Sup nerd. My name is Zac Stone and crosswords are my jam – doing them, but even more so *constructing* them. You're here, so you and/or your loved one(s) probably love crosswords too.
> > > PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE PURCHASING < < <
This listing is for a customized 15x15 crossword puzzle, the type you find in your weekday New York Times, but with a bit of personalization sprinkled in. My puzzles are best suited for crossword aficionados. They conform to the standards of professional crosswords – rotational symmetry, every letter square gets used twice (once across, once down), 3-letter minimum for words, all that jazz.
Every puzzle starts with a theme and a handful of good words and phrases to go with it. In our case, the theme is generally your giftee, and the words and phrases are things that they love. But you can't just feed a few words into a machine and out pops a top-notch puzzle – constructing a high-quality crossword is an iterative process that requires considerable thought and attention to detail. That's what I'm all about.
You specify the difficulty level (easy, moderate, challenging) and provide me with the inspirational fodder to construct the basic framework of your puzzle, then I take that information and just go to town with it. Within *four days* of your order I will email you a digital file of the completed puzzle in multiple formats (DOCX, PDF, PNG) for you to do with as you please – print it out no-frills, put it in a birthday card, get it professionally printed on some fancy hard stock with a gaudy border – I'm not here to tell you how to live your life, I'm just here to construct crossword puzzles.
Because I'm trying to get my little shop here off the ground, I am doing these puzzles on the (relatively) cheap and am laser focused on providing you the best damn crossword puzzle I can. Should you have reservations after the initial construction, I will happily work with you to revise the puzzle within reason.
So, whatever the occasion or purpose – birthday, wedding, funeral, game night, general educational tool – let me be your cruciverbalist!
Q. How many words or phrases can I request to be included?
A. Please give me as much to go off of as possible, but generally expect around *20 to 25%* of the completed puzzle to be words or phrases that directly relate to the information you provide me. A 15x15 puzzle has 70-odd words, more than half of which are between 3 and 5 letters long. So if you have lots of small, vowel-heavy words, I'll be able to squeeze more in, up to a third of the entries or so. Otherwise, the more *specific* words or phrases you want to include, the more I will need to employ obscure terms, acronyms, and lesser-known foreign language vocab to connect everything together.
Q. Why can't I just give you 70 words to smush into a crossword?
A. That's just not the way crosswords or the English language work, for better or worse. Your standard NYT weekday puzzle will have *4* long-ish themed entries, because that's already relatively difficult to design around. You'll get those long ones *plus* whatever else I can reasonably cram in there without making the rest of your puzzle completely illegible with acronyms and crosswordese.
Let me be perfectly clear – not every entry will relate to the list you provide me, not even half. That is impossible to do while adhering to crossword construction standards unless the list you provide is so broad as to encompass thousands of subjects.
Another tool of customization is leaning more heavily on the clues to relate certain words back to your specs. For instance, say you wanted to include JACKNICKLAUS in a puzzle, alongside half a dozen other long-ish terms. It may just be impossible to find a good place among the lexicon you've provided for a 12-letter name with two Ks and a J. On the other hand, PAR (or PGA or GOLF or USOPEN, etc.) might fit into the puzzle, so for the clue I might write, "Goal for Jack Nicklaus." It may not be quite as satisfying, but it's generally the best way to squeeze the most personalization into a puzzle. Thus, looser themes are easier to construct around than strict vocabulary.
Q. Do you do Sunday-sized puzzles?
A. Yup, my 21x21 offering can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/741482773/custom-crossword-21x21
Q. Why is shipping listed at all if you're selling digital files?
A. Etsy doesn't seem to understand that made-to-order digital downloads exist. So if you list your product as a digital download, the buyer has to receive something immediately upon payment and the transaction will automatically be deemed complete, which (1) makes no sense with made-to-order products and (2) doesn't provide leeway for you and I to hammer out the details of your puzzle before and after I start working on it. So that's what's going on there.
Custom Crossword (15x15) ET38484765