NYT Crossword Answers: – The New York Times


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MONDAY PUZZLE – Bear with us for a few days, solvers, as Rachel Fabi pedal through a healthy part of New York State. And congratulations to Phoebe Gordon, who makes her New York Times crossword debut with a light and cute theme in Monday’s clean grid.

As usual, don’t be alarmed if the first few clues seem difficult, or if the pieces drag on throughout the puzzle! It took me a few crossed letters from entries down the top third to get the first of three entries in the gap theme, which turned out to be the opening of the puzzle.

Today, there is neat interaction in the fill, a few clever puns, and a lot of nice little things that can be inferred but not instantly remembered (at least for this solver).

10A. It’s the perfect clue for his “Playfully mock” entry. I ran the whole spectrum of words over in my mind – “mockery”, “mockery”, “mockery” – but they were all more vicious than RAZZ, like in a type of “raspberry” that is blown, giving applause from the Bronx. (On 13D, I initially had a “peel” instead of ZEST, which slowed me down and made me think about “carp” for this spot for a while.)

36A. One would hope that of all the possible responses to “You can hit them at a traffic light,” the only one we press is the BRAKES.

51A. This “muse of history” is also a faithful assistant in crossword puzzles – these two vowels at the end of CLIO will come in handy for designers. You will see her sisters Erato and Thalia quite often; Melpomene, unfortunately, has only been in one puzzle so far.

69A. It’s a kitchen pun that Deb Hamlen would have picked up right away (she’s almost… nearly dispelled my fears of botulism.) “Jar heads?” idiomatically they are US Marines, but to put it simply, they are just CAPS.

8D. That clue is very specific—”2017’s coming-of-age film that received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress”—but 2017 feels strangely long gone, and I needed to cross a few X’s to remember the solution. The film “LADYBUG” itself takes place in 2002 – about ancient history!

37D. Because these are living fossils that were cool before chlorophyll, pollination, and seeds appeared, the “reproductive cell of a fungus” is a SPORE.

39D. I like the “modern” component of this tip: “Modern convenience in many theaters.” Fourth dimension? Skyscraper-sized screens? No, humble STANDER (I remember chairs with armrests without armrests in the movies, but I’m not sure what century it was).

Today there are three feature articles, all idioms are associated with the respective profession. Although they are all familiar; two of them, I think, are more common, and each of them made me wonder about their true origin.

In my opinion, the top topic entry is the least known. 17-Across: “Confused, like in a math class?”, solves a numerical expression: IN SIX AND SEVEN. I’ve heard this expression, but never used it, and I was surprised that it refers to the 1300s (by the way, about ancient history!). The numbers were originally a reference to a risky decision in a high-stakes dice game; over time, they came to mean more general fluctuations between non-numerical parameters.

The recording of the middle theme, 40-Across, is accompanied by a dance reference: “Very fast, like in a ballet studio?” The answer certainly sounds like it’s about jetés and assembles: JUMPS AND BORDERS. This idiom also goes back a long way and can refer to any kind of amazingly fast progress, like growing corn in the summer or having a puppy. One early appearance is in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Metric Feet” as a description of the staccato “anapaest” (coincidentally like “assembly”).

The last entry of the theme is on 63-Across: “Waiting, like in a tailor shop?” Which is a great expression. When I read NEEDLES AND NEEDLES, I can practically feel a tingle in the limb re-circulating, perhaps after too long a period of complete suspense of immobility.

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