“Swarm of Bees”

by Katelyn Glassman & Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 3.25/5

Katelyn and I first started working together in early 2020, a few weeks before COVID lockdown number one. It was good timing; Katelyn is bright and irreverent in all the ways you want your Zoom collaborator to be when you’re trying to change the subject away from global catastrophes. We made a grid for Universal that spring, and today is Katelyn’s Rosswords Puzzles debut. Please extend a warm RWP welcome in the comments!

I’ve gotten a couple emails this week about the Disappearing Donation button on the site. It’s down for a while I continue my ongoing site renovation, but if you’re hoping to express appreciation for the puzzles, feel free to contribute to the honeyfund that Jessie and I set up! We’re getting married in *checks notes* 13 days (!!!), and leaving the following day for two weeks in Indonesia (!!!).

We extend our thanks to Aly, Rebecca, and Justin for test solving today’s puzzle. Thanks guys! Thoughts and spoilers on “Swarm of Bees” below.

b-b-b-bad to the bone

Initialism puzzles! You know them, you love them. I personally get a ton more mileage out of these when there’s a) a revealer that you’re asked to parse in a fresh, fun way, and b) when the revealer constrains the theme set possibilities in a satisfying way.

In this, AIRBNB gives you the initialism B_ B_ on the one hand, and limits you to choosing from airborne subject matter. There… wasn’t a ton! We left a few interesting ones on the cutting room floor: BUMBLE BEE, BAT BOY, BLACK BLIZZARD, BARRAGE BALLOON, BAY BREEZE, etc. We went back and forth a bit about BRIDAL BOUQUET as an answer, since it’s largely a terrestrial object, but ultimately decided it was worthy given the ubiquity of the image of the bouquet sailing through the air with (usually, it seems) an air of impending doom trailing in its perfumed wake.

Happy solving, friends!


4 thoughts on ““Swarm of Bees”

  1. What about BEEATRICE BUZZBY? Or is she a queen who never leaves her hive.
    Re your 36D clue, the concept of “many successful touchdowns for Jets” might strike some football fans as amusing.

  2. Hey Ross – I’m flying high with bees in my brain upon completing this week’s beauty. What a perfect revealer, even though I did not get it right away – when I did, it seemed so obvious as the themed answers clicked into place. Thanks to you and Katelyn for such a well thought out puzzle. Looking forward to solving future collaborations between you two..

    • Welcome back, Dominick! Thanks for the kind word; this one was fun to put together. And in fact, you could *almost* do this one using just World War II armaments: BUZZ BOMB, BOUNCING BETTY, BARRAGE BALLOON…

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