[You can go check out Crossword #1 here.]

Don’t freak out, but my weekly crosswords for mental_floss, of which this is the first, are going to all be…rectangular.

99% of the crosswords you’ve ever solved have been square, so this might be a difficult transition. But I’m here for you, and I want you to know that there’s a method to the madness: we’re not going full rectangle just to be different, we’re doing it because it gives me two big advantages in delivering you the highest-quality quick crossword imaginable:

Advantage #1: more 6- and 7-letter words. Hey, we all love short words, and puzzle writers need them. But be honest: if you never saw EMU or EPEE in a crossword again, you wouldn’t miss it. The real fun is in the longer words, which a rectangular grid naturally has more of. Check out 26-Across, 28-Across, 2-Down, and 6-Down in this one for some sweet sixes and sevens.

Advantage #2: more theme flexibility. This crossword’s got a tidy little theme pair: 3-Down is a TV show you probably like, and then 8-Down is a phrase that plays nicely on that show’s title. Both phrases are 13 letters long, though, so I wouldn’t have been able to use this idea on a square grid of 11x11 squares.

And if I have a nice pair of 11-letter entries as my theme? Then I slot them across instead of down, and problem solved. The beauty of the rectangular grid! Square grids are so 20th century.

So have a good time with these each Friday, and e-mail me at crosswordcontest@gmail.com if you’ve got something to say.

[You can go check out Crossword #1 here.]