As I wrote before, I recently tried my hand with crossword construction.
This new puzzle is my sophomore effort. This one, slightly bigger at 13×13, came together much more easily for some reason (luck?). This time I did not have resort to using any unknown words, and nothing is really obscure, with the possible exception of 17-across (a common crossword answer).
As before, I mostly let the theme clues dictate the layout, while I left in a few longer stretches this time. The top left and bottom right corners were sufficiently isolated that I did them by hand before bed, then the next day I filled the longer answers and finished the bottom within about 30 minutes. At this point 3/4 of the puzzle was filled manually. Then, Qxw woke up and was able to help fill the rest (including 18-across, a nice gift which I happily accepted) — still using the standard Linux dictionary file. I reworked some of its suggestions using some of my own, but it was quite a time-saver.
In all I’m happier with this puzzle than the previous one: there’s more wordplay, better theme, nothing too difficult (I think). Comments welcome.
I guess this means the next one will be full-size.