Sunday puzzle Today’s creator Garrett Chalfin is a senior at Riverdale Country School in New York City; He plans to study philosophy at the University of Chicago. He debuted with A.J Network Monday last August, but this is his first Sunday mystery. Last June, having come across the idea of the main idea, he stayed till four o’clock in the morning thinking of examples. He finishes the puzzle at summer camp, showing his assistant counselors how to fill in the crossword grid.
I suspect analysts will come up with their own terminology that fits the catchy gimmick of this topic, which is the crossword version of earworm.
19a. Mr. Chalfin may have been born in the 21st century, but he entertained me with his R&B crossover. “My _____ (You’ll Never Get It)” is a reference to “My LOVIN” by En Vogue, and 1D,” Trio with the 1995 #1 “Waterfalls,” by TLC. A lot of playlists still include these two songs.
120 a. This is a melodic little flourish packing today, keeping in mind the theme of this puzzle. The “chimes and dimes vs. this guide’s answer” is RHYMES, as does “chimes” with “dimes” (and “dimes” and “chimes” with RHYMES).
45 d. The letters in the so-called superocallic word are AEIOU, which can appear in any order, but each only once. An example you might immediately think of is Xochiquetzal, Aztec goddess of fertility and beauty; Another piercing-sounding word, hiding in plain sight, is “supocalic.”
93 d. That’s a great term, appearing sophomore in a Times crossword (and first appearing in the plural). Resolved “State of Anxiety, Unofficially” to FANTODS. Some readers will think of David Foster Wallace and “howl of the fantodbut the word dates back to at least the nineteenth century and appeared inHuckleberry FinnWhich I had surely forgotten.
It is possible that this delightful theme has crept into some solutions. There are nine entries in the trait set, at 23-, 28-, 38-, 48-, 66-, 85-, 91-, 104- and 110- across; Each clue is asked as a question to indicate wordplay, but that doesn’t always make for a main clue, analysts know. I needed a handful of partially completed entries before getting into the swing of things, at which point it was smooth sailing.
My solution drifted from east to west, so the first topic entry I finished was on 28-Across. The key is old-fashioned historical trivia, if you’re Mr. Chalfin: “The results of the Haight-Ashbury shopping spree in the ’60s?” Solve to drag HIPPIE BOOTY.
I got a 48-Across shortly thereafter. “A good friend who won’t stop snooping” resolves to NOSY BESTIE, which made the subject matter click for me. Check the title of the puzzle, “easily” or “E”, and parse these two entries: NOSY BESTIE = (“knows” + “E”) + (“best” + “E”); HIPPIE BOOTIE = (“hip” + “E”) + (“boot” + “E”).
This formula works on every entry, and to delightful effect. I handed it to Mr. Chalfin to find word pairs that were obvious but became catchy and unexpected after their transformation: I particularly liked 91-Across or “Tinker Bell or Puck?” OR CRAFTY FAIRY AND 104-Across “A gambler can bet using?,” or a PHONY BOOKIE. But every example in the trait group is a success.
Nice to be back for puzzle #2!! After some of the single voice-changing transmissions didn’t work, I got the idea to double up (literally!) for one last try. Once I started getting some amusing results (especially the SWEETIE TREATY), I knew this one had a chance to go above and beyond. Many thanks to Christina Iverson for sticking with me through two revisions of the topic, and my co-advisers, Alex and Alex, for keeping me company when I wrote the first draft of this grid. Hope this one turns out to be nice and easy…e!
Clues I was excited to see survive the edit:
[Not a big Mac?] for laptop
[I’m toast!] for bread
And of course, [___ Park, home to the University of Chicago] for HYDE
Subject entries I was sad to leave on the cutting room floor:
[Like a memorable moment?] FOR SELFIE WORTHY
[Sign for a spooky Broadway show?] By EERIE MARQUEE
Finally, echoing Adam Wagner’s remark from a while ago: This riddle was accepted about 2.5 months ago; The waiting list on Sunday is short! If you’re a new creator with a Sunday theme you like, I encourage you to link to it – you’ve got a chance!
Puffed and puffy?
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What do you think?