NYT Crossword Answers: James who played Sonny Corleone
Normally I would find out a bit about the awesome grid design and how unusual it is to see three themed entries covering the grid in a Monday themed puzzle, but the builder’s notes do a great job of explaining the challenges. to do this puzzle which I leave it to our builder to explain. (And I recommend reading the entire note – it’s lovely and thoughtful.)
I’m a Queens born social worker living in New Orleans, and this is my first puzzle in The New York Times. Fifteen years ago, in 2006, I started doing crossword puzzles and eventually landed a weekly construction job for my college newspaper, The Daily Reveille., at LSU My puzzles had themes that spanned the gamut from campus landmarks to LSU football rivalries to Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge. After I graduated, I moved to New Orleans and continued to create locally themed puzzles for the now defunct alternative newspaper, The NOLA Defender. I broke conventions with the national puzzles I used to see by allowing two letter words in the grid and collecting as many anecdotes related to South Louisiana as possible. As far as I know, these are the first and only puzzles that were made in Louisiana, for Louisianans. I look back on these puzzles with gentleness and reverence, as they were serious expressions of my most important crossword puzzle value: making people feel seen. The puzzles were odes to my community in southern Louisiana, vehicles for me to validate the cultural perspectives of a region that is so deeply unique and special to me.
In 2012, I completely stopped doing puzzles. After a decade-long hiatus, I came across a resource that renewed my sense of puzzle-making: the Crossword Constructor Collaboration Directory, a Facebook group offering mentorship to builders who identify as women, people of color, homosexuals and other groups that have long lacked representation in the puzzle world. The group connected me to a larger movement of builders who also saw the crossword puzzle sphere as a platform for reimagining whose voices are heard. Through the group, I met builders whose encouragement and feedback allowed me to continue creating puzzles, so that I could finally fulfill a dream I’ve had since 2006: posting a puzzle in the New York Times. . In the end, it was a much longer trip than most of the beginnings. For all the moments of doubt that I went through, I am proud of myself today to have succeeded here.
It is poetic to start on a Monday, a day that welcomes beginner solvers and serves as a gateway to the other days of the week. In Monday fashion, the construction of this puzzle was simple and straightforward. It seems to me that almost every set of three to five things has already been turned into a crossword theme, so I was fortunate enough to find that this geological triplet had yet to be used by another builder. I was doubly lucky to find three thematic entries of 15 letters, which allowed maximum flexibility in the construction of the grid. My biggest dilemma was how to develop the theme. It’s rare that I find New York Times jigsaw puzzles with only three themed entries, so I figured a fourth would be needed. One option was to add a fourth layer – SKY? – but it seemed inelegant to me, if only because my earth science teacher in college taught me that the Earth has three layers, not four. Another option was to add a developer – CAN YOU DIG IT and BREAKING GROUND were a few ideas. Ideally, I would have liked to be able to find a sentence involving a dig that vertically intersected each layer in the center of the puzzle. None of these revealers had the right amount of letters to accommodate the other three entries. My last idea, the one I started with, was to add ROCKS and MAGMA as fun bonuses up and down. (The discovery that ASHES adjacent to the volcano could hold as a central vertical clue was entirely a coincidence.)
In terms of placing the black squares and filling the grid, the main issues were the NW and SE corners, where ROCKS and MAGMA were constraining. If I could do it again, I would try to push the GLUTEN FREE CRACK from one row to the fourth row, and ROTT from one row to the 12th row, to create more room to work in. these corners.
In the end, looking at the completed puzzle, I have regrets. I regret not having paid enough attention to the representation of proper names in the puzzle. The number of entries that center Whites and Eurocentric locations significantly exceeds the number of entries that center people of color and any other geographic location. Also, while watching “Shang-Chi” last week, I asked to change the hint so that LIU would refer to “Shang-Chi” star Simu LIU. Unfortunately, at the time of the request, I was told it was too late to make the change. As an Asian American, it would have been personally significant to draw attention to the actor or the film. I selfishly hope to start Simu Liu or “Shang-Chi” in a future puzzle.
Some things I’m happy about: As a gluten sensitive person whose favorite food unfortunately is pizza, I’m happy to draw attention to 17-Across for those with similar food sensitivities or allergies (and similar loves for pizza). I am happy to include SISQO and J COLE. Finally, it means the most to me that my ILS / THEM pronouns are debuting in NYT crosswords for the first time. I remember how nice it was to complete this puzzle. While the fleeting sense of validation during a crossword puzzle is such a small consolation in the grand scheme of life, if my puzzle can make anyone feel like they’ve been seen a little more, it that’s what I’m here for.
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