“Labor Unions”

crosswords for these troubling times

by Parker Higgins & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 3.5/5

Parker’s back! And for good reason. We’re very excited to report that our crossword zine, The Honeypot Puzzle Fragments, is fully-funded and definitely going to print! We had a lot of fun developing the crossword-with-a-spelling-bee-twist format of these puzzles, as well as in writing the lore that surrounds the HPPF’s. As of this writing, there are 2 days left for you to back us on Kickstarter and order your own copy! If you do, you can choose to pick up your copy (and a crisp high five!) at ACPT directly from me and Parker next weekend!

In the meantime, cross your fingers for the lads! Jessie and I have traveled to sunny Orlando to catch an all-important World Cup Qualifier against Panama. Hopefully we’ll return to Boston covered in laurels and with our tickets booked to Qatar. (JK. Super not going to Qatar for soccer.)

Some thoughts and spoilers on this week’s puzzle, “Labor Unions,” after the jump. Many thanks to Gene and Matt for test solving!

Well, it’s a 14-letter revealer.

This is the first time in recent memory that either Parker or I have used a 14-letter answer in the 13th row and *not* bracketed it with a 7-black box “stair step” formation. In this case, we were already being pretty liberal with the black box arrangement, so we stopped at the L’s. Which… still just don’t look right to me. But.

Kudos to Parker for titling today’s puzzle as well. I’d be interested to hear if y’all can find more examples of the pattern expressed in the theme. These modifiers can be reused (PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT, SECRETARY GENERAL), but I wonder if any totally new ones exist… leave a comment!

Happy solving, friends!

-Ross

10 Responses

  1. Alyssa says:

    Super fun puzzle! I got stuck on 6D and a few of its 3-letter crossings, for some reason. 49A was my favorite theme entry.

    • rosstrudeau says:

      Thanks, Alyssa! Honestly I don’t know if 49A would have occurred to me were it not for my fiancé, who was one of those “should I go to college or go pro” ballerinas. I’ve absorbed a lot of the industry jargon in the last couple of years!

  2. Michael Lin Bruck says:

    SPOILER ALERT!!
    Hey, Ross, great puzzle as usual, but I feel compelled to say that ALE (27 Across) is most definitely not GROG. I had a tough time making RUM fit, for rum is what it is. It was named after Admiral Edward Vernon of the Royal Navy, whose nickname was Old Grogram, after the type of cloth in the cloak that he habitually wore. Ironically, the drink gained the nickname after he infamously ordered the rum ration his sailors received cut with water in a (largely unsuccessful) effort to reduce drunkenness in his crews. In the RN, rum is also known as “Nelson’s Blood” because legend has it that Admiral Lord Nelson’s body was shipped home in a barrel of it after he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar.
    BTW, thanks for the sticker, which occupies a place of honor on the Toolbox of Fame. When folks ask, I’m only too happy to tell about all the fun I’ve had with your puzzles.

    • rosstrudeau says:

      Michael! So glad to hear that sticker has found a happy home. There are more iterations inbound, in large part due to Parker’s passion for limited-edition (often holographic) stickers. And this is excellent trivia! “Nelson’s Blood” I *love*. I’ll confer with my coauthor on this one, since the rum + water definition is clearly the most common usage. Though there is plenty of documentation for GROG usage referring to beer; it’s usually the second definition in dictionaries I’m looking at. I suppose in the end it’s largely a question of what kind of difficulty we’re after, as crossword clues aren’t necessarily definitions per se… god, I love this shit.

  3. Jesse says:

    52D threw me. As a Pac10 grad, I think of that school as being in Tempe, not Phoenix. I know it’s the same metro area, but I might have clued that differently. That’s just nitpicking though; it was a great puzzle overall. Thanks for the sticker, Ross, and Go USA tonight!

    • rosstrudeau says:

      I’m too delirious and high on endorphins from the match last night to make a call on this. For now, I’m going to agree with you on a probationary basis 😀 Thanks for swinging by, Jesse!

  4. Rich says:

    Hi Ross, thanks for another fun puzzle. Glad your Kickstarter was successful and am looking forward to seeing the result.

  5. Quiara says:

    SWING TRADER? COPPER SMITH? And, if you’re into old-school football players (and I have absolutely no other reason for suggesting this hypothetical sleuth/shoeboy), what about DICK SHINER?

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