The best part about having one’s own crossword blog is the freedom to explore thematic material that just wouldn’t have a prayer of getting published in a mainstream venue. Of course, standards are constantly evolving. I almost spat up my coffee when I saw BAD ASS in the Times puzzle for the first time, for example.
Today’s puzzle is an example of one that I didn’t even consider sending out for publication, just because of how directly it looks at certain material that’s verboten in the mainstream. Personally, I tend to agree with the convention of generally avoiding “unpleasant” topics in, say, the Wall Street Journal puzzle, but that’s only because it’s *been* that way for so long. It would legitimately be jarring and perhaps off-putting to see profanity (for example) in the paper, just because we’re all so used to *not* seeing it in that context.
That being said, this ain’t the Journal. And solvers on this site know damn well my attitudes toward replicating certain crossword conventionalities on this site. Still, I’d love to hear your impressions on this one. So leave a comment.
More thoughts on “Dying to Solve” after the jump.
This felt like an idea worth pursuing just because of a) how tight the theme set was, and b) how the themers appear to chronologically “zoom in” to WHEN DEATH COMES.
Each theme answer is a phrase for which the first word can be reinterpreted as a euphemism for death, and the second is a timeline indicator word: EXPIRATION DATE, DEPARTURE TIME, and PASSING MOMENT. And their lengths just happen to allow for successive clues to get more and more specific about the timeline: [Last day?] to [Last hour?] to [Last second?].
And in fact, I was hoping to replicate the pattern a fourth time, but couldn’t find a phrase that would do the job. So the revealer–WHEN DEATH COMES–actually came last. (I’m rarely ever satisfied with only 3 thematic entries.) And, boy howdy, it’s an apt one.
Anyway, now that you’ve solved, you’re privy to this “darkest timeline” theme. What do you think? Are you shocked and appalled? Wryly amused? Cold and unmoved? Talk to me in the comments!
Happy (heh) solving, dear solver.