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Natan Last author page

36 puzzles by Natan Last
with constructor comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
367/17/200710/1/202210
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
81251910
RebusCircleScrabblePOW
371.603
Natan Last
Sat 10/1/2022
MAINBDAYSLIM
EAVEBLARETIRE
CROWDSURFSAVON
HORSEMENYELENA
ANYLESONESEC
PITCHOUTADE
TONELOCPLOD
GERTRUDESTEIN
BASKEGALITE
ALTPOSENUDE
BLAMEDVMIJAY
YEMENISUPEREGO
FREESHOOEDAWAY
AINTTBONDMEMO
TATSSONGALES
Sat 3/12/2022
BRIBEDPACT
CAESURAAPHID
NONDAIRYCREAMER
ORDEALSHIDECO
INSECTTAPJLAW
SEAMSPARAGUAY
YAWTHONGSONG
BEAUGESTE
BORNTORUNASH
FLUNKIESOLLIE
PRATANDTWEEZE
BIZMAEBEHAVED
JEEPERSCREEPERS
DRANOPATROLS
STUNATHENS
Thu 5/13/2021
GLANDIGORAWED
QUINOASONYRAGU
UPTOWNSALEMSLOT
ITEMGAUDYCOLBY
PARASITECANSO
LATHELANPOL
ATHOSEFLATPASA
THEUSUALSUSPECTS
IRASPREENIDEST
TEDROTEDALI
EGGONTRUEGRIT
PSALMMERYLRAMA
HOMEALONEARENAS
AMENANDYICEAGE
TESSBOSSTASTE

The JASA Crossword Class just ended its spring semester this past week, but we will have a summer semester starting soon. The start date is still to be determined, but information and registration will be posted when it is available.

As always, we're really proud of the work our students put into this puzzle!

Wed 1/20/2021
POETSPAMCGI
COLLISIONSART
MINDMELDINGSOS
UTZODORATOM
MEIRMATCHGAME
OTTOORIONS
WORKERLAINEMT
THEUNITEDSTATES
ABCACAICESSNA
REINERSODA
JOINTPAINPOPE
ATVSNICKPUG
CHIWINEPAIRING
KENONEPERCENT
ORGKNOTSKYE

The next semester of JASA's Sunday programs for adults 50 and over, including our crossword class, will start on February 21. Registration will be available here. The class has been running virtually over Zoom since March of 2020, which has allowed us to open the class to students from across the country (and Canada).

As always, we're really proud of the work our students put into this puzzle.

Wed 5/20/2020
DONORNABSDICED
AGAMEARIAUVULA
BRIEFESTBRIEFEST
SELLJAYBIRDSEA
EWEKAY
MUSTACHEMUSTACHE
ANASTEVENEMAIL
RIMSMARTSCTV
STOATINCITEHOE
HEATHENSHEATHENS
EELBAY
BATASUSUALBRAS
FLAGRANTFLAGRANT
FORUMTAOSPINTA
STONYORSOADDIN

Working with the JASA class is always a pleasure, and it was doubly interesting to finish cluing this puzzle over Zoom. Like lots of other disrupted classes, despite the pandemic, we meet every week, brainstorming themes, muting and unmuting, changing our backgrounds, and enjoying each other's company.

POW Sun 10/20/2019 BE PATIENT
AMMANBITES
CLAIRELAGAMECHE
SHALLOWDIPLOTINHATS
AIRBEDSEASELANTONIO
GAMERREARENDERSEDER
EPICPONDTEAMDONT
LESBLOOPIKNOWNNE
YTTRIUMOCCAMGRANGER
URNSORATESIRI
RATEDGCLIPARTBENICE
ERASIGHBODEMUSMEG
DAMPNOUNTHANSHAG
IGORGOTITFIENDPOSE
DORISDELIVEREDTIMED
NAVAJOELITEELATES
IVANITEAPLUMS
EVILOMENSMIAMIHEAT
BIGEYECAVEMANPLINTH
ECIGSKELETONKEYNERO
RAVEOPERATIONEMIR
TRESITSYEASTDYAN

This was a lot of fun to make! (And looks like the red nose made it at least to the web solution, not sure if it'll turn up in print or not). Shoutout to the editing team for the back-and-forth (originally, I was fine if the post-operation word was short and uninteresting, if the hidden part sparkled—I had THIGH in GOT HIGH, leaving GO—but eventually was able to find a set that balanced the clued word and the gettability of the grid entry). Shoutout to friend and Python wrangler Kyle Mahowald for helping me brush up on my scripting skills! I'm a really big fan of out-of-the-box Sunday puzzles, hope this one tickles your funny bone.

