Last week’s grid didn’t have any obvious theme entries but there were a couple of pretty unusual words in the fill, most notably the barely-real word HIVING and the archaic, slightly off-color PIZZLE. Why not HAVING, which could have crossed with GAVE instead of GIVE, and PUZZLE, which could have crossed with SHRUNK instead of SHRINK?
Oh, so that’s why it was called “A Thing of the Past.” It turned out there were four other places where changing one letter changed a present-tense verb into past-tense, and all of the changes resulted in a perfectly good word at the crossing. All of them in order:
10d. GIVE -> GAVE making 17a. HAVING
30d. WAKE -> WOKE making 35a. SOME
36d. DRAW -> DREW making 46a. VERY
44d. BLOW -> BLEW making 53a. NICE
55d. SHRINK -> SHRUNK making 69a. PUZZLE
65d. MAKE -> MADE making 76a. IDEAS
So the six-word phrase, and what I somewhat conceitedly said I hoped I’ve been doing lately, was HAVING SOME VERY NICE PUZZLE IDEAS.
Up next is Puzzle #64, “Inspiration Point.” Note that I’m only posting the PDF version below. This is because .puz files won’t support shaded squares, which this puzzle features. If you want a .puz file, leave a note on the comment page and I’ll email it to you – just make sure you give the PDF a glance so you know about the shading. (Also, please forgive the somewhat lo-res shading on the PDF; it seems like this should have been easy to do, but I spent hours trying to get it right and this was the least bad version I was able to make without springing for some expensive software …)
Update: a few clues in the original puzzle had errors. Some eagle-eyed solvers spotted them and I have corrected them, I think. New puzzle file below:
The answer to the metapuzzle is a 20th-century novel. Submit your answer using the contact form by 11 pm Pacific Time on Monday, June 15. I’ll publish a new puzzle next Tuesday.