“No Bad Ideas!”

crosswords for these troubling times

by Aaron Paulsen & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 3.75/5

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!

As usual, Parker and I will be live on Cursewords on Monday at 10p eastern after the conclusion of the Boswords Spring Themeless League stream. Drop by and say hey!

More thoughts and spoilers for “No Bad Ideas!” after the jump! Thanks to Shreya and Josh for test solving this one!

seeing what sticks

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!

-Ross

20 Responses

  1. Andy Gefen says:

    I expectorated better from you.

    And I still don’t get 41D.

  2. rosstrudeau says:

    Sorry, Andy. We’ll hock our wares elsewhere 🙂

    “Stuart” minus the “-art” is STU.

  3. Blaine Allan says:

    My first try at the circled theme answers was a different breed of dog at 24A, and when I filled in, I read my incorrect attempt and immediately thought, “Oh no, you didn’t!” Sure enough, you didn’t.
    Thanks for the nice puzzle. I found it a little more than a 3.75, but I think part of that wuz cuz of the new format on an iPad Mini.

    • rosstrudeau says:

      HA! I hadn’t anticipated *that* – thanks for the nice laugh, Blaine 😀

      And, see Rich’s comment for corroboration — this one is probably harder than advertised.

  4. Rich says:

    Wow, this puzzle totally stumped me, I couldn’t complete it. Some pretty difficult cluing I think, or maybe I’m just off today? Big shout-out for the clever clues to 1D & 60D.

    • rosstrudeau says:

      No, I’m getting word that this one is more like a 4+ on the rossword scale. I think when I collaborate on puzzles, we tend to allow ourselves the same number of trivia/”out there” clues *each*, so they functionally double. You’re off the hook, Rich!

  5. Charles Montpetit says:

    (Whispering:) Uh, Ross? Your working title still appears in the puz version. I know you don’t mind dupes, but that may be carrying the concept a bit too far…

  6. Cool puzzle. (And I agree it was a bit harder than advertised.) I really liked the clue for 66-Down, which Google explained for me after the fact – an interesting bit of history.

  7. Dominick L. Clark says:

    “No Bad Ideas!” required some serious brainstorming. I came up short on a number of clues, but enjoyed the challenge and ultimately appreciated how the theme answer was integrated into the design. Among others, 29A and 3D were clever and amusing. And I picked up a fun new word: Galoots. Thanks for another terrific puzzle.

    • rosstrudeau says:

      If you scan the comments you’re in the majority here, Dominick. I’m thinking I should modify the advertised difficulty for mid-week solvers… thanks for stopping by!

  8. SeanM says:

    Wow loved this one! 29A crossed my mind at first but I was like, “No, that can’t be it.” … then it was! Thanks for the laugh. And really enjoyed 3D, 9D and 60D too. Great stuff!

    • rosstrudeau says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Sean, and how thoughtful of you to spread your positive feedback so evenly across my and Aaron’s individual silly contributions to the cluing! <3

  9. Elaine Walizer says:

    For the ‘art’ clue I wanted to add HUR (for ARTHUR) but it was a no-go until I had more entries in there. You big GALOOTS are quite A TEAM. If you were in my classroom I would have you separated by the entire width of the class.
    I was SO stuck there for a while…. but it was nice to see an ELAINE in the ‘gird’ (you have a typo) today..

  10. Kelly+Clark says:

    Not to virtue signal here (she said, gleefully virtue signaling) but I make it a point of honor NOT to read Ross’s commentary before solving the puzzle. I do this because, since I’ve finished in the cellar at EVERY ACPT I’ve ever attended, I’m resolved to improve my solving skills. I started this one at noon yesterday. It is now about 7:00 PM on Monday. Sheesh. But! I GOT IT WITH THE DOG AT 24 Across!!! Yes! A rebus! I finally did it! Yay me! But seriously, Aaron ‘n Ross? This is one o’ the best puzzles I’ve ever solved. Bravo!!! Thank you! XOXO

  11. EstherLee says:

    Loved this oddly refreshing puzzle. Thanks, creators. Just subscribed!

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