New York Times crossword July 3 / Constructed by Pete Muller
Ah, the words everyone loves to hear: “My treat!” It’s a crossword title that could refer to someone else footing the bill, but today it’s more about the “treat” itself — in this case an ICE CREAM SODA (“Something delicious to drink,” 117 Across).
The grid was a triple puzzle, actually, with several theme answers, an anagram and a connect-the-dots to solve. First up were the theme clues, which all referred back to 117 Across and included details about that fizzy, summery treat. Ingredients include TWO SCOOPS (87 Down) of ice cream, FLAVORED SYRUP (59 Across) and SELTZER WATER (27 Across). Some of them are BROWN COWS (25 Across) — which I believe are root beer floats? — while another version is a COKE FLOAT (121 Across). Some are made with CHOCOLATE (11 Down). It’s served in a TALL GLASS (4 Down), and it helps to have a LONG SPOON (84 Down) and a FLEXIBLE STRAW (83 Across).
Then came the harder part. The note printed with the puzzle says that circles in the grid will contain one of five different letters. Those letters, which turn out to be REIND, can be rearranged to spell DINER, “a good place to get a 117-Across,” as the note says.
The next task was to draw five geometric figures by connecting all the same letters to make simple, closed shapes. I tried to follow the instructions and, as you can see, ended up with what appears to be an ice cream soda glass. There’s a spoon on the right but a weirdly super-wide straw on the left. Did I screw up something? Or have I just not ordered enough ice cream sodas in my life? UPDATE (7/10): Checked the NYT answer grid and my straw was, indeed, way too fat at the top. I connected the Rs in the wrong order.
Fun With Words Dept.: “Artist whose name is an anagram of ‘artisan'” is SINATRA (100 Down).
Risque Business Dept.: Will Shortz is usually more circumspect than this, but “Excessively orderly, informally” is ANAL (39 Down).
Fish and Deer Dept.: I thought “okra” was one of those nouns that didn’t have a plural, but apparently I was wrong. “They’re often deep-fried” is OKRAS (17 Across).
Philly Shout-Out Dept.: “Baltimore and Philadelphia” are PORTS (124 Across).
So, from the Cradle of Liberty, go forth and have a safe and happy Fourth! Philly had a fireworks preview last night that was pretty cool. The big show is tomorrow, with a pre-fireworks concert by hometown band The Roots.