tuesday puzzle — Congrats to Constructor Wendy L. Brandes on his third appearance in the New York Times Crossword. Brandes’s previous puzzles were unthemed, so this is her first appearance with a theme. This is a really great theme.
I’ll go into more detail on this subject later, but first I’d like to tackle the topic of searching for answers as you solve them. Some people say that you shouldn’t use the Internet to solve problems. Because it’s like cheating. It’s almost as if crossword puzzles were some kind of dangerous exam, and Googleing the answers undermines the integrity of the question.
I disagree with this school of resolution. I prefer to get as far as possible without looking up the answer, but at this point in my solving career I rarely have to, but if you’re really stuck, don’t hesitate to turn to the internet for help. Of course, every solver has the right to set their own personal rules, but I firmly believe there is no shame in using the internet as a solver. A great way to learn the trivia behind many crossword clues. Hopefully, since you made the effort to look up the word, keep it for your next encounter with the puzzle.
Some of today’s trickier clues are factual, like 5A, 30A, and 18D. Did you look up these (or other) answers while solving the problem today? Let us know what you learn in the comments.
5A. Words to fill in the blanks of “Fond du ___, Wis.” It’s a rack. I’ve never been to Fond du Lac, but found out through a crossword puzzle. Several variations of this his LAC clue have appeared in the New York Times crossword over 60 times for him.
30A. Today, I learned that the “Chinese dialect mainly spoken in Hunan” is XIANG, also known as Hunan. You could get this from a cross, which is a good example of the type of clues you can look up during or after a solve.
5D. The “seems like a cheat” clue omits the final “g” in “cheat” to let you know that the answer is similarly unofficial. The answer is her LYIN’, which also removes the ‘g’.
11D. I had to contact the editor of the puzzle to clarify the clue “Gritty Remains of Chimenea”. As I always tell my answerers, if the clue contains a Spanish word, the answer will probably be in Spanish too. So why, if the word “chimenea” means “chimney” in Spanish, the answer in English is he ASH?”Chimenea” is also English and refers to a freestanding outdoor fireplace. I had no idea!
18D. The “letter on the old TV dial” is UHF. It stands for ultrahigh frequency and is a type of frequency used for radio and television broadcasting.
22D. Hidden word clues are a fun change of pace that help ease the difficulty of the puzzle (as long as you understand what’s being asked). “Name hidden in Maru”silver king“f error” is a GINO derived from the words “margin” and “of” in the clue.
28D. By “removing the edge in a sense” I don’t mean making anything more comfortable, but sanding the edge of the surface.
31D. Clue “Tired phrase?” It sounds like a cliché, but instead, it’s a word you might say when you need a nap. I NEED A NAP.
Heading straight down the middle of the grid, according to the revealer, the puzzle is “part of the blackjack dealer’s ritual…or what this answer does to the starred clue.” built around the center. The ritual is to cut the cards. In casinos this may involve splitting a deck of cards in half and reassembling them face down before dealing. The puzzle shows the revealer cutting the cards by vertically cutting the entries containing the names of the five different cards.
The first type of card cut by the publisher is embedded in the entry LAST PICTURE SHOW (“*A 1971 movie about growing up in a small cinema town in Texas with ‘The'”). This is a PICTURE card that has been printed. I wasn’t familiar with that movie, but PICTURE cards are another word for picture cards like Jack, Queen and King.
Next is the GIFT card in the GIFT OF GAB entry (“*Eloquence is said to be gained by kissing the Blarney Stone”). The other cards are the NOTE card, the DANCE card and the CREDIT card, each within a long theme entry.
I love the elegance of this theme. Ms. Brandes’ Revealer cleanly cuts through all five of her cards, and between Revealer and Themed Entries, a 15-character entry spans his three grids. Let’s ask Mr. Brandes how to make this puzzle.
Notes on constructors
I am so excited to have this puzzle out in the world! I have long been intrigued by revealers who explain the physical construction of puzzles. I started by cutting the Lucky for me, there are many different cards out there!
Big shoutouts to the editorial team for doing a great job improving the many clues in this puzzle. How to explain a test to take home! Have fun solving this!
Want to submit a crossword to The New York Times?
The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system, You can submit your puzzles online.
For tips on how to get started, see the series “How to make a crossword puzzle”
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