Puzzle #9 – Not-So-Lazy Susan

size: 14x15
style: themed
difficulty: 2/5

Here's a theme that's been in the workshop for quite a long time, and directly inspired by the scene shown in the film screen below. I don't really like to give "hints" to my puzzle in the flavor image, but this is a fairly indirect hint (like the puzzle's title) and I wasn't going to avoid a chance to gush about maybe my favorite movie of all time (Midsommar, if you're not already familiar with the genre of folk Scandinavian psychological horror). Would highly recommend if you're a fan of psychological horror (obv), amazing original soundtracks, and simultaneously captivating and deeply unsettling imagery.

Anyway, the theme! I'll write more about it in the spoiler text below, but basically this started as a good idea, devolved into something I'm sure would have been completely impossible, only to be salvaged by half-decent fill and a little tweaking of the grid structure itself. Enjoy!

So, this obviously started with the basic idea of fitting the rhyme "Round and round she goes, where she stops, nobody knows" in a grid. There are a few ways you can split it up to make it into a more "classic" quip puzzle, but the very first thing that came to my mind was exactly what you see. Originally, it was only going to feature synonyms for MERRY GO ROUND, which is apparently called a ROUNDABOUT in some parts of the world. With CAROUSEL, this meant I had an ugly 8/10/12 themer set, which necessitated even-width mirror symmetry—thankfully I already had a width of 14 to fit in the rhyme. However, as many constructors likely know, mirror symmetry and even widths don't get along too well. And with a revealer that touches every single corner of the puzzle, finding decent fill was impossible. And that was what led me to just focusing on "things that you'd watch spin" as themers—which I think turned out really well! I was also aaaaalmost going to make 34-D "ROUSE" which would allow me to sneakily get in a hidden CAROUSEL entry ... but the fill just didn't work. The themer density was already way too high.

My biggest worry is that the "disconnectedness" of the revealer proves too hard to get over. The problem with trying to perfectly split it up word by word (besides asymmetry) is that the corners become problematic if a letter doesn't happen to be repeated (i.e. a word ends with the same letter the next begins with) in that exact spot, unless you block off the corners like I did the NW/SE corners here (which was primarily to give the rhyme a more solid starting/ending point). Trying to do that would be completely unworkable.

But yeah, I'm glad how this turned out even if some of the fill is super goofy. If I rework the themers, I could probably come up with a more workable grid, but for now, this is what I've got and I hope you liked it!