Wed 9/25/2019
EDGARINSEASON
LAURANORMCORE
BRITCHESITCHES
ATTEAVEROOT
AMBLEGNU
BREYERSEYERS
BESTAREAOL
ONOBREXITIDA
ACLAOKISAY
HOMBRESHOMES
CAYCUFFS
AHABLOAFHBO
CEREBRALCEREAL
TAMARINDNOLIE
SLYLOOKSDOLLS

This puzzle was the product of the JASA crossword class's summer semester this year. We're fortunate to always have clever students with a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on. This bunch was particularly interested in current affairs, which led to the generation of this theme.

Our fall semester started this week, but it's not too late to sign up if you're in the NYC area and interested.

Sun 5/19/2019 HOOK-UPS
TBSCITYIMPSBOLAS
BRAHOBOEMOLEAPART
COOLEDDOWNSTORMSURGE
PAULSIMONCOLDFISSION
ARTMOOKBARESNLEAST
WHIRLTREYYEASTY
CROONLEGUPDESI
LARGETYPEMOIRASATIN
ASKSEDENAUGURTRULY
PHOPALEDGRUBMAINLY
USEMEELISEPANDA
DRIERSCROCSWIFTCOT
IONICTHERESAKISAMS
YEESHAUDITSTEAMPUNK
SANGRIOTSAEGIS
GROUPSTWINDENCH
SIOUANHEADSSPITWEB
AVOTRESANTEFOURALARM
BETAGAINSTCANNERYROW
LIEGEFOOLERICARES
ENDEDTIRELECHYES
Sun 2/3/2019 EJECTION LETTERS
STELMOCLICKSBUSTS
SHEBEARAIROUTINTRO
BEANBALLFLAGRANTFOUL
REPOSCOMFYNOTERICE
AMENMONAEBASICICES
ILLEGALSLIDETACKLE
NYYAIMINAFEWONEL
LYNXENOABRIDGE
ONEALSOFTGEARGTE
CENSEMARIEHELMETHIT
TWASCALYXFURLSRUTH
AHCOMPLEXCILIABONGO
LITOATCAJUNAUTOS
RECUSALOBIGENT
EDITOHWAITARTARM
THETWILLSETYOUFREE
ROSYDARNSLEAPSACTS
OTOHALITFANTAATHOS
POFADMISSIONARMCHILI
EMILESEAREDREAREND
DIALSASTERSSEBERG

This puzzle is a nice example of the benefits of having thoughtful soundboards for theme ideas — my original concept focused on only soccer, and I toyed with two extra thematic layers: a RED card rebus replacing the square where the player was "ejected," as in HO[RED]SS ROMANTICS (with PELE getting the red card), and "sidelining" the ejected players, their entries only appearing along the puzzle's rim.

The current iteration is both more varied (lots of different sports and players, rather than one; including the reasons for ejection as a bonus) and compressed (trimming my kooky bells and whistles so the ejection gimmick stands out). It's the product of lots of back and forth with Joel, and crossword greats like Brendan Emmett Quigley, Andy Kravis, and more. All of which is to say that having people like that in my life makes the puzzles I construct better — and is a helpful reminder to make myself available for that kind of theme soundboarding, and more. Please check out the Crossword Collaboration group — its focus on getting more underrepresented groups published is written up here — and feel free to reach out!

I also thought the edits on this puzzle were helpful from Will + team, pithier but keeping the (to me interesting or under-referenced) information in my clues for EMILE, MALCOLM X, MALI, COGNATE, CAJUN, and (I can't believe this stayed!) MARIE. Hope y'all enjoy the puzzle!

Tue 10/9/2018
DAMNSIMACNEAP
EBOOKGAIAORCA
BUNNYOURSBILL
EPLURIBUSUNUM
DYLANNAPE
SECURITYBLANKET
PALSTWOTOOTH
ALITEASETSSHY
HIPPOHRHCHEM
NOSURPRISETHERE
TREEEVERS
HIDDENFIGURES
OREOCUKEORALB
SKEWISEEOILER
ESPNLEAKMOTTO

ANDY: At the beginning of the semester, we set out to make a Monday puzzle (the only day of the week JASA hasn't yet had an NYT puzzle run). Monday is possibly the toughest day to construct for: the theme has to be accessible to all solvers but also interesting to Will & co., plus the fill has to be squeaky clean. We ended up with a smooth, low-word-count puzzle that we think is very appropriate for Tuesday.

