Sun Dec 30 NYT Crossword Hints – Plus Ten

Theme:  Puns involving “Plus Ten.”

In case you didn’t know:  Always pay close attention to the title of the Sunday puzzle.   If you see the long clues are puns (indicated by the question mark at the end)  you’ll most likely need to get several shorter clues that cross the long answers in order to have a decent shot at solving them.  In most cases, the answers are literally what the clue says, but a much more common short phrase is discovered if you apply some rule to each.  When I see plus ten, I immediately wonder if it’s arithmetical or if the letters TEN are added into the answer.  Well, it’s not that, but it is something quite similar.

I’d suggest trying to get as many down clues that cross Champion model maker at the county fair?  (or it could be at a Science Fair just as easily).  Once you see how the more common phrase is turned into the phrase that fits the clue, you’ll have a useful hint to solving the other long clues.

Musical composition about a lumberjack’s seat:  Well, it might be the lumberjack’s seat before or after cutting down a tree, but not while cutting it down.

And there’s one clue/answer combo that could fit the pattern:   Take 21-down, Pope Agatho’s successor.  Let’s start with this:  It’s a short name followed by two roman numerals.  Suppose it was Pope Agatho’s Hawaiian successor?  (With the question mark as part of the clue.)  Well, it doesn’t exactly work, but might give you an idea of what’s going on in the theme of this puzzle.

Need another theme hint?  At the bottom of this page you’ll find a final theme hint.


Non-theme clues:

Elusive African animal:  Well, I can’t give a hint without giving it away, but, for future reference this animal and the ELAND may be elusive in reality but are very common in crosswords.

Dr. ____ : Two three-letter doctors are very popular in xwords.   One’s a wrapper, the other’s the lead role in a long-running English sci-fi series.

Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News musical:  Rhymes with the nickname of another Broadway smash hit recently made into a movie

Logical start? :  The question mark here tells you it’s a prefix.

Hops dryer:  KILNs are used this purpose in pottery.  Another answer worth storing in your mind for future reference.  It’s an anagram of a cereal cereal.

Equilibria:  As in more than one equilibrium

Grilled cheese sandwich go-with:  Note there’s not “?””  This is not a theme answer and just a straight 2-word answer.

El _____ :  Lots of things can follow El.  In this case, it’s a place.

Singer Falana and others:  Well, here’s a case where it should be safe to end it with an S.

Heavy-duty protection:  Think dinosaurs, particularly Ankylosaurs if you know what the heck they are.

Eponymous Italian city:  Have you ever heard someone use the word “eponymous” in a sentence?  No, I haven’t either, but often first albums are, literally, eponymous, if that’s any help.


Final theme hint:

Remember that, in xword-puzzle-land, sometimes what looks like a letter can also be a number.