A Non-Traditional Piece (with Elipsis)

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Are you a Grand Master? Hopefully this non-traditional puz doesn't come down on your head too hard. 

This a guest collab with my new puzzle friend Steve Barrios! Please read more about Steve, his idea for this theme, and our process for getting from there to the final product - scroll on below the puzzle. Contains spoilers! 

If you solve it, blog it, stream it, like it, love it, or find a typo, let me know! twitter | email | or comment below. 

No puz link! Please solve on this page, we've designed this grid with some special features that only work in puzzleme mode:

Norah's note: Steve sent me his idea for this theme idea along with a starting grid. I offered some structural changes to improve fillability - we wanted to fit in as many relevant blocks as possible while maximizing fill options. Took turns filling, with some live collabbing. We each came up with a full batch of clues, then worked together to choose the final set. Really though, this fun puz is more his than mine.

Steve's note: My introduction to the crossworld came from my partner Hazel when we started co-solving puzzles together in 2019. As I was between jobs, I thought it would be fun if I made some personalized puzzles for her. It turns out that this is both super fun and super hard to do well. Between September 2019, I have crafted about a dozen constructions for an audience of one. Our first ACPT together this year inspired me to try constructing for a larger audience, and that means taking on new challenges as a constructor. There's a surprising amount of space to challenge conventions and presumptions in crossword puzzles, and I'm hoping to explore those ideas as I increase my capability as a constructor. I want to say a huge thanks to Hazel for lovingly introducing me to this hobby, and to Norah for being so patient and helpful as my first collaborator. 

I came up with the idea for this puzzle when I solved a crossword puzzle far too soon after playing on tetr.io. The original idea for the grid was to only use each tetrimino once, and while it was technically fillable it was an awful experience. I considered the whole idea above my skill level to execute and shoved it on the backburner. That all changed when I made some new connections at my (first ever) ACPT and reached out for help on the design.

Norah was kind enough to spend some time with me reconfiguring the grid into something fillable, and from there kindly, gently pulled me away from my "make the theme work at any cost" myopia. Removing the myriad of constraints inavariably led to a much more enjoyable solve, and I really enjoyed my first collaboration with a more experienced constructor. While ALEXEY, along with HOLD PIECE and TSPIN, didn't make the final fill - Norah found other awesome ways to Tetrisify the grid with a brilliant Puzzle Me scheme and is also responsible for the really inventive use of unchecked squares that recreates the satisfying experience of dropping an I piece. (Fun fact, TETRIS refers to both the game itself, and clearing four lines at once in this way.) I'm really excited for my first publicly released puzzle, and hope it stacks up okay to the rest of the Norah's solo work.


  1. Finally got around to doing this one and loved it! Fantastic idea, Steve, and great fill, Norah! Thanks for sharing!

  2. cool puzzle, enjoyed solving it!
    - Varldin


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