“Close Quarters”

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 🏘🏘🏘🏘

Who doesn’t love a good aesthetic phase? Picasso went blue. The Beatles went psychedelic. And Will Nediger? Well, Will’s gone stacks on stacks on stacks. Stacked theme answers, that is.

First he went and did this, which, *cranium eruption*. Then he followed it up with this, and, obviously, *brain melt*. And most recently THIS–and he’s just giving it away for free! King stuff. (Incidentally, he dropped by the Twitch stream to discuss that last one–much fun, highly recommend giving it a watch.)

Needless to say, I admire Will’s work a lot. So much so that I’m happy to be shamelessly derivative. So today I offer you, humbly, a bewilderingly-inspired grid. Thoughts and spoilers after the jump.

Honestly, after being incepted/inspired by Will’s work, I wasn’t exactly looking for a *scintillating* concept. His “High Romance” puzzle has multiple layers of thematic meaning that this grid certainly does not. I settled on ADJOINING ROOMS (14) as a revealer, specifically because the middle four letters of N-I-N-G were necessarily going to cross decently well with a variety of ROOMs for the simple reason that we name a lot of rooms in the “___ING room” pattern.

Anyway, this theme set and grid arrangement took a metric ton of iterating. There’s not really a science to this stuff. Just: pick rooms with decently common letters, and jigger and rejigger until the vowel-consonants and left-right letter distributions look, uh, passable … and then experiment with 23940823094 black box arrangements to try to get the whole thing to hang together.

In the end, I actually really like how this came out. III was the only real compromise to my mind, and even that doesn’t really make me feel cheap.

Oh, and I spent a LONGGG time trying to generate an OSIRIS clue that references the fact that his brother Set killed him and chopped him up into little pieces. [God that was dead Set against?] Ehhh. Almost, but … kill your darlings.

Happy solving, friends!


12 thoughts on ““Close Quarters”

  1. Is the clue to 6D an error? I can’t intuit the common meaning of “Send” and ELATE.
    Clue for 41D was very clever.

    • In Boston, the T is the subway system, so a “T party” could be construed as the stops on the T. That being said, I definitely chewed my pen for a while over “party” vs. “parties,” to the point where this clue may be too clever by half. Alas!

  2. I appreciated the way you divided — wait, wrong word! — *choose* the rooms evenly…two in a home, two not. Nice! Thanks, Ross!

    • Initially I wanted to stay entirely (ahem) in-house, but after much head-wall connecting, I had to go a bit farther afield. Thanks as always for dropping in, Kelly!

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