It's a joy to work with the JASA students. We always end up with an embarrassment of excellent clues, and it's a challenge to winnow them down for submission. We just started a new semester at the end of September, but anyone who wants to know more about the JASA class can get more information here.

Sun 9/30/2018 SLEEP ON IT
BANGRIDSMAVSEMIRS
ADORISENALOULANAI
RIBECOCARROLLWITHIT
BELLEFAKESETTHETONE
QUEENOFMEANRAYRUGS
SPRPOLEHONPESO
WONCOBIMAFANDOSED
ENEEMAILRODAILS
LEIAELLASEASOYFOB
FULLBODIEDFAIRSHAKE
APPLSCAPEXENACITED
RORSCHACHTWINSISTER
ENTHIPEPICSPKSAFE
PODSSDSMERITIFS
THROEMUFASASPALET
ROILSOSANNEBLT
SAWNCUBKINGSOLOMON
HITCOUNTERPHENBOOZE
INREALTIMETESOROPOM
ROUSTZETAITGUYUNE
TRESSUSSRMASTSPEA
POW Sat 7/28/2018
ADELEWEBBDADS
CURESWAREECCE
TEAMSPIRITMACE
ETTUHINESODON
DOORDIEFYIEMO
ESPNREMIT
FASHIONPOLICE
JUICECLEANSES
GENDERSTUDIES
ROSENERTE
APPDIXOHSORRY
NAOHTESLARHEE
DRNOINLAIDTILE
EDGENOOBMINIS
RYESANTSCZECH

We started this puzzle trying to get three lively entries to stack nicely in the center, and I think we succeeded with FASHION POLICE / JUICE CLEANSES / GENDER STUDIES. We love brainstorming tricky clues with the JASA class, so we spent a lot of time coming up with clues for these three marquee entries, and we came up with a few beauties that hit the cutting room floor:

  • [Ones who monitor patterns / Group that's strongly averse to clashing / Group that may cramp your style?] for FASHION POLICE;
  • [They're drunk and flush? / Digestive fluids?] for JUICE CLEANSES;
  • [Butler did it / Wave theory field?] for GENDER STUDIES.

We also really liked [Root cause?] for TEAM SPIRIT.

We were very happy with how the grid turned out — there were lots of fun long entries (PAD THAI, JEOPARDY, FUN SPONGE, DC COMICS, NEURO LABS) and very little junk.

Wed 3/7/2018
SANDABECAPOS
CLAUDIUSTOSSTO
UPFORDISCUSSION
BHTEELALIASES
AAADOMINI
ITSHOPELESS
TEAROOMSLEO
TENPENNYAWRATS
RATEDGLUCRETIA
ACEDONTEVEN
CHRISMARTIN
SHONDANAB
SHALALAPEAONE
PARALLELPARKING
EZINESLETMESEE
DYADSCDSNEXT

NATAN: This puzzle was such a treat to make, even by the standards of the already lovely JASA process. The people, for one: we're joined by new faces, like Andy Kravis up at the lectern, who's so encyclopedic we barely need to research for clues anymore, and new constructors like Susan, Tom, Joe, and more, who're injecting even more humor and breadth into these collaborations.

For another thing, this was one of those puzzles where students became teachers — the JASA class came up with the revealer, brainstormed the best theme pairs, drew up the skeleton of the grid, and even bailed us out of a bad fill moment by dropping in OH MY LORD where we'd had OH MY WORD and were coming up empty or trivial.

We were also able to keep a wide-open construction with some nice long entries. Hope y'all like it!

ANDY: This was my first puzzle with the JASA class, and I'm looking forward to making many more with them.

