Why? Well, Why Not?

Why? Well, Why Not?

SUNDAY PUZZLE — Jesse Goldberg is a software program engineer in San Francisco. That is his third crossword for The Instances (and his second Sunday puzzle — his first, from virtually precisely a yr in the past, was beautiful and pulled quotations from a well-known French kitchen, when you missed it). Many solvers might be acquainted with this puzzle-loving constructor’s day by day routine: Clear up Wordle, test Wordlebot, play Spelling Bee, clear up the crossword, in that order.

The fill is vivid right this moment, and there are fairly a couple of attention-grabbing lengthy entries; it’s fairly straightforward to get a bit misplaced whereas in search of the theme.

44A. I drew a clean on this trivia clue, “Andy Dufresne in ‘The Shawshank Redemption,’ e.g.,” and I assumed for some time that it is perhaps within the theme as a result of I used to be misdirected to a homophone. I had “Syd” fairly than CYD CHARISSE, which left me with the nonsense phrase “essapee, as in “S-a-P.” Ridiculous, however just one letter off from the proper description — Dufresne, performed by Tim Robbins within the film, turned a jail ESCAPEE.

94A. This entry stunned me, though I’m an proprietor and a giant fan. “They could get everywhere in the ground” refers to cheerful, rechargeable ROOMBAS.

17D. Mr. Goldberg is a software program engineer, and after I noticed “Server error,” with a couple of strategic crossing letters in place, I wrote “root fault.” This doesn’t appear to be a factor; there’s a “root listing,” however it’s benign. Additionally, the “server” in query isn’t part of a pc system or a restaurant workers member; it’s a reference to tennis and the error of a FOOT FAULT.

53D. “Primeval” makes me consider old-growth forest with out individuals clanging about, grunting and making instruments, however STONE AGE is a synonym.

62D./65D. I discovered the association of those clues to be witty. 62D, “early collaborator with Prince,” results in MORRIS Day (who’s nonetheless touring, with the Time). 65D, “‘r u 4 actual?,’” jogs my memory of a Prince lyric.

There are 4 pairs of theme entries in right this moment’s puzzle that execute the identical trick, a letter shift, during which a personality hops from one entry within the pair to the opposite and makes each of the pun clues make sense. There’s additionally a pleasant revealer, at 115-Throughout, that factors out a element of that letter shift that had in some way escaped me.

One other factor that in some way escaped me whereas I used to be fixing this puzzle was the precise pairing of the themers. I blame this on discovering practically all of the entries that acquire a letter first; these are at 24-, 51-, 71- and 96-Throughout, and they’re a barrel of monkeys.

At 24-Throughout, “Locations the place some belts are tightened?,” the entry is BELLY BOTTOMS, which is anatomically appropriate as a simple reply, however can be a play on “bell bottoms.” If you happen to observed the puzzle’s title, you’ll nod right here — “Why? Effectively, Why Not?” is sensible for a theme that requires the addition of the letter “Y” to phrases and phrases for comedic impact.

51-Throughout is superb. “Lawyer with absurdly exaggerated humor?” turns into a variation on one other profession path, CAMPY COUNSELOR. 71-Throughout, “Harvesting machine that wants cleansing?,” will get darkish. 96-Throughout, “Battle between Tinker Bell and Princess Ozma?,” is mild as a feather: Each characters are engaged in a FAIRY FIGHT.

I had solved three of these clues earlier than I bought wherever with their companions in crime, that are at 29-, 58-, 80- and 108-Throughout. For some purpose, these had been far more tough for me, and I didn’t see the connection for some time. 29-Throughout, “Stephen Crane’s ‘The Crimson Badge of Braveness,’ e.g.?,” solves to COMBAT READ. Sure, sure, well-known struggle novel. Received it. 80-Throughout was extra of a headscratcher however in some way nonetheless acceptable: “Physician’s description of the beginning of triplet sons?” solves to THREE TIME SALAD. Ah, sure, Mr. Goldberg, very intelligent.

Happily, 58-Throughout saved me. “Sleep part?” solves to SLUMBER PART. Aha! This “slumber occasion” is lacking its “Y” in a case of “Effectively, Why Not?” That implies that COMBAT READ is a play on “fight prepared,” and, um, oh, that’s “3 times a girl.”

Lastly, at (virtually) the very backside of this puzzle, that little shock revealer is at 115-Throughout: “Develop into conscious of … or a homophonic description of 4 letter shifts on this puzzle’s grid.” I used to be considering of “Seeing why” or the like, however that is so significantly better. Say WISE UP TO aloud, if simply to your self — Y’s up two — and spot the trajectory of every letter “Y” in these theme pairs. They every take slightly journey up two rows and match proper in — fairly nifty!

This theme happened serendipitously. Fortunately, I occurred to note the wordplay potential when the revealer phrase popped up in one thing I used to be studying. It won’t be probably the most environment friendly means of producing theme concepts, however protecting your mind in “crossword mode” whereas going about your day can often yield fruit.

Total, the grid-making course of was pretty clean. Because the themers solely wanted a single letter elimination/addition, there have been ample choices to select from. I did battle a bit with the place of the revealer. For these purists on the market who like their revealers to be within the last throughout slot, simply know that I fought onerous to make that occur however couldn’t fairly pull it off. No less than not with out some ugly fill choices that I wasn’t prepared to simply accept.

Hope y’all benefit from the clear up.

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