Various project updates

You may have noticed that older Tough as Nails themelesses have disappeared from this blog. If you think that’s because there’s a book coming, you’re right! The book will have lots of brand-new puzzles, so please get one even if you’ve been solving with me all along.

Update on the 21x Project: I haven’t worked on this as assiduously as I’d like throughout the year, but it’s still going on in the background, and I’ve made a couple of major breakthroughs recently. I’ve just gotten my first check from a solo 21x (from The Crosswords Club), and today I completed the first 21x I’ve ever made from scratch (i.e., not using a grid that’s either taken directly from an existing puzzle or just tweaked slightly from an existing grid). You should be seeing that one at Universal next month. (Another beautiful thing about making 21x, besides that they pay more: The editorial lead time is a fraction of that for 15x!)

Finally, I’ve become the lead editor of Planet Crossword, a collaborative solving app from Hovercast. I know there’s been a lot of discussion about the use of NFTs, and for my part I would like to say that Hovercast has treated me and the constructors involved in this project with the utmost respect and fairness. (This includes paying us the majority of our compensation for the puzzles in USD, not crypto; the rate is very competitive.) There are some really great people working on this project and I’m just glad to have another venue that’s paying constructors to make good puzzles.

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