“Cover Up”


Last week I was texting with my buddy Parker about some coding wizardry he’d put together to scrape and open crosswords from the web in his own solving interface. He’s been tweeting about it, so if there are any code monkeys out there in solving land, definitely give him a follow.

Anyway, at some point during the conversation, he mentioned that the script he’d written was actually pretty slick, if you “[61-Across].” And lo! A puzzle idea is born.

The moral of the story is that if you want to make crossword puzzles, step number one is surrounding yourself with people who know how to turn a phrase… then just keep your ears open! Couple more thoughts on “Cover Up” after the jump.

3-character Twitter handle means you’re RAD

LOOK UNDER THE HOOD is a 16-letter revealer, requiring a) a 16×15 grid, and b) a 16-letter sister answer. You *could* stick it in the center row, but that would mean flanking it with 2 themers above and 2 below, and there weren’t enough distinct kinds of HOODs to accommodate that. So!

With four theme answers in an extra-wide grid, I knew I’d have some extra real estate to get some long down bonus fill. The long slots for WARREN MOON, PET CARRIERS, ORIGINAL SIN, and CONTESTING actually had quite a few options in the grid architecture you see here. I chose these four in large part because [Adam’s apple condition?] and [Voyage of the beagle conveyances?] came to mind as I was hammering out the center of the grid. Yee-haw!

Happy solving, friends!


14 thoughts on ““Cover Up”

  1. Thanks, Ross. This is the epitome of a puzzle I’d advise any new constructor to study. As you said in your comments — and as I surmised before reading them — find the theme revealer: and then find the entries to support it. Also, is the grid design: note how while there are four thematric entries, the grid is designed to allow delicious bonuses, including the rather amazing 11-letter one (26 Down) and the cool full-names 30 and 32 Downs. Also lovely is 19 Down…in fact, the whole grid is filled with enjoyable entries, and would be not just a joyful Monday to solve, but, depending on the cluing, a terrific one for any day o’ the week. Wonderful work, and I thank you!

    • Thank *you*, Kelly. This means a lot. And actually, you’ve reminded me that I need to do a better job of cataloguing the puzzles that I solve out in the world that strike me as useful teaching tools… happy near year!

  2. I find the most enjoyable part of a theme puzzle is finding the answers before the theme revealer clue. Then I try to guess what they have in common. It’s like a game of TriBond.

    • I like that game as well, Kathleen. I’ve found that there are actually two (okay, many more than 2, but broadly speaking 2) kinds of “revealer” answers. Ones that explain in the relationship between the theme answers in a satisfying “aha” moment, and ones that actually serve an important function in helping the solver complete the puzzle.

      Think of the first rebus puzzle you ever solved. Unless there was an answer like BOXED WINE somewhere in the grid, you might spend an hour tearing your hair out because certain answers just didn’t seem to fit (!!!!!).

      Me? I like solving a good balance of both these types 🙂

  3. Ross, this is not about the puzzle, per se, but you mention that you get more claustrophobic with each MRI. I had a lot of trouble with them, too, until the last one. I was offered prism glasses instead of a cloth over my face, which they’d done before. Oh, my, what a difference! The ability to look out past my feet, even at the dull wall and window, really eased my claustrophobia. If they haven’t offered them before, I highly recommend them.

    • Kathy, do you mean spectacles? The only prism glass I’m aware of are those blocks of glass used in old buildings — school buildings and such. I’m sorry to sway a bit from the puzzle, but Ross’ MRI clue got to me, too, only I didn’t have a solution to offer. Thanks!

  4. Kelly, they called them prism glasses. It was 3 pieces of glass put together to form a triangular prism (solid made of 3 rectangles and 2 triangular bases-retired geometry teacher here). The prism was on a pair of earpieces like my regular glasses. So, that’s probably why the technician called it prism glasses.

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