56A. Be careful with the clue “Self-.” It may seem like a prefix looking for a suffix, but the clue is not a fill-in-the-blank. The answer is AUTO, a synonym of the prefix “Self-.”
3D. I read “Noted coal provider” and my first thought was, Do I actually know any noted mining companies? And therein lies the misdirection. Mr. Huynh was referring to SANTA and the gift given to “bad” children in their Christmas stockings.
The inspiration for this theme was this puzzle by Andrew J. Ries.
The PARADOX wordplay was fun, so I tried to see if a puzzle could work with various other PARA- items. I submitted a 21×21 query to another publication with the PARA- formulations as mini-revealers cross-referencing theme answers:
PARADIGMS = PA(TEN)(T EN)GINEERING
PARABLES = V(OX) POPULI V(OX) DEI
PARALYZE = IN DRI(BS) AND DRA(BS)
PARAKEETS = (JOHN)SON AND (JOHN)SON
The idea was rightfully rejected, but I tried different angles and landed on the successive rebuses you see here.
In this case, the gimmick is the puzzle. If this gimmick doesn’t give you enjoyment or eludes you, then you probably will not like the puzzle.
For those constructors keeping track, this puzzle was submitted on Jan. 15, 2022, and accepted on April 7, 2022. The editing team kept 32 clues as written, slightly revised 12 clues and changed 32 clues. All revised and changed clues were, in my opinion, improvements.
I also want to acknowledge David Steinberg and Amanda Rafkin at Universal Crossword, who worked with me when I first started submitting crosswords for publication. Their extremely helpful feedback was so instrumental in my progress as a constructor. Thank you to them both!
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Note: Submissions are temporarily closed. They will reopen on July 17. The puzzle editors will review already submitted puzzles during that period, so you may still hear from them while submissions are closed.
For tips on how to get started, read our series “How to Make a Crossword Puzzle.”
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