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Stella Zawistowski author page

21 puzzles by Stella Zawistowski
with constructor comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
218/26/200411/22/202114
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
12632331
Scrabble
1.59
Stella Zawistowski
View these same grids with comments from:
Constructor (6)Jeff Chen (6)Jim Horne (2)Hide comments

See the 90 answer words debuted by Stella Zawistowski.

Collaborator: Bruce Venzke
Alternate name for this constructor:
Stella Daily

20 Daily crosswords by Stella Zawistowski

Mon 11/22/2021
SOLEWOREAGENT
OPUSAXELPATIO
FANTASYBASEBALL
ALKALIOILSLED
BUTTONUP
UPCMYSTERYMEAT
PROSOASRANDY
BUSTOUROPENSUP
ONTAPALIYULE
WESTERNWALLETA
COIFFEUR
FLAGTCUINEVER
ROMANCELANGUAGE
OPERASLOTSIGN
GENRETYCOELSE

I'm known for my love of the very hardest crosswords: I had a very long streak in which about 10% of my Twitter feed was me complaining about how the Friday and Saturday NYT themelesses were too easy, and my website is ToughAsNails.net. Although hard puzzles are my favorite to solve, I do enjoy making a nice easy one from time to time. I find that my sweet spots are either simple, straightforward themes that lead to a Monday or Tuesday grid, or else hard themelesses where the trickery is in the clues. One of these days I will figure out how to make something moderately hard for Wednesday or Thursday!

Fri 9/24/2021
BETENOIREEPSON
ICELANDERNACRE
BOXBRAIDSCRUDE
INTERIORHOTBED
ARMOREDCARS
SPLATSCALE
ELOPEDKIMHAIL
LEAPDAYLEMONDE
LADSTUGTURTLE
FILETLASER
IMAGINETHAT
MAKINGSEMIPROS
AFIREMONOPLANE
MINORAMBULANCE
SASSYREARENDED

Since I often start themelesses now with a single seed (in this case, BOX BRAIDS) instead of two or three, I'm really pleased that the editing of this puzzle left much of the "me" in the clues intact, since you can't necessarily tell that this puzzle is a Stella just from looking at the grid like you can in some of my other themelesses. The most obvious example is my cluing LOAD with reference to weightlifting, but others are TURTLE as a mythological bearer of the world and Milton Friedman as my chosen ECONomist.

Sat 10/31/2020
BESTSELLERSCAR
ACCENTAIGUCANA
CHARLESTONARID
KORNARTSRAMI
EECALGERTAPAS
DREAMONICEBATH
COSAPAMCEE
MALLETSPEEDS
ALABIBSTUN
TOWPATHAEROSOL
TUNASULTRAVOL
RESTSTEPREDO
ETATCAERPHILLY
STLOUNDERRATED
SEENDISPOSSESS

I have a feeling this puzzle is going to be quite polarizing, and I hope that many solvers eventually have the same reaction to my seed entries (ACCENT AIGU and CAERPHILLY) as I did when I first encountered them: "This is a word/phrase I didn't know before, but now I am glad to know it." I guess I've known about CAERPHILLY longer than I've known how to make a themeless puzzle, since I love cheese. I'm also originally from Philadelphia, so the first time I saw CAERPHILLY (which has absolutely nothing to do with the cheeses commonly used on cheesesteak) I got a kick out of the name and its utterly (udderly?) non-Philly origins.

Tue 7/14/2020
LETINARMSSHOW
OVENSLEAHCARE
RENTFREEZERISE
CREEORDERAROD
ATTRACTLIPS
EPAWHOLEHOG
PHASECRACKIRR
RANTPLONKTREE
OWNGRANDARTSY
SKIPPINGRBI
EEOCYOUANDI
ECHOEMAILNORN
SOAPWICKEDGOOD
TALLANTEOLIVE
AXLERIISTELEX

When I started constructing again last year, I said I was going to stick to themeless puzzles. I mean, how on-brand is that for someone who spends as much time as I do complaining that the NYT puzzles are too easy? But I suppose eight years of collaborating with Bruce Venzke meant there was always some part of my brain subconsciously putting themes together, and that part woke right back up.

Although I've already had two other solo submissions, both themeless, published in NYT since I became a solo artist, this is the first puzzle of mine that he accepted back in June 2019. I was worried that when I looked at it again more than a year later, that I'd hate it. But I still like it. Phew! "Phrases with related words at end" is not exactly the most innovative theme trope in the world, but I think I get some points for execution.

