“Don’t Look Down”

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 👹👹👹

It’s been a *week* in crossworld. Let’s get up to speed before we talk puzz:

1. Grids for Good launched! It’s a suite of 42 original puzzles–themed, themeless, and variety grids–from some of the biggest names in the biz: Berry. Agard. Burnikel. Weintraub. Conceived and edited by Evan Birnholz, the project’s goal is to support COVID-19 and BLM-adjacent causes. Donate $10 or more, send in your receipt, get a boatload of dope grids. (There’s a #rosswordpuzzle in there, too.)

2. The New York Times announced an opening on their editorial team… a dream job for many crossword constructors. Their editorial team is currently 100% male and 100% white, so I’m not personally applying for the gig. (I’m fully on board with taking a step back from applying to such gigs to do my part in more equitably distributing opportunity… here’s to hoping they get some diversity on their staff.)

3. SPEAKING OF WHICH… Amanda Rafkin and I published our third NYT collaboration puzzle this past Wednesday (subscription required). There will be … many others. Amanda and I are something of a co-dependent two-headed grid monster, so hopefully you continue to find our antics entertaining and our platonic puzzle love affair gladsome.

4. Summer crossword tournaments are moving online! Lollapuzzoola (typically hosted in NYC) and Boswords (just down the road from here in Cambridge) have both announced synchronous online iterations for 2020. See y’all in the chat bar?

Okay. This week’s puzz. Watch your step … here be dragons … spoilers after the jump.

The Fremont Troll, Seattle

Stacked theme answers. Oy. I must be TROLLing myself.

The puzzle hides various BRIDGE TROLLS through out the grid, with a SWEE[T ROLL] lurking beneath CAM[BRIDGE], MA, a S[TROLL]S waiting ominously below A[BRIDGE], and a third [TROLL]EY creeping along under [BRIDGE]T Moynahan.

I generally advise folks learning how to make crossword puzzles *not* to mess around with theme ideas that stack theme answer one on top of another. Being locked into consecutive letters makes the process of placing them in the grid–and finding black square arrangements that reasonably accommodate those stacks–a pretty time-consuming process. Lots of iterating.

In this case, I was taken with the idea because of how the possibility of hiding both the BRDIGEs and the TROLLs in longer answers. (Of course, CAMBRIDGE is etymologically similar to ABRIDGE (and maybe BRIDGET), but “duplicating” answers is one of those crossword no-no’s that I generally poo-poo and say yes, yes! to.

Happy 4th, happy solving, wear those masks.

-Ross

7 thoughts on ““Don’t Look Down”

  1. I’m sure there’s some devious wordplay at work for 18D, but I just haven’t been able to parse the answer. Can someone give me a hint?

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