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NYT Crossword Answers for June 6, 2023

Mar 17, 2023


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Daniel Jaret achieves something wonderful.

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By Sam Corbin

Jump to: Today's Theme | Tricky Clues

TUESDAY PUZZLE — There's probably a German word that sums up the feeling I’m about to describe, but indulge me: Do you ever feel as though a coincidence is more than coincidence? After, say, encountering several familiar faces in a single day; or seeing the same blue dress all across the city; or having a bug land on your arm like it knows you? At some point, one begins to feel that chance events aren't happening so much by coincidence as they are by cosmic design. It's as if the universe is playing a game of hot and cold — and letting us know that we’re getting warmer.

Solving today's crossword, which is constructed by Daniel Jaret, may inspire that same rush of heady excitement. Its quality is certainly more than coincidence. And in a world that often feels arbitrary, Mr. Jaret's grid is a welcome reminder that, every now and again, we feel that we’re right where we’re supposed to be.

Most grids in the American-style crossword tradition have rotational symmetry, which means that if you turned them 180 degrees, they would look the same. This doesn't apply to the contents of the grid, of course — unless we’re talking about today's puzzle, in which it does.

I know, right?

At some point while you were solving, you might have noticed that your entries felt somehow related. You couldn't put your finger — or pencil — on it, but your fill seemed like it was circling something.

And it was! It was circling the center.

The answer to 29-Down, STETS, is our palindromic tip-off. It's not exactly a revealer, but its E marks the center of the rotation from which the symmetry originates, creating a puzzle that reads the same way upside-down as it does right-side up. Some of my favorite examples:

A "South American animal with a distinctive snout" (4D) is a TAPIR; to "Try to tear" (52D) something is to RIP AT it.

The famed "Michaels of ‘S.N.L.’" (31A) is LORNE; "Register, to Brits" (45A) is ENROL. (American English spells this word with two l's.)

Mr. Jaret relies on some crosswordese and unlikely abbreviations to make his symmetry work. But this finished grid is so aesthetically pleasing, I’d let him get away with it again in a heartbeat.

16A. "What a bassoon has that a bass doesn't": As a woodwind instrument, the bassoon takes a REED. I know this not from studying music, but from watching my overstimulated dog eat our neighbor's clarinet reed last month.

21A. T-NUTS are threaded fasteners used to secure pieces of wood together. (I recently learned that in Scotland, there is another type of woodworking fastener, the dwang, and I’d be delighted if we could include that in a future crossword.)

65A. I was certain that the entry for "Suffix for an extravaganza," which is -ORAMA, must be pure crosswordese — then proved myself wrong by confirming it had a long history as a suffix meaning "spectacular display."

43D. The STEN gun was an easily assembled "British W.W. II weapon" named with an acronym for its inventors and the place it was invented: Shepherd, Turpin and England. (There is a debate among historians about whether or not the EN stood for Enfield. I am uninvested, but I hope they work it out.)

46D. Even sports fans might have fumbled on NO SIDE, considered an antiquated call for the "End of a rugby match" (when neither side has possession of the ball).

I am thrilled to be making my New York Times Crossword debut! After painstakingly constructing my first puzzle submission by hand, I began reading about the construction process and learned that most constructors rely on software to minimize word-list cross-referencing and the need to redo entire sections when that last cell just doesn't fit.Since I started solving puzzles, I wondered about the significance of rotational symmetry beyond aesthetics. Utilizing my newfound construction software, I wanted to see how far I could take the concept of rotational symmetry. Using a modified dictionary, I added blocks to the grid until the fill coalesced under the symmetry constraints.It has been interesting to share this puzzle with my supportive family of test solvers and the Times editors, and to see their reactions as the theme finally clicks. A big thank-you to my wonderful wife, Carly, for patiently reviewing alternative fills and helping me to flesh out clue ideas.I hope you enjoy!¡uʍop ǝpᴉsdn ǝlzznd ɹnoʎ uɹnʇ oʇ ʇǝƃɹoɟ ʇ,uop pu∀

The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system, and you can submit your puzzles online.For tips on how to get started, read our series "How to Make a Crossword Puzzle."

Still feeling adrift? Subscribers can take a peek at the answer key.

Trying to navigate to the main Gameplay page? You can find it here.

Sam Corbin writes about language, wordplay and the daily crossword for The Times. @ahoysamantha


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