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This month's puzzle marks the passing of one season on the Atlantic coast and the start of another in Raleigh. It also marks an impressive debut: It's the first crossword by Chris Karlsson, an attorney born and raised in Raleigh and recently relocated to Charlotte. He says he started doing the Daily Tar Heel puzzle his freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill and "got hooked pretty quickly." To make this puzzle, "I just fooled around with the format until I stumbled on the black-square shape that led to the theme … Filling in the squares took forever." Maybe so, but for a first stab at construction, it's no exaggeration to say we were blown away. Here's a brief Q&A with Karlsson:
Where do you live? Where were you born and where did you grow up?
Currently residing in Charlotte. Just moved here a month ago. I was born and raised in Raleigh.
What's your primary occupation?
How did you first get into crossword solving?
I began solving the Daily Tar Heel crossword puzzle during class my freshman year at UNC-Chapel Hill. I got hooked pretty quickly, and by the time I went to law school, I was doing at least three puzzles a day in class. Since graduation I've scaled back, but I always do at least one per day on the weekends.
What inspired you to make this puzzle, and how did you go about it?
This puzzle is my first. I had some free time, and I went for it. I'd always wanted to make one, but I never could come up with a good theme. For this one, I just fooled around with the format until I stumbled on the black-square shape that led to the theme. From there, it was just some thinking and a bit of trial-and-error tweaking until the final product emerged. Filling in the squares took forever.
What puzzles/puzzle venues/constructors do you most admire?
I always do The New York Times puzzles; the paper has a reputation for great puzzles, and that reputation is well deserved. The Indy is a close second. Unlike the Times, though, the Indy never (as far as I've noticed) puts more than one letter in the box, which is just great. Those puzzle themes are just the worst.
I don't generally pay attention to who creates/edits the puzzles, but, having now created a published puzzle, I suspect I will in the future.
Anything else you'd like to add?
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