December 1, 2021 - "AVCX Themeless #60" - Ella Dershowitz, edited by Ben Tausig

Difficulty ● ● ● ◐ ○

Puzzle Notes

Dear Friends:

Guest constructor Ella Dershowitz brings us a themeless today, at the unusually low difficulty of 3.5/5. Enjoy! Meanwhile, errata from yesterday: the editor of Francis Heaney's bonus puzzle is Lorinne Lampert, who with that puzzle made her editorial debut! The credit was alas not noted in the email or .puz file, so this is a correction as well as an apology for the oversight. Congratulations, Lorinne and Francis.

Meanwhile, the announcement we've been promising ... the AVCX is expanding! In a big way! Starting early next year, the AVCX will begin to deliver not just one weekly full-sized crossword, but two full-sized puzzles each week. We're also adding a regular cryptic, a midi (slightly larger mini), and a weekend trivia game. All of this will be included in the same subscription you already have, and you don't need to do anything extra to get it.

The expansion will be funded by a Kickstarter campaign that began a few days ago. (Check it out here). If you're able to contribute $20 (or more!) to the campaign, you'll be doing an enormous amount for the expansion. The reason we're funding our growth this way is that it was vitally important to us not to raise the price of an AVCX subscription above an amount that our solvers could generally afford. So we raised the baseline subscription price from $22 just up to $30 (after not raising it for many years prior), and we hope that those of you who have means will voluntarily give an extra $20 to the Kickstarter campaign. If just 10% of our solvers did that, the campaign would be in great shape.

The payoff should be awesome. Go to our Kickstarter to see the details, but in brief: not only will there be more puzzles, but there will be many more people involved as editors and constructors. The roster is full of talent, and most of the features will have open submission processes so that even more people can be involved. The purpose of the expansion is not only to give you more and more kinds of puzzles to solve, but to give the people who make those puzzles more opportunities to be paid a good wage for their work. The AVCX remains totally independent, and our business model is worker-forward. There is no media outlet taking a cut for hosting our stuff. The money goes where it should: to the people who make the puzzles. When you contribute to the Kickstarter, that's where the vast majority of your contribution flows. The plan is to go big in expanding our puzzle platform, while keeping the structure that of a genuine indie.

We'll also be adding all kinds of new features that we think you'll enjoy, including a lovely new website, new design for the PDF, streamlined support and info for submitting work, and eventually an online interface for solving. We're super excited, and humbly ask for your contribution. And if you can't or prefer not to donate, no problem! You'll still get all the new stuff, and we hope you'll love it. Next week we'll debut samples of the new features, which you'll receive right here.

Thank you for your years of support,

The expanded AVCX crew // @avcxword