“Chap Shtick”

by Parker Higgins, Ross Trudeau, & the Cursewords Live Crew

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 3/5

First of all, Parker wrote the amazing title for today’s puzzle, which has “every puzzlescreenwriter in the world whispering a reverent ‘F***’ under their breath” energy.

Speaking of Parker! We chose to run one of the puzzles we made live on our Twitch stream–with the help of chat regulars–for two reasons. One, enough time has passed on this one, which we think is fun! And two, we’re going to do a special-ish stream tomorrow night which we want to promote! The next #rossword you’ll see in the wild is this Tuesday’s New York Times puzzle, which will go live at 10p about an hour into our regular Monday stream tomorrow evening. We’ll plan to take a ~20 minute break for folks to solve the Times grid, at which point we’ll reconvene to watch Parker have at it while I (and you) heckle.

In other crossword news, registration for the (online) Boswords Winter Wondersolve goes live this week. And, of course, registration for the 2022 (in person) ACPT is already open. Fingers crossed. Parker is skeptical it’ll come off, so I cheerfully pointed out that betting against the ACPT coming off is, ironically, taking a Shortz position.

Thanks to Bruce and Delmar for testing solving “Chap Shtick”! Thoughts and spoilers after the jump.

The inspiration for this puzzle was our fellow streamer Aaron “Scoots” Paulsen, who to my knowledge is the only person on Twitch with a broader array of arrows in the ol’ voice work quiver than Parker.

You’d be well within your rights to pick a nit at the final theme answer, STAGE FRIGHT, which we clued as [6th set on the lot, innit?], asking you to reparse it in the manner STAGE F, RIGHT? All the other answers, once you’ve separated the RIGHT, create valid crossword answers: STAND-UP, AL, BUYS OUT, and SUPERB. But STAGE F? Well, suffice it to say that such details tend to get short shrift in the generally besotted Cursewords Construction Zone.

You might also notice a pile-up of -? answers. And in fact, we used this grid’s answers as fodder for a cluing competition (I beat Parker 6-4, but who’s counting?). Hence [Stock-home shopping centers?] for IKEA STORES, [Heats up before eating?] for GETS HANGRY, and, ahem, [Barbie’s meat shaft] for SPIT.

Do drop by tomorrow night for the Cursewords stream! And happy solving, friends!

-Ross

20 thoughts on ““Chap Shtick”

  1. *Wince.* Given your past stance regarding references to controversial performers in crosswords, may I respectfully ask what the deal is with 45D?

      1. I’ve been Googling and I’m not seeing what Dustin Pedroia did that merits a crossword cancelation. I’m a (lapsed) Yankee fan and all I remember is that Pedroia was an outstanding opponent. Alex Rodriguez behaved absolutely horribly and because his nickname is a convenient four-letters he’s permitted to show up in XWs all the time. Slippery slope to purging most proper names from puzzles. If there’s concern that mentioning a person’s name in a XW constitutes implicit and unfiltered praise, then how about reference the controversy in the clue and move on? Let he who is without sin cast the first beanball.

        Fun puzzle btw! I too smiled at the 7A clue. And I don’t know if it was an intentional misdirect, but my initial answer to 40A was “ABCDE”.

        1. Pedroia is whom I toggled to! The other DUSTIN was the actor–kind of heartbreaking to learn about that one.

          7A will be divisive, I’m sure… and I hadn’t considered that option for 40A, which, nice 🙂

          1. Oh! I don’t know who the actor is, but in the words of Emily Litella, “Never mind…”

            (Btw, she has never been in an NYT puzzle – add to your list!)

  2. Someone I know—not in any way a Brit—after seeing the Taskmaster series including Paul Choudhury, started annoying everyone around him by punctuating his conversation, “innit.”

    And yes, as you imply, 7A momentarily (or longer, until I fell into the correct answer) took my brain somewhere I might have preferred it didn’t go. Thanks a lot, Ross. (No, really. Thanks.)

    1. This puzzle is a direct result of “innit” pervading, to an eye-rolling degree, much of the online crossword solving community. Your friend(?) is in good company, Blaine…

      1. Friend works. And I recommend Taskmaster, most series easily accessible on YouTube, for silliness, as needed.

  3. Even as part of the construction crew, seeing the final clues on some of these cracked me up! Delighted to have my name on such a fun goofy puz!

    PS I will brook no complaints on 57-A, which is absolutely delightful

  4. I’m still not that swift at solving these puzzles, but there is evidence of improvement. For instance with 27-D, I knew the answer without even thinking about it. Regarding the controversy of 45-D, AROD not withstanding, I’m guessing we will never see BUCKY as an answer in one of your CWs. To paraphrase Steve Jobs, Bucky, as a result of his despicable act, drove a fatal dent into the Red Sox universe that can still be felt. That should qualify as a lifetime cancellation.
    As for the 7-A controversy, thank goodness Ken was not dragged into the solving morass.

    1. Yeah, let’s mercifully continue to leave Ken out of this mess. And, as a native New Yorker and childhood Yankee fan, I’m hardly above the schadenfreude of dropping BUCKY in there to torment and harass!

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