Tag Archives: NYT crossword puzzle solution

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

New York Times crossword puzzle July 13 / Constructed by Tom McCoy

Even a week after July Fourth, the NYT puzzle continues to salute the Founding Fathers.

Today’s title refers to the Declaration of Independence, and the grid is filled with a few other “declarations” that are almost as famous … like I YAM WHAT I YAM (“Declaration from Popeye,” 35 Across). Hmmm. Thomas Jefferson is probably not amused.


_ BOYS WILL BE BOYS (“Classic excuse for some misdemeanors,” 23 Across)

_ WHAT’S DONE IS DONE (“Doubt-dispelling words from Lady Macbeth,” 43 Across)

_ HATERS GONNA HATE (“Words dismissive of detractors,” 97 Across)

_ IT IS WHAT IT IS (“Expression of resignation,” 105 Across)

_ ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (“‘We will tolerate this no more!’,” 121 Across)

_ IT AIN’T OVER TILL IT’S OVER. This “Famous Yogiism” (72 Across) refers not to a yoga instructor nor Yogi the Bear, but to baseball legend Yogi Berra. I had quite a few writeovers in that answer because I kept inadvertently correcting Berra’s grammar – first I entered IT’S NOT OVER TILL IT’S OVER, then IT ISN’T OVER TILL IT’S OVER. Finally, I figured out the AIN’T.

_ And the bonus declaration: A ROSE IS A ROSE IS A ROSE. This answer is referred to by an editor’s note at the top of the clues: “The circled letters, when read clockwise, will reveal a quote from Gertrude Stein.” The letters only spell out A ROSE IS, so it’s up to you to keep going ’round. (Honestly, I didn’t know it repeated itself twice; I had stopped at “A rose is a rose” until I looked up the poem.)

Pretty clever! And I’m impressed that Will Shortz allowed the ultra-modern HATERS GONNA HATE entry. I guess if you allow AIN’T, you have to acknowledge GONNA.

Oops Dept: In addition to the aforementioned AIN’T debacle, I also mistakenly entered ROLLER at 80 Across for “Holy ___,” which I later had to change to TERROR. I also was too quick on the draw at 108 Down, entering DYLAN for “Rocker Bob,” when the answer ended up being SEGER.

Doubled-Up Dept.: “Mercury or Earth” is an ORB (7 Down), while “Mercury, but not Earth” is a GOD (28 Across). And the twice-used clue “Follower of lop” yields SIDED (48 Across) and EARED (49 Across).

Seriously, You Expect Me To Remember High School Chemistry? Dept.: You bet your sweet bippy that I needed crossing words to help me get TITRATES at 64 Down (“Determines the concentration of a dissolved substance”).

Battleground State Dept.: “Fights” is HAS AT IT (44 Down) while “Send in troops, say” is START A WAR (47 Down).

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.

Dime Store

New York Times crossword puzzle June 22 / Constructed by Elizabeth C. Gorski

Brother, can you spare a dime? If not, you can find one in this puzzle.

More precisely, you can find TEN CENTS – literally 10 squares where the ¢ symbol appears. All the theme answers contain the word CENT, with the added twist that the C should be entered as a ¢ sign. That allows it to function as a C for across answers and an I for down answers:

Make cents? (Click to enlarge.)
Make cents? (Click to enlarge.)

_ ¢ENTENNIAL (“2014, for Doublemint gum,” 23 Across) crosses with TAIL (“Dangerous part of an alligator,” 1 Down). IRIDES-¢ENT (“Like mother-of-pearl,” 44 Across) crosses with ISLIP (“Town on the south shore of Long Island,” 45 Down).

_ VI¢ENTE FOX (“Mexican president of the early 2000s,” 25 Across) crosses with the first I in PAIN PILL (“Percocet, for one,” 12 Down). The second I crosses with the C in ¢ENTRIST (“Middle-of-the-road,” 40 Across).

_ ¢ENTIPEDES (“Bugs that are technically misnamed,” 70 Across) crosses with WRITE-UPS (“Articles in a paper,” 58 Down). PER¢ENTAGE (“Agent’s cut,” 93 Across) crosses with TOMEI (“Actress who co-starred in ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’,” 71 Down).

