Essential Workers

by Yacob Yonas & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 💆🏻‍♂️ 💇🏾🧑🏼‍⚕️ Difficulty 3/5

Welcome back, solver! Join me in savoring Yacob’s overdue return to this site with “Essential Workers.”

I’m feeling a rush of creativity this week, and all credit goes to Jessie. She’s going on the job market this fall (pour one out for your PhD homies), and every day she bounces out of the office to tell me about a new job posting that’s popped up overnight. As a result, we are obliged to actively daydream for a moment or two about what it would be like to move to L.A., or the Bay Area, or Providence, or New York City, which practice turns out to be downright invigorating. TBD what the windfall is…

A couple of links/FYI’s for #rosswords in the wild this week:

Today’s Atlantic puzzle is a collaboration with Paolo Pasco, whose initials are “PP”; the Wednesday 7/14 New York Times puzzle I co-wrote with Amanda Rafkin, who needs board game advice; and the Thursday Wall Street Journal puzzle is a joint effort with Evelyn Rubin, whose gridwork continues to impress.

Some thoughts on “Essential Workers” after the jump!

Ah! Kinks!

Yacob: I love looking back to see how puzzles came to be, especially collaborations. A while back, when Ross and I were stewing on ideas for our next puzzle, Ross asked me in an email “how many professionals can you think of who might help someone WORK OUT THE KINKS (15)?  :D” That was the origin of this puzzle! The theme entries we found made the layout on this puzzle pretty tough, which is why we ended up with mirror symmetry. I’m pretty happy with how this grid ended up. As always I love working with Ross; it’s always a blast!

Ross: Happy solving, friends!

12 thoughts on “Essential Workers

  1. I liked the theme. I note the images in the blog only focused on the chiropractor angle and not on the sex therapist one!

    I got the 57A revealer before any of the vertical themers. Once I did, I was hoping for a reference to the rock band The Kinks, several of whose songs have been earworms for me over the years. Alas, there was no such reference (but I can see why it would have been tough to incorporate one).

    Favorite clue was 53A. I went off on a misdirect thru ZEROS.

    I hadn’t previously known that “salty” was a synonym for resentful (28A). TIL, as the kids say!

    The 32A clue was interesting, because I think CIAO is originally Italian but has taken over the world: my kids’ nanny, a Peruvian, used to say ciao as goodbye, as do my wife & in-laws, who are from Bulgaria. I never heard it in Mexico, but I am sure it’s vernacular there too.

    If I were to 38D, I might say that THRILLRIDES are not really “places”, as clued in 6D; they seem less like locations and more like activities. But I guess when people say “I’m in my happy place” they are talking about a state of mind, which isn’t a location either. So I guess that is good?

    As always, a fun way to start my Sunday, thank you both.

    1. Always a pleasure to hear from you, Rich! These sorts of ideas tend to force the solver’s hand a bit, no? The lack of any information in the theme clues sometimes activates my competitive side… “I’m gonna grok this WITHOUT the reveal… Grrrr…”

  2. I don’t mean to 38D (and this is not directed at you personally), but please allow me to use the clue to the Atlantic puzzle’s 5D as an opportunity to do some much-needed venting about any English-speaking venue that purports to offer fine-tuned wordplay, yet mangles a foreign phrase in the process. Unfortunately, this happens so often in U.S. publications that I’m now amazed when a non-American quote actually comes out right. SWITCHING TO ANOTHER LANGUAGE DOES *NOT* ABSOLVE CREATORS FROM DOUBLE-CHECKING THEIR WORK. On the contrary, one should be extra-careful when venturing into unknown territory, becuase taht rapildy becoems annoiyng too anyoen woh caers abuot suhc thighs. End of rant, and thank you for letting me get this off my chest. Bonne journée.

    1. I agree with the sentiment, Charles. In this case, this one isn’t on either of the creators, as you suggest. As submitted, the clue was [What a dictionnaire contains]. The error appears to have been introduced somewhere in the editorial process. Alas!

  3. As always, a fun Sunday Rossword! Oh boy, all those stacked verticals.. so pretty.

    Thank you thank you!

  4. In my Spanish class (I’ve taken a grand total of two semesters) one of the first words we learned was “chao” for goodbye. But it was spelled that way.

  5. Big fan of the placement of the theme answers/revealer! Had just a couple sticky spots that worked out with crosses. Loved it!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rachel! This bottom third horizontal revealer with vertical themers is–for whatever reason–turning out to be something of a motif on this site…

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