“We’re Blowing Up!”

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 💥💥💥

Last night Amanda and I got fairly tipsy and made a crossword puzzle. And we recorded the whole thing. And it was one of the lovelier Saturday evenings I’ve had these past few months.

We ran our “Tipsy Puzzlers” event via Zoom, and as such we relied on input from folks who called in to put the grid together. And honestly? It’s a darn good puzz.

The grid features invaluable input from crossworld regulars like Ken Stern, Dan Feyer, Paolo Pasco, Ria Dhull, Jessie Bullock, Allegra Kuney, Sophia Maymudes, and up-and-coming constructors such as Annie Gosfield, Parker Higgins, and Lucy Howard. We also had the pleasure of meeting and getting input from a whole slew of new faces. And my heart grew three sizes.

If you’re interested in seeing a recording of the event, leave a note in the comments section. More on this week’s puzzle “We’re Blowing Up”–which isn’t the grid we made last night–after the jump.

“Tipsy Puzzlers” Ep. 1

I’ve gone on record a number of times expressing how much I prefer puzzles with revealer answers, so bear with my as I try to explain why “We’re Blowing Up” doesn’t have one.

The puzzle relies on the varied denotations of the phrase “blow up”: BICYCLE PUMP [It’ll blow up at the Tour de France], SMART PHONE [It’ll blow up with social alerts on your birthday], PHOTO ENLARGER [It’ll blow up in a dark room], VIRAL VIDEO [It’ll blow up on Instagram], and GLITTER BOMB [It’ll blow up in a cloud of colors].

The reasons I decided to go with “blow up” in the clues (and the title) are a) I don’t *love* short revealer answers like BLOW UP, and b) placing that lynchpin phrase in the grid would result in sort of tortured syntax. It might look like:

BLOW UP [Inflate, as an air mattress]; BICYCLE PUMP [It’ll 60-Across at the Tour de France].

For me, forcing the cross-reference feels just a wee bit inelegant. So I decided to write “blow up” into the clues and rendered them in a parallel construction. That being said, I’d love to hear some opinions on the subject. Leave a comment!

Happy solving… and stay thirsty, my friends.


Among people named in today’s puzzle:

16 thoughts on ““We’re Blowing Up!”

  1. I mean… my “invaluable input” was a theme answer that didn’t actually work. But I legitimately learned something watching the grid being built! I’ve done all my constructing on Compiler with an unscored wordlist, so it was cool to see how the pros handle things.

    • Hey, Georgette. The solving app spits out a score based on speed and accuracy. I wouldn’t pay much attention to that, as there’s no real way to compare scores the way the app is set up at this point.

  2. Hi, just found your site thanks to Ben Zimmer, a crossover between puzzle land and Editor Twitter where I hang out. Am married to a (mostly) amateur constructor and we would love to see the Zoom video of the tipsy construction; sounds like a perfect date night movie. ;-p

  3. Never heard data smog before. But here’s a fun excerpt from a book in 1997. Fun little prelude to election season.

    Data Smog is a 1997 book by journalist David Shenk and published by Harper Collins. It addresses the author’s ideas on how the information technology revolution would shape the world, and how the large amount of data available on the Internet would make it more difficult to sift through and separate fact from fiction.

    • Thanks for the tip, Charlie. In truth, the phrase was only barely on the periphery of my own awareness. It’s one of those phrases that sound punchy and interesting to me (and are inferable enough for solvers), that I go out of my way to get it into a grid.

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