Mon. Dec. 24 NYT Crossword Hints

Hints for NYT beginners:  Monday’s the place to start, that’s for sure, ’cause NYT puzzles get harder as the week goes on.  If you’re googling, I’m sure you see Rex Parker’s blog:  Definitely the place to go when you’re done with the puzzle, but not while you’re still working on it, ’cause he’ll give you the answers and may upset you with how easy he finds some things you find quite challenging.   (btw:  My wife tells me Michael Sharp is really Rex Parker himself!)  And be sure to learn the stuff on my Words every crossword puzzler should know blog.

Advanced solvers:  I met a man once who did the puzzles, starting on Monday and sometimes making it all the way through Thursday, just using the across clues!  It’s fun to see how far you can get.  (With Across Lite, of course you have to be careful not to accidentally give yourself a down clue.)

A few hints:

Theme (Monday thru Thurs. puzzles are “themed” — usually meaning that the long answers are related to in some way.  In this case, there’s something that are a couple things the first word of each two word long answer that’s the same.  Once you find a couple of them, it’ll help you with the other long clues.

Yacht, e.g.:  The “e.g.” (= “for example”) tells you that the clue is a specific example of a broader (often much broader) category.  You’ll sometime even seem things like “Dogs and cats, e.g.” with the answer being “NOUNS.”  Not quite that broad here.

Enthusiastic response to “Who wants cookies?”:  Only 3 letters, but nevertheless, 2 words

Not a dry eye in the ______:  Think theatre

Savana grazers:  a favorite animal for crossword writers;  I wonder if it really exists!  You’ll find OKAPIS and ORYXs a lot in puzzles, but this particular one could be the Spanish + the opposite of the ocean.

RRs stop:  Well, they don’t stop in the middle of nowhere (hopefully) and the RR is an abbreviation, so the answer’s an abbreviation too.