This week’s puzzle is something of a cruciverbalist’s amuse-bouche. An hors d’oeuvre to prepare your intellectual palate for the main course, which will be served tonight at 6:00pm EST via the New York Times. I’m *extremely* proud to share that tomorrow’s Times puzzle is Jessie’s print puzzle debut!
Our NYT puzzle’s raison d’être is expressed in the clue at 53A: [Female scholars … or a hint to 19-, 28-, 34-, and 42-Across]. In the last several months since Jessie and I have been constructing puzzles together here at home, she’s held pretty firm in her desire to produce thematic content that touches on her career as an academic and her field of study: crime and political corruption in Latin America. (You can read more about her research on her site.)
Anyway, suffice it to say that I’m all the way over the moon to see our names in print together. After all, the two things I love most in the world are Jessie and crossword puzzles. And if you’re vibing with her gridwork, you won’t have to wait long for more… she also solo-wrote the Tuesday Universal crossword!
Okay, back to the puzzle at hand. Thoughts and spoilers for “Falling Temperatures” after the barftastically adorkable jump.
Jessie and I began working on this puzzle as a potential concept for a winter-themed crossword competition we’d been asked to construct for. Ultimately the organizers preferred a different idea for their format, so we were free to mess with this one by our twosies.
It’s a pretty “indie crossword” move to clue the revealer as we have. MELTING POINT, or the point at which the I-C-E “melts” downward from the theme answers, drops “ice” into the clue itself: [Ice’s is 32 degrees, which you should bear in mind at the circled letters]. This sort of formulation works for me, insofar as the word “ice” never actually appears in the grid itself. I imagine mainstream newspaper editors might hesitate to render a revealer this way.
Some very Jessie moments at PREGGO [Baby bumpin’] and SAUTE [Sweat, as onions] and MANSCARA [Guyliner complement]. And I personally have to take credit/shame for starting you all off at 1A with PGA [Org. that puts swingers into foursomes?]. Couldn’t help myself…
Happy #weekofjessie everyone!