A, from the future: Folks, we apologize for the extremely long wait for this blog post. We do realize it’s been three months, but fear not — we have continued to crossword together, despite being too lazy to write up our thoughts after challenging puzzles. Our potentially overambitious resolution for 2019 is to write 50 blog posts, so hold us to that. (Our other resolution, is of course, to post respectable tournament times, but you already knew that.)
W: Ah cool you’re still there! Well, some of you, hopefully. Angela and I apologize for the brief hiatus RTT took during September / October. As we mentioned on Twitter (which, by the way, you should follow), we both had a crazy set of weeks. My internship ended, and I started another pair of jobs. Angela, meanwhile, got chased around the continental United States by a superstorm of sorts.
A: My summer internship in North Carolina quickly ended when I heard reports that 1) Hurricane Florence was supposed to be one of the most dangerous, or at least, the most rainy, hurricanes of our lifetime, and 2) was going to hit the Triangle hard while I was planning to be on the road. I evacuated early to drive back to Virginia, where I’m from, and then vegetated for some time before going back to Chicago for my permanent job. Definitely the first time I’ve been chased out of a job by a natural disaster.
W: But, thankfully, that’s all over. And now that we’re settled back in, we figured it’s time to dust off the ol’ NYT subscription and get back to solving! Plus, we didn’t even have to skype this time – Angela was back in New York for…a work something? All I remember is there was an open bar, of which I was very jealous.
A: Woo!! Conferences!! Like summer camp, but for adults. Or something like that. It turns out that my research center has strong ties to a company out in Brooklyn, and we were co-sponsoring a conference in October. Using my keen intellect, I reasoned that if I could finagle my way to the conference, I could crossword in person with my friend Will, who is also out in Brooklyn. And so here we are, reunited!
W: We decided to do the Friday for this week. Which was constructed by Bruce Haight and our friend – and RTT reader – Erik Agard! My first thought on loading up the puzzle was something like, “Huh, that looks funny. Cute lil’ circle thing. Neat.” Fortunately though, Angela is smarter than me and doesn’t suck at shapes, quickly noticing it was a LIGHTBULB and thus solving one of the first big crossers of the puzzle.
A: I was upholding my role as the “theme noticer” in our duo, which is what I’m holding onto, because Will has gotten gosh darn good at crosswords. I think it’s because he moved to New York, which immediately increases your skill at the NYT Crossword twofold. Now he just pulls out these crossword terms from nowhere. Like PEONS? Who knows the word PEONS?! Unless there’s some “owning the means of production” and “exploitation of labor” going on, hm, Will?
W: As for my favorite clue of the puzzle, other than NAE NAE, obviously, I’m gonna go with WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA – a clue successfully solved by my alleged gf Emma (who makes a voice cameo on our video!), at whose house we filmed, and Angela crashed. That answer opened up the entire top half of the puzzle for relatively pain-free solving. We snagged a couple of fun ones up north there too, such as DUH and GAM, the latter of which shattered my dreams of “Soccer superstar Lionel” ’s answer not being RICHIE. And yes, I just manufactured a reason to plug that magnificent video into this writeup. That’s your fault for reading our blog.
A: Speaking of magnificent videos, let’s not overlook the author of the words “I was RIDE[ing] SHOTGUN with my hair undone / in the front seat of his car”, which shows you that while Will is off listening to dad music, I’m listening to girly-tween-daughter-of-dad music. Man, that sparkly guitar in the music video for TSwift’s boppy masterpiece brings back…fond?…memories of middle school. So if you just groaned from Will’s plug for his music video of choice, enjoy America’s top pop star in her country days.
W: All in all, we had a pretty good time with this one – and finished with a solid mark of 23:55. No real struggles, although it was personally concerning with how long I was stumped by MEGADETH. Cute puzzle design, a manageable difficulty level, no answers that seemed super forced, and another reminder that the word TOME exists and frickin’ rules. Good stuff, in my [Gutenberg’s Bible, e.g.]
A: You might go as far as to say that this puzzle was AS EASY AS ABC. It was definitely one of our faster Friday solve times, with nothing in there to trip us up a ton. I was nervous the puzzle would be super challenging and then our reunion crosswording would fail and/or take wayyy too long, but thankfully, that was not to be. Altogether a satisfying solve, a ROBUST set of standard clues, and nothing that stumped us for too long. We’re back! And better than ever.
W: Also, if you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen some posts tagged #SolvingSoundtrack – in which I share music that I listened to while solving solo. Well, as promised, here’s the official Spotify #SolvingSoundtrack playlist – which I promise to update regularly! Give it a follow – and let us know what you listen to while furiously trying to remember if the answer is EPEE or ALEE. See y’all next week!
A, from the future: “See y’all next week!” So ambitious, so naive. Content creation is hard y’all, but I hope you appreciate our efforts…and get ready for more in the upcoming days!