Sun 11/5/2017 LANE CHANGES
MSNSUCROSEBIGTALK
OHOUPAHEADMEDIABIAS
WAYNESWORLDALLABOARD
SHOOESSTINGLYAURAS
USFLSEEYAARN
GODHELPUSDRAGANDDROP
ICIERIHOPFRISKSAGE
LTDSELFMANSOPHTIRE
DENILLEROSSOONER
ATTACKADSELSAPWNS
THEROADNOTTAKEN
JAWANYETUPHOLSTER
LABATTPROBWCSHUE
AFARHASPYAHWEHBELT
WACREHEATFUELTUBER
DRIVEINARUNBELOWZERO
ACRNONOSLAZE
OUTIESPLASHOCDEGOT
BRENDALEEPATHFINDERS
IAMLEGENDIDAHOESEEK
LAYDOWNNERISSASOS

This puzzle germinated during late nights spent dreaming under a mosquito net — I was in western Tanzania for work and it was recommended we stay in the compound at night, so I spent a lot of time with sci-fi e-books and blank grids and anti-malarial pills. Maybe also poetry — the Frost poem was definitely the seed, and earlier iterations of this puzzle focused equally on the "less traveled" and the "diverged" lines.

Initially I was looking for movies, songs, and literature pairs that had the word ROAD in them "diverging." (Here's a long boring explanation of that old, dream-fueled idea: imagine ROAD TO RIO across, then an additional OAD diagonally down from the R, then it picks up three rows down and finishes across with HOUSE, for the movie ROADHOUSE. The idea was to play on "less traveled" as less popular — ROADHOUSE as grossing less or having smaller audience numbers than ROAD TO RIO, or something). Anyway, that morphed into the idea you see now, with a nice steer from Joel on putting a black square after the "diverged" answer, since it should function as if it were its own entry.

Diagonal words always make filling tougher, and I'm happy with some of the pizzazz in the puzzle, but would've spent more time trying to avoid the glue, especially in the lower left. Hopefully the theme offers a fun aha moment, and hopefully you're as tickled by the descent of THE ROAD TO HELL as I am. Sad to see an Ed KOCH clue become Koch Industries, given the hellscape toward which companies like theirs have steered us.

Thanks to Will, Joel, Sam and all those who looked at early versions of this!

Sat 9/16/2017
SHELOVESMESAGS
HESAKEEPERTROI
EASYSTREETARID
ELALEMERGENC
PSYOPSDASHSPA
WALLOWESTEE
CISNODSHOOHAS
ASHPITSJESSICA
STARCHCOLTMER
THROBTHEGAP
PAKASIAATESTS
ATTORNEYTARA
RYANIDONTGETIT
TONEPOTATORACE
YUKSENEMYLINES

FINN AND NATAN: We're having a lot of fun at the JASA class by making types of puzzles as yet untried by the group, and someone in the class was hungry for a themeless with chunky, stacking corners. We were tickled by the SHE LOVES ME / HE'S A KEEPER combination, and spent a lot of time tinkering with the lower left, which is our favorite section. Our last puzzle in May debuted ARREST HIM; we're pleased to bring the entry back to the Times a second time.

It's tough to write a themeless in the first place, let alone as a group, since you want to make sure you've really exhausted every possibility to ensure the cleanest possible grid. The class was very patient as we all tested and retested new fill in the corners. If we recall correctly, the bottom right had a few other types of RACEs and LINEs at some point in time.

At this point, the JASA folks who make these puzzles are pros at all the aspects of construction, but the group clearly has a knack for clever cluing. [Sea as in Cannes] for MER and [Celebration after a run?] for CAST PARTY are among our favorites the class came up with. Will, Joel, and team did a lovely job neatening our clues, which tend to be overlong (Natan's fault) and overflowing, happily, with puns and alliteration (the class's!). A lesson in the original clue for PANIC BAR: [Don't push it!]

Hope you enjoy!

POW Sun 5/7/2017 DUALITY QUALITY
DECODUMBJAPESIMPS
ODORABIEGOCARTBORN
DAUGHTERLAUGHTERIDOL
OMGOARGUISECEASES
HOPESILLTENLUX
BUDDINGPUDDINGPAPYRI
ARRESTHIMMAULLOOFA
LBOSRENGASMAINEDEN
SAPBYEKOSHERNOSHER
ANSELOTTODUVALL
MOOCPORCHSAGE
HENNASPIKEGRADS
GARDENWARDENHEYCOW
PUTSGOATEEDITSOTRO
TACOSERRSACTCASUAL
SCHNOZMASSAGEPASSAGE
DAWFORPLEDPOOL
MADAMELALAWWINSOB
VOTEBASELINEVASELINE
ALCSIDIDITLIFTAZUL
NEHIESSEXLETSBEST

Finn kicked off the generation of this theme by finding the phrase BASELINE VASELINE, which we all thought was evocative of some umpish impishness. Natan always likes adding layers of a theme to the clues, and the two of us and the class sat together in front of a long list of eye rhymes, composing absurd couplets. We're particularly fond of the silly clues for KOSHER NOSHER and MASSAGE PASSAGE, both group efforts. We were pleased to have enough options to be able to cross themers in the SW and NE corners.

