“Room to Grow”

by Human Ross Trudeau

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 3.25/5

On the night of October 30th, 1938, the lighted bulletin on the New York Times building flashed an unexpected message: ORSON WELLES CAUSES PANIC. Presumably he had intended to quicken some pulses, but he probably got more than he bargained for considering the extent of the fallout from his infamous “War of the Worlds” radio hoax.

I mention this because I got more than one email from a Rosswords regular about having experienced real anxiety after solving last week’s ostensibly A.I. generated puzzle. If you haven’t solved it yet–spoiler alert–the robot “author” appears to become not just sentient but malevolently so, and totally preoccupied with doing away with humanity. Fortunately for us electrified meat sacks, it was all a bit. The only intelligence (such as it is) involved was mine, and I apologize if the concept prompted too much agita.

What I’m *not* going to do is chide anyone for credulity. The ability to take an internet jokester at his word in the year of our lord 2023 is, to my mind, an indicator of character. Most of us are too cynical to take *anything* at face value these days. (Did anyone else feel the sting of genuine disappointed to learn that this photo of the pope was A.I. generated? What a blow.)

Anyway, thanks for abiding my shenanigans. My track record doesn’t suggest I’m going to swear off messing with you fine people altogether, but I’ll try to keep things a bit less, uh, eschatological next time.

My thanks to Tim and Ben for test solving “Room to Grow” and offering some valuable feedback. No notes on this one. I hope it goes down smooth; it’s meant to be a bit of a palate cleanse. Happy solving, friends.

13 thoughts on ““Room to Grow”

  1. Thanks for your patience & puzzles. Last week’s responses were as amusing as the grid itself; Orson would certainly appreciate. Today POTUS as an abbreviation seemed to call for a ddE response, but getting to IKE took less than a wing and a prayer. I’m feeling a so-so EMOTION for today’s effort, but I’m sure it will grow on me.

  2. As a resident of the Beehive State, I see you being 50-50 among 34Ds: I’m a fan of Rossword-style humor; my wife less so. (To be fair, my dog did not participate in the survey, but you benefited from her disenfranchisement because she did not appear to like 1A.)

  3. Nice puzzle. I solve on paper (greyscale) and it was an extra challenge to figure out where the answers ran over the gray cells and where they did not. Just added to the fun. Many thanks.

  4. I was completely happy to believe AI was responsible for some of the previous puzzle, because there were a few places which (to my mind) really didn’t work that well. Ha ha, SOrry! (Please don’t let up on anything. Some people need to toughen up.)
    I print my puzzles, so this one had me hornswoggled until I pulled up the grid and saw the various colors. I Xed the real dark squares and –whew–fiinished the puzzle. Cute.
    Thanks for the freebies!

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