Sunday puzzle — Will Shortz writes in the introduction to this grid print: “Tracy Bennett is the Times’ digital puzzle editor. She manages Wordle and helps with crosswords. For this unthemed puzzle, she employs a bold grid pattern with many white squares, I placed a marquee answer in each corner: “Something new or something that might be an appealing sound or clue.” Then she developed from there. ”
This is a very fun solution for themeless fans. There are many wide swathes of vibrant and surprising entries, with staircases of varying lengths all creating dazzling geometric patterns. A giant diagonal run of 15 black squares created a zipper effect on my solve, splitting the grid in half. I had better luck on the left side, the top side, but it took me years of tottering around the bottom of the puzzle until I arrived at a finish I was happy with.
14A. There is an unexpected answer to “That will be two of us!” CLONING made me laugh and think. dolly the sheep, the first mammal clone born in 1996. It seems like so long ago. All the fuss about artificial intelligence reminds me of the fear of human cloning back then, which fortunately never came to fruition.
48A. This is a great combination of clues and entries, and one of my favorites for a while now. “Super stupid?” It’s a fanciful homophone of “supercilious.” Quite different (and ridiculous) Meaning: Wackadoodle.
57A. “Canal examiner” contains a reference to anatomy, not geography, and refers to an ear, nose and throat physician.
92A./93A. These are two nice entries that bring this puzzle to a close. You could call it a bookend. 92A’s “Leafs” resolves into the onomatopoeic “RIFFLES”, evoking images of turning pages of thick paper, perhaps trimmed with gold. Next, clue 93A, “A set of books, probably containing maps,” evoked images of old atlases and almanacs. But the answer is a fantasy series. The maps in these books are part of JRR Tolkien’s world creation process. middle earth.
32D. This entry has appeared in his Times Crossword several times since 1954. For those without expertise in the teaching material (particularly French), it is probably a crossword term. At least I don’t think I’ve seen it anywhere else. The “roughly woven fabric” in question is RATINE.
34D. People love to ruminate, current slang, nothing rivals the colorful jargon of a century ago. “Quickly used to say hurry away and leave” is TAKE A POWDER. Few possible origin stories. One is to escape to the POWDER room and then escape from the predicament itself. In another example, the powder is a headache medication taken before lying down. The powder in question could also be a “mickey,” a slang term for a drug slipped into someone’s drink. The origin of the name “Mickey” is mickey finna Chicago bartender who sedated and robbed patrons in the 1890s.
44D. This is incredible trivia! Hats off to anyone who knew the answer to “old compulsory payments”, he meant MULCTS. from latin, it has appeared several times in past Times puzzles, especially in the 1950s. It’s okay if your weekend puzzle has some difficult parts.
84D.I chose the wrong one artiodactyla Here, instead of “the largest animal of the order Lagomorpha”, I wrote “heart” instead of HARE. This led 93A to read “fantasy story,” which looked more like a typo than evidence of my lack of taxonomic knowledge.
I’ve never made an unthemed puzzle of this size. I wanted to pre-populate each quadrant with key answers, either new ones or ones that sounded appealing or could be clues. 23 Across, 48 Across, 50 Across, and 87 Across were the starting points. I have great respect for Patrick Berry’s work, and I intentionally started with his design of the grid he used in his work. No Theme for Sunday, November 4, 2018. In the end, I ended up overturning the surrounding cheetah squares while filling them.
The working title for this puzzle was “Step Right Up.” This is because I saw the stepped pattern of blocks in the center of the grid and my own challenge squarely addressing that wide open space. There are a few issues, but please bear with the solvers (the terminology in 44-Down is difficult and archaic). My favorite clues (and my favorite answers) left over from editing can be found at 48-Across. The original underwent some judicious and disciplined editing, as I tend to be playful and a little wordy (-:
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