The Daily Beast crossword puzzle is a 10x10 grid, which means I'm always scanning headlines for 10-letter words. They're perfectly-sized grid-spanning entries for these puzzles, so if an interesting 10-letter entry comes along, I'm gonna spot it.
That’s how I approached building yesterday's puzzle. Sofia Coppola has a new movie coming out, a paean to New York City party life called "On the Rocks." My spidey-sense noticed that 10-letter potential, so then I just needed a partner for it: another 10-letter entry to complement it in a fitting and hopefully amusing way.
My first thought was to look for a 10-letter movie title that starts with IN THE, but I couldn't come up with one. The 2009 British comedy "In the Loop" is close, but one letter shy. That was the closest I got.
How about another angle to connect the 10-letter clues? "Rocks" in the title here is a play on words, since a drink served with ice is "on the rocks," but a relationship can also be "on the rocks," with a much different meaning. So I wondered if there was a 10-letter movie, hopefully recent, with ICE as the last word in its title.
You'd think there would be, but there's not (at least that I could find). But wait a second — how about VANILLA ICE, whose name is ten letters long, and who recently appeared as himself in the David Spade/Lauren Lapkus screwball comedy "The Wrong Missy"? That works: it’s a recent film, and even though it's not the title, it's still a singer whose name everyone knows. So ON THE ROCKS and VANILLA ICE it was, and a new puzzle theme was born.
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