We're starting the year with two consecutive guest puzzles, this one by Nate Cardin. It's a challenge at 4.5/5 difficulty, and called "All Rise."
Nate is a chemistry teacher in Los Angeles, where he lives with his husband, Ben, and new French bulldog puppy, Eero. Over the past few years, he has worked alongside Francis Heaney to produce two editions of Queer Qrosswords (www.queerqrosswords.com), a collection of LGBTQ+ puzzles that have raised over $42,000 to date for LGBTQ+ charities! In addition to crosswords, Nate enjoys other cross- hobbies like Crossfit and being cross with how tough Crossfit can be. Maybe cross stitching is next? You can find him on Twitter (@naytnaytnayt) and his puppy on Instagram (@eero_dynamic). He'd also like to plug The Inkubator (https://inkubatorcrosswords.com/about-us/) for its truly outstanding puzzles.
By the way, if you've been finding our difficulty ratings more accurate recently, you can thank friend-of-the-AVCX Stella Zawistowski. Stella recently volunteered to test-solve with an eye toward calibrating difficulty. Thanks Stella! Thanks Nate! Thanks everybody!