Sunday Puzzle – Will Shortz, in his printed introduction to this network, writes: “John Kugelman is a software engineer and musician from Gainesville, Virginia. He has worked in cybersecurity for many years. “I love anything complex and puzzle-y,” John says. Anything is an engineering problem. It's fascinating to me. (And what is crossword construction, after all, but word geometry?) This is John's second crossword in The Times – both Sundays.
Mr. Kugelman's debut, which came out last July, designed its terms by swapping letters known as a the spoon, named after the Don of Oxford and the minister who was famous for mixing up his words. Today's topic uses mumbles to build a series of puzzles and answers, also to excellent effect.
There are seven entries in today's selected topic; Six of them are located at 20, 22, 37, 60, 71 and 95 widths, and the seventh and final example is two parts at 113 and 117 widths. They are all linked to questions that are solved for pun answers, all of which include at least one two-letter interjection that adds another meaning to the entry.
An obvious example of this is the 60-Across website, where the guide is simply “Farmers?” The answer is chicken tenders. This term can apply to caring for poultry, but is more familiar as a name for those little, crunchy, boneless pieces of meat that don't resemble actual chicken at all (unless you buy chicken that looks like a dinosaur). The important element to modify the meaning is the ER in TENDERS, which makes the title of the puzzle a nice tip-off: “Er, In Other Words…”.
There are a few other more subtle clues. “Erotic artist?” 22-Across heads to the JUNK DRAWER, a place where you might find duct tape, loose nails, and old packets of soy sauce, If you haven't moved recently. But sexy? Ah, but this “artist” will “draw” your picturewaste“: He thinks “Titanicfor example. 71 – via – “Switching hitter?” – particularly graceful. The answer is a flash of light. Instead of a baseball, think of the motion used with a wall switch.
52 a. “Anthony Hopkins won this with just 16 minutes of screen time” is resolved as best actor and refers to his role as Hannibal Lecter in “Silence of the Lambs.” Apparently Even the film's director, Jonathan Demme, I was surprised Hopkins was nominated for Best Actor instead of Supporting Actor, but years later, the moments with Hannibal Lecter are… Eerily unforgettable.
55 a. “One hits the space bar?” Made me think of one of these Typewriter monkeys work in Hamlet (Can you imagine seeing someone produce a perfect copy, minus all the code words cobbled together?) Instead, this clue resolves to Alien, which means it's a reference to Mos Eisley CantinaI imagine.
14 d. Um, is anyone else starting to see the “er” evanyYesanyH? I did, hanye, this is an interesting coincidence – this guide is not part of the theme set. But “the Indigo Girls song with the chorus 'Add up the sum of true love / Multiply life by…'” ends with POWER OF TWO, which when changed using that theme base becomes “pow of two.”
70 D. This entry reflects 14D and contains another “er,” something I found obvious as I struggled to resolve the “unappealable, as a court decision” issue. You needed a lot of letters from the intersecting entries to arrive at conclusiveness, which Derived from Latin it means “final” or “decisive”. It appears for the first time in the Times Crossword.
79 D. “The Law Enforcer of the Harry Potter Universe” is AUROR, also a first-time entry; Include AURORs mentioned Alastor “Mad Eye” Moody and Kingsley ShackleboltNeither of them has been a mystery yet. (You may be wondering if we're going to be exhausted with new Harry Potter information, and the answer is, Apparently, never.)
86 D. This entry has appeared 16 times since 1959, always using roughly the same two clues – 'all together', as in this puzzle, or 'as a whole'. Initially this directory included “father”. to indicate French, but this implication has since dropped, suggesting that EN BLOC is considered common enough to be part of English conversation.
there A Discord server for crossword puzzlers (join us!). I learned from the discussions there that not everyone likes weird topics with long, torturous clues. The way out of many of these puzzles – hey, I Like them! -I thought it would be smart to switch gears. And this is the result: an exercise in self-control. What can be done with the simplest and most economical clues?
Big shout out to Bob Wise and Ken Stern, who came up with the final two entries on the subject. Aren't they adorable? They're confidants for good reason.
I was also impressed by the grid design with the black pyramids at the top and bottom. Long piles of entries should add a little excitement to the beginnings and ends of people's solutions.
Subscribers can Take a peek at the answer key.
Are you trying to get back to the puzzle page? here.
What do you think?
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