Frosty Reception

by Jessie Bullock & Ross Trudeau ❄❆❅ Difficulty 2.5/5


Two days ago we saw our first snowfall of the year here in Cambridge, which while short-lived served as a nice little validation of our decision to schedule “Frosty Reception” to run this week. I’m also excited to share this puzzle as something of an amuse-bouche for the Wednesday New York Times crossword, which is a puzzle that Jessie and I wrote in depths of our quarantine isolation. Perhaps the circumstances will shine through somewhat.

Thanks to Miranda and Meredith (a.k.a. BeerandCrosswords) for test solving today’s puzzle. Scroll down for thoughts and spoilers!

look who we found!

This one took a while to come together. I was initially stuck on building FROSTY rather than OLAF, and we felt *close* using “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” as a title, with O HOLY NIGHT, STANDING OS, ROS ASQUITH, TOS AND FROS, FROST / NIXON, and STAY FROSTY, alternating the snowman being built between the left and right edges of the grid. But TOS AND FROS felt too contrived, and ultimately Jessie and I both *much* prefer a puzzle with a revealer.

Fortunately, DO YOU WANT / TO BUILD A SNOWMAN breaks down into a 9/15 centered pair in a grid with L/R mirror symmetry. And crucially, orienting the theme answers vertically allows the circles that contain the O, OF, OAF, OLAF to sit stop one another, much like the segments of an actual snowman. How nice!

Happy solving, friends!


13 thoughts on “Frosty Reception

  1. Two nitpicks:
    – Isn’t 52a’s “Analogy connecter” actually a connector?
    – Isn’t 65a’s “Black Eyed Peas lyric” actually a mondegreen?
    On the other hand, congrats on the 68a misdirection (not the movie’s actual tagline, but an advertising slogan discussed within the film). Wicked!

    • Sending this onion link to my dad. Nice. As for 22D, it felt like the rarity of seeing starters in the pen was worth the word play, since in the playoffs you regularly see the staff ACES in the ‘pen for emergency relief duty in crucial spots.

  2. Interesting … I thought there must be a missing comma in the clue for 1-Down, so “Whoa …, deep” gave me “MAMA”, resulting in “ATA” (which is often used to mean “Actual Time of Arrival”) for 12-Across (“Stat that might change with the weather”) and “MAR” for 16-Across (“Sully”). I think your version is better, but I also kind of think mine works.

    (And, yes, it goes without saying that I’m biased … 😜.)

    • This is one of my *favorite* occurrences in crosswords: wrong answers that comprise multiple boxes that are still essentially valid answers for the clues. MAMA for “Whoa … deep” is hilarious.

      • Actually, I had the MAMA solution, too, and there it stayed until I completed the puzz—or didn’t, since of course at the end I was informed of the need to address the errors of my ways. Durn burn it!

  3. Right off the bat I was afflicted with brain freeze. Figuring out 9D and 37A helped to thaw my thinking, and the simplicity and balance of the 32A song title (and the memory of the song) warmed my heart.

    Rich’s Cy Young Award winning suggestion reminded me of a play by play announcer’s misspoken call during a rally by the opposing team: “and our closer is starting to throw up in the bullpen”

    Thanks for the cool puzzle Ross. I’m off to listen to some Stevie Wonder and Black Eyed Peas. And Depeche Mode also.

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