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19 black squares

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Alex Maione:
Today's NYT's puzzle. By Joe Krozel. Is that some type of record?

Nope. I believe it's Kevin Der. 16 blocks.

Alex Maione:
Crazy. It was a great puzzle too. nicely clued except for the esoteric stuff you have to put in to make everything fit...

Yes, it was an excellent puzzle! Joe Krozel has done 3 puzzles with 19 black squares. And Kevin Der holds the record with an 18-block puzzle.

Check 'em all out here:

Thanks for enjoying the puzzle, folks.

There was a nice little Bonus interview on the "Wordplay" movie DVD with Manny Nosowsky and Joe DiPietro about constructing the first 19-block puzzle.  I think Kevin Der said that was his inspiration for constructing his 18-block puzzle.  There's a nice interview with Kevin on JimH's old blog:

I talk a little about the construction of my first 19-block puzzle here:

I'll just reemphasize a point I made in that interview that the key to achieving clean fill is to be diligent about reranking one's wordlist.  In fact, even if you have a messy wordlist, you can still clean up the portion that's needed for any puzzle you are currently working on:  If you're using Crossword Compiler in manual mode, word-selection menus will come up for each position in the grid:  just right-click on any word in the menu, and a banner will come up which will let you change the rank.  After you change a few word ranks in your menu, just click on the "Score" header and that menu will be resorted with the new ranks.  (Alas, I stray, but hopefully it's a useful tip).

Joe Krozel


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