“Continental Divide”

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 🇲🇱 🇹🇩 🇹🇬 Difficulty: 2.5/5

Today’s the day! The 2021 Boswords Summer Tournament kicks off at 1:00p eastern … there are still a couple hours as of this writing for you to register. The tournament is completely online via their Twitch stream, and Parker and I invite you to join us for some post-tournament commentary and construction as soon as they sign off at 6:00p eastern this evening. Drop by our Twitch channel and say hello!

I wrote today’s puzzle a few months ago, and actually hadn’t intended to post it at all. But when Kevin Christian‘s 7/12/21 puzzle dropped in the New York Times, I figured I’d drop this little bad boy in here as an echo/homage. A couple of thoughts and spoilers for “Continental Divide” after the jump.

C.A.R. facts

Today’s puzzle is a pretty straightforward hidden word theme. I don’t generally mess with these unless the puzzle includes a revealer answer that demonstrates the puzzle’s raison d’être in a tight and interesting way. The part I found interesting was the potential for using one of those super-dee-duper apt revealer answers like CENTRAL / AFRICAN REPUBLIC. On the one hand, it describes where the hidden word is in the theme answers, *and* it describes the content of the hidden word. Moreover, it constitutes the rare case where a revealer answer not only describes the syntax of the theme, but also shares a category with the theme. Fun!

An essential feature of “center” or “middle” or “central” hidden word themes, at least for my idiosyncratic solving brain, is that the hidden word actually sits in the exact middle or center of the theme answers. And in fact, I could really only find a couple other workable entries, like VA[GABON]DS. I’d be super interested if any of you all can find more. Drop ’em in the chat!

Happy solving, friends!

-R

10 thoughts on ““Continental Divide”

  1. Thank you for the puzzle, Ross. In my twisted way I actually *enjoyed* your “groan” clues. 🙂 The grid is sensational…beautiful construction! kennisonskorner, thank you for the link…I didn’t know!

  2. TIL (1) that bacon is a synonym for money and (2) that football has umpires. My goal is actually to learn a single thing every day, so I am banking one of those and taking tomorrow off.
    Most clever clue: 23A.
    Honorable mention to 64D; it reminded me of MOO once being clued in the NYT as “Why, yes, I am, in fact, a cow”

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