“Guys Who Are Down Bad”

[.puz][PDF][Solution] πŸ‘¨πŸ½β€πŸ¦³πŸ‘¨πŸΎβ€πŸ¦±β˜”οΈπŸ‘±πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ§–πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

I’m a little groggy as I rise to post today’s puzzle. Like many of you, I imagine, I’ve been pretty plugged into the proceedings at the 2021 ACPT Online. Joining various “tables” to check in with dozens of denizens of crossworld–many of whom I haven’t seen in 13+ months now–has been flooding my system with various potent and agreeable brain chemicals.

The slow drip of gratitude and affection crescendoed last night when Parker and I ran a “How to Make a Crossword” seminar for ACPT attendees. The “room” kept ejecting us (the production this weekend has otherwise been wonderful!), so we made the snap decision to switch to my Zoom account. And with apologies to the folks who couldn’t join because we quickly maxed out the 100 person limit… what a night!

A little later on today I’m going to try to make time to compile and distribute the puzzle we made live with input from the group. But for now suffice it to say that my general attitude that Crossword People Are The Best People remains intact.

Some thoughts and spoilers for “Guys Who Are Down Bad” after the jump.

Parker, myself, and our 98 new besties

This grid took … massaging. I started with a horizontal layout for the IT’S RAINING MEN revealer, which indicates that M-E-N strings from each of the four theme answers RAIN downward into the intersecting down answers. However, that didn’t leave enough north-south real estate to accommodate the M-E-N, which kept wanting to intersect the revealer.

The solution, of course, was to lean into the interlock, but in ways that I could control better. By organizing IT’S RAINING MEN vertically, I could attempt to intersect it with base thematic phrases of my choosing. I started with WO[MEN]’S EQUALITY DAY, which intersects at the A in RAINING. Each of the remaining 3 themers also pass through the revealer. Things got *really* tricky when I realized that the M-E-N accommodating down answers in TREAT[MEN]TS and LA[MEN]TABLE were *also* going to need to intersect the 2nd and 3rd themers … all in all, a sextuple interlock. Yeesh.

Fortunately, the grid didn’t seem to suffer too terribly much. There was even flexibility enough for some nicer bonus fill in BETA TEST and PLOT HOLE … for which clue [That the “Karate Kid” ref says no head kicks are allowed, then lets Daniel win by kicking Johnny right in the face, e.g.] I make no apologies. <3

Happy solving, friends!

-Ross

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