New York Times crossword May 29 / Constructed by Jeremy Newton and Tony Orbach
You’ll get through this? I wasn’t so sure after looking at the grid for today’s puzzle, but I was glad for the title’s encouragement.
This ingenious maze-within-a-crossword by Jeremy Newton and Tony Orbach was a three-fer, as explained in a blurb above the clues. First you had to solve the puzzle, then you had to get through a maze, and then you had to identify the inspiration for it all: Ralph Waldo EMERSON (“[See blurb],” 153 Across).
So the gimmick here was identifying the 15 clues whose answers contained the word DOOR. But instead of entering the word door, you had to draw one. (As you can see in the picture at the bottom of this post, I basically just drew a square; no doorknobs for me.) Each door then led to an adjoining room, until you had reached the finish at the bottom right.
In order, the “doors” are: DEAD AS A (DOOR)NAIL (“Done for, finito, kaput,” 14 Across); RING (DOOR)BELLS (“Go canvassing, say,” 8 Across); POWER (DOOR) LOCK (“Auto security feature,” 27 Across); FRONT (DOOR)STEP (“UPS drop-off site, often,” 18 Down); NEXT-(DOOR) NEIGHBOR (“Seinfeld vis-a-vis Kramer,” 53 Down); HOLD THE (DOOR) OPEN (“Show a bit of courtesy [for],” 86 Across); and CLOSED-(DOOR) MEETING (“Hush-hush powwow,” 39 Down).
They continue: OUT(DOOR) GAMES (“Some fun in the sun,” 57 Across); WIN A (DOOR) PRIZE (“Teaser on party fliers,” 75 Across); HEATED IN(DOOR) POOL (“All-weather resort amenity,” 34 Down); BACK (DOOR) DRAFT (“Involuntary extension of troop tours,” 89 Down); FOUR-(DOOR) SEDAN (“Chrysler 300, e.g.,” 146 Across); ARCHED (DOOR)WAY (“Colosseum entrance, e.g.,” 96 Down); HOTEL (DOOR)MAN (“Hilton or Westin welcomer,” 115 Across); and, finally, TRAP-(DOOR) SPIDERS (“Burrowing arthropods,” 141 Across).
Even more impressive, the second part of the DOOR answers are answers in their own right. In DEAD AS A (DOOR)NAIL, for instance, NAIL is also the answer to 26 Across (“Execute perfectly”).
Anyway, after using the “doors” to get through maze, the puzzle blurb tells you to look at the circled letters in each “room” you visited. Going in order, the letters spell the Emerson quote: EVERY WALL IS A DOOR.
Wow. That was awesome.
Go Phillies Dept.: “Diamond stat” (114 Across) is RBI, which I hope the Phillies get a lot of tomorrow when I go see them in D.C. vs. the Nats.
On the Road Dept. I’m actually already in D.C. and have spent way too much time at a Caribou Coffee solving this puzzle and typing this post, so I’m going to sign off and say SEE YA (“‘I’m outta here!’” 151 Across).