Sat 6/20/2020
MIAMIDEADSPOT
BUGLERINDICATE
ADULTSALACARTE
SHANELANINA
SENIORSCONNAP
INAGROOVEGHOUL
HITMEAIDA
SKETCHESOFSPAIN
KAYEPTRAP
INERTCATALYSTS
PECAOLOUTPLAY
ARMPITFLASK
MANEATERTRALEE
ADDALINEDECORS
PAYMENTSSEEMS

Over the past couple of years, my husband and I have become novice jazz lovers. As part of our neophyte education, last year we saw the documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool. I was struck by how many times Davis managed to reinvent his musical style and, in so doing, push the genre forward, and I knew I wanted to make a puzzle that honored him in some way. I landed on SKETCHES OF SPAIN as a 15-letter seed that, although it's a piece of trivia knowledge, is also clue-able beyond "here is a random factoid" — the clue specifically references the flamenco inspiration for the album so that solvers who get it from the crossings can go, "Oh, I get it."

If even one person gives Miles Davis a listen after solving this puzzle, that's a win for me.

Sat 1/25/2020
DONTJUDGEMEAMI
EVERANDANONLAM
FIGUREEIGHTMGM
ANGERNEEMANE
TEASESILLTIMED
DOWNSAMATI
SLAGLAGSCOTIA
PALAVERLOOSEST
OBAMASAUSARME
ROBINPIXAR
TRANSFERDEFANG
SIMSLOBVALOR
BOADURANCEVILE
RUNEMILYBRONTE
ASSBEALESTREET

Given that I spend too much time on Twitter complaining that the NYT weekend puzzles have gotten too easy, it's only right that my comeback as a constructor, and my solo debut, should be on a Saturday. (Feel free to razz me if this one turned out easy for you.)

When I quit constructing in 2010, I was fine with my decision. I was pursuing a lot of other interests, and eventually, I started writing trivia, which scratches my itch for clue-writing but with fewer constraints. So, despite being part of the crossword community all this time, I didn't miss making puzzles. But over the past couple of years, as the conversation has turned more to the underrepresentation of women in puzzles, I started to feel a little guilty about not constructing. I also realized that I wanted the puzzles I solve not to be so bro all the time! In 2019 I decided it was time to be the change I want to see in the world.

When I worked with Bruce Venzke, our arrangement was that one or the other of us would come up with a theme (if any), he made the grids, and I wrote the clues. So despite having published many, many crosswords, I felt very unqualified to do it on my own at first. At the 2019 ACPT, there was so much great discussion about constructing and women in puzzles, and of course, placing the highest I've ever placed as a solver helped to light a fire under me to get started. I asked Andy Kravis over and traded him a home-cooked meal for a gridmaking tutorial, for which I am eternally grateful.

Don't call it a comeback. I've been here for years! But I'm thrilled to be back as a solo artist, making puzzles with my own womanly voice.

