Sunday puzzle – This is one of the Sunday networks where reading Will Shortz’s preface to the print before dissolution affects the experience. He writes: “Tina Labadie lives in London, Ontario. This is her first New York Times crossword puzzle. It has one of my favorite types of traits – one that offers many different ‘feels’. The example in 118-Across, at the bottom of the puzzle, varies, A little bit about other paradigms, like the joke striker. As a constructive compensation, each letter in the alphabet is used at least once in the completed grid.”
This kind of compliment sets a high standard for any puzzle, let alone debut, and the sluggish theme today doesn’t disappoint. I finally got to those ‘sensations’, but not before several ‘ah-oh’ moments when I was worried I was missing something. A little suspense makes the solution even better.
47 a. Evidence like today – “WWII helmet, unofficially” – outnumbers evidence like “typical wear and tear of the paranoid”, which could also define this entry, in a 16 to 1 ratio in the Times crossword clue. I still think of plot fans when I see TIN HAT (or “The Wizard of Oz”!).
79 a. “Google ___” can solve a few things: “Documents” or “Apps” are enabled, plus the correct entry, MAPS. This is a tool I often use to double-check difficult geographic trivia – today I drew a complete blank on IBADAN, The third largest city in NigeriaSidra Bay.
101 a. This is the little bit Blurry guide. “Crystal” got me thinking of something easy to understand before I thought of something really transparent, or LIMPID, like a quiet swimming pool. That’s a soothing word, isn’t it? All possible definition – Balanced mood, clear tone of a musical instrument – neutral and relaxed.
Three-dimensional. I admire anyone who gets an idea like that right away; You need crosses. The “born jazz singer Eunice Kathleen Wymon” is Nina Simone She chose her nicknameWhen she started singing in bars to avoid getting into trouble with her mother.
19 d. The “introductory course” sounds academic, but it’s a culinary reference to SALADS.
61 d. This is one of several guides in the fill that I thought could be in the attribute set. “Full with an X” can refer to the letter X, the Roman numeral 10, or perhaps a very profitable treasure map. I was not expecting balls, which can already be distinguished by crosses. (He. She It looks risky.)
This is another thread with paired entries – we’ve seen a few of them lately, and they’ve added a nice layer of inference to the solution, even when the two entries are connected in clues or in the digital puzzle view. There are six pairs in the theme set, and they are all great examples of “Letterplay,” as the puzzle title indicates. There is also a neat scalar component that I didn’t notice until I checked things out again.
You are likely to come across, and resolve, the topic entries in random order – I certainly did. The first I knew for sure was the 42-Across, “Beer named after the founding father,” a SAM ADAMS which I assumed was just a harmless natural fill. This guide happens to be very close to the paired entry, which is 52-Across: “DST start time…or hint at 42-Across.” Nothing shocked me there. I got to 90-Across, “The Farmer’s Kids Club…or Hint at 97-Across”, and thought it should be”4 h. If the entry wasn’t five characters long, I might have tried HHHH; instead, I sat on it for a bit and tried 97-Across, “Secretive”. Because of some cross-character, I got this entry right: HUSH-HUSH. Or I realized, HUSH-HUSH – Those four H’s must mean something.
Because of the placement of OAHU, QUIT, and JACUZZI, I discovered 27-Across next. “A visitor to a website, in the language of analytics,” is a unique user. Its accompanying guide is 71-Across, “23 in series…or hint for 27-Across.” We’re dealing with “Letterplay”, so the series that comes to mind is inherently alphabetical, but what”W“(The 23rd letter) relates to the entry in 27-Across? Aha – A unique user containing two U or a double U.
DOUBLE U got me in line with how to answer 68-Across: “Highest Credit Rating…or Hint for 25-Across.” This credit rating (for corporate bonds) is AAA, or TRIPLE A. What does that have to do with 25-Across, “Not Right?” Thank you, crosses! This only made sense when I reversed his design; The line may be “incorrect” or straight aT an aNGLE. There three times.
So what about 90-Across? “Quadruple” does not fit. The entry is four H. What about 52-via, “DST start time…”? This is TWO AM, referring to the Monday “AM” in S.A.m adA.ms.
There are two other examples – an excellent pair of puns at 89- and 115-Across, and a divergence at 54- and 118-Across – that make the boundaries of the numerical sequence. (that it approx sequence, anyway. It’s missing “one” or “single”, and instead goes zero – two – double – triple – four – five.) This zero entry is an attempt at inversion. 54-Across, “Weightlessness…or allusion to 118-Across,” is ZERO G. 118-Across is “the call of baseball broadcasters on the field.” what are they saying? “from here?” In this case, the file More awaited statementthat, with zero G, reads, OIN OIN ONE.
Down to one last nerve?
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