“ARTS & CRAFTS” by Peter Wentz
It’d be best if you solved the puzzle before proceeding, but you do you.
“Arts & Crafts”
Constructor: Peter Wentz
Theme: Craft beers combined with common phrases.
- 17A: DOGFISH HEAD SHOP – Boutique at 90 Minute IPA’s craft brewery?
- 28A: SHIPYARD SALE – Discount at Monkey Fist IPA’s craft brewery?
- 44A: MAGIC HAT RACK – Display stand at Single Chair Ale’s craft brewery?
- 58A: GOOSE ISLAND TIME – Relaxing vacation mindset at Honkers Ale’s craft brewery?
Ben: I have to be honest — I didn’t get the theme at all while solving. I’ve never heard of any of these beers, plus both HEAD SHOP and ISLAND TIME were new to me. So I feel pretty unqualified to discuss this one — eventually I just started treating the themers as random strings of words and worked them out from crosses.
Lena: I grew up near the town of Woodstock in NY, the place where neither concert actually happened, so I’m familiar with the HEAD SHOP. Although ISLAND TIME and HAT RACKs are real things, they’re not very… I dunno, grabby theme-wise.
Ben: I do think that Lena and Brayden should do a taste test of these for their next Crossword Cocktail Corner, though. Science demands it.
Lena: We can do that– even though I’ve had all of the beers, MAGIC HAT and DOGFISH HEAD most frequently. But I live in the NE, so I have that leg-up in terms of this puzzle. I just noticed the clue to SLUR is (26D: Talk like someone who’s had too many appletinis). Uh oh. I think that because I know what the Appletini is, I don’t have to drink one. Have I ever had one though? No.
Ben: Fill is nice and clean. Some cool midlength stuff — loved the oblique reference to “The SCARLET Letter”, and both SPARE ME (24D: “Ugh, don’t even start!”) and PUH-LEASE (40D: “Pfft, yeah right!”) are modern and in the language.
Lena: The latter two were my two favorites. I scan plenty of documents for the purposes of turning them into PDFs, so DIGITIZES was fun as well. I mean, it’s fun when it’s happening in a puzzle and not necessarily my actual life.
Ben: G-SPOT gets a nicely clever clue (13D: Sensitive subject of many Cosmo articles?) that made me laugh. Also loved 33A: Understand, as no one does to me for GET and the self-aware 52A: Fellow likely to say “crushing it” for BRO.
Lena: I remembered seeing G-SPOT clued similarly [Sensitive subject?] in the NYT, and it looks like it was its most recent appearance (2013). The additional Cosmo reference is nice here and keeps the clue feeling nice and BuzzFeedy.
Ben: Days Without a Harry Potter Reference – 1. I am exactly the right age to appreciate 34A: Tommy Pickles, e.g. as a clue for RUGRAT (I watched the cartoon as a kid), but I bet that on top of the new-to-me PERGOLA (40A: Vine-covered structure at an outdoor bar) was a tough spot for some solvers.
Lena: Same– I totally watched RUGRATs. It wasn’t my favorite Nicktoon, but sometimes I’d zonk out and watch it before something better (Ren & Stimpy) came on. About three years ago I made a proto-PERGOLA by training wild grape fines up some ropes I strung over the back porch. My landlady was all “great idea– let me see if my brother-in-law can build a PERGOLA.” He could, he did, and that’s how I know that.
Lena: Ultimately this was pretty fun, given that I’m familiar with the beers. Nice clues and overall good fill.