See the 11 answer words debuted by Gia Bosko.
★ Old guard crossworders might say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH to tautology puzzles, but Gia found such a fresh and heartwarming way to end this one, with the modern LOVE IS LOVE, clued in an inspiring way. Hardly an IT IS WHAT IT IS statement about some of the progress that's helped many of my LGBTQ+ friends do what makes them happy.
Equally inspiring is the quality of Gia's gridwork! Hey, constructors who grumble that with five themers, it's good enough to achieve a smooth grid; take note. Gia not only achieved near-perfect cleanliness, but she worked in some beauts: SPAMALOT, SWOOPED IN (so much more evocative than standard add-a-preposition phrases), and MASTER KEY. If IT'S A TEST, the proctor DEEMS Gia's achievement of sparkle and smoothness much more than FIT.
Working in so many long Across bonuses is unusual because when you start stacking long Acrosses on top of themers, things can get hairy and quick. I would typically suggest breaking up SWOOPED IN and MASTER KEY, probably at the E of SWOOPED IN, because there are limited solid solutions if you don't. This long Across sandwich does necessitate the oddball usage of SUFFIXED, but it's so worth it.
Maybe you could point to REFILE as an inelegance, but I'm not taking any chances with criticizing anything related to the IRS this close to tax day.
Although the theme idea isn't new — what idea is? — it's executed with a modern and elegant touch. FAIR IS FAIR. Gia gets the POW!
Jim Horne and I often reminisce about our favorite puzzles of yesteryear, like a GREEN EGGS AND HAMLET mashup. It still makes me chuckle.
Neat idea to riff on GREEN EGGS AND HAM. Poetic, to focus on lines like ON A BOAT and WITH A GOAT. There are so many of them to choose from — the poem is much longer than I remembered.
I so badly wanted all themers to rhyme. Something like this, pulled out of a single verse:
["I do not like them ___"] IN A BOX 6
["I do not like them ___"] WITH A FOX 8
["I do not like them ___"] IN A HOUSE 8
["I do not like them ___"] WITH A MOUSE 10
But the cruel goddess Cruciverba cackles — lengths of 6 / 8 / 8 / 10 are plain old mean. After an hour of trying to pair things up, my main conclusion was that Dr. Seuss is a dirty rotten crossword hater. The best I could do:
["I will not eat them ___"] IN THE RAIN 9
["I will not eat them ___"] ON A TRAIN 8
["You do not like them ___"] SO YOU SAY 8
["Try them! Try them!" ___ ] AND YOU MAY 9
Doesn't quite capture the full idea, though.
Excellent gridwork; so much care taken to use mid-length slots to their fullest potential — TOP HAT, SHROOM — while keeping short fill clean. I know I make a BIG ASK for great bonuses and silky-smoothness. The fact that a new constructor can deliver on this solidifies my case that we should demand this from everyone.
Hard to believe I spent so much time analyzing Dr. Seuss, and I love that Gia's debut hooked me.