July 27, 2016 - "AVCX Themeless #8" - Kameron Collins, edited by Ben Tausig

Difficulty ● ● ◐ ○ ○

Puzzle Notes

Hi friends: 

Kameron Austin Collins graces us with the eighth-ever AVCX themeless. It's a beaut! 4.5/5 difficulty.

I guess this is as good a time as any to clarify our breakfast table policy. For those unfamiliar, the "breakfast table rule" in crosswords is the informal concept that puzzle content should not unduly shock anyone solving the crossword over an otherwise innocent and leisurely breakfast. The term is borrowed from newsroom culture of the early twentieth century, and might have been especially important around the time of WWII, when the question of when and how to include disturbing images was prevalent. Crossword editors adopted the word around then.

Most modern crosswords have a breakfast table rule, though their boundaries range widely. Some editors whose puzzles run in newspapers or magazines use the content of the publication as a rule-of-thumb -- if a word or topic can appear in the paper, it can appear in the puzzle. Others are stricter. The AVCX thinks language is neat, and places nothing out-of-bounds for being rated R. Some words that you wouldn't hear during a presidential debate (uh, discounting 2016) neveretheless have a fascinating usage or origin that people might find enlightening. We *are* concerned, however, to avoid offense on the basis of identity, and to avoid triggering. You're thus less likely to find an everyday term clued as a mean metaphor than you are to, say, find certain of Carlin's seven dirty words. And even for the latter, context matters a lot. And constructors have a say, too.

That's our policy pretty much. Thanks for solving, and we welcome all feedback always.


Ben and the AVCX crew [avxwords.com, @AVCXWord]