_ I’M INNO¢ENT (“Defendant’s cry,” 116 Across) crosses with IAN (“Actor McKellen,” 117 Down). DE¢ENT MEAL (“Something square to eat?” 113 Across) crosses with AIDE (“Right hand,” 106 Down). And RE¢ENT PAST (“Several days ago, say,” 66 Across) crosses with IRON-ON (“Like some patches,” 68 Down).

What do all those ¢ add up to? TEN ¢ENTS (“Total value of the symbols created by the special crossings in this puzzle,” 96 Across). (That answer itself crosses with I SWEAR at 97 Down – “‘Honest!'”)

Pretty cool, huh? I generally love puzzles by constructor Elizabeth C. Gorski, and this creative one was no exception. Some of the fill was a bit cheesy, though. Since when is SMOOTHEN a word (“Sand, maybe,” 101 Across)? I usually just say “smooth.” And I’ve never heard of the THI – or seen it used in a crossword. It’s apparently short for Temperature-Humidity Index (“Summer weather stat.” 29 Down). And STU Jackson was barely an NBA coach (88 Down), though he was a league executive for a while.  (Phil Jackson, on the other hand … )

That said, I liked STATE DEPT (“Hillary Clinton’s domain, once: Abbr.” 80 Down), SPEED TRAP (“Where many tickets are distributed,” 2 Down) and THE NILE (“Agatha Christie mystery setting,” 5 Down).

Memory Lane Dept.: Puzzle editor Will Shortz ran a crossword with a similar monetary theme last year. Constructor Daniel A. Finan that incorporated both $ and ¢ symbols in a clever grid called “Show Me The Money.”

Fun Facts Dept.: TULANE is the “Southern university whose newspaper is the Hullabaloo” (65 Across). “Of Peter O’Toole’s eight Oscar nominations,” he’s won NONE (120 Across). And the “Youngest-ever French Open winner, 1990” is Monica SELES (53 Down), who recently got engaged to billionaire Tom Golisano.

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.


New York Times crossword puzzle June 15 / Constructed by Tony Orbach

Boy, dads sure got the shaft considering the royal crossword treatment moms got on Mother’s Day. But they really shouldn’t complain, considering this was a pretty easy puzzle to solve. Happy Father’s Day!

The theme – like the one a couple of weeks ago – is a literal interpretation of the title. In the previous grid titled “Aladdin,” the letters AL were added to common phrases (AL-ADD-IN); today, constructor Tony Orbach tried to “Enrich” phrases by adding EN.

So a “Naval officer who’s an expert in astrology?” is an ENSIGN OF THE ZODIAC (99 Across). And a “Religious ceremony for two Hollywood brothers?” is a COEN ORDINATION (111 Across), for siblings Joel and Ethan Coen (of “Fargo” fame, among many others).

Others: “Episode title for a cooking show featuring chicken recipes?” is PREPARATION HEN (23 Across). “Goal for a comic working the Strip?” is LEAVENING LAS VEGAS (32 Across). “Informal advice to an overeager picker?” is LET ‘ER RIPEN (47 Across). “Request to represent a Minnesota senator’s side of a debate?” is CAN I BE FRANKEN (67 Across)? And “Tarzan’s response when asked if the noodles are cooked?” is RAMEN TOUGH (82 Across), a somewhat obscure reference to a Dodge truck slogan.

Along Those Lines Dept.: The puzzle also contained ENRAGE (“Incense,” 17 Down) and EN-DASH, the typographical term for “-” (90 Down).

To The Point Dept.: “Bit of needlework?” is TAT (43 Across), while “Do some needlework” is SEW (45 Down). And a “Writing tip” is a PEN NIB (65 Across).

For Fun Dept.: Interesting fill in the puzzle included PB AND J (“Sack lunch staple, for short,” 1 Across), PERFECT TEN (“Beauty ideal,” 16 Down) and PONIED UP (“Forked over,” 51 Down). And the “Option for ‘Which came first …?'” is not the chicken, but THE EGG (12 Down).

