Movie Night by Kathy Matheson

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After 25 years of solving puzzles, I have finally ventured into the world of crossword construction. I realize this puzzle is not even a Monday-worthy NYT puzzle (first of all it’s not big enough — 11×11 instead of 15×15), but for my first try it’s all I’ve got. (Actually, it’s my second fully finished grid, but I’m too embarrassed to publish the first one.)

The theme is hardly original, and I’ll be the first to tell you that I got most of these answers off Twitter one day when a trending topic was #oneletteroffmovies. I copied a bunch down and figured, hey, it will give me the boost I need for my first constructing efforts; coming up with a theme AND learning how to place the black squares AND fitting all the words in would just be too much. Of course, I hope to come up with my own themes in due time.

To construct, I used Sam Bellotto Jr.’s “Crossdown” software. (Warning to Mac users like me: You need to get Parallels to run it because it’s Windows-only.) It’s pretty user friendly, comes with a good help manual (including tips on constructing) and a (limited) clue bank. It also allows you to export your puzzle in several ways; ostensibly I’m able to export this puzzle as an applet to this site (and even send it as an applet in an e-mail) so that you can solve it online a la the NYT puzzles, but I haven’t gone there yet.

I’ve since read that some constructors use graph paper and pencils; I’m sure that’s a good method to learn as well. Hopefully I will work my way up to standard-sized puzzles in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy this one.

Questions or comments? Leave them here or Twitter me @crosswordkathy.

Check back soon for the answers.

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