Puzzle #3: NE Thing Goes

This puzzle was inspired by the production of “Anything Goes” that my wife is directing at Marquette High School right now. It only runs for one weekend (11/17-11/20), so if you’re in the St. Louis area come check it out! It’s got a terrific score, and everyone has been working really hard to make it as good as possible.

At first, I tried finding phrases that removed THING or NY, but there weren’t lots of good options that left clueable results. Ideally with subtract-a-letter (or letters) themes, you aren’t left with gibberish in the grid. There were many more possibilities for subtracting NE; so many, in fact, that it was hard to choose between them. That’s when I noticed 3 of the phrases I’d found all resulted in 2-letter “words” at the end, which I found rather elegant. Using them also resulted in having fewer theme squares than usual, which helps keep the grid free of crud. The usual number of squares taken up by the theme is 40-60, but this puzzle has only 29.