by Lucy Howard & Ross Trudeau
Today’s puzzle is a collaboration with Lucy Howard, a cherished friend whom I’ve never met in person. Towards the beginning of the pandemic we connected online via puzzles, and in the intervening months we’ve communed over rock climbing, we did an in-home Zoom wine tasting double date, we published a Sunday puzzle in the New York Times. And just recently sent me an ultrasound image of the new baby she is currently 3D printing!
I have to say, the first major crossword puzzle tournament to reopen its doors to in-person attendance is going to be the setting for an impressive density of joyous and tearful reunions and meetings. Perhaps the lobby of the Stamford Marriott in March on the opening evening of the ACPT? A forward-thinking hotel manager will stock every corner and crevice with Kleenex and disposal cameras, one of which I hope captures Lucy and I sobbing violently into one another’s necks while our sig-o’s enjoy a more dignified greeting.
Anyway! Registration is now open for the Boswords Fall Themeless League. I’ll be participating, and hopefully keeping pace with my Cursewords compatriot Parker, who is apparently in the middle of moving up a speed-solving plateau after finishing 35th (!!!) at Lollapuzzoola last month. “See” you “there”?
Thoughts and spoilers on “Captured on Film” after the jump!
Sometimes it’s all about the revealer answer. After all, nothing about the titles of the thematic movies in today’s grid is super-dee-duper *interesting*: BUMBLEBEE, BLACK WIDOW, DRAGONFLY. And you either know the trivia or you don’t. But what appealed to Lucy and me about this concept was the doubly unexpected nature of the revealer answer, A FEATURE NOT A BUG (15).
First of all, it’s just an interesting phrase (that happens to be a 15-letter spanner). And second of all, the way we set about using it asks the solver to interpret both “feature” and “bug” in new ways, as “movie” and “insect” respectively. Sometimes, in my experience, that sort of 2x wordplay can carry the day on an otherwise pretty straight-ahead thematic concept.
Special kudos to Lucy for [God complex?] as a delightful clue for ABBEY. And keep your eyes peeled! There are Trudeau-Howard collaborations in the pipeline at multiple crossword outlets of note!
Happy solving, friends!