Royal Taster

crosswords for these troubling times

by Jessie Bullock & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] πŸ€΄πŸΌπŸ‘ΈπŸΌπŸ˜‹

There are any number of good reasons to stay active. Heart health. Endorphins. Staying fit for the sport that brings you mental cookies.

Jessie and I? We exercise to accommodate all the rich food and drink that has come to be our regular reward for being good reclusive quarantiners. And reader, we are getting *pro* at date night.

It’s usually a Saturday. We scrub down, dress up, fire up the tea candles and the string lights, and treat ourselves to takeout from one of several excellent options here in Cambridge. There are charcuterie boards. There are elaborate summer cocktails. There are in-season vegetables and cheese and uhhnnnn… Jessie knows how to pick wine.

This week’s puzzle is an homage to eating like royalty when eating is, well, sort of all you’ve got. (What am I talking about? I have a life partner who *makes crossword puzzles* with me. I burn! I pine! I perish!)

More on “Royal Taster” after the eat-eat-squat jump.


The idea for this puzzle coalesced when I noticed a potential theme pattern that didn’t actually make it into the final draft. The 11th Earl of Sandwich, shrewd businessman that he is, apparently is licensing his name and title to–you guessed it–a sandwich chain called EARL OF SANDWICH (14). Jessie and I dropped into one somewhere on I95 in New Jersey (in the beforetimes), and I had immediate questions about copyright that… well, were answered to my delight and satisfaction by their wiki page.

Immediately BURGER KING (10) popped into my head, and DAIRY QUEEN (10) came to us after that. We’re off and running! But the theme set felt very much like it needed a revealer, and greedy theme seekers that we are, we were hoping for a 4th example of the pattern.

When JACK IN THE BOX (12) presented itself, we rejoiced and then despaired, since JACK isn’t a title of nobility in the same way that QUEEN, KING, and EARL are. A JACK is simply a member of the same court–WAIT! The same COURT? The same… FOOD COURT?

And lo! A puzzle is born.

Happy eati–er, solving.


8 Responses

  1. Robyn Franke says:

    As usual, thanks for this. I struggled a bit to get the J answer, but a struggle is fine when the puzzle is this fun.

  2. rosstrudeau says:

    Sometimes we constructors put J’s and Q’s in our grids for, like, alphabetic variety. But sometimes you really just need a J… glad you liked it, Robyn.

  3. Rich says:

    Shouldn’t “RCCOLAS” count as a theme answer and be shaded? “RC” = Royal Crown. (Hi kids!) It’s symmetrically positioned and all.

  4. Jean Decker says:

    “Narcs” made me laugh. It brought back memories of my early 1970s high school days. This old boomer is glad to see the term is still in use. Thanks for a fun puzzle!

  5. Jean Decker says:

    More boomer nostalgia… #9 down immediately put the T Rex song “Bang a Gong (Get It On)” in my head. Great ear worm.

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