NYT crossword answers: author whose novel “Juneteenth” was published posthumously


THURSDAY PUZZLE – There are a lot of misconceptions about The New York Times – better known to some by the moniker “The Gray Lady” – and the main one is that anything even a little dirty gets canceled bluntly by a team of editors in white shoes in an ivory tower.

Anyone who’s spent time in a newsroom knows that journalists and editors like to have a good time, even if it doesn’t always end up in the final printed product. Once I walked into work and was greeted by a huge puffy dinosaur wearing a party hat, and it wasn’t even casual Friday.

Nevertheless, a certain professionalism is expected. My colleague Pam Belluck once wrote an entire article on condoms without really mentioning what part of the anatomy they are worn on. I’m not sure I would have had that kind of restraint, which is probably why I write for Games and not the Science section.

This level of professionalism is also why Matt Fuchs’ second puzzle for The New York Times is pretty sweet, at least when it comes to its theme content. You will see what I mean. Things could have really gotten out of hand here, but thanks to our intrepid puzzle editing team, our reputation is solid.

1A. If something has LEGS, it means it’s operational for the foreseeable future. From a marketing standpoint, I guess “long term appeal” could also be considered to have LEGS.

13A. See, because you park A LOT… it’s a pun. You park your car a lot in a stadium, and it costs a LOT.

29A. This “Little gel? Is a veiled capital index. The clue refers to the poet Robert Frost, and the track is a VERSET.

49A. Let’s play “Is this a verb or a noun?” “Head across the pond?” It sounds like an action, but this clue really asks you for a UK synonym for a “head” or toilet. The answer is LOO.

56A. An ELI is a wearer of a “Y” sweatshirt because ELIs attend Yale University.

58A. Another series of “Is this a verb or a noun?” “Stand by the pool, maybe” sounds like someone is hanging out right by the water’s edge, but this clue hints at a drink stand. The answer is TIKI BAR.

68A. “Maybe it’s on the house” makes it look like we’re getting something for free, but in this puzzle, the thing that’s on the house is a LINK.

2D. “Juneteenth”, Ralph ELLISON’s second novel after “Invisible Man”, was a work written over 40 years and published in 1999, five years after his death in 1994.

12D. “Glass elevator?” Reminded me of Willy Wonka, but it’s another game of “Is this a verb or a noun?” The elevator – in this case, the one that raises a drinking glass – is a toaster.

39D. You may come across body hair removal in a salon, but in this puzzle the body to be waxed is a car and the company providing the service is a CARWASH.

45D. Not a pool cue, sorry, I meant a hint. “Balls in a pocket” refers to FALAFEL, which is served in a pita pocket.

63D. Watch out for these! “Is it after you?” Does not refer to someone chasing you. The clue is to ask for the word meaning “is” which would come after the word “you” in a sentence, and the answer is ARE, as in “You are …”

Mr. Fuchs offers us five common expressions that are reinvented as light oaths. The first word of the sentence is the expletive and the second word is the element or concept to which the expletive is directed.

For example, at 36A, which was Mr. Fuchs’ main entrance, the phrase DARN SOCKS is listed as “I keep losing things in the dryer!”

Likewise – and this one may have more of an impact on our international solvers than our US solvers because the word ‘bloody’ is not such a sweet oath in other countries – the answer to the clue ” My allergies are really working! ‘is BLOODY NOSE.

I am delighted to return to The New York Times with my second puzzle! A lot has happened since I started at The Times in 2014. I was halfway through high school and my understanding of crossword construction back then seems pretty naïve to me now.

In college my crossword productivity reduced to a trickle, but now that I’ve graduated I’ve been able to be a much more active puzzle maker. If I can attribute anything positive to the pandemic, it’s that I finally had the time to turn my ideas into fully realized puzzles. By day I study to become an architect, and in my spare time I pursue several interests – puzzles included – like studying French and creating art projects at a local glass studio just outside of Washington, DC.

The seed of this theme was the phrase DARN SOCKS, which I realized could be interpreted as a funny curse. I left this entry inactive for a while until I managed to find other phrases to complete the set of themes. I tried to maximize the number of seven letter entries when designing the grid, as I found them ideal for meaningful words and phrases (answers like TIKI BAR, I’M NO USE, LAB MICE and CARWASH appeal to me, because they pack so much color in a mid-length slit and are ripe for clever clues). As a specialist in architecture and French, I was also delighted to include references to figures such as IM Pei and Captain Nemo.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Times puzzle team for their help and modifications. Special thanks also to Amanda Chung and Karl Ni, who kindly provided their comments and, of course, to my expert in test solving: my mom. I can’t wait to write and contribute to more puzzles and hope it’s not yet seven years before my next appearance in The 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 Create a Crossword Puzzle” series.

Almost done solving but need a bit more help? We have what you need.

Warning: There will be spoilers ahead, but subscribers can take a look at the fix.

Trying to get back to the puzzle page? Here.

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