Puzzle #19: Grow Up
The early spring we’re having got me thinking about things that AGE or grow, so this is an example of a crossword staple: the add-some-letters theme. I tried to find examples in which the word changes the most when AGE is added, and ended up going with 3 that change meaning drastically (DAM/DAMAGE, MASS/MASSAGE, and BAND/BANDAGE) and 1 whose final form is related to its initial form (PACK/PACKAGE). I would’ve preferred a 4th like the first 3, but couldn’t find a decent phrase with GARB in it, for instance. I purposely placed all the added letters at the end, which should’ve helped you out once you spotted the pattern.
The central area in the north was the toughest to fill, which is why it contains a cheater square (an extra black square which make the grid easier to construct but doesn’t add to the word count). Luckily, the opposite spot in the south contained an S (SWAPS/ARISES), so I didn’t need to redo that section.
I enjoyed writing some up-to-date clues for DEBUNK and LIE as well as a fun movie trivia clue for ARGO. My wife loves SARA Bareilles, so here’s a song from her musical “Waitress” performed by the incredibly talented Jessie Mueller (I did “Into the Woods” in summer stock with her equally brilliant sister, Abby, once upon a time).