“To Boldly Go”

by Brooke Husic & Ross Trudeau


Rereading literature isn’t something I do too much, but I go back to a David Foster Wallace story called “Good Old Neon” about every year or so. In short, it’s about the difference between who we are and who people think we are. And it’s also about how language—a blunt and fickle instrument—is in most cases the best shot we have at making ourselves known to others. Will they listen? Will we choose the right words? Will those handful of words give anything remotely like an accurate picture of the shifting infinities of our interior selves? 

I don’t know my co-author of today’s puzzle all that well; we’ve communicated semi-regularly over the last year or so. But I recently had the opportunity to spend time with Brooke face to face, and the communication felt effective. Which is to say, it felt like we each did a halfway decent job of representing ourselves. And boy howdy, does effective communication feel good.

Also, we made today’s crossword together. I think it’s a good one! But that work happened before I could say I really knew Brooke at all, and now that I’ve started doing that, I’m very much looking forward to making more puzzles with her. You’ve seen her byline everywhere there are bylines to see, and she regularly shares crosswords of the highest caliber on her own puzzle blog at xwords by a ladee.

Thanks to Will Nediger (of bewilderingly crosswords) for test solving today’s grid!

Brooke: I’m very grateful that Ross reached to to me with this theme idea! I love themed puzzles where the theme is in the clues. Although… I remember things a bit differently than Ross — when we met on Zoom to discuss possible theme answers, I think it took us like an hour to actually get to our single agenda item. But I’m on board with all the above. One of my favorite quotes is “Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt,” which roughly means “The limits of my language define the limits of my world.” Hoping to continue to push those limits in communication and in puzzles… and in (further) collaboration, where the two (crucially!) meet.

Happy solving friends!


19 thoughts on ““To Boldly Go”

  1. With respect to your goal to make an interesting puzzle, well, [_] Accomplished! 🙂
    The intersection of 34A and 23D was the Natick to end all Naticks – I never heard of either of those people. I got lucky after a few random guesses.
    And I guess 9D, despite being a tough clue of a singular noun with a plural clue, is fair game!

  2. Hey Ross,
    First time leaving a comment. Love your puzzles.

    Maybe I’m obtuse, but I got all the long answers and still can’t figure out the theme

    Keep up the great work!

  3. At all costs, you need to stay away from racial or potentially racial slurs. 9-D: no, you cannot use that word in a clue. It would have been so easy to replace the onomatopeia with a different word, but you chose the racial slur. Yes, it’s in a different context, but no, it shoud not appear on print.

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