PROGRAM: [Java]here for all subscribing and interested parties.
The rating system for this site is probably going through a wee bit of some growing pains. I fully suspected this puzzle was a medium, and was confirmed by one test solver (who inexplicably didn't get the theme at all!? Yet, still deemed it a medium. Go figure.). Test solver #2 said it was so beyond brutal it was practically unfair. And test solver #3 said it was about half medium, half hard. Lovely. I'm going with a rating of hard and will probably regret I didn't stick to my guns and rate it medium.
The gimmick came first, then the title. Really wanted to represent the theme twice throughout each entry, but in the end only was able to do it twice. I will leave that exercise of more entries that incorporate the trick more than once to the readers.
Due to the amount of theme I put in there, not too much fun stuff in the fill, though I do like 30-Down. Favorite clue in the batch -- couldn't make the cut! Damnfool Across Lite said I went overboard with the letter count. 10-Down was going to be:
Book that begins "On August 28, 1948, at about twelve-thirty on a hot, windless day, some peasant women with firewood on their backs were descending a steep path above the Greek village of Lia, a cluster of gray stone houses on a mountainside just below the Albanian border."
Two quick thoughts before I wrap up this quick post. So it seemed that the cryptic was a success. Or, if there were more dissenting voices, they were drowned out by the din of "more please!" I'll see what I can do before the end of the summer.
Also, if in the odd chance you aren't already going to his site, I cannot recommend enough Matt Gaffney's awesome blog. I just finally got around to doing all his puzzles on the blog, and they're great. Really some gonzo stuff. For crying out loud, one of the puzzles final answer's was Matt's cell phone number, and you were instructed to contact him. Brilliant. I feel like such a chooch for not doing them earlier, and I really have no excuse. Especially since I liberally ripped him off when I started off. Anyway, go there next, please. He's posting a new puzzle today.
Okay, that's it. Enjoy this one. See you on Monday.