NYT Crossword Answers: Egyptian King of the Gods
TUESDAY PUZZLE -. This puzzle is built around a term that Mr. Sefkow himself coined and knew he had to build a puzzle around it. I love hearing the origin stories of creative themes like this (described in more detail below), and I especially love the smart coat racks, which, as far as I’m concerned, are the height of the spirit. .
My solving experience today is potentially instructive for new solvers, so I’ll briefly recount the saga of my hunt for a “Cause of Correction” (7D):
At first everything was going wonderfully – I was familiar with 1A from the start, and this whole corner came together soon after. I walked through the next section with barely a second thought, and the rest of the puzzle unfolded in a steady, sometimes sticky but never impossible, journey through the grid. I completed my last letter, all ready to hear the toll of victory, when BAM! “Not enough!” appeared on my screen.
What, I thought, how can that be? I didn’t have to guess any of the letters at all! And so I started my hunt for a typo. I have gone through all of the Across entries. It all sounds good, I thought, starting to get frustrated. I went through every entry from Down. I’m sure of all this too, I growled (internally). Once again through the Acrosses, and I realized the truth: I had a bad letter in one of the long thematic entries, which I had mentally skipped on the first pass because I was so certain the theme entries were correct. A facepalm ensued.
So new solvers, please learn from my mistakes: Check all letter when looking for a “Cause for Correction”, not just the ones you are not sure about.
29A. I liked the “Nile biter” hint for ASP, the New York Times’ official crossword snake, because it sounds like “biting fingernail,” which I guess was the point.
32A. The index “One of over 115 on a table” refers to a very specific table – the periodic table, which contains over 115 ELEMENTs (currently 118, to be precise). I guess the editors pinned the number to “over 115” to keep the puzzle accurate even if new material is discovered.
54A. We often see complaints about adding the letter E- at the beginning of words to create new digital versions of the same word (see e-ink or e-tail or e-zine). ESPORTS is one of those rare electronic words that is really a separate, stand-alone concept that basically translates to “competitive video games”, two of which are named in the clue (“Counter-Strike or League of Legends”).
62A. TOPO map is the abbreviation for TOPOgraphic map, which is a “map with elevation lines” – the “at a glance” lets you know that the answer will be an abbreviation.
66A. The word SNEE has appeared less frequently in crosswords lately, but it was a relatively common bit of filler (peaking at 16 crossword appearances in 1980). It means “old dagger,” in the sense that SNEE is an old name for a dagger, not that the dagger itself is old.
67A. Speaking of words more commonly seen in crosswords than in real life, the “tip of a shoelace” is called an AGLET. Now you know, in case you stumble upon these five useful letters in a future puzzle again.
6D. “Canada’s oldest national park” is BANFF. It was my 7D (ERROR) that sent me on the long hunt described above. For some reason I was sure this park was spelled with an “m” instead of the “n” and pronounced like the unprintable slang word which roughly translates to “one to not get along with. mock”.
12D. Here we have a pun hint, as indicated by the “? At the end: “Professional that you might need to see?” Is the one you could literally need to see – an OPTICIAN.
35D. I loved this meta-clue for ERA, which tells us this is the “most common New York Times crossword puzzle answer (over 6% of all puzzles)”. The crossword podcast “Fill me”Explored these“ most common responses ”, and ERA was discussed at length in this recent episode.
37D. The index “Where can you find model workers?” Does not refer to working models (although they can also work here), but rather to people who work on model cars in an AUTO SHOP.
Theme of the day
The theme of this puzzle is based on a word coined by Mr. Sefkow which is a “coat hanger coin describing the theme of this puzzle”. This coat rack is ALLITERNATION, which combines “alliteration” and “nation” to describe the four thematic entries, all of which are alliterative sentences containing a nationality.
For example, the second topic entry is FRENCH FRY. “French” is a nationality, and FRENCH FRY is alliterative, which means that the sound FR- at the beginning of FRENCH is repeated at the beginning of the word FRY. In total: ALLITERNATION!
It’s a delicious coin that took me down a rabbit hole trying to come up with other alternative phrases (?!). So far I have found “American Airlines” and “Canadian Club”, although this latter does not capture the CL- digraph at the beginning of “Club”. Thematic entries by M. Sefkow FRENCH FRY and CHINESE CHECKERS to do capture the FR- and CH- digraphs, which reinforces the excellence of the theme.
What other alternative expressions can you identify? Feel free to add brainstorming in the comments!
When the pandemic closed my UCLA dorm in the middle of my freshman year, I didn’t think I would come back a year and a half later with a New York Times crossword on my resume. But with a sudden abundance of free time, I decided to take the leap from solver to builder – how difficult could that be?
Pretty tough, it turns out. Many thanks to my testers (i.e. my parents) for supporting my questions about Icelandic currency units and Pakistani provincial capitals as my construction skills developed. Originally, I had associated FRENCH FRIES with DOUBLE DUTCH, but the change in consistency (having all nationalities as the first word) fortunately freed up the grid a bit and allowed me to work on some much needed revisions.
I’m happy to bring ESPORT and AUTO SHOP to the NYT for the first time – both related to my hobbies, although my initial clue for the latter [Where one’s body may be worked on?] maybe a little too sneaky.
The working title of this puzzle was “La La Land”. I hope you like it!
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The tipping point
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