“Chap Shtick”

by Parker Higgins, Ross Trudeau, & the Cursewords Live Crew

[.puz][PDF][Solution] Difficulty: 3/5

First of all, Parker wrote the amazing title for today’s puzzle, which has “every puzzlescreenwriter in the world whispering a reverent ‘F***’ under their breath” energy.

Speaking of Parker! We chose to run one of the puzzles we made live on our Twitch stream–with the help of chat regulars–for two reasons. One, enough time has passed on this one, which we think is fun! And two, we’re going to do a special-ish stream tomorrow night which we want to promote! The next #rossword you’ll see in the wild is this Tuesday’s New York Times puzzle, which will go live at 10p about an hour into our regular Monday stream tomorrow evening. We’ll plan to take a ~20 minute break for folks to solve the Times grid, at which point we’ll reconvene to watch Parker have at it while I (and you) heckle.

In other crossword news, registration for the (online) Boswords Winter Wondersolve goes live this week. And, of course, registration for the 2022 (in person) ACPT is already open. Fingers crossed. Parker is skeptical it’ll come off, so I cheerfully pointed out that betting against the ACPT coming off is, ironically, taking a Shortz position.

Thanks to Bruce and Delmar for testing solving “Chap Shtick”! Thoughts and spoilers after the jump.

The inspiration for this puzzle was our fellow streamer Aaron “Scoots” Paulsen, who to my knowledge is the only person on Twitch with a broader array of arrows in the ol’ voice work quiver than Parker.

You’d be well within your rights to pick a nit at the final theme answer, STAGE FRIGHT, which we clued as [6th set on the lot, innit?], asking you to reparse it in the manner STAGE F, RIGHT? All the other answers, once you’ve separated the RIGHT, create valid crossword answers: STAND-UP, AL, BUYS OUT, and SUPERB. But STAGE F? Well, suffice it to say that such details tend to get short shrift in the generally besotted Cursewords Construction Zone.

You might also notice a pile-up of -? answers. And in fact, we used this grid’s answers as fodder for a cluing competition (I beat Parker 6-4, but who’s counting?). Hence [Stock-home shopping centers?] for IKEA STORES, [Heats up before eating?] for GETS HANGRY, and, ahem, [Barbie’s meat shaft] for SPIT.

Do drop by tomorrow night for the Cursewords stream! And happy solving, friends!

-Ross

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“Chap Shtick”