TUESDAY PUZZLE — Congratulations to the constructor of today’s grid, Lillian Simpson, who is making her debut in the New York Times Crossword. Without spoiling it, the theme in this puzzle is one of my favorites in a while. There’s also a lot of fun fill in here, and I particularly enjoyed the entries at 20- and 50-Across as well as 9-, 22- and 26-Down. I hope you have as much fun solving this puzzle as I did.
5A. The Chicago Sky and Connecticut Sun are both teams in the WNBA.
14A. The clue “What’s all around ewe?” may have put a blip on your crosswordese radar. I like this entry a lot; this is a clever use of a word we see so often in the puzzle. The answer is WOOL.
24A. I had HUEYS here because I missed the “or” in the clue, which means the answer is singular. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and my biggest weakness when it comes to solving is pop culture. The answer is LEONA.
63A. The UGLI fruit, or Jamaican tangelo, has appeared in the New York Times Crossword 82 times. Despite their name, they’re actually quite normal looking and tasting sort of like a cross between an orange and a grapefruit. I quite like them.
Ms. Simpson gives us three theme answers and a revealer. This, no pun intended, is an easily digestible theme that’s perfect for a Tuesday puzzle. Tricky enough that you may need to look a few times at the answers, but not so tough that you’re tearing your hair out. As I mentioned above, I really enjoyed this one.
Let’s start with the revealer at 58-Across. We have the clue “Breakfast order visually suggested three times in this puzzle’s grid” for the answer FRIED EGGS. When I filled it in, I had already entered 41-Across (“What Brits call a biscuit,” for the answer COOKIE), so I realized that the two Os, when circled, were meant to look like fried eggs.
The “egg” squares are over words that, when put together, make an egg order.
Looking at 41-Across and 45-Across (“Ideal marks for scammers,” for the answer EASY TARGETS), we can see two “eggs” in 41A, and then the word “easy” in circles below it. So, put it all together and we have two eggs over easy. Clever!
One last point, some solvers may have trouble with the clue for the theme entry at 17-Across, “Apple product that’s not suitable for kids.” The answer here has nothing to do with the tech company, but rather the fruit: It’s HARD CIDER.
I agonized over every single word of this puzzle. The hardest part of being new is not knowing what you don’t know, and man, I didn’t know much. After months of debating between grids, themes and back to grids, I caved and did what most young people do and joined a Facebook group. (Misery loves company, right?) It was there that I found a crossword mentor, the wonderful Kim Vu! Although at times my pride was tested (who knew RESIDUUM wasn’t sparkling?), his guidance and confidence in my theme were invaluable. I cannot begin to express my appreciation for Kim and the many friends and family members who stood behind me in achieving this dream.
To close, I hope any of you who solved this over a plate of eggs had a special degree of enjoyment. Until next time.
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