Friday, December 9, 2022

Solution to Sally Hoelscher and Mary Lou Guizzo’s March 13 Post Magazine crossword, “Clockwork”

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Sally is the newer constructor of the pair, having revealed her first crossword in Feb. 2020. She can also be the writer of the day by day puzzle weblog Sally’s Take on the USA Today Crossword, the place she discusses every day’s USA Today puzzle in depth. Mary Lou had her first crossword revealed in June 2013 and has been a co-author on many puzzles over the previous 9 years. You could have seen one in all her solo puzzles just lately — she wrote the New York Times crossword for International Women’s Day on Tuesday, March 8. If you haven’t solved that puzzle but, go test it out … and I encourage you to learn her constructor notes about that puzzle.

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Today’s puzzle, “Clockwork,” is the results of a number of back-and-forth exchanges between Sally, Mary Lou and myself relationship again to October 2021. After studying via at present’s answer, scroll down to learn an interview with Sally and Mary Lou about their reflections on this puzzle and all issues crosswords.

Sally and Mary Lou’s puzzle is impressed by at present’s swap to Daylight Saving Time, utilizing the central grid-spanning mnemonic SPRING FORWARD, FALL BACK at 68A: [Mnemonic device for changing your clocks, and a hint to this puzzle’s theme] to tie two trios of theme solutions collectively. The first three theme solutions include circled synonyms of “spring” (which means to leap) learn ahead, whereas the underside three solutions include circled synonyms of “fall” (as in to actually fall down) learn backward.

  • 22A: [Apple chairman and former CEO of Genentech] is ARTHUR D. LEVINSON, which incorporates HURDLE.
  • 31A: [Military subterfuge, perhaps] is STEALTH OPERATION, which incorporates HOP.
  • 48A: [Twitter and TikTok, e.g.] is MOBILE APPS, which incorporates LEAP.
  • 91A: [Stock-triggered moves] is STOP ORDERS, which incorporates a reversed DROP.
  • 108A: [Flood plain of the American South] is MISSISSIPPI DELTA, which incorporates a reversed DIP.
  • 121A: [They may be shot over several hours] is TIME-LAPSE VIDEOS, which incorporates a reversed DIVE.

What particularly amused me about this theme is that when Sally and Mary Lou first despatched me the concept again in October, I had simply completed writing my very own time change-themed puzzle (merely known as “Time Change”), which ran on the “fall back” date of Nov. 7. It appeared like the proper second of serendipity that they have been brainstorming a theme about Daylight Saving Time, and they particularly requested for it to be revealed on the “spring forward” date of March 13. Beyond the theme, I appreciated seeing contemporary solutions like GO NUDE, OUR TEAM, SOLO ACT, TOSTITOS, NABISCO, BEER SNOB, TRIFLES, and HOT SAUCE; in addition to Sally and Mary Lou’s playful and fascinating clues for solutions like RUT at 99A: [It’s regrettable for a routine or a road], PUN at 9D: [The Ben & Jerry’s flavor Oat of This Swirled, e.g.], and POGO at 51D: [Extreme ___ (action sport with a specially designed stick)].

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Now let’s hear from Sally and Mary Lou themselves! Please get pleasure from this interview with the constructors, performed by electronic mail.


Evan: The query that each constructor will get: How did you first get into writing crosswords?

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Sally: I’ve loved fixing crosswords, and every kind of puzzles, for so long as I can keep in mind, however hadn’t given any thought to creating them till 2018. At that point I had been writing youngsters’s curriculum on a contract foundation for 13 years, however, for a wide range of causes I used to be on the lookout for one thing else to do. One day I used to be sitting in my kitchen fixing the New York Times crossword, and the thought popped into my head, “I wonder who makes these; I wonder if I could make these?” It seems the reply is sure, I can! Upon researching the method of crossword establishing, I finally found the fabulous crossword group. That has been an enormous bonus.

Mary Lou: When I began fixing puzzles regularly, then following the blogs and studying in regards to the constructors, I used to be impressed to attempt establishing. Connecting with mentors actually helped.

Evan: Can you clarify a bit of about the way you two collaborated on this puzzle? For occasion, how did you initially provide you with the theme, how did you every deal with filling the grid and writing the clues, and so forth.? (I’ve solely very not often collaborated with one other constructor on a crossword, so I’m curious the way you went about dividing up the work.)

Sally: We’ve collaborated on a number of puzzles collectively and plainly every time the work will get divided barely in a different way, although we every contribute to every step: brainstorming doable themes, discovering doable theme solutions, filling the grid, and cluing.

Mary Lou: Sally prompt a SPRING FORWARD and/or FALL BACK theme. I had prompt this similar full phrase as a puzzle thought to [USA Today crossword editor] Erik Agard a number of years again. I had already executed a good quantity of analysis on doable theme solutions and shared these with Sally. We continued corresponding through an extended chain of emails and a number of electronic mail chains, about doable theme solutions and grids. Once we agreed on the theme solutions and a grid, Sally arrange a Google Sheets doc for clues. We each participated absolutely in all points of the theme growth, puzzle building and cluing. We didn’t actually divide the work per se; an equitable distribution simply advanced via our back-and-forth.

Evan: Sally, you’ve been writing the day by day puzzle weblog Sally’s Take on the USA Today Crossword since June 2020. Are you having fun with that, and what have been essentially the most rewarding and/or most difficult points of sustaining a day by day weblog for you?

