“Take a Load Off!”

[.puz][PDF][Solution] 🪑🛋💺 Difficulty: 4/5

Jessie and I are in Nashville, TN for a wedding this weekend, so this’ll be a short post. One thing I’d like to mention about the South: their sensibilities around sitting (sorry, setting) is way more subtle and developed than those of us Yankees. Even the sororities and fraternities at Vandy–Jessie’s alma mater, which is just beautiful, it turns out–were strongly committed to rockers out on the porch. Rockers! Amazing.

Keep your eye out for some Rosswords in the wild this week: the Tuesday 10/19 Universal puzzle and the Tuesday 10/19 New York Times puzzle. That latter grid I constructed in the summer of 2019, so if it strikes you as earlier-oeuvre-ish, you’re probably not alone.

A few thoughts/spoilers on “Take a Load Off!” after the jump!

care to set a spell?

I continue to be pigheadedly 100% committed to symmetrical rebus boxes. I can’t trace this preference, not really, but it’s gotten to the point where basically all non-symmetrical rebus puzzles just strike me as unfinished and haphazard.

With this particular theme set, comprising SOFA, PEW, CHAIR, and STOOL rebuses, such a sensibility presented pretty limited options. CHAIR more or less had to be the end of *CH AIR and *C HAIR, which meant that its symmetrical box had to *begin* both answers it was a part of. And meanwhile, CORDLESS TOOL was one of very few options to pair with WAITS TOO LONG. Beyond those four examples, however, I really struggled to conceive of other seating types to be able to hide in longer base phrases. (I omitted ROCKER since it felt like an elision of the CHAIR that already existed in the grid.) What’d I miss? Drop a comment!

Happy solving!


20 thoughts on ““Take a Load Off!”

  1. Not being familiar with Denali trucks, and having simply entered CORDLESS at 28d, I found myself trying to reconcile *MC at 57d and WAITS ON* at 56a… which looked like it should be WAITS ON[E OUT] or WAITS ON [A BETTER DAY]. Of course, neither entry worked in the puz file, but I did get a Happy Pencil when I entered a simple G in cell 57. Huh? Is WAIT SONG supposed to be an obscure idiom of some sort? I had to read your full explanation to understand that, apparently, AcrossLite acts as if the initial letter of any rebus is all that’s required to fill such a square, as with the S in [STOOL]. Not the most satisfying solving experience, but at least, I will now be prepared if you ever use rebus squares again.

    • P.S.: Also had trouble parsing CAT CHAIR at 61a, for my brain kept trying to convince me that this was a lesser-known variant of the verb “catnap”, for people who grab a few Zs in an upright position.

    • Alas, you’ve hit upon one of the liabilities of the AcrossLite experience. It does indeed accept the first letter of a rebus answer (though also accepts the full “correct” contents of the box). In future, I suppose I could give a “for best results, solve on the applet” disclaimer, though that might tip my hand a little bit… a constructing/solving double bind!

  2. Clever puzzle. I confess I couldn’t complete it without cheating by revealing a couple squares in the NE corner – I didn’t know what a PEEWEE was, got Natick’d with its intersection with a Game of Thrones actress, and am embarrassed that I did not figure out 8D, which is a great clue. As are 22A & 35D too.

  3. Luckily, I learned a while ago, that if I am doing one of your puzzles and I have an answer that seems perfect, but is too long, I need to look above the puzzle for “Rebus”. This has saved me a world of frustration. Plus, it so happens that I enjoy a puzzle that uses that button. So, thanks!

  4. Great puzzle with such rich theme crossings! Plus, the image of Ross sitting in a rocker on a Nashville veranda made this particular solve all the more delightful 🙂

  5. Excellent puzzle! I’m unfamiliar with your usage of “goof on”, so that held me up a moment, and I also had “CORDLESS” and “WAIT SONG” for half a minute or so. My real problem, though, was that I had rather stupidly gotten it into my head that there were 8 rebuses, rather than 8 answers affected by them, and I wondered throughout why I wasn’t finding more. (I didn’t actually reread the clue for 23-Down until I was all done, at which point all became clear.) As for the symmetric placement of the rebuses: I have long been convinced that most good constructors and most good solvers of crossword puzzles appreciate them as an art form as much as a form of word play.

  6. I think we’ve discussed the CAT CHAIR misparse before… I know I’ve done it organically, but it works to great effect here. And I guffawed when I saw the crossing! Taken together with the entry in this grid’s dead center… I think we’ve got a Rossword After Dark! Great solve.

  7. Terrific puzzle. Had the rebuses not been symmetrical I would still be working on it as I could not figure out where in the NE it was, even though I knew PEWTERS. Never watched GOT and CASH is new to me so that did not help. But got it done! Thanks.

    • I went back and forth on the clue for CASH after a test solver was equally flummoxed… opted for “crunchy” difficulty… and glad to hear you persisted successfully, John! Thanks for solving!

  8. I sat up most of the night trying to solve this joy of a puzzle. Thankfully your puzzles never cross into the territory of 4D!

  9. For far too long, I was convinced that the “seats” were boxes of letters instead of rebus entries, because I saw “SOFA” hidden in 15A/18A. Great puzzle, Ross!

  10. TIL that if the last square you drop in is a rebus, PuzzleMe thinks you’re done when you type the first letter of the rebus.

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