Clued In

New York Times crossword puzzle Jan. 5 / Constructed by Alan DerKazarian

Holy cow! There’s been a murder in the New York Times crossword puzzle. Hope you remember how to play the classic board game Clue – otherwise you’ll never figure out this whodunnit.

The genius of this puzzle starts with the title, an obvious reference to the game in which players try to solve a murder. (Apparently there are several versions out now – including one that takes place on a boardwalk!) The four quadrants in the crossword – normally a violation of constructing rules – are a loose representation of the Clue board’s room layout (library, conservatory, kitchen, etc).

There's been a murder in the New York Times crossword puzzle! (Click to enlarge.)

There’s been a murder in the New York Times crossword puzzle! (Click to enlarge.)

The mystery is unraveled by finishing the smaller crosswords and linking their shaded entries to discover the SUSPECT, ROOM and WEAPON.

I started solving in the upper left quadrant, where the three shaded answers are pretty straightforward: TANAGER (“Colorful bird,” 70 Across), LETTER (“Varsity award,” 44 Across) and FEVER (“Pyrexia,” 40 Across).

I have to say I was thisclose to entering PEACOCK for TANAGER, since the fusty Mrs. Peacock is a character in Clue. But there were enough conflicting crossing letters to make me hesitate. When I got all three entries, the link was clearly the word SCARLET – scarlet fever, scarlet letter, scarlet tanager. And Miss Scarlet is the game’s sexy single gal – so I entered that at 1 Across (“The ‘who’ of a Clue accusation, whose identity is hinted at by the three shaded answers in this quadrant.”)

Oops. Turns out I was jumping ahead. As you can see from my messy entry, I had to correct it to the more generic SUSPECT. (But Miss Scarlet *would* make her appearance later.) Still, that made it easy to fill in ROOM at 11 Across (“The ‘where’ of a Clue accusation …”) and WEAPON at 73 Across (“The ‘what’ of a Clue accusation …”).

The three shaded answers in the upper right puzzle hinted that the killing took place in the LOUNGE: RELAX (“‘Cool it!’” 18 Down), IDLE (“Lay off,” 64 Across) and REST (“Musical notation,” 55 Across). The three hints to the murder weapon were REPO (“2010 film ‘___ Men’,” 141 Across), PORE (“Opening for a dermatologist?” 94 Across) and OPER (“Phone abbr.” 123 Across) – all anagrams of the word ROPE.

So by the time I got to the fourth quadrant, I was ready with my accusation: MISS SCARLET (99 Across)  … IN THE LOUNGE (113 Across) … WITH THE ROPE (135 Across).

Clever, clever, clever! Really fun. What did you think?

Confessions Dept.: I solved the fourth quadrant second because I couldn’t wait to find out the answer! Don’t tell the puzzle police.

Philly Shout-Out Dept.: “React to a loss” is GRIEVE (81 Down), which is what Eagles fans are doing today. Despite a few pretty good DEFENSIVE (“Like some football teams,” 106 Across) plays, we literally got kicked out of the playoffs by a New Orleans field goal last night.

New To Me Dept.: I learned a few terms in this puzzle, including ISTLE (“Basket fiber,” 47 Down), AKELA (“Cub Scouts leader,” 19 Down) and SCALAR (“Having no direction, in math,” 109 Down). Also was not familiar with Tony OLIVA (“Tony the Twin,” 12 Across), apparently a longtime player for Minnesota’s baseball team.

Need some solving tips and tricks? I’ve posted some here. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. You can also visit my Facebook page, or tweet me @crosswordkathy. And here’s a little more about me.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Comments

4 thoughts on “Clued In”

  1. Let me start by saying I completed this puzzle effortlessly but I did not enjoy it. I would have preferred it if the quadrants were consistent in their hints…For example, upper left asks for a “go-together”, bottom left was looking for anagrams, and upper right plain old synonyms….and the fourth, lower right, well nobody bothered to have a clue that occupied the upper left boxes going across as in suspect, room and weapon…that was an enigma for me as I was looking for a word to put in there that had something to do with CLUE my all time favorite game as a child. Wasn’t there another crossword puzzle with the same theme years ago?

  2. Hi Syl! I, too, found it odd that the three quadrants had different types of puzzles for figuring out the suspect, room and weapon – I wasn’t sure whether that was to spice things up, or if the constructor couldn’t make it work using the same method each time. Clue was also one of my favorite games as a kid, but it was hard to find enough like-minded people to play with. Don’t remember a previous crossword like this … would love for someone to post a link if there was one!

  3. Good fun! I used to play Clue with my brothers as children. My youngest brother had no idea what a “lead pipe” was. He thought it was “lead” (rhymes with deed). Makes sense if you’re five. I could live without the “basket fiber” clue.

  4. Hi Buzz … “Lead” pipe – I love it! I remember wondering what a “conservatory” was. (OK, I still don’t know.)

Leave a Reply