“Wait for the Drop!”

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 🎧💥🕺🏽 Difficulty: 3.5/5

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.

UNTZ! UNTZ! UNTZ!

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!

-Ross

17 thoughts on ““Wait for the Drop!”

  1. Seconding that “this must have been quite a troublemaker” comment. Beautiful grid – and yes, some of us still listen to 59A

    1. I typically share that sentiment, but I couldn’t pass it up this time!

      I’ll need to pick your brain about the process you describe for themes like this. I don’t quite understand the (-) in the clue method you’re describing

      1. Sorry about that! If you scroll back a couple weeks to the “Medicine Droppers” puzzle, notice that the theme answers pass through a black square as part of the gimmick. I found theme answers that created valid, clueable words *after* the black square, but you’ll regularly see puzzles that don’t do that, and therefor the second half of the theme answers just gets a [-] as a clue to indicate you’ll need to look elsewhere for the clue to that answer slot.

  2. I think when I start doing the DUBSTEP you will know it is passé. Is the Macarena still a thing?
    Liked the very-clever clue for 13A.

  3. Your puzzle brought to mind a forgotten advertising jingle probably before your time:

    “Double your pleasure, Double your fun, with Doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint Gum”.

    Something to chew on while enjoying this puzzle.

    1. Dominick…. you’ve just cursed the rest of us with this appropriate ear worm. (Not before my time… I sang this incessantly as an impressionable youth.)

  4. Fun one… the answers were also really accessible; this could have been clued as a super-difficult puzzle, but the fun clues made the whole thing shine.

    1. Thanks! You know I had just the same thought. Given the middle two themers, it had a trivia-y feel, which *can* make me feel like I should lean into the “this is a hard puzzle so I’ll clue it hard” vibe.

  5. Ha!!!!! Late to the party, but gee…Dominick’s comment was worth the delay! Ross, this is a wonderful puzzle…both clues and entries. Yes I do. Thanks!

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