PROGRAM: [Across Lite]
The family's been "testing the waters" in regards to moving lately. This daunting task is usually split up in the following ways: Liz does all the research (calling banks, finding open houses, etc.); BEQ does all the "heavy lifting" (shlepping everything to the Zipcar, installing the car seat, driving to wherever we're going, etc.); and Tabitha does her thing (acting cute and making darling baby noises in an effort to "destress" her parents). We're a good team.
You know, house hunting is a bit like making themeless crossword puzzles. Both have starting points to consider (towns where you might move to, marquee answers that you want to showcase). Both have choices that you can reject quickly at the onset (the town in East Nowhereville even though the schools are amazing, the answer with too many unfriendly letters, even if it's got three Js and a Q). Decisions you make at the beginning of the process affect your choices later on (whether it's the bank you choose to work with dictating what you can work with financially, or filling in certain corners dictating the shape of the rest of the grid). Inevitably, you'll fall in love with something that you just simply cannot pull off (the house you cannot afford, the crazy stack you cannot make work). There comes the inevitable moment in both events that pulling it off seems impossible. Both are long emotionally draining processes. And if you're sending a themeless puzzle off to Will Shortz, both are heavy on the paperwork.
Anyway, hope you enjoy today's puzzle. One of the marquee answers lost a smidge of it's luster due to the outcome of yesterday's sporting events. No matter, it's still a winner. Any my assistant agrees.
Share the puzzle. New one on Thursday.