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.
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!