Sally: I really like writing the weblog! Although I form of stumbled upon doing it (the “Why?” web page on my weblog explains how that took place), it combines many issues I’m enthusiastic about: crosswords, analysis, and writing. Writing in regards to the USA Today crosswords brings me nice pleasure, and I look ahead to fixing and writing about every day’s puzzle. The most difficult facet of writing a day by day weblog is that it’s day by day. Fortunately, I’ve a improbable group of guest-bloggers that fill in for me when wanted.

Evan: As a follow-up, you appear to take a distinct strategy from different crossword blogs, much less targeted on analyzing the particulars of a theme or a grid and extra about describing fascinating issues that you simply realized from fixing it — as an illustration, your “Geography review,” the place you decide a handful of geography-based solutions in a USA Today puzzle and present some fascinating info. I’m simply questioning what impressed that strategy. Do you’ve gotten a powerful curiosity in geography? Is it to assist keep in mind geographic information if it reveals up in a puzzle once more?

Sally: When I made a decision to begin running a blog, I set some objectives for myself. I wished my weblog to be informative, conversational, and variety. These objectives occur to kind the acronym ICK, which amused me, so I stored them even after I observed that. My strategy is mostly that there are pleasant points of each crossword, and I (nearly) at all times be taught one thing new from every resolve. I didn’t begin out having a “Geography Review” part, however once I started running a blog I observed the puzzles include fairly a little bit of geography. That occurs to be an space I’m weak in, so I made a decision to spotlight it for my very own profit, and hopefully others would profit as properly. I’ve positively realized so much about Lake Erie and Asia!

Evan: Mary Lou, you’ve had each themed and themeless puzzles revealed in a number of venues. I’m questioning if in case you have a desire between constructing a themed or themeless puzzle and, in that case, what’s it you want extra about one kind over the opposite?

Mary Lou: I don’t actually have a desire for themed or themeless puzzles. It’s no matter strikes my fancy, an thought from one thing I’ve learn or heard, or a seed phrase, that impels me ahead.

Evan: Many of your beforehand revealed puzzles have been collaborations with different constructors (with Jeff Chen, Erik Agard, Ellen Leuschner, and others). What is it you get pleasure from specifically about collaborative crosswords?

Mary Lou: Brainstorming with others, studying how they strategy the event of a puzzle theme or grid, then proceed with cluing, is usually a gratifying expertise.

Evan: I’m curious if both of you at present work on establishing or fixing selection puzzles? I ask as a result of Mary Lou co-authored a range puzzle with David Steinberg within the New York Times a number of years in the past (a diagramless on Oct. 23, 2016; answer (*13*)right here). Do you get pleasure from a specific type of selection puzzle greater than others?

Mary Lou: I’m not at present establishing or fixing selection puzzles. I had a number of within the works at one level, one in all which ended up as a New York Times Valentine’s Day grid. I used to be tickled to be taught from a contestant that it had been used for the nineteenth annual Westport Public Library Crossword Contest. It was pleasant and instructional to work with David Steinberg on the one selection puzzle I had revealed. The grid artwork was my thought. The theme solutions have been his.

Sally: I haven’t constructed any selection puzzles, although I do get pleasure from many sorts of puzzles … perhaps sometime!

Evan: Do you’ve gotten a specific fashion or a set of pursuits that almost all encourage you whenever you’re constructing crosswords?

Sally: Although I’ve constructed each themed and themeless puzzles, I discover myself gravitating towards themed puzzles. I’ll go along with any theme I can consider that can work, however when it comes to filling the grid, I attempt to spotlight underrepresented teams and cultures each time doable. Since I’ve a science background, I additionally like to incorporate science fill and clues when doable.

Mary Lou: No explicit fashion or set of pursuits that conjures up me. It’s just about serendipity.

Evan: Do you’ve gotten a favourite crossword that you simply’ve written?

Sally: I nonetheless positively contemplate myself a starting to intermediate constructor, and due to this fact I’m thrilled with any puzzle that makes it to completion and will get revealed, together with this one! That being mentioned, I’ll at all times have a comfortable spot for my first revealed crossword, the Presidents’ Day (Feb. 17) 2020 New York Times crossword.

Mary Lou: I believe my favourite crossword is the first that was accepted by the New York Times (although not the primary they ran). It was enjoyable collaborating and studying from Jeff Chen. It was such a thrill to get that acceptance. It was properly acquired by solvers. This one ranks fairly excessive too, for a wide range of causes. It was a pleasure to work and be taught from Sally and you. It is my Washington Post debut. It is a playful and well timed puzzle. My hope is that solvers have loved it as properly.

Evan: Are there different upcoming puzzles or common crossword actions of yours that you simply’d like to point out?

Sally: I’ve a puzzle popping out within the June version of the Crosswords Club that has a theme I believe is especially enjoyable, and occurs to be the primary Sunday-sized puzzle I constructed.

Mary Lou: I would love to point out a puzzle I co-constructed with Sally, “It’s About Time,” that includes essential milestones for ladies. It is within the Crosswords Club March puzzle packet. Editor Patti Varol selected to function a month of feminine constructed puzzles for Women’s History Month. I used to be honored to be amongst them. I used to be additionally happy to assemble the New York Times puzzle for International Women’s Day (answer right here).


Thanks very a lot for the duo visitor crossword, Sally and Mary Lou! I look ahead to fixing extra of your puzzles down the street.

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