by Ross Trudeau
A couple of quick announcements before we get to today’s puzzle notes. First, we’re doing a special Sunday Cursewords stream this afternoon at 4p eastern today with special guest Brooke Husic. Be there and fill squares with us! Thereafter we’ll be returning to our regularly scheduled 10p Boswords Spring Themeless League afterparty slot. You’re signed up for Boswords, ain’tcha?
I also encourage you to navigate over to the abortion access fundraiser being organized by crossword constructor and Wordplay columnist Rachel Fabi. It’s a puzzle pack that supports a good cause, with a top-notch constructor lineup and a great editorial team.
I went back and forth for a while on whether it felt more satisfying to present the puzzle as you see it, or rather by titling it “There’s a Fly In My Soup” and introducing one more horizontal themer in the bottom quadrant. On the one hand, the joke is usually spoken “there’s” rather than THERE IS (though waiter Grover, who famously eschews contractions, can be heard saying “There is a FLY in your soup?”). On the other hand, well, my preference for a revealer answer that expresses the gimmick and justifies the puzzle’s raison d’être is well-documented at this point.
Ultimately this concept was a challenge for a number of reasons. First, there were very few symmetrical [ingredient + soup type] options to choose from. I went with mirror symmetry out of where-the-space-falls-in-the-available-themers necessity. Second, these are basically the only ___fly or ___ fly types that I would feel comfortable introducing in this way. (They have to be very well known when they’re partially unchecked.) And third, the layout required a weird quadruple interlock between various the soups and the FLY answers. The grid it was, well, only barely possible, and did necessitate one or two compromises in the fill. But… grid art!
Happy solving, friends!