Born From Jets Dept.: The clue that stumped me was “What a 9-5 worker worked on?” I had SAA_ entered at 45 Across but could not for the life of me fill in the last box. The answer is SAAB, which once made a poorly punctuated car model called the 9-5. Looks like the Swedish automaker might be making vehicles again, two years after production shut down.

Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? Dept.: I’m just a tad jealous of 23-year-old Anna Shechtman, who I just learned spent her first year out of college as an assistant to crossword editor Will Shortz. Had I known such a job existed when I was that young, I would have spent more time constructing puzzles and less time covering small-town school board meetings. Still, I’m thrilled at the idea of bringing fresh young talent into the puzzle kingdom. And I’m guessing if you ask her “You dig?”, she’ll reply I’M HIP (84 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.

Strike One

New York Times crossword puzzle June 8 / Constructed by Patrick Berry

We’re getting into the heart of baseball season, so I suppose it’s only appropriate to have a puzzle titled “Strike One.” But today’s crossword has nothing to do with America’s favorite pastime.

The theme answers are fairly boring when read straight on. Turns out you have “strike one” letter from each of those entries and replace it with an X to transform it into something else. This hint was spelled out at 124 Across: “Struck out, as one letter in each of this puzzle’s theme answers” – X’ED.

The clues also suggested this trick by using the strikethrough technique. Here’s an example at 23 Across: “Symbols of happiness Transmissions with colons, dashes and parentheses?” The answer to the stricken clue is entered in the grid: SMILEY FACES. The answer to the second clue – which you get by literally X’ing out a letter –  is SMILEY FAXES.

I have to admit that I solved two theme answers – and furrowed my brow really deeply for several minutes – before I understood what was going on. The puzzle isn’t very elegant, since actually entering the X in the grid just makes a mess; it doesn’t jibe with the answers going down. So you basically have to do it in your head, which isn’t really as much fun.

Other theme answers: “Sun Tzu tome Madame Tussaud’s specialty?” at 29 Across is THE ART OF WAR (WAX). “‘Star Wars’ character Where droids go to dry out?” at 38 Across is ARTOO DETOO (DETOX). “Gibbons and siamangs Mountaintop that’s not the very top?” at 42 Across are LESSER APES (APEX). And “Pageant Circumstances that render someone attractive?” at 56 Across is BEAUTY CONTEST (CONTEXT).

More: “Pine, e.g. Dinosaur that never goes out of style?” at 78 Across is an EVERGREEN TREE (T-REX). “Studio substitute Squarish bed?” at 92 Across is a BODY (BOXY) DOUBLE. “Member of a certain 1990s-2000s rock band Censor unhappy with ‘Family Guy’ and ‘Glee,’ maybe?” at 95 Across is a FOO (FOX) FIGHTER. “Children’s song Ignore the rest of the lunch I brought and just eat the fish?” at 102 Across is SKIP TO MY LOU (LOX). And “After-dinner display One way to see a pie’s filling?” at 113 Across is a DESSERT TRAY (X-RAY).

Another quibble: Though a strike in bowling is denoted by an X, a strike-out in baseball is marked with a K. (Which, of course, denotes three strikes.)

What did you think?

Haha Dept.: Among the more amusing clues were “Sucker?” for VAMPIRE (20 Across), “Order in the court?” for ALL RISE (13 Down), “You’ll see a lot of them” for NUDISTS (123 Across) and “Brown greenery?” for IVY (72 Down). (Brown University is an Ivy League school. Rim shot, please!)

Who Knew? Dept.: The world “Capital with more than 300 lakes within its limits” is OSLO (21 Across).

In Memoriam Dept.: “Caesar on TV” is SID (115 Down), who died earlier this year.

One Degree Of Kevin Bacon Dept.: “Sedgwick of ‘The Closer'” is actress KYRA (27 Across), who happens to be married to him.

Philly Shout-Outs Dept.: “Four-time pro hoops M.V.P.” is DR J (73 Across), the nickname for 76ers legend Julius Erving. And an exercise venue, for short is YMCA (104 Down). What does that have to do with Philly, you ask? Well, it so happens the Village People are in town today for the Philly Pride Parade. And you know they will sing that song.

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.