Ok: What Even Is All This?
Crossword puzzles are a colonized space–the puzzles that are published are largely (though of course not exclusively) made by one type of person,* and they are almost always made by one person at a time, with just that one person’s brain, which might, you know, have teensy biases towards or against some things, like all brains everywhere. Many people experience crossword puzzles as exclusionary. And…it doesn’t have to be this way! We can blow all that shit up, and that’s what all this nonsense is.
So what happens is: I construct the grid for a puzzle, keeping it free and clear from overly lame or esoteric words, prioritizing potential for humor, and throwing most of the rules for publishable crosswords out the dang window (i.e, these tend to be weirdly shaped, and the black squares distributed asymmetrically, etc), and then a bunch of people just like you get to do the funnest part, which is write the clues. Then, a whole bunch of different people solve the puzzle based on those collaboratively written clues. Photos do this much more justice, so go look here.
* Who makes the New York Times Crossword puzzles? From time to time I like to amass photos of the last 30-days worth of published constructors. Nov 1-Dec 1, 2015:
November is not as bad as some months!
September 6-October 6, 2015:
Mmm hmm. Detecting some overpresence of dominant groups? So let’s subvert this crap!