(That joke about spilling the beans of fictional entries never gets old.)
Okay, so last Friday's puzzle, if you recall, was a gauntlet dropped down by Matt Gaffney. He wondered could he make a puzzle if he was given an entry (that was supposed to be part of the theme) provided by a third-party. He also asked me to do the same experiment. Rex Parker provided the seed entry HATCHET MAN and we were off.
Okay, BEQ, we knew this already. We did these puzzles last week. What's the deal? Well the deal is the puzzle I posted above was supposed to be the gimmick I used for my HATCHET MAN puzzle.
I had a bitch of a time trying to figure out what to do with Rex's suggestion. I knew I simply could not, and would not, use phrases beginning with synonyms for knives. (Incidentally, Matt's first pass at the puzzle involved that gimmick. Totally fair, totally fine, but we were both wanting some sort of "juicier" puzzles.) But try as I did, I just couldn't drop the cutting implement idea. Tried some free writing, and that didn't get me anywhere. Even listened to Slayer's "Reign In Blood," to try and get me into that HATCHET-esque mood. Nope, I was still stuck on blades.
Until I thought: hey, you have to swing a blade, or HATCHET, in order to use it. Why not have a list of people who use the activity of "swinging" in some form or another and call it "Swinger's Party?" My stubborn mind was reprogrammed, and dammit, that was what this puzzle was going to be. Had to be.
Except, HATCHET MAN is a metaphorical term. There's no actual hatchet involved, and certainly firing somebody doesn't involve swinging at all. Panic hit me once again. Now the stubbornness meant I couldn't reject that concept of the "swingers" party. It wasn't until I brainstormed with Liz and she who came up with (a) the wonderful idea that HATCHET MAN sounded like a superhero and (b) with the equally-funny HIGH FIVE crime-fighting team. The moral, as always, is, when you're stuck with something, ask your wife to do it.
But, I still felt the "swingers party" gimmick was worth pursuing, as evidenced above. I substituted LUMBERJACK for HATCHET MAN (as that was what I really meant when I came up with the gimmick in the first place) and went ahead with that theme as planned.
Share the puzzle. New one on Monday.