Remember last week’s AV Club contest puzzle?
Jeff Chen’s American Values Club contest crossword, “No Seconds For Me, Thanks”
OMG, y’all. I’ve been excited to cover this puzzle since I first solved it on Wednesday. I knew exactly what was going on from the first across and down clues, but it was still a fantastic solve from beginning to end
My brain tends to be primed for puzzles like this from all of the other puzzle hunt style stuff I do, so from the title, I had a hunch that I needed to keep the second square of each entry blank wherever possible. This led to some fun additions as squares eventually got filled in – 25A‘s PRATES becomes PIRATES in the final grid, 34A‘s SUSS becomes SEUSS, and what may be my favorite, 58A‘s BY GEORGE (“Exclamation upon tasting a jolly perfect Sunday roast”) ends up as BOY GEORGE. Hopefully you didn’t want to hurt Jeff Chen by the time you finished the puzzle.
(WOW, I did not remember some of the elements from the beginning of this video that seem a bit out of date)
Once the grid is filled in from the clues, there’s still 7 blank squares that need filling. These only resolve one way for all the available crossings to still make words, in a phrase that feels appropriate for this puzzle’s fill: ON A DIET.
The gridplay on this puzzle was the star (and rightfully so – this had to be massively constrained to work out), but there were some great clues, too:
- 24A: Showy salsa maneuver, or salsa itself I suppose — D[R]IP
- 50A: Title for Met, Bean, or T — M[I]R
- 10D: Prince’s domain — M[S]N
- 23D: Toon who inspired the heavy metal tribute band “Okilly Dokilly” — N[E]ED
- 60D: Captain played by Michael Jackson — E[M]O
(Anyone who can explain what the heck “Karma Chameleon” is about gets a shiny new penny.)
So, I dug this puzzle from beginning to end. It’s the kind of thing I love to see the AV Club do, and that I don’t think you’d see in any major outlet, at least not as the day’s main puzzle. It’s cool to see constructors playing with the form to see what all they can do with some black and white squares like this.