I’ve been iterating on this week’s puzzle for damn near two years, and while I’m happy with how it turned out, I’m glad to be washing my hands of it. Let me know in the comments if I waited too long. Does anyone listen to 59-Across anymore? Couple puzzle links:
Twice in recent years I’ve been honored to write puzzles for my local crossword tournament, Boswords, run by Andrew Kingsley and John Lieb. The tournament is next weekend (7/25) and they’re 100% online this year: register now! I’ll be solving this year, so come say hi in the chat.
The Wednesday Universal puzzle is a collaboration between myself and Katrina Lee. It’s Katrina’s print debut! I’ll drop a link here and via my Twitter account when this goes live.
A couple of thoughts and spoilers for “Wait for the Drop!” after the jump.
One way to make your life a ton easier when you’re making themers-that-change-rows puzzles (or themers-that-bust-through-a-black-square puzzles) is to get comfortable with applying a [ – ] clue to the answer slot that the answer occupies after the shift. This lets you wash your hands of the task of finding theme answers that not only meet the thematic criteria–in this case, having a D-U-B string–but also create new, independently valid answers on the back end.
For whatever reason, I found myself stubbornly clinging to finding D-U-B string words that would let me avoid the -‘s. And ultimately, I had to go to a) horizontal mirror symmetry, and b) theme answers that “merged” with other across answers. E.g., FIRST LADY OF DUBAI bumps down into the end of the MUMBAI answer.
The resulting stacked themers created headaches for grid layout, and I needed to add TRX to my word list to make the thing go at all, but in the end I think I’m pretty excited about the result. Would love to hear what you think in the comments.
Happy solving, friends!