Tuesday puzzle —Congratulations to Laura Breiman and Tom Bachant, both starting their New York Times crossword puzzle appearance with Puzzle of the Day.
I thought this was a particularly difficult Wednesday show, in part because of some of the tricky packing that the network’s density of subject matter necessitated. I’ll say more about this dense subject in a moment, but first let’s take a peek at some of the tougher clues in today’s puzzle.
7a. I love the idea of ”what’s in a coffee shop that isn’t a coffee shop?” As for ACCENT – there are plenty of opportunities for misleading here, but this clue is ultimately about the letters that make up the words “coffee shop” and “coffee shop”.
34a. “Someone quickly leaves his board” is a rocket, like the one shown at the top of this column.
43a. Agree to Disagree that PUN is “the lowest form of humor – when you don’t think about it first,” according to Oscar Levant! love Puns, even when I don’t think of it first – but that may be the result of the crossword puzzle that inhabits my entire brain at all times.
45 A / 40 D. I didn’t know that the “first Chinese dynasty” was the XIA dynasty, so I had a hard time crossing X with SOX (“part of some ‘red’ or ‘white’ outfit). If I had noticed the subject sooner, maybe help me out here!
54a. I would confidently put artists as the key answer to “Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, for two,” but the more specific answer is CUBISTS.
6 d. “Introduction to Sociology?” is a wordplay guide for ESS, which is the first letter of the word “sociology”.
35 d. I don’t know why I can never remember Roman numerals greater than 100 (C!), but I really struggled to figure out that “450, in ancient Rome” is CDL.
36 d. I thought “Sorento and Telluride” had something to do with being tourist destinations or something, but the Italian city is actually spelled “Sorrento,” and the answer, in fact, is KIAS—both Sorento and Telluride are Kia SUVs.
37 d. I had no idea there was an “Amazon-owned home Wi-Fi brand” – I kept trying to get the Echo to work, but the answer is actually EERO. The only EEROs I know of are architect EERO Saarinen and a friend’s dog who was named after the architect!
53 d. “A place to wash?” Sounds like bathroom or locker room proof, but the answer is actually SHORE, where one can wash up after a shipwreck.
61 d. A circus barker is someone who yells at passers-by to lure them to various attractions, but “circus barker?” (with a question mark) He is a SEAL, an animal that barks and may perform in a circus.
65 d. “Over 100, for example” is hot, if we’re talking about the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit (or Celsius!).
As the central revealer points out, this puzzle contains five different visual representations of celestial bodies (“the astronomical objects represented by the circled letters in this puzzle”). The first celestial body, which can be found in the northwest corner of the puzzle, is the Moon. It is spelled clockwise by MO in AMORES and NO in SNOOTS, and all four letters are circled.
Next, in the northeast corner, is COMET, which is contained in circled letters cutting diagonally through five entrances in that corner.
The next orb was the hardest for me. In the middle of the puzzle, the letters that spell out GALAXY are arranged clockwise in a circle, but they are so spread out (like a real galaxy!) that I didn’t see them until I finished the puzzle.
The southwest corner contains the ASTEROID, which is divided by four entrances in the corner, not unlike the real ASTEROIDs in the ASTEROID BELT.
Finally, in the southeast corner, STAR can be found clockwise with four letters enclosed in a circle set in a diamond shape.
Kudos to Mrs. Breiman and Mr. Bachant on this excellent debut! I was impressed with the skill it must have taken to construct this puzzle, especially given the sheer amount of network restrictions placed on it by the ambitious subject matter. I hope to see more of both soon.
We developed the idea after Laura attended a very strange and intense moon party in Central Park and excitedly shared all the celestial details with Tom. That week, kicking off the conversation about space, the phrase CELESTIAL BODIES popped into Tom’s head, and it felt like the perfect fill of 15 letters to build our network around.
Laura is the host of the “Cross Talk” crossword podcast, where she discusses the New York Times Crossword Thursdays each week. Tom is a tech enthusiast, entrepreneur, and believes the world would be better if everyone rode bikes and did crossword puzzles (just not at the same time).
Want to submit a crossword puzzle to the New York Times?
The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system, and You can submit your puzzles online.
For tips on how to get started, read our series,”How to make a crossword puzzle. “
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