“Web Banners”

by Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 4/5

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.

My thanks to Ed, Rebecca, and Radhika for tangling with “Web Banners” as testers. Thoughts and spoilers below…

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:

Sonnet much dissected by Shakespeare scholars -> PRINCE HAMLET

Ethernet forerunner -> CHLOROFORM

Garnet lookaline -> NEEDLEFISH

Arnett featured in “Glass Onion” -> THE MONA LISA


Marvel brunette who goes green -> INCREDIBLE HULK

Happy solving, friends!


6 thoughts on ““Web Banners”

  1. Superbly well done, very clever. Small factual nit (which I am not 100% sure I am right about): technically I don’t think there are ever “motions” before the Supreme Court the way there are in front of other courts, so I don’t think that institution or any of its judges would ever say 27A. Maybe a real lawyer would correct me on that? Easy enough to change that clue say by removing “Supreme” (there is, in fact, a net!). 12D clue noted and appreciated. Enjoy your event.

    • Actually I was curious enough that I looked it the SC’s rules. There are in fact motions made to that body, so presumably they can be denied. So ignore my prior comment!

      • Motions are typically for procedural issues at SCOTUS (or any appellate court), but they definitely exist. The nonet misdirection on this clue wouldn’t work with a lower court, since there would not be nine members. I was baffled by that until I got to the revealer, LOL.

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