Hopefully the fill's enjoyable, too; we were happy to get some nice longer answers in there, and since we like modern language, Natan (having been charged with reworking a corner with some iffy answers) is glad to see SWOLE has kept its place on the team.

One bright memory of this puzzle is the Sunday we spent working on it in Stamford, the weekend of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Most of the JASA students attend the tournament, so we huddled around a laptop in the lobby, tinkering with the grid. It looks a lot different than it did then; hopefully any of the tournamentgoers who flitted by to guess the theme or offer a new entry have long forgotten, and so this is a brand new puzzle for them.

Sat 3/11/2017
ALTPOPBLOKE
GLORIASTEINEM
WHITEPRIVILEGE
WOOKIEESSNOTS
ELSEMOESOTT
EFTSAVANTSOAR
SHRINEMANNA
HOTTAKEDRAMEDY
APHIDFIGURE
JEERHOMEECSAD
INNPARSSPRY
WEIRDOLDFLAME
VIRTUALREALITY
ADVENTURETIME
SEEMEGYRATE

I'm in love with the stacks of 13+14 marquee entries, and given the constraints they laid on the rest of the grid, I'm really happy with the pop and cleanliness of the rest of the answers. KEG STAND! WOOKIEES! OLD FLAME! (My college experience?!) Hopefully there are fun answers to discover in every quadrant.

I like writing clues that tie into one another in ways beyond traditional cross-referencing. I think this is pretty in print — I like the look of the streak of clues that reads "Rushed, Rush, Red ___, Red ___" — but it's interesting to note that many, many solvers do the crossword digitally now, where that kind of maneuver has less aesthetic cache. Something for me to unlearn, perhaps.

Generally, I thought this one wasn't edited as well as usual. You'll note that ironically, GLORIA STEINEM and WHITE PRIVILEGE are (precisely? nearly?) the only woman and person of color, respectively, in the puzzle. If memory serves, the original clues for at least MARC, STIR (either Tribe or Marley), HAJI, SAD, and SHRINE explicitly brought something, uh, deliberately un-Tom-Thumb-y to the cultural table. Even the clues for SHAD (kohada!) and PRUNE (tzimmes!) drew from milieus inferrable to Times solvers but more interesting, to me, than definitional clues, which this puzzle didn't lack. Strangely, the already-long clues for HOT TAKE and OTT were padded, to the point of clunkiness.

Shout out to my favorite poetry professor in college, Darren Angle, who had us read Matthea Harvey's "SAD Little Breathing Machine," a book of poems that's stayed with me for many years since. And shout out to Will and Joel for writing an amazing VIRTUAL REALITY clue!

Fri 10/14/2016
INSRIBSDICEY
DOTHEMATHADORE
IFEELFREEFILES
DAIRYGEMTODAY
SINEGARITODO
ORSARINYUPEU
TRANSGENDER
AINTIAWOMAN
DOMAINNAMES
LOLZAGYETGIG
AGRACOENMONO
SPASMHRSBANJO
HADTOINQUIREOF
ERIESPOUNDCAKE
SKORTTEESRED

This one was a lot of fun to make! I'd thought AINT I A WOMAN would make a nice entry ever since Finn Vigeland, the JASA Crossword Class, and I had a puzzle rejected because (among other probably reasonable reasons) it had (to the editors unfamiliar) BELL HOOKS in it. (!??@?@??!?!!?!?!?!#?@?@?!@?!@?@#? <- verbatim quote from me after hearing the news. Also verbatim: "But it's an inferably-spelled name! Bell! Hooks! LIKE THE THINGS ON WHICH YOU HANG YOUR BELLS.) Robbed of seeing her name in all caps in the solution, I mentioned her work in the clue for AINT I, hoping for another rare starts-off-lowercase crossword clue. No dice.

