“Jab This Puzzle”

by Lucy Howard & Ross Trudeau


As I sit down to post today’s puzzle, my co-constructor Lucy and I are texting about all the rock climbing we’re going to do together in the After Times. I’ve also got a double strong cup of home brew, an uncommonly docile purr machine unconscious in my lap, and a 60/sunny local forecast displayed on the ol’ weather app, so everything’s looking up so far. A couple quick hits:

-Don’t miss this Wednesday’s New York Times puzzle, which is a Rafkin-Trudeau joint.

-Parker and I are continuing our “Heavenly Bodies” puzzle build on tomorrow night’s Cursewords Live stream. Tune in at 10 pm eastern after the Boswords stream.

-Here’s a live tracker that Parker and Malaika cooked up that applies a more appropriate color scheme to the NYT constructor gender data over at xwordinfo.)

Some thoughts and spoilers from Lucy on “Jab This Puzzle” after the jump.

Lucy, crushing; Ross, contemplating crushing

Lucy: I am thrilled to be making a Rossword appearance two months in a row! When Ross approached me with this clever revealer, I was delighted to discover that he even knew what a FRENCH TWIST was (“I have a sister, Lucy…”), and even more delighted about his corresponding BOWLING LANE theme entry. Ross’s tricky clue for ATM MACHINE [Deli fixture that dispenses bread] is certainly a highlight of this puzzle for me! Ross and I had an especially fun happy hour clueing session with this puzzle – how could we not with words like PIXAR MOVIE, I STINK, IMMATURE, and IN LOVE? My mom used to call me on Valentine’s Day every year to wish me a happy conception day, so thanks mom for the TMI clue inspiration (I guess). Oh and for the record, I do not have a Texas ACCENT (ahem) and Ross is just being modest about his LEG day workouts…

Ross: There are a couple of other pieces of theme material that we left on the cutting room floor. HAND GRENADE, for one, since the pin felt a bit too akin to the FRENCH TWIST’s pin. It’s a delightful bit of continuity that the PIN in the revealer is for sticking stuff to a wall, and each of the pins in the theme answers has a very distinct use/meaning.

Lucy, darlin’, you definitely have a Texas accent. (Soon as we get her on the stream y’all’ll agree with me.)

Happy solving, friends.


10 thoughts on ““Jab This Puzzle”

  1. Very clever theme! I liked the three very different meanings of “pin”. 8D felt thematic too, not as another form of “pin” but as a synonym for the revealer. Though in a non-symmetric way.
    Isn’t there a verb-conjugation issue with the clue to 46A? It feels like the clue is calling out for the third-person form of the verb (ending in “s”).

    • Ha! I hadn’t thought about 8D as potentially being in the mold of the revealer. Perhaps we haven’t plumbed the depths of this concept.. and yes! I had to stare at 46A for a while to see the conjugation, but I suppose you’re right!

      • Also, I’m glad you didn’t go with HAND GRENADE because, like, putting the pin IN is not the interesting part of hand grenades… It reminds me of one of my favorite Raymond Chandler-isms: “the business end of my revolver”.

        Lucy, my birthday is Nov 15, is yours? I always suspected I was a Valentine’s Day creation…

  2. We all acknowledge that ATM Machine is redundant, right? Like PIN Number? Irregardless, it was a fun puzzle.

    • Hahahaha. We do acknowledge that, Rick. I think this site’s aesthetic is sort of an aggressive anti-prescriptivism… maybe I should codify that somewhere 🙂

  3. Thank you so much for the puzzle, which is great fun. I’m 12 Down with the thought of Lucy’s Mom calling her on her conception day…all misty-eyed am I…thank you for sharing that, and again, for the delightful puzzle.

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