A warm welcome back to erstwhile Rosswords contributor Aaron “Scoots” Paulsen!
Before we talk grid: heads up! I’m in the process of adding some functionality–and just tidying up a bit!–on the site, so things might look a little different in the next few days. Watch this space for updates, and please let me know if anything stops working in the meantime!
Aaron: Hi! Oh my goodness it is always such a delight working with Ross! This puzzle and I have had quite the journey. When Ross first came to me with the idea, my laptop had just recently bitten the dust. I’m always eager to collab with him, but I could only help with what I could do laptopless: theming and cluing!!! He was game, and friend, did I have a blast. I bought a notebook made from an old Casper the Ghost VHS and went to town. I honestly cannot recommend what we called ‘cottage-core cluing’ enough. It was really nice bringing the notebook with me to bars/cafes and writing out the clues with pen and paper. And it helps keep the clues shorter!
Anyway, we hope you dig the solve! You can send any complaints to me over twitter (though they’re most likely Ross’s fault.) AND if you live in Chicago, check out my comedy team Propane! We have shows every week and I’d love to see you there. You can find deets and dates on Instagram.
Ross: This one was dead in the water until Aaron filled in some crucial theme material that I was overlooking. As you can see, it abides a couple of key rebus puzzle features that I (now) can’t live without: symmetrical rebus boxes and at least four of them. Density, baybeeeee!
With a limited supply of words and phrases with a S-P-I-T string in them, and the absolute necessity of getting the evocative colloquialism JUST SPITBALLING in the gird (as opposed to SPITBALL or SPITBALLING), abiding these parameters nearly broke us. Ultimately we were able to find a workable arrangement by going to 15×16 and including the interlock between the revealer and GOES PIT-A-PAT.
My favorite of Aaron’s clues: [Name with no art to it?] for STU. Delightful.
Happy solving, friends!