by Katelyn Bien & Ross Trudeau
[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 3/5
Debut puzzle! “Authorial Tone” is Katelyn’s first publicly available crossword. I recommend reading her constructor notes (below) after you solve. Leave her some love in the comments if you dig her work.
Testers for this week’s puzzle gave super useful notes. Those cherished solvers were Angy, Jesse, Norman, and Emily. Katelyn and I appreciate you guys!
Thoughts and spoilers for “Authorial Tone” below.
Katelyn: It’s an unremarkable weekday in the early 2000s. Maybe someone somewhere just bought their first pair of Heelys. Perhaps they’re thumbing through Good Charlotte tracks on their iPod click wheel. I’m doing neither; I’m doing something better. The TV with bunny ear antennae is on at my babysitter’s, a treat my five-year-old self does not take lightly. We could hardly afford groceries at home and definitely not television. Because of this, I was almost always reading a book instead. Don’t get me wrong – this is not a con. Books and the stories I found in them grew me into the person I am today. But what kid isn’t mesmerized by a good television show? And the only way to make both books and TV somehow cooler? Combining them. So there I sat: criss-cross applesauce, so close to the screen that my eyes burned, waiting for the Head On commercial to finally pass. Waiting for LeVar Burton. Waiting for Reading Rainbow. Waiting to be told that I could go anywhere, be anything, through the power of a book—a message I desperately needed at that time. When I hear the opening synth of the theme song, I’m still taken back to the magic of it all. Perhaps that’s why I was so excited to co-construct this puzzle with Ross.
I met Ross through the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory and he graciously agreed to mentor me through a first-time construction. I’m honored to now have my puzzle debut at Rosswords. Working alongside him was a dream. He somehow balances being a top-tier cruciverbalist and an intellectual that would warrant my ‘phone-a-friend’ on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire with pure warmth and encouragement.
I was working on a farm with no reception while we created this, so I would take weekly jaunts to a nearby ice cream shop to brainstorm clues. Maybe the sugar highs contributed to such childlike fill, in the best way: talks of dessert, dogs, and ‘ants on a log’ sure do take me back to an ‘easy-peasy’ way of living. Perhaps selfishly, my favorites are the little traces of me I got to leave behind (an ode to a favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, my birth year, and even my name snuck in). I learned a lot during the process about constructing, trivia I can use at parties, myself. I’ve also since learned that maybe color-themed puzzles are a tad overdone. That said, I wouldn’t trade my first co-construction for anything. I hope that through its simplicity, you find the magic I once felt as a kid and that I still feel when solving crosswords. I’ll let 61-across take it from here.
Ross: Katelyn is good. Freakin’. People. This was a delight to make with her. Happy solving, friends.
17 thoughts on ““Authorial Tone””
Congratulations on a terrific puzzle, Katelyn!
Thanks so much! That means a ton.
Solid Tuesday-level themed puzzle! I love that there is a deep personal connection to the theme. Makes it that much better. Great debut.
I really appreciate it! I seldom take on a task that I can’t relate to on a deeper level. I’m glad that connection resonated with you.
Loved the puzzle and your notes, Katelyn! I was a voracious (and precocious) reader myself at age 5 in the late ’60s – there wasn’t anything like Reading Rainbow back then, but I loved Sesame Street. And we didn’t have a TV at home until my Dad was embarrassed into getting one by my sister and me watching our neighbor’s TV through the window! Fun memories. Look forward to more puzzles!
Congratulations on a lovely puzzle & an even better constructor note! Plus you’re in the company of greatness with your mentor; which of you dropped in that OREO clue? And was the CORGI a last minute homage entry or serendipity? It’s always refreshing to see new byline names pop up in Crossworld & Rossword provides a welcome respite from TRUDGING through a NYTXW Sunday 😉
HUEgely successful debut!
Very nice debut! Big congratulations! And I enjoyed getting to know you through your constructor’s notes. Look forward to your future puzzles Katelyn.
Great debut, Katelyn I look forward to seeing more of your work!
I too loved Reading Rainbow as a kid and this brought back some very good memories. Great puzzle!
ANIMALIA is fantastic, both word AND clue! I love surprises like that.
Great debut and nicely done. For “junk stashing” I only had _OCK and was starting to get a bit worried but DOCILE saved the day. Also a bit curious about CORGI. Many thanks.
HA. This is a *family* puzzle blog, John! 😀
I (and the butterfly in the sky) loved it — congratulations! Nice theme and fill so fresh and so clean. And always love learning more — I never knew the fluffer butter was the CORGI’s claim to fame (just in time) and the WHITE PAGES being founded in 1997 was also a surprise (Google was founded in 1998… somewhat divergent paths since). Looking forward to more!
Actually, I also was perilously ignorant of corgi culture until Katelyn edified me a bit… and as you, say, just in time… “fluffer butter” 😀
Katelyn – When I was a little tyke way back in the 50’s there was no Reading Rainbow but I was able to watch Engineer Bill (“Red light”; “Green light”) on our flickering black and white TV set with yes, bunny ears antennae. Congratulations and thank you for the colorful and fun puzzle. 50A was one of my favorite clues. Looking forward to solving many more of your puzzles to come.