“Sly Nod”

by Jillian Greenspan & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 💥🥊

Boswords 2020 is moving online. Lollapuzzoola 2020 is cancelled, with an online version a possibility. ACPT was rescheduled for September, though I can’t imagine it goes forward as planned.

Crossword tournaments have always been a highlight of my social calendar. I relish the opportunity to connect face-to-face with the puzzheads I’ve come to know and cherish, so these digital gatherings will feel like thin emotional soup to me. (Though I’ll definitely “be” “there.”)

In the beforetimes, I’d regularly fall into xword conversation around the neighborhood with folks solving at the coffee shop or the pub. Jillian Greenspan was one such kindred spirit with whom I fell into conversation at the bar at Lamplighter. (Sidenote: I’m partnering with Lamplighter to run a How to Make a Crossword online workshop next Sunday, 6/21–log on!)

This week’s puzzle is a collaboration that Jillian and I worked on together over the course of a couple months last year. We started with a phrase she had written in an impressively long “crossword notes” document she had on her iPhone that first day at the pub… more after the jump!

Yo, Adrian!!!!!!!

The first decision Jillian and I had to make in building out this puzzle was whether to start with ROCKY START (10) or OFF TO A ROCKY START (16) as our revealer. Typically, a 10-letter revealer is ideal in the flexibility it offers the grid. But when we realized YO QUIERO TACO BELL (16) was a valid pairing for the longer revealer, we settled on a 16×15 grid.

Hey keep those masks on, friends. I. Cannot. Wait. To. Meet. You. All… when gathering in hotel lobbies and church basements to solve and squee and geek out is a thing again. One fine day.

Warmly, Ross

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