by Ross Trudeau
HAPPY ACPT TO ALL WHO CELEBRATE. We’re walking on air over here. This is a short post because (surprise) we stayed up too late foisting crossword beers on whomsoever had an empty beer hand. I’ve got some excellent photos to share soon. Probably get to that tonight.
The New York Times has run two puzzles I can remember that utilized the phrase “work without a net” for theme fodder. The first was a Richard Silveri grid that used WORK WITHOUT AN E-T as a one-off gag with the clue [“Romeo and Juli”?], which is just very silly and great. More recently, Meghan Morris used the phrase as a revealer, with the same “parsed differently” language to indicate the contrived phrase WORKS WITHOUT AN E-T. (I don’t mean that critically; crosswords do this all the time, like asking you to look at “panda” and parse it as “p and a,” etc etc etc.)
Anyway, as you can see, I was more interested in maintaining the N-E-T, and was in fact building out a 21x to pitch to the Times when Meghan’s grid came out. As a result, you get the grid here! Some other fun examples I generated with (to my mind) very natural-looking surface disguises were:
net much dissected by Shakespeare scholars -> PRINCE HAMLET
net forerunner -> CHLOROFORM
net lookaline -> NEEDLEFISH
nett featured in “Glass Onion” -> THE MONA LISA
NET, to coders -> PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE
nette who goes green -> INCREDIBLE HULK
Happy solving, friends!