Tuesday, May 8, 2018

"Change of Pace," by Jules P. Markey

Constructor's Comments

The original idea that sparked this puzzle was "a day at the airport," where each common phrase began with an action you'd take when traveling by air:  Drive, Stand (TSA line), Run ("I'm never gonna make it!"), Sit ("Whew!"), Fly.  I never made that grid and really don’t remember why I changed the theme to what you see today, which became "The Evolution of Human Transport."  The only road bump along the way was at 31-Down, whose entry was originally IMBEDDED IN, a very rare variant of EMBEDDED IN; not being able to come up with an alternative, I thought about changing the theme entry to DRIVE UP THE VALUE, which sounded a bit off.  Back to the drawing board, and trial and error gave me IS WEDDED TO.  Not being too sure of that one either, I sent David the first version, and when he balked, the second.  He accepted it.

Editor's Comments

This puzzle is a perfect example of what I like for the early week!  The theme itself is simple, yet it's elevated by the progression from WALK to ROCKET.  Also, all four theme entries are lively and in-the-language—my favorite is ROCKET TO STARDOM, which I believe is making its crossword debut.  Working around 60 theme squares is always tough, though Jules rose to the challenge and even squeezed in a pair of long downs.  I was worried he'd have to scrap said long downs to get rid of IMBEDDED IN, though his IS WEDDED TO suggestion saved the day.  Your thoughts?


  1. Hey, this is a very nice puzzle - like the theme and mostly very well executed and clued. Only a couple of beefs. 1) I'd like to see SPEE retired and certified as crosswordese (things seen only in crosswords and not generally known by non-crossword people). I think it's been in a couple of Society puzzles already. 2) Do MY GOSH and OMG constitute a dupe? Pretty close . . .

  2. Oh, I forgot to mention. SPEE seems to have a very unpleasant "Urban Dictionary" meaning . . .

  3. Glad you enjoyed the puzzle, Mark! SPEE is on my "use sparingly" list, though I don't think I'd go so far as to ban it. Hadn't noticed that MY GOSH and OMG were both in the grid . . . those kinds of dupes are notoriously hard to catch, so kudos to you for spotting it :).

  4. I obviously didn't pick that up either, I do remember that in a much earlier version I had BYGOSH with the crossings of SIDEB and TARRY which I didn't much care for. I don't think the appearance of GOD and its euphemistic version GOSH in the same puzzle is as troubling as having both preceded by MY in similar interjective phrases. Valid critique, thanks for liking the puzzle.

  5. Thanks for dropping by, Jules! Yeah, some dupes are so sneaky that I've had to start checking for them manually (since Crossword Compiler only looks for repeated strings of letters). I remember one puzzle that had EATS and ATE before I spotted the overlap at the last minute.