SATURDAY PUZZLE – Today we have a collaboration between two gemstone builders who have teamed up once before, in 2020, on another dazzling one. Caitlin Reid and Andrew Ries are regular weekend contributors, and both are very funny. This grid isn’t crazy, but there are plenty of clever touches.
I found the clean and evenly difficult solution – maybe it was luck, but I didn’t really get stuck in one place.
Happy National Puzzle Day, by the way! To mark the occasion, you can register for the Boswords Winter Wondersolve, taking place on February 6, and solve a puzzle that could be able were built by someone known to Wordplay readers.
Some of the more delicate elements are tiny. It took me a while to remember Danny LaRusso from “The Karate Kid”, which assured me of “Dan”, until I learned that the 2010 version of the film stars Jaden Smith as Dr. Parker. RIN is identified as a coin, instead of a dog, every few years; the pun clue for APB – a police alert used to “catch” a criminal – also took a while to figure out. I also loved the triple stack in the center and the hint for HAIRLINE!
30A. What else fits that very specific clue: “Something no one can get into?” Once I saw the answer here, it seemed so obvious and certain. Before the fact, I didn’t remotely think about commuting and carpool lanes. I had a few cross letters and was fixated on “couple” or “couples” at first.
33A. I’m still racking my brains trying to think of a specific reference for this iconic statement. I can imagine a villain rubbing his hands over a pile of treasure – cooing, MINE ALL MINE – before unleashing a series of reverberating cackles.
7D. I watched a few episodes of HBO’s “Succession” before ALAN Ruck’s old face sent me back to my youth, when I paid a little tribute to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” by cutting school to watch the film, twice, at the theatre.
8D. “Wait a minute”, you might be thinking, “I thought Gnome Chomsky was America’s tallest concrete garden gnome, and he lives in the Catskills, away from the Upper Midwest. Turns out there’s a new gnome in town – AMES, Iowa – and he’s just a little taller.
12D. I had this entry about crosses and thought ALCALDE must mean something like “heat”. But the term actually comes from the Arabic for mayor and dates back to a Moorish influence on the Spanish language from around 1,300 years ago.
23D. It is the beginning of a puzzle, plural or singular; the “suitcase” in the hint made me think of the two correct parts, but I don’t remember ever seeing RACINOS on paper, and that middle sibilant was uncertain to me.
24D. Another start and another portmanteau, I think: HELISTOP is one of many terms for where you drop off your helicopter, such as helipad, helipad, helipad, and helipad. Reading all these concrete landing sites makes me wonder if more people have helicopters than I thought – just to get to the store etc.
41D. One last little thing: I understood ID TAG correctly, but I couldn’t find the purpose of this article as a “help to get home”. I researched uses of this entry in older puzzles and saw that it was identified as a “luggage tag”, which makes this more obvious.
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 “How to Make a Crossword Puzzle” series.
Do you feel overwhelmed?
Subscribers can view the answer key.
Trying to return to the puzzle page? Right here.
What did you think?