NYTimes Crossword Reply: Method of Songs Education

SATURDAY PUZZLE — It’s fitting that we have experienced some scorching Saturday grids this very hot July today’s is no exception. I felt optimistic at the get started soon after getting various inroads, but I got hopelessly stuck in a central place. The stop result was a sluggish clear up time that was as gradual as it is when I get a few of bits of short fill and then stare blankly for a while at a puzzle.

John Lieb has been creating puzzles for The Moments for close to a decade, but it has been about a calendar year since his very last one (a further challenging Saturday, in collaboration with Brad Wilber). Today’s grid has a rather minimal term count and is broad open, that means there are large swaths of good white squares that make things challenging for constructor and solver alike. There is also one particular entry that I really don’t imagine I’ve at any time noticed in advance of, which doesn’t materialize very often to this outdated hand.

15A. It’s beautiful how this entry, clued “Monodon monoceros, additional familiarly,” crosses 5D, “Animal whose title signifies, pretty much, ‘nose.’” We know that a nose occupation is a rhinoplasty, and we know that RHINO (5D) is small for “rhinoceros.” So “monoceros” is, er, “one ceros” (“one horn”). “Unicorn” matches at 15A apparently, but the entry here is NARWHAL, that Arctic whale with the extravagant tusk.

31A. This aviator, the “First human being to fly solo all over the planet (1933),” has popped up in Moments puzzles about the yrs, but only partly, by his initially name. WILEY Post is a debut. One more factoid about Mr. Submit is his famous demise: In 1935, he crashed a aircraft in Alaska that was also carrying the actor Will Rogers, killing them the two.

37A. I recognized this clue, “Circuit making block,” as computational, but I came up with “logic card,” which is near but not rather right. The suitable respond to is a debut and refers to 1 of the many switches in a electronic circuit that handle a variety of inputs, a LOGIC GATE.

13D. This is a good twist! I bought the entry for “Opposite of cut” on crosses and was mystified: Go to. “Cut,” in this case, refers to skipping out on faculty, say, to capture a Cubs activity.

22D. There will be solvers in the viewers who pounce on this clue, “Method of music training.” I should have slice that course. I figured I would deduce it finally, which did not occur, or get it on crosses, which did — whilst I did have to glance on the internet to test my get the job done and obtain the origin of SOLFÈGE, which knocked me for a loop.

I discovered the phonetic aspects “sol” and “fè,” which could be “fa” as in “do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do,” but I believed practically nothing of it for the reason that the sequence was reversed (“sol fa” as a substitute of “fa sol”). It turns out that SOLFÈGE, or “solfeggio,” is a form of solmization, or assigning a precise syllable to a corresponding musical take note. This observe goes back at least a thousand years, to an Italian monk who chose syllables that designed a mnemonic for a hymn (that did not incorporate a deer, a female deer, a very long, very long way to operate or a needle pulling thread).

About the earlier several years, I’ve admired and liked themeless puzzles with broad-open middle sections — specially from Ryan McCarty (he has several eye-popping grids!) — and I desired to just take a shot at crafting a single myself. In addition, getting a themeless puzzle acknowledged these days — with so a lot of constructors writing this kind of amazing puzzles — has been hard, so I figured I would test one thing that I had not accomplished just before. (My rejection pile is properly populated with 70-phrase themeless puzzles. …)

Earning the grid took a lot lengthier than common, but I lucked out by getting flexibility in the NW and SE corners by obtaining the letter designs ????SCIENCE and ALPINE????? to work with. As a longtime instructor of AP Stats, I was happy that one of those slots turned Info SCIENCE. Also, for a lengthy time, the entry WHO IS THAT was WHO IS THIS, and, fortunately, the previous led to substantially cleaner and more attention-grabbing fill. I hope this offers a fun Saturday obstacle for solvers!

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Maria Lewis

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