Lots of exciting news this week, beginning with a Paolo Pasco themeless (our 22nd themeless), rated 4.5/5 difficulty.
Meanwhile we have asked Paolo (and he has agreed, lucky us) to join the regular rotation of the AVCX. He's been a guest constructor on and off here, and is not only talented but super versatile and always great to work with. Definitely among the very best of a young generation of constructors. Welcome, Paolo!
Congratulations to the three randomly drawn winners--Tim Mitchell, Rachel Berrington, and Doug McDowell--of last week's meta contest from Brendan Emmett Quigley. 245 solvers submitted answers; the solution is attached, and you can also read about it in detail at Crossword Fiend. The winners each get a three-month subscription extension.
If you know anyone who might like to try the AVCX but isn't yet sure about subscribing, we're doing a free trial offer right now. Your for-some-reason reticent friends can simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "FREE PUZZLES" in the subject line, and they'll get one month of AVCX puzzles free.
We also want to offer a plug for a cool new project called The Conjurer's Almanaq, which is a book that's a cross between a puzzle hunt and an escape room, created by Roy Leban and Emily Dietrich. It's the second in a series that started with Roy's well-received puzzle book, The Librarian's Almanaq. Their Kickstarter includes a special color edition of the book. Strong rec! Roy also runs Puzzazz, one of the digital outlets where you can solve the AVCX (as well as other great puzzles).