A lot of wordplay-driven clues in this one, and Will and Joel (and Frank?) did a lovely job smoothing my excesses when I leaned a little ungrammatical (I had "Play hard to get?" for IN-JOKE before they realized English syntax is a virtue before G-d). Most of the clues are mine, though I went, originally, heavier on the pop culture — besides bell, no more references to Pynchon (YEOMEN), Vonnegut (his SAN Lorenzo), or DAS Racist. My roomie tells me his dad would have hated those clues, so hopefully this was all worth it.

Very happy to get TRANSGENDER into a puzzle, and with a hopefully inoffensive clue — not always guaranteed these days. Crosswords are our own little sandbox of linguistic import; that word hadn't appeared in a puzzle before, though I hope to see it again and again.

Wed 7/27/2016
DREWYAKBOOMS
PATCHOULIOHWOW
THEHOBBITOMNIA
ALSOSAGELYERR
VENNDIAGRAM
PESOSSHE
CIRCUSTENTNUFF
STIRSANOGIGLI
ISEEAUDIDEALER
ACTJOLIE
OLYMPICFLAG
GEESTOLENNABS
ROMANRINGCYCLE
ENEROGETOVERIT
SINEWIDOSTEP

FINN: After Natan was abroad for a semester, I had the good fortune of taking over the reins at J.A.S.A. (the Jewish Association Serving the Aging). When Natan returned, we decided to co-teach the class, and we have a blast every Sunday with our amazing students. It really doesn't feel like teaching but more a seamless collaboration between eight people. There are a lot of laughs as we try out boundary-pushing entries or draft clues we know Will would never accept. I'm pretty sure this concept originated when we were stuck on brainstorming themes, and I just drew a circle on the chalkboard, hoping it would lead somewhere. For no particular reason, I drew more circles, and a theme was born.

NATAN: Co-teaching the JASA class with Finn is pretty lovely, and instructive besides. I'd never spelled nor smelled PATCHOULI, but love its letters. I did a quick run-through of modern dating as we discussed "ARE You The One?", a matchmaking reality show my friends and I love for honestly no good reason. As a class, we agree that bonus theme material is always great to shoehorn in provided it doesn't look too forced, and I think all the extra slots we found made the final cut. The class is a lot cleverer than I am; our first drafts at cluing often read like cryptics (mine read like TV Guide), so I'm glad to see a lot the double clues and references shine through, even on a Wednesday. Hope you like it!

Sun 4/3/2016 JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS
CHIRACISMWADESCAR
HAMSADONAIALONETIME
INONEEARANDGENTLEMAN
AGNUSFEYEPAMAIZE
TABSWHEREIGHTTOKNOW
LIBSCHEWLASERONS
EGOFRAYBEEPDUBS
IHAVEEMYKEYSCLAUSE
ATTLEEANNETAKEIVER
ADDSITSCOOLSNEER
RAIDSAYTOABOILTAPS
AUDISWASNTMEGAIL
CRYMEISKOILYTHESIS
YALIESCANIMAKEOUND
RDASCATOCUEDMBA
BCSATILTBANSAMOK
YOULLCOMEEQUESTIBEX
RUBIORPIUSATERZA
ORANGEMENOUTTHEOTHER
TIRESWINGTAIWANSIRE
ECUSENDSELTOROTOS

I had the idea to literalize the phrase "In one ear and out the other" a long time ago, and the rebus part was I think the most fun way to actualize this theme. There were wonky ways to make the theme more or less elegant, I thought, while keeping it solvable: the circles were Will and Joel's addition, since they thought the puzzle played too hard without it.

I liked having all the entires be actual phrases, making the theme even truer, though it was hard to not repeat "A" too many times, and a few discarded phrases ("WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?" I remember as one I was sad to see go) duped the common components of spoken language too much to stay; earlier versions had ear-shaped black square contortions (kind of) and fewer theme answers, since those crossing rebus squares, which I thought didn't need to conform to the theme, were getting tough to fill around.

On the fill, glad I was able to get I'M ON A BOAT, WAGE GAP, HANG TIGHT, WASN'T ME, and a few other more modern entries in the grid. Hopefully OBELI is worth its surrounding colloquialisms.

The world, I guess, maybe, is better off without my wordier clues for many entries. I love, love, love quote clues for literature / pop culture references; ADA and VLADIMIR both had enormous excerpts of their lines trotted out for reasons pretentious and unnecessary. But damn, they said good stuff. Also, one of my favorite things about cluing is finding relationships between adjacent or nearby clues: I had originally clued LINES as [Subjects in Euclid's geometry] and LOGS as [Subjects in Euler's calculus, briefly], or something, and I miss those little mini topical excursions in the clues.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed it!

