun making this puzzle.

Tue 3/3/2015
HOHODRAGSCOPE
ACERRISEKUDOS
DELTJOHNNYDEPP
ALLINTOLD
GONZOJOURNALISM
OTOBETSYBELIE
LEISULNA
HUNTERSTHOMPSON
OTOHEINE
ONREDEELERREX
FEARANDLOATHING
MBASZEBRA
INLASVEGASSCAM
KOALALUXEHUGE
ERNSTSTEWETES
Sat 8/2/2014
MANENOUGHBANGS
ONONEKNEEURIAH
VEALOSCARTIETO
ETHANRENTACOP
RSVPENDERS
SMOGARTISAN
ORWELLIANKEBAB
TSEUSERFEERCA
SCRUBROALDDAHL
TRUSTMEEYED
SAVOIRYEST
CLIPCLOPOESTE
ATRIATURDUCKEN
REGANBLUESTATE
FRONTSPYMASTER

I had a lot of fun writing this puzzle. I started with MAN ENOUGH, TURDUCKEN, ROALD DAHL, and BUTT NAKED. I was concerned with that last one for two reasons. The first and most pressing reason was that I was afraid that it wouldn't pass "The Breakfast Test". The second reason was that I was more familiar with "buck naked", but after some quick research, I found that both versions are common. I liked the entry so much that I decided to keep it in the puzzle and hoped for the best.

Will changed a number of clues (for the better), but he kept my clue for 54-Across, which I came up with while thinking of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". I really liked Will's clue for 66-Across. Mine was not nearly as clever.

Tue 6/4/2013
CMDRROBOTMPEG
ROUEEDITHIAMA
ARBSADDTONUMB
BRAESBEEISLAS
SAINTPATRICK
TULLSROFDA
SCAFFOLDENURES
OAHUSEANASH
IMELDAIRONDUKE
REMRHOMOLE
SNAKECHARMER
CINCOANATWINE
AMAHLYNNEEDDY
PATESEEDSAGUE
EYEDDDAYSREPS
Sat 9/22/2012
FESTIVUSAFFIRM
OVERRIDEVIEFOR
GETAROOMERASES
GRAVELINNER
EGADOUTPDA
DMVSISTERHOOD
REEFSSASQUATCH
ENLAIECOCRAKE
SACKLUNCHKITER
SCREENDOORODE
YEONGOTWIT
STOWSAROMAS
BASTEDPUNKROCK
ITGIRLUNDERWAY
TVTRAYDEADENDS
Thu 3/15/2012
BASQUEASAPBBB
AWNUTSLOLAEAU
MELEESTROUPERS
SPEEDOFLIGHT
DIRTSORTNEOS
EMOBASRASEEP
MASTEROFLAWS
ICEAGEDIODES
GOSPELOFLUKE
GISTALISTMEN
EULAATANEAST
BILLOFRIGHTS
BLUEMOONMYSTIC
ETSARNEONEIDA
DYENESSSEXPOT
Thu 12/22/2011
DODDSKITDEUCE
AMIRNEROIXNAY
MESAOLAFOCHRE
ARCTICSQUARE
STUMOOCALVIN
KASDANSEAMALY
TIMESTRIANGLE
ASHEPOEOUST
BERMUDACIRCLE
EGOPERKADONIS
LOWCALAMIOCT
SHAPESHIFTER
OLDIEEXPOAIDA
FIONATEEMVOID
FLOYDACNEANNA
Tue 11/1/2011
ANATNOBELJARS
SETHEPOXYOMEN
HOMEREPAIRCAVA
ENSUEDSTACKSUP
SPLITYESES
REFUSESDENY
ASIAOKAPISKI
HARLEMBOYSCHOIR
MUMMEANSAUTO
SCARPLAYPEN
ESQUEHAIRS
COALESCETEEING
RUNTHAILCAESAR
USDAOPRAHDAZE
SEANPESCISWIG
Wed 1/19/2011
SHALTMASTABBY
LIMOSAREAILIA
AMAZEGMAILROOM
NONEANOIDOLS
GMANOVERBOARD
GNATUNROLLS
AGREEOSEPUPA
LEAGEEWHIZSGT
DRIBMSNACTAS
AMNESIAARCH
GSTRINGTHEORY
OVATEALEELEE
GSUITCASEDRILL
RIGAFRATRIVAL
EXELOILSJOEYS
Tue 11/30/2010
CALFARODBEGIN
ORALNICEAMAZE
ALMAYVESROTOR
TOPSTHELISTODD
KYOTOTAD
DOCPOSTNOBILLS
INUSESEMPEAS
STOPOFFOPTSOUT
KAMARURHONDA
SPOTREMOVEREER
SADSINUS
JAGPOTSOFMONEY
EQUIPSILOCORE
SUAVEANILAVOW
TAMERRINDLASS
Thu 8/19/2010
TACOSTRAWTOI
ONANVIOLAERIQ
GAMEHUNTERMELT
REMYSETPIECE
SCRAPEDSANTAS
PHONELINELEANT
AYNMOODENGS
HEADFIRST
AJAXEASYRUE
STENTSTONECOLD
ERAGONNETLOSS
LANDLOCKTAFT
DINOBANDMASTER
ONEGENEMYSORT
MSSLEEZAAPSE
Wed 6/30/2010
IHADTIEDSHAM
TOMEIHOYANAPE
CROWNJEWELURSA
HASAGOADLIBBED
ROYSANNO
PITSTOPSSCORNS
CRISUITSASSOC
LICESTEELEERO
ANKLESITARAMT
BALERSNOVELLAS
EMITFILA
TYPECASTSOWETO
ASINCLAWHAMMER
DENTKITEDAMNS
ARKSSPEDNATO
Wed 2/3/2010
BATESENOSCARB
OZARKLOVEALOU
BUGGYIDEEGIST
BRUSHYOURTEETH
YEPOATHHWY
AOLDREBEA
PICKUPYOURTOYS
COLTOARRACK
DOYOURHOMEWORK
SPASELDIN
INQJAYZAIR
BECAUSEISAIDSO
WEREITALROWEL
HAIRTYNEDWARF
YUKSEXEDSAREE
Tue 2/17/2009
MAKERETASIDOL
AGILEDEVONADA
JAWEDDRAWTRIX
RICHEARTHTONE
TOTAARP
CMITHEARTOFWAR
HANDSOAPTORME
UGLISTONERAVE
ROASTREVAMPED
NOWHEARTHISSTY
TARATAS
BROKENHEARTED
GROWNOELURBAN
AIDEAURALIBYA
PEELSTANEPSON