Tag Archives: NYT crossword puzzle

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.

Others:

_ 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.

Downright Tricky!

New York Times crossword puzzle June 29 / Constructed by Byron Walden

If you’re looking for a hint on today’s clever puzzle, read the title literally.

“Downright” is the “tricky” way that you have to enter the six theme answers – that is, down and to the right. The L-shaped entries are all three-word phrases that start with C-I-D … which gives you EL CID (“Spanish hero whose (name) is represented enigmatically six times in this puzzle,” 108 Down).

When in doubt, read the title literally. (Click to enlarge.)

When in doubt, read the title literally. (Click to enlarge.)

I became suspicious of a gimmick as soon as I saw “Tricky” in the title. Then when crossing words gave me CANON _ at 13 Down (“Palchelbel classic, familiarly”), I knew more than one letter had to go in that last square.  It clicked when I noticed the DIXIE in WINN DIXIE (“Southern grocery chain,” 109 Across) happened to be at a “right” angle for a “down” answer involving a C&W group (“1982 holiday country hit by Alabama,” 50 Down). CHRISTMAS IN DIXIE fit perfectly with the bend.

Others: CHIVALRY IS DEAD (“Lament about modern men,” 8 Down), COVERED IN DUST (“Like the contents of many attics,” 38 Down), CONSIDER IT DONE (“‘Right away, boss’,” 71 Down), CRISIS IN DARFUR (“Major humanitarian concern of the 2000s,” 32 Down) and the aforementioned CANON IN D by Pachelbel.

The Times ran a similar puzzle last year titled “Capital Ls,” which also used words entered at right angles. My only quibble with today’s is that some of the L answers didn’t dead-end: CHRISTMAS IN DIXIE ended with a black square, but COVERED IN DUST actually reads COVERED IN DUSTRIES before you hit a black square; same with CANON IN D BID.

What did you think?

For Fun Dept.: There was a lot of great fill in this puzzle, which makes up for the relative lack of theme entries. Among my favorites are YES, INDEED! (“‘Of course!’,” 56 Down), PADDED BRA (“Drag staple,” 100 Across), I HAD A HUNCH (“‘That’s what my Spidey sense told me’,” 3 Down), OFF BALANCE (“Bad way to be caught,” 77 Down), SALT MINING (“Enterprise for Morton,” 74 Down), YEARLY PHYSICAL (“Routine checkup,” 51 Across), FILM INDUSTRIES (“Hollywood and Bollywood, e.g.,” 86 Across) and I’VE MADE A DECISION (“Statement after long deliberation,” 67 Across).

Say What? Dept.: PICARO (“Rogue,” 100 Down) and ESTIVATE (“Stay inactive over the summer,” 58 Across) were both new words to me.

Who Knew? Dept.: “Material in the hats of Buckingham Palace guards” is BEAR FUR (89 Across). And I have never heard of a species called SPIKED ACES, which apparently are “Ray-finned fishes of the Southwest U.S.” (17 Down). When I tried to Google for a photo or even a written definition, all I came up with were references to this puzzle. Anyone else? (UPDATE: Kind readers have informed me the fishes are SPIKE DACES. See comments below.)

Blast From The Past Dept.: “It’s Tricky” by Run-DMC was one of the anthems of the 1980s. I looked up the video out of a sense of nostalgia and found it co-stars Penn and Teller! Awesome.

 

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.

Enrich

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.

Aladdin

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.

Change Of Program

New York Times crossword puzzle May 25 / Constructed by Dan Schoenholz

Greetings from the Lone Star State! We’re spending the weekend in the DFW area to help a friend celebrate his 50th birthday. We’re also taking in some sights along the way, and today – after blogging at Sundance Square in Fort Worth – we’re going to see the longhorns at the Stockyards. Yee-haw!

So let’s get to it: This puzzle was a breeze, right? The grid is filled with slightly-altered names of famous TV shows – the “Change of Program” referred to in the title. A “Cobbler’s heirloom?” is AWL IN THE FAMILY (110 Across). “Stoners’ memoirs?” are DAZE OF OUR LIVES (23 Across). “Leverage in divorce negotiations?” is THE EX FILES (28 Across). And a “Dumbstruck duo?” is THE AWED COUPLE (46 Across).

More: “Tale of metropolitan religious diversity?” is SECTS AND THE CITY (62 Across). “Having trouble slowing down?” is BRAKING BAD (99 Across). “Tight spot in South Florida?” is MIAMI VISE (76 Down). “Double takes?” are TWIN PEEKS (15 Down).  And a “Grant Wood portrayal?” is AMERICAN IDYLL, a combination reference to the singing contest and the artist’s famous “American Gothic” painting.

Speaking Of Idols Dept.: Monty Python’s ERIC IDLE has the most crossword-friendly name I’ve ever seen (“‘Spamalot’ writer and lyricist,” 115 Across).

Dirty Mind Dept.: This is horribly embarrassing, but for a moment – just a moment! – after seeing I had _ _ _ _ _ IP entered for “Immodest display” (12 Down), I thought the answer might be NIP SLIP. Of course, it was the much cleaner EGO TRIP. Phew.

I Do Dept.: “Wedding sight” is a BRIDE (99 Down) while a “Wedding site” is the ALTAR (68 Down).

Cheap Dept.: “Comes to pass, old-style” is the unfortunately obscure entry HAPS (105 Down).

Haha Dept.: “Relatives of turtles” are PRALINES (84 Down). “Kitchen drawer?” is AROMA (92 Across). “Neon frame?” are ENS (86 Down), for the Ns that bookend the word.

And a “Comment upon heading off” (20 Across) is AWAY WE GO!

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.

Oh, Who?

