This summer's starting to heat up. Aside from being sweltering and humid most of the time (and storming when it's not), this next month is going to be crazy busy. Folk Fest is coming up (I volunteer there every year so I can come and go as I please, and I always end up spending the entire weekend either laying on the grass absorbing the music, working and absorbing the music, or whooping it up till all hours of the night (there's music then, too)), as is a camping trip to Good Spirit Lake (smores, bitches), and a few gigs with a few different bands (haven't been playing much this summer, aside from practices, so it'll be good to shake the booties again). As for puzzles, I'll still be posting one a week, of course, but maybe don't expect anything too adventurous for the next month. I won't let the quality suffer in favour of heavy-handed cracks at half-baked, underdeveloped ideas or ridiculous grids. I'll save those for cooler weather.
Kind of a weird puzzle today. 15x16 grid, for one, and with unconventional symmetry. I originally developed the theme to work within a more typical layout: 4 long theme answers, symmetrically placed. Theme development is by far the most time-intensive part of constructing, for me. Although filling and cluing the puzzle took only an afternoon or so once I had everything in place, I let this one percolate for a few weeks after devising the initial notion of it, and eventually I decided to add another layer to the theme (hopefully it doesn't come across as unnecessary clutter). This necessitated a left-right symmetrical grid, however, and shorter theme answers, since I couldn't find any longer entries that worked nearly as well, and couldn't find a matching 16-letter entry for the one on the bottom. Interesting, I thought, that shorter theme answers yielded a more rich theme. At just 40 theme squares this puzzle's a little on the light side by the numbers, but I think it packs a bit of a punch. Maybe you'll hate it, though? Let me know if you do!
P.S.: 49-Down: do you Americans know this song? That shit's everywhere at the moment, here in Sask.
More words, crossed and otherwise, next Tuesday.
Puzzle: Really Packing It In
Difficulty: Not too terribly tricky, I don't think
Download the PDF file here and the PUZ file here, or solve or download the Across Lite puzzle and/or software from the embedded app below.