“Local Lingo”

by Soleil Saint-Cyr & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 🌍 📬 Difficulty: 3/5

The last big online puzzle tournament of the summer kicks off next Saturday. Book your Lollapuzzoola tickets now! As a bonus, my collaborator on this week’s puzzle, Soleil Saint-Cyr, has also contributed a puzzle to a slate of warm-up midis with a meta solution. If you’ve got an afternoon to devote to puzzle solving and characteristic Lolla shenanigans, this is a can’t-miss event.

Meantime, this week’s Crucinova ($) puzzle is a grid concept that I cooked up last spring. The form you’ll find it in when it drops on Wednesday 8/19 is the result of the thoughtful stewardship of editor Lisa Bunker.

*Spoilers* and notes from Soleil on “Local Lingo” below!

dorque du Soleil

Soleil: Hey everyone! I’m excited to say that I’m back to constructing after a ~ more-than-brief hiatus.~ Ross came to me with this half-baked theme idea close to a year ago, right when I started learning to construct. I remember our (very very long) email thread going back and forth about all of the possibilities for theme entries, and the real breakthrough with this grid came when we discovered that ITALIAN STALLION fit the theme. We probably finished the grid and cluing back in winter of 2021, so this one has been sitting on the shelf for a while, and I’m really happy that we’re finally able to share it with the world! Happy solving!

Ross: When we started defining the terms of the theme, we started with [LANGUAGE + any WORD] English phrases, with the caveat that the WORD in that stated LANGUAGE had to itself be a valid English language word, such that we could obscure the gimmick in the clue, e.g. [Pain in Paris?] for FRENCH BREAD. It hadn’t occurred to me to examine names for this concealable property, so when Soleil pulled ITALIAN STALLION I was, well, pleased as, ahem, punch. Killer answer, killer spanner (15).

Happy solving, friends!

14 thoughts on ““Local Lingo”

    • Hey, Phil! The theme is that we’re translating foreign language words into English… so the Spanish “gripe”, which means “flu”, is the basis for the clue/answer pairing SPANISH FLU [Gripe in Madrid?]

    • Not in Spanish…just 1 p. I feel embarrassed that, even speaking spanish as a 2nd language,and having just that last vowel to fill in, I tried them all, then did a face palm when I realized the pun.

      (In my defense, I haven’t had very frequent opportunities to speak it since my time living in Costa Rica — 25 years in the rearview mirror!)

  1. Very nice — thank you! I especially appreciated — and I don’t know if you were looking for phrases like this especially — that the theme answers are actual things. FRENCH BREAD, of course, SPANISH FLU, SWEDISH CHEF (bork, bork, bork!). ‘Course Stallone is known as the ITALIAN STALLION. IRISH WOMAN might’ve been an outlier but I love it. (“Kelly” is actually my parents’ last name…my first name is “Pat”) :-). And the cluing is brash and awesome. Love, e.g., “Block buster film?” and “Basketball.” Thanks again!

  2. I really like the concept (and I am embarrassed that I never knew that “Stallone” was linguistically linked to “Italian Stallion”). My only observation (and maybe this is too purist): it feels like in a puzzle where the themers are plays on foreign words, the non-themers would optimally *not* include foreign words. So 22A and 67A (and the clue to 62D) felt inapposite somehow? Is that a valid comment? Anyway I enjoyed the solve nonetheless.

    • A totally valid comment! I definitely agree with striving for this kind of consistency in general. Though in a weird way, 22A and 67A still feel fine to be insofar as there aren’t actually any foreign words in the grid… nixing foreign language *clues* on the other hand might serve the purpose you describe. (The “Stallone” thing was new to me as well, btw.)

  3. Thanks for not including any Greek Alphabet clues. I have trouble enough with ABCs.
    This puzzle provided some fun aha moments including 21-A, 11-D and 18-D. Well done!

  4. Believe it or not, it was “bean” that gave me the a-ha moment for the theme. I still can’t speak the beast of a language, but I can read a bit.

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