Greetings! I write to you from the ends of the land and the internet. Frannie and I have been on vacation this past week in a beach house with no phone, no TV, and no internet. I saw early in the week that Colum was also on vacation, and I thank him for his dedication to the blog.
Today we have a puzzle within a puzzle. I'm pretty sure I've heard Mr. Chen mention that he likes horizontal symmetry, and today he and Ms. Iverson use it to include a 3x7 block of unchecked squares at the bottom of the grid. The shaded areas in the rest of the crossword must be transposed into the bold-bordered sections in this lower block to form PICTURE PERFECT MOMENTS, a punny way of describing "what jigsaw puzzles provide." We here at HAFDTNYTCPFCA certainly enjoy a jigsaw, and I found this theme charming.
In addition to the jigsaw puzzle element, common phrases are given clever cluing to turn them into instructions. It's a bit loose, because PICKUPTHEPIECES really ought to be "turn all the pieces face up," and GOOVERTHEEDGE might be better as "start by putting all the edge pieces together," but then, those really aren't common phrases at all, and the literalness loses the clever re-imagining. So let's just agree that it's good the way it is. And honestly, I laughed out loud at FREEDOMOFASSEMBLY.
I noticed AERIES, ODIST, OMS, ALOE, and SNO, but none of it made me say OOF. Instead, I focussed on the sweet - DOLCE (Like cioccolato or torta), the tasty - POPPERS (Apps made with jalapeños and cheese), and the erudite - MINERVA (Roman goddess of wisdom).
Hope you found lots to like, too.