Sat 11/21/2015
BABYTHANEOAK
POLLOHAMPSHIRE
ALLAYETERNALLY
CLUBOWNEREPEES
KYDMAORISPDS
EWEARTSCENE
RODEYOGAPANTS
SOTTORONNEHIS
DOCTRINALDADE
HOPONPOPTED
DOEGUAPOSSKA
BIRDSSHAKEONIT
ROSIESBARUPICE
IDONTBITEDECKS
MENHAGELONES

This was my first attempt at a triple stack; I think I'd gotten scared away by the idea that they require bad shorter fill, but after finding this trio I knew I had to pursue it. I really like when themelesses open up into quadrants with space for shorter double stacks, which I've found gives you a lot of leeway to insert something fresh. Got lucky with the SW, though I tried to re-fill that corner for a while before I talked myself into allowing ETCHEDIN, which still has a funny ring to me.

On the cluing side, I'm happy a lot my clues made the final cut — YOGA PANTS, HOP ON POP, HAMPSHIRE were the ones I was most happy to see transfer. Will and Joel did a great job hacking away at my tendency, these days anyway, to write overlong trivia-laden clues :) We've got another editorial attempt to, maybe the phrase is "freshen up" the clue for MEN — this one feels as though there's more potential for empowerment.

Hope you enjoyed the puzzle! And if you're a woman interested in learning how to construct themelesses, I'd like to throw my hat in to the ring of constructors happy to mentor.

