“Movie Lines for $200, Alex”

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 📺 👨🏼‍🦳

I love love love this puzz. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did. Jeopardy fans rejoice! We’ll discuss, but first a couple of heads-ups:

If you’ve been enjoying the online crossword tournaments that were on offer this summer, the Boswords team is running a weekly competitive solving event on Monday nights: the Fall Themeless League.

Meanwhile, there was another waggish #rossword puzzle in last Tuesday’s New York Times, co-constructed by Amanda. Have a solve, if you’ve not as yet solved.

Thoughts and spoilers for “Movie Lines for $200, Alex” after the jump.

I … mustache you a question

This puzzle brings me much joy. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with the lovely found symmetry of CONTESTANT MUST ANSWER (20) IN THE FORM OF A QUESTION (20), but I knew it had to be *something*.

I liked the idea of mimicking the Jeopardy! syntax of burying the question in the answer (and the answer in the clue), so I started with a concept wherein all the theme answers began with WHAT IS or WHO IS, but there were surprisingly few options. It also seemed essential that all the theme answers fall under the same *category*, as they do in Jeopardy.

Eventually I found WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?, which also happened to be 20-long, which prompted the decision to tweak the grid dimensions and stack the revealer in the middle two rows. You can imagine my delight when I was able to find three (3!) more movie titles that were themselves questions *and* 20 letters across.

This is yet another one of those ideas that probably shouldn’t have been worth the time to “see” if it was viable. But, I’m a constructing addict and masochist, and here we are.

Happy solving, friends*.


*We’re only act-shoo-al friends if you VOTE.

20 thoughts on ““Movie Lines for $200, Alex”

  1. The format with the clues at the bottom of the puzzle is very difficult to use. I have to keep scrolling up and down to see the list of clues and then back to the puzzle. And I can’t see the clue for the crossing word at the same time. Can you go back to the sidebar clue format?

    • Jane—thanks for the input. Usually my grids are 15×15, and the software puts the clues to the side. On a 22×20 grid like this one, it automatically puts the clues below because there isn’t enough left-right space on most browsers.

      If you’ve got access to a printer, I think the PDF might be the smoothest solving option. Or, if you download AcrossLite, solving the .puz version would be easier as well.

  2. This is a really good one, Ross. And I *still* say you’d make a good contestant on the show! (Once they start taking non-Californian people again.) I’m letting my Jeopardy friends know about this one.

  3. I really liked the puzzle, and not just because I find “Jeopardy” so much fun. Neat that you could make those central two spans work that way and find “question” titles of just the right length, with really good fill to boot.
    But I guess I do have to ask (in particular because of the OUT / OUTLIE flack): what IS the constructor’s rule on repeats? 108A and 79D…

    • Rich–great question. I really should add an “about these puzzles” page. There are a variety of crossword conventions I find important to a satisfying solving experience: symmetrical arrangement of black boxes, no 1 or 2 letter answers, etc. But repeating (or “duplicating”) short words, especially prepositions, is one of those conventions that seems to exist only to give nitpickers something to do. (My pet theory is that if it weren’t generally understood as a soft rule, no one would ever notice multiple THEs or MANs or OUTs or TOs.) I try to avoid repeating longer words or thematic material, but beyond that, it’s not a convention that I find important at all.

  4. Also, for some reason, even after I set the settings to show that I have placed an incorrect letter, they keep going back to as though I haven’t set them that way. And I did hit “apply”. ???

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