I love the Tuesday, September 9 puzzle by Patrick John Duggan (answers.) The theme is clever, the execution is brilliant, and the fill is entertaining.
Right at 1 Across there's a clue this is from a younger constructor. "Filter's target" refers to a programmatic filter trying to block SPAM. Some of my friends work on those algorithms for a living and it's a fascinating and complicated job. Spammers and blockers are constantly evolving their strategies in a never-ending battle of wits. It's all made possible because some tiny percentage of suckers insist on clicking those links. Just say no.
"Cut me some slack" sounds like a youthful expression. I know kids who say SHEESH all the time. "Fire insurance" is a wonderful clue for TENURE.
There were a few surprises. "Architect Saarinen" provokes the Pavlovian response by now to write in EERO but if you did so you found yourself a letter short. ELIEL, an art nouveau specialist, was Eero's dad. "Goes platinum" is my favorite clue ever for DYES. Platinum as in platinum blonde. "Escape from the rat race" momentarily tripped me up. Escape is a noun. The answer is SPA.
Carolyn KEENE never existed, of course. It was a pseudonym for the writers of the Nancy Drew mystery books, intended to be a Hardy Boys for girls. This line of work wasn't a lot more lucrative than crossword construction. Writers were initially paid $125 per book, although that went a lot further in the 30s and 40s.
ZEBU is a word worth remembering because it shows up from time to time. Clued here as "domesticated ox in India" it's a delicious combination of letters that constructors won't be able to resist. This is not to be confused with ANOA, the famous Celebes Ox.
Teen week continues through Saturday. Upcoming highlights include another constructor interview followed by an unconstructor interview. Stay tuned.