Fri 8/14/2015
AFFLUENZATRAP
SEEYASOONSWAMI
TRADESHOWWIDEN
OMRIOMAGAZINE
ISAACRIZZO
NYETGILPIN
DOTTEDTHEIELSE
ADRAGROTBRASI
WEAKWENTEASYON
GANESHGULL
SATEDFLAGG
JUMBOTRONBANS
AVIANIMONTOYOU
BETTYBELIEVEME
SASHSNOCKERED
Fri 5/11/2012
PASSIONPITOAFS
OPENSOURCEHULU
RECORDDEALODIC
CROWLETMETHINK
AVEEXEDTS
INUNISONELWES
BANGSHARDHATE
EMCEEIDOPYLON
TELLTOILFIEND
CESTARESCORES
JARINCASU
ELENAKAGANGINO
ALMATIEFIGHTER
NEUTONEATATIME
ERSEPERRYMASON
Fri 5/6/2011
BLINGBLINGYAKS
SENIORITISOATH
ITALIANICEUVEA
DONENSEVERELY
ENEFIFIEDER
KOBEANTFARM
SKIRMISHVIGOR
DOWNSNOOPREST
ABIDETIRELESS
DAKOTASSEED
EFTSHERARCA
TIMBUKTUDRIED
OVALSOMEPEOPLE
PERUIDATARBELL
ESTENONONSENSE
Sat 9/18/2010
DISCFLAVORFLAV
ELLAIAMAMERICA
FLORSPICEGIRLS
SWEETDEALTAUT
MELBASEAT
IRONLUNGTRAMPS
PATYMCASSTRUT
ASIAPELEGASTO
STOUTSANERPTL
SANTASSTTERESA
OPAHIONIA
NAOHLATELUNCH
INLALALANDSOAP
BADROMANCEECHO
STEPSISTERSKAT
Fri 4/30/2010
ABBASAGETECHO
CALCPRADOQUAD
TRUEDAILYDOUBLE
THESUNALSORISES
WOPCONLAP
OPRAHEMAILOCT
PITYUPSSTORE
DINOBESETINON
ANTIGONESNAP
MGSLOADSPOOCH
OAKEKENIA
THEGREENLANTERN
HIDDENBALLTRICK
URGEDONEEELLE
SEENSNARLNLER
Fri 1/22/2010
WATERLILIESDOE
ABRACADABRAOPS
THECATSMEOWNAP
TOSHASTIITALY
SRSCAYCNOTE
ERNBAALESH
SPELUNKERDELCO
OODLESOFNOODLES
FRUITFOOTLOOSE
ATCOSIGRES
FATHAPODIVS
SOTTOVOCERHEA
ALIGENERATIONX
MIOAMERICANPIE
EONNEDFLANDERS
Sat 10/10/2009
ABETSWORDGAME
VISINEHOOLIGAN
ICONICIMMINENT
DATTROPPONOR
MEACULPAMETRE
PERCHDELTAS
ERIKPIROUETTE
ZACPARSONSALP
LAYITONMEPLIE
UNSNAPSALON
MARKSSPAMALOT
ORANIPSATRNS
BONAFIDENOIDEA
IMAGONERSUREST
LATEPASSTERSE
Mon 4/13/2009
MYSTCASTSPAM
ROTOROBEYERGO
BURMARACKETEER
URIIMPEXTENT
RECKLESSCONDO
NITETECHIESAN
STEVEHALLS
RICKROLLING
NOOILNOELS
HAMCOBALTBRET
ARUBAROCKSTAR
ROSARYOUIRKO
RUCKSACKSSQUAB
ISLEWHEESEDGE
SEERSIGNDEES
Fri 12/19/2008
BIRDBRAINXTRA
IMAREALBOYROAR
GUITARHEROASIA
DSLREITERATING
TARRAIRERS
JACOBTALCED
AFOULMLKMONO
GRACEMAYBORAT
ROTHRATAVERT
STEREODISCO
OCCULTROLE
AZERBAIJANIAPE
ROSEINUNDATION
ANTEDIDGERIDOO
BEANSEESSTARS
Fri 9/12/2008
PASODOBLEGRUB
ISTHISLOVEAHSO
CHOCOHOLICZEES
TYPOKOALABEARS
MOODDRUB
AMENSGOTLOOSE
SWOOSHREELPES
HAUNTCARHBEAM
ORRROOMPOODLE
DENTISTSAROSE
SKITSING
QUAKEROATSAPSE
TNUTINLALALAND
IDESSTEVEDORED
PORKOKEYDOKEY
Sat 8/23/2008
PLASTICINEIRAQ
HAVEANIDEAVERB
OBITUARIESYAMS
BOATSCODESSON
ORTODUMBLEDORE
SSETOIESTONIA
RITETWEAK
SAMITSLATERLS
LIRASSURE
ARMLETSTISJAM
SWITCHEROOLOCO
HOYTENAMSOLOS
EMAGWHYAMIHERE
RAGEHOOTENANNY
SNITORNATENESS
Fri 5/30/2008
RIGMAROLEJERK
OLEICACIDPIXIE
BEESKNEESAMONG
ERSREADESINKS
COENLETHE
STAYSATLEERAT
STANDURALNAPE
LOKISTYNEDTEN
ANETASTAFREED
TETRADOBELISK
HYPERORYX
NTESTISLESFAA
ERROLCHICOMARX
SEAMYCESTLAVIE
TYPEIAMSODEAD
Sat 2/2/2008
ADEROLOCORNER
DJSELONAREOLA
ZIPPIESTJESTER
BRINGTOJUSTICE
POETSOPENAMTS
RUSTANONNTEST
OTSREFEREE
MIORESTSONSTU
PASCHALTIS
ABRAMOEILMARE
DEADROWSFIRED
VENTRILOQUISTS
ITCHESRUNFORIT
SLOANELOOTEAR
EERIERDISHKSU
Sun 1/20/2008 TRIANGULATION
MADMISCAMBODISCTU
ARABASADROANASAMAN
MINECATDMOUSESUDOKU
ESTATESREDEEMSPIKES
TEETHGILDIDIERA
SNERAVILININGARE
IMFINEDESMONDBLAMES
SEEKERSSYNSOONEST
ISRTUTBADGEALBERTA
TONNATEATMIDDAY
INONERESTROOMSLETCH
OLIVEOYLNAANWEE
RIBCAGETRIGOCITODE
IDEATEDONAKNEEPAD
COLLETHANGMANTAXERS
ENLSIMONEBMIHAHA
TIATROTLOXCASOS
ACCTSSPITZERSITUATE
MAITAIEQUIDISTTSPEX
ORTEGARUNTSIZETORE
KEYNESSEASTRAMDOS
Tue 7/17/2007
RICNADIASILL
ENOWISINGASEA
CASABLANCAXRAY
INTRAATTADS
TEAMMATEHOPER
ERSTNASANALOG
OCTETSSMILE
CARHIBACHISEE
IRENEOTOOLE
ATDAWNERRMAIL
OSHEASEAHORSE
KFCDIXATEIN
AWAYATBOTHENDS
RAREDRONEDARE
TRESSAXONSOS