New York Times crossword puzzle May 18 / Constructed by Joe DiPietro

After solving today’s Irish-themed puzzle, I ended up taking a stroll through Philly’s Italian Market Festival and buying a plate of street tacos. Such are the wonders of life in the city.

This grid left me wondering a bit as well.  Constructor Joe DiPietro uses the O-apostrophe naming convention to create punny monikers for Irish people with various occupations. But the puzzle seems to have a split personality.

First we meet the “Irish arborist” WILL O’TREES  (24 Across) and the “Irish woodworker” PATTY O’FURNITURE (63 Across). Then comes MAE O’CLINIC, the “Irish health care worker” (110 Across), and JUNE O’ALASKA, the “Irish dog sled racer” (110 Across). Fair enough.

Yet then we meet ANGIE O’GRAM, who instead of being an Irish cardiologist is a “chemist” (22 Across). And COREY O’GRAPH is not an Irish dancer but an “algebra teacher” (47 Across). I get that chemists measure things in grams and that algebra uses graphs, but it’s kind of confusing, no? And MEL O’YELLOW (112 Across) is not a soda magnate but a painter? NATE O’SUMMIT (83 Across) is not a diplomat but a mountain climber? Hmmm. And I’m not even sure what profession does JEAN O’TYPING (32 Across), but I’m pretty sure it’s not a secretary.

What did you think?

On The Map Dept.: Speaking of other countries, a “Canadian blockhead” is a HOSER (87 Across). And BIG IN JAPAN applies to “(S)ome bands with only modest Western popularity” (3 Down).

Seriously? Dept.:  I really want to ask the Philly police if they’ve ever filed CARNAP charges against anyone (“Steal, as a vehicle,” 14 Down). Also in this category is the borderline cheesy PUT ‘ER THERE (“‘Let’s shake!’” 69 Down).

Almost Stumped Me Dept.: My fruit and floral knowledge is somewhat limited, so I had to guess – correctly, it turns out – that a “Pear or quince” was a POME (63 Down). I know “pomme” is French for “apple,” and I had PO _ E, but I wasn’t sure because it crossed with ARU_ (“Jack-in-the-pulpit, e.g.” 75 Across). Never heard of the plant term ARUM, though I do know Bob Arum is a major figure in professional boxing.

Stumped Me, The Sequel Dept.: I left one square blank: T _ PEE (“Pith helmet,” 37 Down), which crossed with T _ O (“All-human bridge?” 43 Across). I should have gotten the joke in the second clue – TOO is the “bridge” in the phrase “All TOO human.” But I’ve never heard of a TOPEE, which is something you’d wear on a SAFARI – at least the kind that’s not a “Preinstalled iPhone browser” (53 Down).

For Fun Dept.: Long answers that weren’t part of the theme include TOSS A SALAD (“Prepare the first course, say,” 72 Down) and CLERK’S TALE (“Chaucer work that invokes the book of Job, with ‘The’,” 15 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.

For Mother

New York Times crossword puzzle May 11 / Constructed by Peter A. Collins

Who needs a brunch reservation on Mother’s Day when the NYT has given us a maternal-themed crossword?

This MOM-themed puzzle breaks one cardinal rule of construction with the presence of two-letter words. (Click to enlarge.)

This MOM-themed puzzle breaks one cardinal rule of construction with the presence of two-letter words. (Click to enlarge.)

Today’s fun puzzle was both a visual treat for its MOM design and for the many mothers found in the grid.

Going across, solvers found Mother JONES, Mother TERESA, Mother LODE, Mother SHIP, Mother TONGUE and Mother GOOSE. Going down, you encountered Mother HUBBARD and Mother COUNTRY.

All of that to say: “Happy Mother’s DAY!” (120 Down).

Interestingly, this clever creation by Peter A. Collins violates a cardinal rule of constructing by allowing two-letter words. But I guess you can’t make a recognizable “M” shape without a little fudging. (And good moms let you slide on some stuff occasionally, right?) The answers are OH (“No kidding!” 36 Across), HE (“Element #2′s symbol,” 38 Across), EM (“Dorothy’s aunt,” 101 Across) and A.I. (“2001 Spielberg sci-fi film,” 103 Across). You’ll notice I had to correct my initial answer there, which was E.T. (Clearly, I read right over the year in the clue.)

For Fun Dept.: Most of the long answers in this puzzle aren’t part of the theme, like DON’T START IN ON ME (“Words to one who’s about to go off,” 48 Down); AVANT GARDE (“Pushing the envelope, say,” 59 Down); STEEL DRUM (“Calypso staple,” 19 Across); AMERICANA (“Smithsonian artifacts,” 123 Across); and LAUGH LINES (“Most people don’t think they’re funny,” 74 Down).

Food For Thought Dept.: “Backsliding, to a dieter” is PUTTING ON WEIGHT (7 Down). Speaking of eating, I just saw the new documentary “Fed Up.”

Famous Names Dept.: Talk about strange bedfellows! The grid features JOE BIDEN (“Politician who appeared as himself on NBC’s ‘Parks and Recreation,’” 14 Down), CLARA BOW (“The original ‘It’ girl,” 63 Across) and Dennis RODMAN (“Seven-time N.B.A. rebounding champ, 1992-98,” 56 Down). It also features NORTH KOREA as the answer for a “four-time destination” for Rodman (54 Across and 58 Down).

Really? Dept.: A friend of mine has a beloved SHIH-TZU, which I never knew meant “Literally, ‘lion dog’” (98 Across). This dog is so far from being a lion that it’s almost comical.

Philly Shout-Out: “Second of six?” is a terrible clue for the tough entry SHORT I (100 Across), which refers to the short “i” sound in the second letter of the word “six.” Everyone here in Wawa country knows that a SHORTI is a 6-inch hoagie. Wawa, our convenience store of choice, just celebrated its 50th anniversary.

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.