by Ross Trudeau
n.b.: today’s puzzle is 21×21, so the clues may populate above/below the grid rather than on the side where you normally see them. For best results, I recommend printing the PDF and solving on paper!
The headline today, apart from this bonkers-looking grid, is that Cursewords is BACK! After an extended summer hiatus, Parker and I will be live solving and live creating puzzles once more over on our Twitch channel, starting TONIGHT (Sunday) at 8pm eastern. We hope you can stop by and say hello in the chat!
Also, big shout-out to my patient wife, who is incidentally out of town receiving an award this weekend! Jessie did all of the fill and much of the cluing for a previous iteration of this puzzle. More on that that below the jump, where you can read a couple thoughts and spoilers for the grid.
I will never not endeavor to crisscross theme answers. I don’t know why I get such a kick out of trying to put these together. Remember this one in the New York Times?
When Jessie and I put the finishing touches on the first iteration of this puzzle, we had inverted the title and the revealer. POWER GRID interlocked into the very center of the arrangement of our “Networking Abilities” puzzle, with the various super powers radiating outward.
But after all that work, we both agreed that NETWORKING ABILITIES (19) was the revealer the puzzle needed, since it was actually business-related and tied more neatly into the conceit of describing these super powers as, well, office powers. (POWER GRID can only really get an electrical system clue, which takes the conceit in a whole different direction.)
But the resulting interlock, this time using mirror symmetry, just didn’t have as many connection nodes, and didn’t inspire us.
Version three compromised with NETWORKING SKILLS as a revealer, and we forged ahead. However, ultimately we couldn’t get past the semantic distinction between a SKILL and an ABILITY. Surely super powers have to be described as the latter?
Finally, version four delivered on the duodecuple (!!!) interlock, with NETWORKING ABILITIES as perhaps not the revealer Gotham needs, but the revealer it deserves.
Happy solving, friends!