Thu Jan 10 NYT Crossword Hints & Tips

Thursday is usually the most fun day of the week for most people who do NY Times puzzles frequently. (I enjoyed Wednesday’s, btw.  I like when the answer makes you smile once you figure it out.)  Fridays and Saturdays are themeless, so they rarely have an added twist or tickle.

A possible solving strategy:  Work you way through the acrosses and downs seeing what you feel fairly confident about.  (If you’re starting out, this number will go up as you keep doing puzzles.  I can definitely remember the days when I could go through an entire Saturday or even Friday puzzle and only have a couple answers solidly written in.)  As you then go through the down clues, particularly look out for things that seem pretty definite but contradict earlier guesses.  Erasing a wrong answer (keeping in mind it could yet prove right!) is even more valuable than putting in a good guess.   Then find the spot that seems that looks like you’ve got the most filled in and see what you can do with that area.

Theme hints:  OK, a quick browse of the clues tells us that 4-down, 9-down, & 36-down are related to each other.  With 42-across and 25-across also linked.  Are they these combo answers linked to each other?  Maybe not.  But, let me warn you, this is a clever one.  Truly Thursday appropriate.  (Sadly, Across Lite makes you write in the very thing you shouldn’t in order to get Mr. Happy Pencil.)



Specific Hints:

It’s a mystery:  This is what I call a “literal.”   It’s a direct synonym of “mystery,” not a famous mystery or any other kind or example of a mystery.

I call Foul on 41-across (Title figure in a Mitch Albom best seller) crossing  29-down (Pacific Nation).  I’m sure there are lots of people, maybe you’re one of them, who know one of those two answers, but I sure don’t.  If you don’t know them, there is no way you can do anything but guess what’s in the square where they cross.  I know I only give hints and not answers, but I’ll tell you this much: the crossing square is a letter between Q and S in the alphabet.  That doesn’t give it away, does it?

Many a  “Today” show sign:  If you watch the show this is obvious, if you don’t remember that the audience is outside in the street, not inside in a theatre, so it’s not a sign like “APPLAUSE” they show studio audiences (in case they forgot what they’re there for!).

Moravian capital:  Remember how those Moravian’s hate their vowels and love jamming their consonants together!

Black:  Yeh, I thought EBON, too, but there are other words for the same thing it seems.