Mon 5/5/2008
SPAMMACSSEGAR
TADAALAWIRENE
ONUSDOMECITGO
WELCOMEPACKET
ELTORORADOPS
TENNISRACKET
LBJSEEPYENTL
IOUSYEASTLORE
BRIARNOAHWOO
YELLOWJACKET
ASLAHAERASES
INCOMEBRACKET
COACHMILOTORI
AURAEEROOISIN
MIDASDEBTCHET
Tue 1/15/2008
GALASVOCALIRS
ALANAAISLEVIC
ZESTFORLIFEOVA
ACHIEVEASTRAL
RASCALKYLE
TACOLEADFOOT
EXODUSMOATORC
CLASSLESRAWER
HESEZIOGAZEBO
TODIEFORTRAP
OLGAPUFFIN
COURICNEONGAS
TRATONEOFVOICE
ERRADEPTALLOW
TEDRETIESOAPS
Sun 1/13/2008 BABY TALK
NOWNOWFLAKCLUDAWNS
AVIATELIMAOOPALEUT
TUFTEDOVERSHOTNIFTY
OMEARAWESTWEFORGET
GLISTENSIRANINBC
OBOETHRUAPEOTBEOE
CEEDREPATENTWEATHER
ALSORANSLEDTOWHIRR
LOONEYEMIOPULENCE
AWNEDPEASEEKESODED
GIANTWIZARD
OCTSPESOERECTGOMAD
FOOTPATHERASECEDE
FREEHOLSENBAILSMAN
ARTWINKWETTERRCSOZS
LAHZENGISEWOKCREE
LETNASALARROWKEY
WAKEVICTORIAEARWIG
AMISHEXISTENTARIANA
FANTAREETESHVAUNTS
TWEENYRSOLESENMESH
Wed 9/19/2007
BAHFALLCATNIP
ORUASEAAIRACE
AIMCHICKFLICKS
RABBISENTFRET
LEASEARLESS
JOEYLAWRENCE
AMPSAHIBARNAZ
MAIMBIGOTSERB
SNERDSONICRNA
COLTREVOLVER
ALCOHOLOMOO
LIEFQEIIEXURB
CALFMUSCLESSOO
ORTEGAKIRILAC
ASSERTYARNYMA
Wed 5/23/2007
BASTESWABABED
ATEUPHALOSASE
NODESADENCRAW
AMAITRIEDTOBUY
NIKOLAIART
ACAMOUFLAGESUIT
ANTAMEXTOE
FEARSPYCENT
OAFSHOEGSA
BUTICOULDNTFIND
SALCAREFOR
ONEANYWHERETMI
SERACOILTEHEE
LAICORELCLEAR
ORESWEDSHINTS
Tue 2/6/2007
ASCIIZIMASKIM
SPAMSEDOMMEMO
HAPPYJUICEIVAN
ENTREESSCHTICK
UTEHAHN
BOYDPIQUEDBAT
OTOESOUPTIARA
SHUNSWASONCDS
SERTAARESTOOT
ARELOSTTOENRY
TUTUFDR
ACOLYTEGAUCHOS
GOATFABERGEEGG
USSRISONIDIOT
ETTATEXTNERDS
Tue 11/21/2006
RENEWSOFATASK
AROSEEDERBLUE
PENALSEAMAIDEN
MILITARYBRASS
OWETOEBID
RAMOUTWOREPAR
GIBEDODAMENU
IVEGOTNOSTRINGS
EEROWILEXMET
SRSBOXFULSALL
ARBNEONAE
SANTAANAWINDS
ORCHESTRAADHOC
CIAOEWERNAILS
KARLSTAYTYPEA
Thu 9/21/2006
SOOTIESTASCENT
TOLERATENOONER
DZIEKUJEGRAZIE
SENSEONBUTTONS
DOHLISI
RODEANTESSMEE
AWARDSHAHAELL
INNERTAKPORGY
TEKEVANYUCCAS
TREKASKTOTIRE
LARKEUR
ALTAVISTAEELED
XIEXIEOBRIGADO
ENROOTNARCOTIC
SKINNYEGRESSES
Fri 6/23/2006
OLDWHATSHERNAME
YOUHAVENOCHOICE
SADOMASOCHISTIC
LESSHONE
SHELERGS
EKEASFORRUN
READSTHERIOTACT
NEVERHADACHANCE
STEPSONONESTOES
TETLENTSLET
ROAMROAD
CARBLOON
ONETHINGATATIME
AURORAAUSTRALIS
STARESINTOSPACE
Wed 4/26/2006
TEARSDEBMOSSO
ENRONUSAABCTV
ELIZABETHNEALE
TAEPALOTAYLOR
HILTONPARCEL
ANATWILDING
TODDLESAGEOIL
ARESOACKSANTA
PANFISHERUSED
SNIFFLENOSE
GAYESTBURTON
WARNERBOOPENO
IVANAFORTENSKY
LITERENLRELEE
EVERSZEESWAYS
Tue 9/13/2005
ARCODELFTNEMO
SAHLEMILEOXEN
SHELSOLARNINE
REALITYBITES
NATIREETTAS
CHARLESTONCHEWS
OSHEAUKEIDLE
ACROBATIC
DIALEWELAPAZ
AFRICANSWALLOWS
MITZIHUBNEA
DAILYDIGESTS
LOEBSAUTESOOT
ECCLALDERTOME
OTOETEENSSNEE
Fri 1/7/2005
NEVERMORESCARS
STOLEAWAYCOMIN
WELLILLBEARECA
SLEEPINGBAG
TWINSETINDIANS
RANOUTREBA
INURERECOLLECT
ADIMROLEXELIS
DATABASESMALTA
LIEDWIRIER
SARCASMBADNESS
SNOOZEALARM
GOODERESPONSES
TUNERINTERBANK
SKEDSETERNALLY
Tue 11/16/2004
BESTONENDCEDE
ARNORUMOROMAR
YOUMUSTBEJOKING
HOBBSMASBILKO
OPESFEE
WHENPIGSFLYPLO
HARDERYAOISAY
ALMANACTRASHTV
LEAKNODINTAKE
ESSTHERESNOWAY
AHAANTI
ADIEUAGRKIOSK
AINTGONNAHAPPEN
REINDIEGOSANE
ETTAESTEEOLDE
Thu 8/26/2004
RIFEPRATTBRAN
ENOSRICHEIONA
ERRSOCEANSTATE
VOTESFORWOMEN
EARNSSRA
DDETYKERACER
SUSANBANTHONY
MASCDOONEMUSE
AMELIABLOOMER
HASATANNATNT
ATFUSHER
JULIAWARDHOWE
PHONOGRAPHRUMP
HELDRADIOESAI
INTOEDENSWEND

1 Variety puzzle by Stella Zawistowski

Sun 8/8/2021
ACCOSTSTURGEON
TACRARE
ADMIREDARTSONG
REEEFSTO
INREALLIFEDIET
OMVIDCI
RANGEENCHILADA
EDLT
LAMBASTESERNIE
UATHPTO
CASHBIPARTISAN
TSLNNATA
ALABAMAKINDRED
NGSITII
TREASUREDEALER