“DO THIS PUZZLE ON A WHIM!” by Mary Lou Guizzo
We tried a little something different today! Solve Mary’s puzzle and read on you crazy diamonds
Do This Puzzle on a Whim!
Constructor: Mary Lou Guizzo
Theme: Vertical grid-spanning theme answers contain a HAT that drops through the puzzle.
- 3D: HATE TO EAT AND RUN – “Dinner was great, but I gotta dash. Sorry!”
- 4D: SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW – “Why am I not surprised!”
- 7D: EARTH SHATTERING – Mind-blowingly epic
- 9D: MAID IN MANHATTAN – 2002 J-Lo rom-com that snagged her a Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice Movie Liar
- 11D: AT THE DROP OF A HAT – Quickly and without warning… as illustrated by this puzzle’s long down answers
Ben: In the interest of experimentation, I’m going to solve the puzzle while I enter comments into the post. Comedy gold, or self-indulgent claptrap? Let’s see what happens!
Lena: Okay, Ben– I’ll do it too! I think it’ll be neat to see our respective solving experiences.
Michael: Thanks for (not) cluing me in on this little experiment, guys.
Ben: Vertical themers… and spanners at that! There’s also a progression of 3-letter entries, similar to last week’s Aries puzzle (which I’ll probably be writing up tomorrow). Title doesn’t give any hints that I can see.
Michael: I filled in the revealer as soon as I had that little NW corner done.
Ben: Okay, just got HATE TO EAT AND RUN. I’m not used to so many short words in a themer — took a while to assemble! Fill a little strained, probably because of theme density: AAA and SSS aren’t ideal, but I’ll forgive POLI for the great clue (58D: ___-sci (major completed by tical ence)).
Ben: 35A: Company whose products I need multiple YouTube videos to assemble is a great clue for IKEA.
Ben: Just filled in the second themer and figured out the theme — jumped straight to the revealer and filled it in. That should make the back end easier! I’ve seen this gag before with similar phrases, like THE DESCENT OF MAN, but it’s clever and well-executed so far. Was having some trouble making progress into the middle until LASAGN? bailed me out (I can never remember if the last letter is A or E).
Ben: Okay, it’s A.
Ben: Coming together pretty well now. I’ve got all the themers except the front half of the J-Lo movie. Had HEP instead of HET at 52A: All ___ up (agitated) — neither one is a thing people really say, so this fill is a little suboptimal (see also ID TAG). Love the clue for PHD, though (26A: “Is there anyone on this plane who can help us with an emergency semiotics lecture?!?” answerer, maybe).
Ben: ECLAT crossing DAHL’S, euh.
Ben: And done, even if I don’t know who ALFIE is (54A: Lothario played by Jude Law and Michael Caine). The theme forced a few compromises in the fill, but the cluing was up to the usual standard and five grid-spanners is unusual enough that I can live with it. Good puzzle!
It’s 6am; Whaddya mean MAZDA doesn’t mean “50 bells?” Oh, not the AMA then…
NARCS (1D: Traffic stoppers?) is cute. So is CRAB (3D: Creature that always uses the sidewalk?)– very cute.
Now I have this HATE TO EAT AND RUN sitch, wearing a circly theme HAT… Ohthankgod OKRA (15A: Edible pods also called “lady’s fingers”) is presented as a singular plural here– don’t even get me started on OKRAS.
Got another circled-up HAT in SO WHAT… (4D: Why am I not surprised!”). I want the rest to be CHICKEN BUTT but no. Alright, I’m just filling in all these HATs now. It always takes me a stupid amount of time to actually look for the revealer!
Okay I got it– AT THE DROP OF A HAT, with all these little hats dropping down the grid– very cute. This is my kind of simple. Great oft-used phrase for the revealer and a literal interpretation through word position within the grid– and those marquee themers!
Alright, time to hit the gas here. Looks like this J-lo rom-com Teen Choice Award winner is going to be kinda blank for a while…
Ugh do not like (24D: “The BFG” author Roald’s) for DAHLS. Noooope. I am laughing at (26A: “Is there anyone on this plane who can help us with an emergency semiotics lecture?!?” answerer, perhaps) PHD. Some asshole with a PHD I once knew always put his doctor title on his plane tickets a) because it got him “better treatment” (??) and b) because he hoped 26A would happen to him.
Michael: Disagree re: DAHL’S, which is obviously terrible fill, but … the random possessive clue made me choke/laugh on my coffee.
EARTH SHATTERING just took me way too long to get. Oh no, now I’m in the NE: Golf-upon-college sports-upon-jousting term. If it were me jousting, (19A: Charge toward, in a joust) the answer would be TROT TO.
Days without IRE being clued as a verb – 0 [Michael: no idea why Caleb (repeatedly) thinks this is a good idea] And looks like days without a Harry Potter reference – 2.
At first I hated the POLI clue (58D: ___-sci (major completed by tical ence)) but now I love it. Why did I ever doubt it?
Oh nooo AAA and SSS! Put ‘em together and you get what I yell when I see “3x[letter]” answers. [Michael: LOL, SSS will always be known as “The Lena Answer” to me] [Michael again: AAA is totally a thing—a few things, actually—and bothers me absolutely not at all]
Michael: OK I’ll just append a few comments here, since I have no idea where to put them. NOVA is mocking me—it featured in today’s NYT as well, and I wrote about not knowing it at all *except* from crosswords. The NOVA is from Nova Scotia, in case you didn’t know (link: http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-smoked-salmon-and-lox-word-of-mouth-141139). Who calls OKRA “Lady’s fingers”!? Just one lady’s fingers? Poor, spooky, finger-regenerating lady. I just reread my write-up of the inaugural Indie 500 Crossword Tournament from last May because Angela posted a link to it on FB as part of her drumming up support for / interest in *next* year’s tourney, to be held in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, Jun 4. I mention that because a. the tourney organizers have a constructor contest that (relatively) novice constructors should definitely get in on. Also, in my write-up, I mention eating lunch at BAJA Fresh, a chain I would otherwise Not know about.
Michael: I don’t know what an STI is (sexually transmitted … initiative?) [Ben: Infection] [Lena: Initiative], and I hate NMI as an answer a lot (despite having once used it myself), but otherwise I quite liked this puzzle. Easy, clean, interesting, accessible.