58 d. The idea “they have everything from porpoises to zebras” is a nice way of saying ZOOS has all the animals from the ground up.
Well, if this isn’t the most bizarre crossword puzzle I’ve seen this week, I’ll eat my hat! Of course, since it’s only Monday, there’s a chance that this week’s puzzles will get even weirder — I’d better make my hat. Regardless of hat size, this look is so silly and funny that it’s sure to brighten up your Monday.
The entry for the first subject, in 17A, gave me no clues whatsoever as to what the subject might be. “Grand Central, for one person” is a key to RAILROAD STATION, a 15-character entry spanning the network. The second theme entry wasn’t helpful anymore – in fact, if anything, it made me wonder if the theme entries might not have been the long spin-offs at all. This entry, MARKET CRASH (“October 1929 event”), had no apparent connection to the railway station. Confused, I got to the topic of the third entry and mentally threw my hands away – Sure There can be no connection between the railway station, the market crash and the CINNAMON BUN!
But, oh, how wrong I was. As the detector in the 65A humorously announced, the previous three attribute entries were STOP, DROP AND ROLL (“Fire Safety Technology…or 17-, 29-, and 49- together”). Such a funny use of a detector, and a cleverly disguised subject, that I completely forgive Mr. Spiers for my moment of bewilderment.
What a joy! Let’s hear from Mr. Spiers about the origin story of the crossword puzzle and his inspiration for this puzzle.
Last week, my father told me that one of his first memories of the crossword was identifying an OBOE in a Sunday New York Times puzzle his mother was solving, an early moment in their lifelong bond around puzzles. My first baffling memory is seeing them get together (or better compete with each other) on a Saturday morning. Although crossword puzzles have been in my consciousness for a long time, I didn’t start solving them on my own until January 2020, the same month my grandmother passed away. The itch to build came quickly after starting to solve, and this puzzle was born a few months later. I wish I could share it with her.
I couldn’t be happier to be my debut with this puzzle. STOP DROP AND ROLL is one of those fun, familiar phrases from elementary school that for some reason still ran through my head, and it clicked to me that it could make for a fun reveal connecting three completely unrelated things. The dopamine rush from recognizing a connection like this is one of the things that got me addicted to solving it, so it’s good to debut with a puzzle centered around this element. I’m also happy to inject a lot of my personality into today’s network, from basketball and candy to geography and crossing.
Many thanks to the editorial team at The Times for helping me greatly improve this puzzle from its first version. Most importantly, thanks to my friends and family who have supported me at every turn! I hope you enjoyed it!
Want to submit a crossword puzzle to the New York Times?
The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system, which will reopen on January 3.
For tips on how to get started, read our series, “How to Make a Crossword Puzzle.”
The turning point
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