I chanced upon this theme idea while making another puzzle—SET IN STONE and SPIKE STRIP both fit in a nontheme slot, and from there I just needed a good 10-letter BUMP phrase to pair with VOLLEYBALL, and the theme was ready to go. I had a lot of fun playing with the grid without being very theme-constrained, though I got a little too ambitious at first. David was very helpful in curbing those ambitions—he suggested adding in the black square under 9-Down, and that really allowed the grid to come together pretty cleanly (at least I think so!).
Today's theme is light and breezy. Volleyball makes me think of the beach, which makes me think of summer . . . darn it, I still have one more month of school! Anyway, Brian did a masterful job with this construction. All the theme entries are lively and nicely change the meaning of their volleyball terms, plus the fill is loaded with zingy bonus entries—I especially like AWAY TEAM, I HOPE SO, RUN SCARED, A LOT TO DO, TIME TO KILL, YES MOM, and OPEN BAR. I also have a funny story about TRINI LOPEZ: As a millennial, I only know the name from crosswords, and it was only in the past year or so that I learned Trini Lopez was a man, not a woman. Just one perk of learning most of what you know from crossword clues!
I always enjoy a puzzle that teaches me a new word or phrase, especially one that's an actual thing in the real world. I would have got SPIKE STRIP on a multiple choice test, but did not know the actual name for it, nor that portable ones are used by cops to foil a suspect in a car. Top that off with a very clean grid with clever clues and this makes for a dandy puzzle. BTW, David, we leave for the beach Friday, so eat your heart out!ReplyDelete
Hah! I had the same realization regarding TRINI LOPEZ when making the puzzle!ReplyDelete
@Mark McClain: OMG so jealous! My parents and I might be traveling to Florida in June, though, so we'll see who has the last laugh ;). Glad you enjoyed the puzzle, too.ReplyDelete
@Brian Thomas: LOL, there are probably a whole bunch of Baby Boomers laughing at us right now! Thanks for stopping by.