The ninth annual Orca Awards have been announced! This list of the year's best in puzzling is the brainchild of Sam Donaldson at the Crossword Fiend blog, and is always a treat to read. This year was especially special, as Caitlin Reid took home Best Freestyle for her guest Aries Freestyle puzzle from last October!
One of the highlights of 2019 was working with all six guest constructors for Aries Freestyle - C.C. Burnikel, Peter Wentz, Stella Zawistowski, Neville Fogarty, and Doug Peterson, in addition to Caitlin. In the case of Caitlin's puzzle, I was particularly awed by the smoothness of the grid, but I think the puzzle was elevated even higher by the cleverness of Caitlin's clues. A true masterpiece - congrats Caitlin!