“Passive? Aggressive!”

by Ross Trudeau

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

Happy Sunday, cherished nerds! I’m keeping it short this morning to accommodate stretching with Jessie. We’re on a streak of 14 straight days of doing yoga together as a couple, and the resulting mobility and equanimity are … intoxicating. Highly recommend. Couple links:

Reminder that Lollapuzzoola 2022 is next weekend in NYC. See you there?

Meanwhile, this New Republic article is a couple weeks old now, but it’s relevant and drops a whole slew of names you’ll recognize: “Inside the Elite, Underpaid, and Weird World of Crossword Writers

And finally, as we’ve been breathlessly awaiting the release of the Knives Out sequel, Rian Johnson has apparently been killing time like this:

My deep appreciation to Sai, Brian, and fellow special Brownie Russell for test solving this week’s puzzle. A couple thoughts and spoilers for “Passive? Aggressive!” below.

My themestorming brain always lights up when I hear pithy/evocative phrases like THE BEST DEFENSE / IS A GOOD OFFENSE. And while it might suit this puzzle just as well as a title, I’m forever compelled when these saws can be rendered symmetrically in a grid, especially along satisfying syntactical line breaks.

Speaking of satisfying symmetry, I noted that rendering the theme answers in the past tense produces four 15-letter answers. Moving to a 16×15 grid allowed me to use them as spanners (the way god intended!) while retaining the revealer phrase as a marquee mid-grid pairing.

Happy solving, friends!


16 thoughts on ““Passive? Aggressive!”

  1. Putting aside the thematic elegance here (of which there is much), the density of long answers (4 spans + 2 14s) feels like a very impressive accomplishment. It doesn’t seem to have come with any compromises (unless I am forgetting an ugly word somewhere). Well done!
    Less noteworthy but still fun, I liked the way RHETT and BETTE abutted, and the clue to 13A was awesome.

    • You’re still my most reliable “accidental poetry” catcher, Rich. A writing teacher once told me that if a reader compliments you on something you didn’t intend, the correct response is “thank you!”

  2. Indeed, that is a very impressive construction with few sacrifices, as Rich noted.

    I was wondering, however, if the clue on 15A should have a different verb? I thought cluing with the answer was a no-no under the unwritten Law of Crosswords. Maybe “flipped”?

  3. Good stuff as always! Putting together long answers like that with good crosses is an awesome skill and it keeps me coming back to crosswords. It’s also very satisfying to get them because they make for a speedy finish! 😎

  4. Found my way to Rosswords after doing your “wedding puzzle” in the NYT (CONGRATULATIONS!!!) and was compelled to binge my way through ALL the puzzles. Glad to be caught up now, bleary eyed but satisfied, and looking forward to a more sedate weekly Rosswords fix now that I have subscribed. Do you have a Patreon account? I couldn’t find a donation link in your site (but that could be because of said bleary eyes). Thanks!

    • Welcome, Jean! And thank you! When you say “all” the puzzles… you don’t mean… ALL the puzzles, do you?

      I used to have a donation button on the site, but for now I’ve settled on dropping a link to my PayPal every six months or so. Check back in a couple weeks for that prompt… and welcome to the fold!

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