Intro and Puzzle #1 – “Crosswords”


If you’ve found this site this early on, it’s likely you’re a solver of Matt Gaffney’s Weekly Crossword Contest – if not, you should immediately leave this poor man’s imitation and visit the real thing – and you may have noticed that this site is obviously named in homage. I’m PGW (my initials) on Matt’s leaderboard; PGWCC = PGW’s Crossword Challenge.

I’ve long been an avid crossword solver but when I discovered Matt’s metapuzzles many years ago, I was immediately hooked by the extra layer of challenge and the consistently creative ways in which he exploits the form. Eventually I started messing around with creating my own. Ultimately Matt published my first crossword (you can find writeups of the solution here and here) and he’s been nothing but encouraging as I thought about publishing more. (I’m not the only one – see e.g. Pete Muller’s excellent Muller Monthly Music Meta, whose creator also acknowledges having been inspired by Matt.)

At this stage, there’s no grand structure – no contest with prizes, no attempt to make puzzles get progressively and predictably more difficult as the month goes on as Matt does, and no year-long mega-meta like Pete’s. I’ll publish puzzles every week or two, and publish the solution a week or so after. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow @pgwcc1 so you’ll know when a new puzzle has dropped. (For a little while I’ll also keep spamming the Crossword Fiend comments section.) The puzzles will always be free.

But enough introduction – you are here to solve. The first puzzle, entitled “Crosswords,” is below, as a .pdf which you can download and print out. If you prefer a .puz file you can solve using Across Lite or some other app, here is a link to download it from Google Drive. (This platform won’t let me upload it.)

The answer to the metapuzzle is the letter that belongs in the empty square near the grid’s center. Submit your answer using the contact form by Monday, March 18 at 11 p.m. Pacific Time. I’ll post the solution, and a new puzzle, next Tuesday.

Good luck, thanks for visiting, and I hope you like the puzzles!

Update: an astute solver has pointed out that an earlier version of the puzzle was published with an erroneous clue for 65-across. It’s fixed in the version above; there’s no effect on the meta. Rookie mistake!

2 thoughts on “Intro and Puzzle #1 – “Crosswords”

  1. Glad you’re doing this. Your puzzle at MGWCC was excellent and your solving streak is an inspiration. Free is awesome! But don’t be afraid to post a way to tip. Many of us solvers are happy to show our appreciation.


    1. Thanks Steve. At this stage the absolute best way any solver could show appreciation would be to help me create a leaderboard! I am keeping track of results in a spreadsheet for now … I think a leaderboard on the site might help hold people’s interest. But if I’m a reasonably good amateur at puzzle construction, I’m a rank amateur when it comes to web development, and this is a bare-bones WordPress blog. Know anyone who could help?


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