“Where Do You Get Off?!”

by Parker Higgins & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 4/5

Big news today, friends. Parker and I are very pleased to be able to finally share with you a project that’s been several months in the making: “The Honeypot Puzzle Fragments“! It’s a crossword zine (print only!) with a twist that we think fans of the NYT Spelling Bee are really going to enjoy. And it’s also a work of light historical fiction! We’d be honored and grateful if you’d consider backing us on Kickstarter by pre-ordering your own copy. You can also visit the Honeypot Puzzle Fragments website for background information on these enigmatic relics and their discoverer, that tragic Dr. Howard Box.

AND! If you pre-order via Kickstarter, you can elect to pick up your copy at ACPT directly from me and Parker at our table in the puzzle marketplace. You’re signed up for ACPT aren’t you?

Some thoughts on today’s puzzle–also a Higgins/Trudeau joint!–after the jump. Many thanks to crossworld mainstays Byron, Bruce, and Kevin for test solving “Where Do You Get Off?!”

We’re proud of this one, to be sure. This concept combines tons of what Parker and I talk about re: satisfying theme sets. First, it’s super tight. There are a couple of other R-A-M-P words (FRAMPTON, TRAMPOLINE, etc.), but the list is short enough to make coming up with a list of synonyms that use the first couple of letters as a word with R-A-M-P in them pretty ding-dang satisfying. The list was so short that we couldn’t find a way to place the themers without resorting to up-down mirror symmetry, which I believe I’ve only done twice before on this site.

Our biggest regret about today’s puzzle has to do with not being able to fit THE KRAKEN / THE K[RAMP]US into the theme set. It would have worked in a puzzle with slightly larger dimensions, but likely at the cost of the total symmetry of the present arrangement.

We’ve also collected a dossier of citations and references to defend us against the “the past tense of tread is trod, not TREADED!” crowd. Especially for the phrase “tread lightly,” it turns out that “treaded lightly” is common usage.

Happy solving, friends!


16 thoughts on ““Where Do You Get Off?!”

  1. I personally have no problem with either “trod” or “treaded,” but since you say you’ve already bothered to collect citations and references to defend your case, it would be a shame to let all that work go to waste. So… care to share?

  2. Thanks for a delightful alternative to the Sunday NYT that tends to be a sloggy solve. Really looking forward to your zine project since both of our sons are archeological field professionals & should be amused and delighted when they get a copy with their next birthday package.

    • Thanks for stopping by, George! Part of the fun for us in putting the zine together was some, heh, digital archaeology. Parker is *all about* digitized historical artifacts in the public domain!

  3. Very nice. TIL a new word, “zhuzh” (28D). Really liked the “flat-rate” clue in 58A, super-clever. I have been waiting for someone to clue 38D by reference to the wonderful (and five-part!) David Foster Wallace story; I thought with your creative-writing street cred you’d be the first to do it, but I will keep waiting!

    • Thanks, Rich! You’ll have noticed that DFW at 10D did *not* get the appropriate cluing angle in this puzzle. (I think Parker was trolling me with the American Airlines angle, which, good trolling.)

  4. Such fun! And a bit of a challenge (not complaining!) Any puzzle that includes “Getting off” in the title is worth looking into…. 😉

    • Thanks, Howard! In fact, that center block was sort of a necessity…As you note, both levels of each pair of theme answers had to be symmetrical… widening the dimensions a bit was the only way to make it work!

  5. Great clues! Thanks for the pick me up…did pretty darn well for me. You guys give good fun!

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