Sun Feb 24 NYT Crossword – I Surrender

Hello Sunday solvers who want hints rather than direct answers.   First, the theme…

Sometimes “getting” the theme is incidental to solving the puzzle, sometimes it’s absolutely necessary.  This is one where you really need to get the idea of the theme to move reasonably well through the puzzle.

Let’s start at the beginning, the upper left corner and see what we can discover about the long answer (22-Across) that we can safely assume is part of the theme.

1.-Across:  Drummers accompanier:  This is a pretty literal clue.  Who often plays alongside the drummer?  Think soldiers, not rock bands.

Now try 1-Down:  Try to shoot:  2 words.  The first word can’t be AIM, too short and doesn’t fit with 1-Across.  But it’s something that’s follows close behind aiming…

2-Down: Lays to rest:  Think of cemeteries, not beds.

Now, if you got those two, you’ll notice something very strange is happening in 22-Across

11-Down: It’s left on a keyboard.  I know you learned touch typing in school, but take a look at what’s right (or left in this case) under your fingers.  Now isn’t that also a rather strange letter to end a long phrase with?

Keep that thought and remember the clue for many long and a few short answers:  Back Down ( = I Surrender, right?  The clues actually could be “I surrender” instead of back down, but that might think the answers have to be self-referential/first-person, which they aren’t).

If you haven’t gotten the idea yet, start filling in as many individual answers as you can without worrying about the long clues.  Do you see some of the long answers ending with letters that you would expect in the opposite place in a phrase?

Take 100-Down for example (Welcome through the door).  It doesn’t mean that you yell hello through a closed door.  That wouldn’t be very nice!  So sometimes you might ask a person to enter or you might _____ (2 words) a guest.  Now if 117-Down isn’t an AUSSIE wearing a boa but a different sort of bird (and one that isn’t yet extinct) and 91-Down is 3 words that could be clued as “What you hoped to get by reading this blog.”  and you’ve filled in a couple more, are you ready to surrender, or does victory now appear to be just around the corner?  I hope the latter.  Keep on filling a checking those odd-looking long answers.  But don’t get too DOWN if you’re struggling, you can always come BACK next week!

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