“Captured on Film”

by Lucy Howard & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 🐛🐜🦋 Difficulty: 2.5/5

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!


6 thoughts on ““Captured on Film”

  1. Clue to 38A is awesome. Fun facts (that maybe you already know): MIT regularly sends out their admissions acceptance letters on that date; some mathy folks also celebrate TWO PI DAY on June 28.
    The clues to 20A, 45D & 53D were really clever too.

  2. Of course, when I taught Geometry for all those years, we celebrated 38 across. Even though I am retired, I still pull out the shirt with the 1000 digits and wear it on that day. Once a nerd, always a nerd. 🙂
    P.S. I was also a German teacher for all those years and we were well aware that it was also Einstein’s birthday that day. However, strictly speaking, Einstein’s birthday doesn’t get written the same in German as the celebration day in question. The day goes before the month. In fact, that celebration cannot happen in Germany or anywhere else that writes the day before the month.
    Great puzzle, as always!

  3. I appreciated the archival footage captured on film. Lucy absolutely resembles 12-D, while you seem to have an Ed Norton thing going on, rather than Ryan Gosling. It brings to mind a feature (not a bug) “Birdman” which unfortunately flaps it’s wings, failing to ascend to the 2X wordplay that insects bring to the picnic. Regardless, its nice to see the faces behind your exquisitely designed and clued puzzles.

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