New York Times crossword puzzle June 1 / Constructed by Tom McCoy

You shouldn’t need a genie to solve today’s amusing puzzle. Though the title may put you in mind of Arabian nights and magic lamps, this “Aladdin” is far less exotic. It simply needs to be broken down and taken literally: AL – ADD – IN.

The theme answers are all common phrases with the letters “AL” added in. So a “King’s move?” is a CHANGE OF PALACE (23 Across) while a “Dissertation on people’s inherent spitefulness?” is OF MALICE AND MEN (118 Across).

Others: “Principles espoused during Women’s History Month?” are IDEALS OF MARCH (37 Across). The “Ability to walk a tightrope or swallow a sword?” is a CIRCUS TALENT (46 Across). A “Dream for late sleepers?” is A FAREWELL TO ALARMS (66 Across). A “Waterway leading to a SW German city?” is the CANAL OF WORMS (89 Across). And a “Slinky going down the stairs?” is a SPRING FALLING (95 Across).

For Fun Dept.: Interesting words in the fill include SMATTERING (“Soupçon,” 57 Across), LONG PANTS (“Trousers,” 81 Down), PRESELECTS (“Chooses beforehand,” 79 Across), NEO-NATAL (“Like some care,” 29 Down) and PUSSY FOOT (“Not be bold,” 13 Down).

Haha Dept.: Ogden Nash always makes me laugh. Here, “The ostrich roams the great SAHARA. / Its mouth is wide, its neck is narra” (2 Down).

On The Map Dept.: I learned that a “Treasure Stater” is a MONTANAN (122 Across), and that New Haven is The ELM City (77 Down).

Modern World Dept.: Kudos for the 21st-century entry HIPSTER (“One parodied on ‘Portlandia’,” 52 Down) and the surprisingly fresh clue for PUN – “Feature of many a Ludacris lyric” (93 Across).

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.

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2 thoughts on “Aladdin”

  1. Curses! I think we got the grid and the clues from another puzzle mixed up in the San Francisco Chronicle (on 6/21). Answers that are obvious, like Yma (Sumac) and Ahab (pequod Captain) just don’t fit and there are no clues at all for many vert. and horizontal spaces. What a drag!

  2. Eek! That is a sure-fire way to ruin a Sunday morning. Sorry I can’t help you there … but I’m sure the Chronicle will hear from other irate puzzlers. Hope they reprint it for you soon.

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