One of the coolest parts about assembling each year’s Holiday Puzzly Gift Guide is reaching out to crossword constructors I admire and respect. Not only do I get to find out what projects they’ve been working on and would like to promote, but they’re also incredibly giving to fellow constructors, shouting out the subscriptions, puzzle books, and projects that they most enjoyed solving during the year.
The bulk of the puzzle books/subscriptions section of the Gift Guide comes from these constructor interactions and the praise they heap upon each other. Not only is it heartwarming to read, but it’s valuable information for me and the PuzzleNation readership. After all, who better to tell you about great puzzles out there than top-notch constructors who know puzzling inside and out?
There are a host of brilliant recommendations in the Gift Guide, but today I’d like to shout-out one of my favorite yearly puzzle subscriptions. It’s launching on Kickstarter today for a new “season” of topical puzzles, and you should definitely check it out.
It’s Peter Gordon’s 2021 edition of Fireball Newsflash Crosswords.
Now, most crossword solvers probably know Fireball Crosswords by reputation alone. The puzzles are challenging (equivalent to a Friday or Saturday NY Times puzzle), but incredibly fun, inventive, and cleverly clued. Several of my all-time favorite crosswords have been published through Fireball Crosswords.
Fireball Newsflash Crosswords, on the other hand, are not nearly as difficult, so puzzlers who might find traditional Fireball Crosswords daunting can breathe easy.
Plus Fireball Newsflash Crosswords carry their own unique flavor by being as up-to-date and fresh as possible. Each puzzle is absolutely peppered with current references. Important news events, pop culture happenings, celebrity passings, memes, buzzwords, and cultural fads have all appeared in these grids in the past.
For example, after the 2017 Oscars had their snafu with the Best Picture award winner, Gordon mentioned LA LA LAND as Best Picture winner, then “corrected” himself later in the grid with the true winner MOONLIGHT. It was a lovely little playful jab at an awkward and noteworthy moment in time.
And that sort of quick-turnaround puzzling and topicality simply cannot be matched by the major outlets.
For just $13, you’ll get 20 such puzzles delivered to you by email, one puzzle every 2 or 3 weeks.
And with this Kickstarter, you can pledge for not just the newest season of Fireball Newsflash Crosswords, but hats, keychains, additional puzzles and puzzle magazines, and more.
I cannot say enough good things about this project, and I’m happy to spread the word to my fellow puzzle lovers. Take a moment and check out this worthwhile project. There are even sample puzzles to try out, so you know exactly what you’re signing up for and supporting.
Good luck, Peter! Cannot wait to see what you cook up for us in the coming year!
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