“Teenage Dream”

[.puz][PDF][Solution] ✨🪐🌙

Jessie and I have come to start saying “56-Across!” to one another, at once ruefully and earnestly. Because while our quaranroutines are becoming, uh, well-established, we also find that the framing is everything.

Here’s a page out of our recent dinner date playbook: order international cuisine from a local restaurant (tip generously if you can!), get swanked-out (cologne! fancy underpants!), serve on the Good China (we don’t own china), and after you’ve finished the appetizers, throw on an Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown episode filmed in the country of your meal’s origin. Seeing some of the foods/flavors you’re enjoying discussed on-screen *does* transport you, if only momentarily. We recommend.

Anyway, if you’re reading this before 10am on Sunday, there’s still a wee bit of time to sign up for this afternoon’s Boswords Winter Wondersolve, to which Jessie and I contributed a puzzle.

Thoughts and spoilers for “Teenage Dream” after the jump.

Ah, mirror symmetry with three vertical themers and a 15-letter spanner revealer across the bottom… my old friend, how *are* you?

THE NIGHT IS YOUNG (15) is where this idea took root. And in fact, the first couple of potential theme answers that came to mind were MOONCHILD and TEENAGE DREAM. Ultimately it felt more consistent to go entirely with answers that contained a word for a young person + a (generally) night-visible celestial body (CHILD STAR, BABYMOONS, etc.). The result is a tighter theme set, but did necessitate pluralizing BABYMOONS.

Also notice that one of the themers in MINOR PLANET is an *actual* celestial body. Ideally all of the answers would have used a non-literal example, but in this case using *one* also felt legit. (Two out of three would have struck me as imbalanced and inelegant.)

Hope you’re finding ways to pursue some semblance of night life out there, all y’all good, good quarantining soldiers.

Happy solving, friends.


14 thoughts on ““Teenage Dream”

  1. Great puzzle, Ross! (Resisting describing it as ‘out of this world’…) Beautiful grid too – I feel like this grid style should be called the Trudeau special 🙂 And your cuisine-themed dinner dates sound like a Quarantine Dream!

  2. Fun time, and heartily agree with Jean Decker about your cluing…I’m partial to the “asides to the audience” as in 26D and 27A — thanks so much!

Leave a Reply