I can’t be the only person who sees a schematic city skyline, complete with rectangular skyscrapers, each of which has regularly spaced windows, and thinks ‘crossword grid’.
Though, to be fair, there probably aren’t many of us.
Still, this is where this puzzle originates, with looking at a cartoon skyscraper and wondering about a word starting on one floor and travelling to another for completion. It’s not a new concept – there have been plenty of puzzles where a solution starts in one location and has its second portion in another. But it seemed interesting to tie this to a more specific approach.
And there’s that wonderful word PATERNOSTER. How does the Latin name of the most famous prayer in the Bible get attached to a lift system? I suppose the actual paternoster lifts themselves are sufficiently different, and require a degree of timing, so that people mentally pray for guidance as they board.
Once it was clear that PATERNOSTER had a one-word anagram it was clear how the idea could be played. Give PENETRATORS an easy clue (though preferably not another full anagram) and let solvers be misled. Also an easy clue for the first of the across entries, leading to an answer clearly too long to fit into the grid anywhere. The point being not malevolence (well…) but to set people thinking ‘So how does this work?’
I had originally hoped to have every row bar one occupied by a transiting word, but that proved very hard to get even near. I also ended up with a five letter light that seemed to have two unchecked letters, which normally I’m wary of – but here of course the unchecked letters for a given answer were in different locations. Meanwhile the requirement to use both letters of PATERNOSTER avoided the risk of a double unch partway through an across solution.
Next: the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation version (it’s rather wonderful that they are on LinkedIn) – not only do you go up and down, but you might end up in a different lift-shaft from where you set off…