“Tear Jerkers”

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 😭😭😭

I’m shipping this week’s puzzle with a little bit of bonus content. The embedded video below is a glossary of crossword constructing jargon that my colleagues and I often toss around casually, leaving novice solvers/constructors potentially scratching their heads.

Oftentimes, for me, the best part of solving an indie puzzle is getting to read a little bit about what went into building the grid. And such insidery reflection is often rife with opaque jargon. I’ve been guilty of this in the past with how I write about my own work.

So: enjoy the puzzle, watch the glossary video, and *then* dig into the constructor notes below. Which notes, of course, contain hella spoilers. YE BE WARNED!


There were actually a number of potential arrangements for this theme set. Other material that didn’t make the final cut included SOB STORY, TEAR JERKER, FIVE ACT TRAGEDY… plus you can imagine a bunch of even darker possibilities: OBITUARY COLUMN, EVICTION NOTICE, etc. I generally think puzzles have less of a responsibility to be emotionally neutral (or even upbeat) than some other folks do, but also… read the room.

I went with DEAR JOHN LETTERS, LAMENTATIONS, AND GREEK TRAGEDY because they interlock neatly in a grid with mirror symmetry (see the the glossary above!). I am an absolute *sucker* for a fun interlock. The Wall Street Journal recently ran an interlock grid of mine that took forrreevveerrr to make, simply because the placement of the theme answers really limits where you can put black boxes.

In the case of this puzzle, I was seduced by the squint-and-tilt-your-head implications of the resulting grid art. Does the placement of the theme answers and black boxes make you… see anything? Rorschach test!

Happy solving!


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