by Katherine Baicker & Ross Trudeau
[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 2.5/5
My collaborator on this weekend’s puzzle is the first Rosswords contributor with her own dang Wikipedia page. How cool is that? Kate and I previously worked together on a Universal grid that ran back in November, and she’s become a cherished co-author over the last few months. Please welcome her in the comments section!
If you’re in the mood for Big Crosswords, I wrote today’s Universal Sunday, and I co-wrote this weekend’s WSJ puzzle (“Carbon Neutral“) with my roommate Jessie Bullock and my associate Parker Higgins. Yeah. Been writing a lot of clues recently.
Some thoughts and spoilers for A Well Built Crossword after the jump! Thanks to Mike, Matt, and Debbie for test solving!
Kate: I’m so excited to have this collaboration appear! Like, apparently, everyone else under the sun, I finally took the plunge into constructing last year, filled out a mentor form, and had the unbelievable fortune to get an email from Ross offering to show me the ropes! We’ve now constructed several puzzles “together” (read: Ross patiently redirecting me out of the corners I’d run myself into). I’d like to say that I’m keeping my new avocation from interfering with my day job (I’m a health economist and policy school dean), but . . .
Ross: Every now and then I have the intrusive thought of trying to think of more themers for this conceit. DELTA SQUAD? TRIPLE STRAP? BIOLOGY LAB? Quiet, brain, or I’ll stab you with a Q-tip!
Happy solving, friends!
19 thoughts on ““A Well Built Crossword””
I am wondering if having done this puzzle means I have satisfied my exercise goals for the day and don’t have to go to the gym this afternoon. Clue commentary: 33A (Grrrroan…), 63A (I couldn’t decide whether to go with CNN or NFL), 38D (likewise CAW or AYE), 48D & 49D (haha, well done).
And welcome Kate, btw what is the “mentor form” you refer to?
This one! Erik Agard created for the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory Facebook group. Gets newbies hooked up with veteran mentors (like me!) https://forms.gle/LJfZHgEQxUT8vp5YA
That form seems to be for would-be mentors, rather than would-be mentees, if I’m not mistaken?
It was! Sorry about that — I’ve modified the link, it should be correct now
Thanks Ross – the new form notes that as a straight / cis / white / non-disabled man I’m not eligible to use the mentee/mentor matchup resource. Oh well, I will continue my thus-far unsuccessful construction efforts solo…
I note Ray’s comment below – who’d have expected that you’d hit two social equity topics in a single day?! 🙂
If you visit the Facebook group, it’s very welcoming to new constructors of all stripes! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1515117638602016
All stripes except non-FB, social-media phobes, that is! 🙂
Oh well, I’ll figure something out…
Two sexist terms in one puzzle? Time to get with the times. Totally turned off by this one.
My collaborators and I try to be very sensitive to implicit sexism in puzzles, but I’m at a loss as to where we’ve erred here. Do share so we can learn/grow!
Layperson should be the term over LAYMAN
I know the reference is to two specific women but LATINX would make your puzzle progressive, rather than the LATINA reference.
Hi, Ray. Thanks for clarifying. According to interviews, both of those women self-identify as Latina, so that clue stands. I’m not in the business of telling anyone how they *should* identify, though of course I support anyone’s decision to identify as Latinx/o/a. Moreover, the term “Latinx” is contentious among both progressives and the people progressives purport to describe with the term: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/15/learning/for-most-latinos-latinx-does-not-mark-the-spot.html
As for ___man words, I also support the use of “layperson,” “layman,” or “laywomen,” as well as a general acknowledgment of how biases interact with linguistics. But it’s important to keep in mind that crossword clues are meant to be accurate hints, no exhaustive definitions. a LAYMAN can be [Hardly an expert], but that clue doesn’t purport to mean that all inexpert people are men. (I could clue LAYPERSON or LAYWOMEN the same way.) Anyway, the ongoing discussion of equity and representation in crossword puzzles is an important one that has strongly influenced how I (and my collaborators) choose to build puzzles. You’ll note that among the 17 people mentioned by name in this puzzle, 9 are women and 8 are men. That’s not an accident!
I’m with Rich, hoping my muscles are more fit simply by doing this puzzle. Probably not, since I’m on my duff on the patio in the NorCal winter sunshine. I loved the long down clues & solutions. Cracked up with 33A. Didn’t know the names for 15A and 12D. I recently learned the term “damp 1A” so I was thrilled to be able to use my new vocab in your puzzle. Thanks, Kate and Ross, for a great puzzle. Looking forward to more of your collaborations!
Damp 1A is new for me! I had to good this. Please soak up a few more rays on our behalf, Jean, and thanks for solving!
My first try at 14D was “UNCLE.” Didn’t work, obviously, and appropriately.
Welcome aboard, Kate! (Bosun’s whistle sounds.)
And Ross, a technical matter: After many months of no problems, I’m noting that my solutions are saving (on an iPad mini) only for a short time. If I close and go away for a few minutes, no issue, but a few hours later they’re phffft!
Ha! (That’s a legit LOL at your 14D entry, which didn’t occur to me. Nice.)
I just got an email from a user about this! I’ve asked the PuzzleMe people; stay tuned for possible resolution here.
I was clueless on NIA/KAYE so no “A” for me on this one. Welcome Kate! Well done.
We didn’t give you much to go on there, did we? Honestly, I blame myself. It could have been […whose name sounds like a letter] as a failsafe. Alas. Thanks for solving, John!
As an avid (okay, obsessed) cyclist, 26A just felt right to me. Fun theme! PS: I’m also the person behind @everydaynytcrossword on IG
Well well well! A bonafide instagram celebrity in our ranks! Welcome to our little corner of the text-based internet, Michael. Glad you dug it!