Saturday puzzle – This is David Dustinfeld’s fourth daily network for The New York Times. Like his other off-topic puzzles for Friday and Saturday, these puzzles bring us the beginnings of a dawn and a spiritual soul. (Has any of today’s wordplay made you say we can’t? Well, Boomer.) There are plenty of surprises, but a resilient mind will do as well as a person full of trifles.
16 a. I had a lot of affection for this pun – “digital filing service?” – I don’t mind being misdirected at all. I had a manicure and felt super smart, but the entry is doubly luxurious; Four sets of numbers are polished during MANI PEDI.
29 a. Obviously, “giving a sexual interpretation of almost any phrase” is a slob. The power of suggestion, then, made me think of oysters and billet-do in 32a, “like mussels or some lettering,” which can be steamed open. Finally, in 34a, the phrase “American Six-Branch Group” refers to a spirited embrace of the US armed forces.
47a / 52a. Farm Little Girls can be among the Foals, Pallets, or Foals, among others; In this case, we are looking for HEIFERS. I think it’s a bit dark to join this entry in a “possible answer to” Where’s the Beef? And he resolved this matter. (Also, he Wendy’s campaign Who introduced that slogan that is still recognized by people of all ages? Maybe people will remember Walter Mondel better.)
2 d. When I read this clue, “temporarily pushed out of the bedroom, somehow,” I immediately thought of a tie hanging from a doorknob, similar to the way this entry hangs from the top of a puzzle and ends with the letter D in DIRTY-mind. That gave me a giggle, as did SEXILED, a college rep.
14 d. In another possibly intentional intersection, this entry Military origin. The “regular members” are RANK AND FILE, which is beyond the armed forces. “rank” refers to a wall of soldiers side by side. The “coil” is the depth of the soldiers standing one behind the other.
I know the solutions are often off due to an abundance of names in the network, but I assure you that the names in this crossword are quite purposeful. And the personal to me. In fact, this puzzle is filled with dozens, if not dozens, of bakers’ names that have real meaning in my life. To highlight just a few:
Shelby (1d) is my sister’s name.
DANNY (7D) is the name of one of my oldest friends. It’s also the name given to people who met me once and only vaguely remember my real name.
RYAN (45A) is the name of my best friend in college.
SEXILED (2D) was unfortunately a recurring moniker for me in college.
So was my SNOTTY (41D), less because of any fun situation and more because of my extreme sensitivity to dander and pollen.
ELI (39A) is the name I was called by people who met me once and had no vague idea of my real name.
SIRI (24A) is the name of the default assistant on my iPhone 13.
SUZANNE (18A) is the name of the virtual assistant on the gray and blue Nokia foldable phone. I’m still waiting for her to answer my questions.
MANI PEDI (16A) is my rap name.
RAP STAR (14A) is the name I use when checking into nail salons.
And ZOOM MEETING (19D) is the name given to people who have never met me And the Who apparently does not know what the name is.
Once again, I assure you that these are all 100 percent real or my name is not Elle Snotty Dustenfeld.
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