“Court of Public Opinion”

crosswords for these troubling times

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

N.B. Due to its nature, today’s puzzle might best be enjoyed via a pen-and-paper solve. If you’re solving in the applet or in AcrossLite, take a look at the solution link above if you’re scratching your head at the end. -RT

What. A. Week.

Last Sunday I left ACPT with Parker and the B division champ in tow. On Tuesday we started fulfillment of >500 copies of the Honeypot Puzzle Fragments. On Thursday my latest New York Times puzzle went to press, and we led a crossword construction workshop at the local brewery. And this morning, we dropped off the Kickstarter zines at the post office in–where else?–Natick, Massachusetts. If you never got around to it, the zine is now available for sale online!

Whew. Deep breath. We’ll be doing a full post mortem on Monday night at 10p eastern on Cursewords Live. Drop by and say hi in the chat!

Big thanks to this week’s test solvers: Daily Crossword Links guru Matt “Top-10 at ACPT” Gritzmacher and Half-Baked Puzzles auteur Will Eisenberg. Thoughts and spoilers for “Court of Public Opinion” below.

population: 2

Well, somebody had to do it.

If you’ve never seen a grid in this style before, they’re often called quantum or Schrödinger puzzles, and they can support two different answers in the same answer slot. In this case, 33-Across, [The party definitively at fault in a recent awards show incident], could be correctly answered as either WILL SMITH or CHRIS ROCK. The down answers that pass through 33-Across all feature a clue that’s valid for both possible down entries. (Don’t read anything into the fact that I chose one of the two names to be the “right” answer in the applet/.puz; the pen-and-paper solve is how to get the as-intended solve experience.) The theme answer pairs and their clues are:

CARS / WARS: Causes of ~75 U.S. fatalities from 1900-1901

HAM / I AM: Dr. Seuss line ender that rhymes with “Sam”

FOUR / FOUL: Word with “ball” in an umpire’s call

MMI / MML: 3rd millennium year

BEASTIE: Rap’s _ Boys

RAG / MAG: Certain publication, informally

ONTO / INTO: Get _ (board, as a vehicle)

NYC / NYT: Supposed bastion of the liberal media, briefly

DISK / DISH: Circular thing that might have cookies on it

How fun is that!

Happy solving, friends.

-Ross

16 Responses

  1. Rich says:

    Oh, very nicely done. Personally I think there is only one right answer to 33A, so I didn’t see it was a Schrodinger until I finished and read your notes. I was all set to comment about how weak a clue/answer 28D was. Now I get it – great execution. (Not being torn about who was right and wrong in that incident, I might have clued 33D as “Participant in an on-stage melee in a recent awards show incident.”) Thanks again for making my Sunday mornings more interesting!

    • rosstrudeau says:

      Yeah, this project wouldn’t have been as interesting to me if I hadn’t heard a whole bunch of “for me there’s an obvious villain here” takes in completely opposite directions 🙂 happy Sunday, Rich!

  2. Andy Gefen says:

    Well done, sir, with the Schrodinger!

    And there were a few courses where I was very thankful for the fact presented in 54D. Especially the one where the prof gave me back my Linear Algebra midterm with the comment “Unless you get a burst of inspiration, you’re not going to pass this course.”

  3. franci says:

    assuming it was a puzzle about the Supreme Court confirmation: 🥰
    realizing what a top-tier extremely online puzzle I have walked into: 😩😻🤘👑

  4. Adam says:

    This was awesome! Like, I’m in awe. Great work! Big BOBDOLE/CLINTON vibes.

    Could you explain 56D? I’m probably just being thick but the clue didn’t exactly click for me. Like, once a noob, now a ***?

    Bravo. *clap*

  5. Charles Montpetit says:

    Color me impressed, and not just by this 8-square Schrödinger feat. For one thing, it can’t have been easy to find a stat that resulted in the same number of fatalities for both WARS and CARS in 33d. I also like the discreet thematic reference in 50a, and am amazed that 17a dared to reference 2015’s infamous debate about Charlie Hebdo “punching down”, especially since the Trudeau name was prominently featured in the proceedings (www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/why-garry-trudeau-is-wrong-about-charlie-hebdo/390336). That’s a LOT of food for thought packed in a 15×15 grid!

  6. Dominick L. Clark says:

    Thank you for the terrific quantum puzzle! I was sailing along with all the wrong answers until i switched names on 33A and saw how the intersecting alternate answers were revealed. Also cool to see Yusef Lateef show up.

    • rosstrudeau says:

      Thanks, Dominick! Matt Gritzmacher said something in the test solve that I think I agree with (in most cases): that a quantum puzzle might actually be most satisfying when it telegraphs its gimmick pretty overtly!

  7. zefwagner says:

    Well done! I always appreciate the skill that goes into this kind of puzzle.

  8. seanm says:

    Well done, sir–well done! That whole situation was just bumming me out, so it was nice to have this clever moment of levity. Also congrats on unlocking the Natick crossword badge!

Leave a Reply