Puzzle #21: State Your Business
This puzzle was inspired by a recent NYT offering by Paula Gamache, but I tried to tighten things up by giving my abbreviations more cohesion (in this case, two-letter postal abbrs.) and putting the removed letters in A-E-I-O-U order. I also tried to keep the placement of the affected words balanced: 2 in front, 2 in back, and 1 in the middle.
This grid is a pangram, meaning that it contains every letter of the alphabet. I don’t set out to try to make pangrams, since it usually compromises the fill quality to do so, but this one ended up as one all on its own. It helps when the theme has a V, Q, and a pair of Z’s already. The VOLS and UAW areas were the trickiest spots to construct.
I enjoyed writing the clue for PINATA and coming up with a new AROD clue. I resisted the urge to write political clues for ICE and BRONZER.