Why? Well, why not? – The New York Times

SUNDAY PUZZLE — Jesse Goldberg is a software program engineer in San Francisco. This is his third crossword for The Times (and his second Sunday puzzle — his first, from nearly precisely a 12 months in the past, was pretty and pulled quotations from a well-known French kitchen, in case you missed it). Many solvers can be aware of this puzzle-loving constructor’s every day routine: Solve Wordle, verify Wordlebot, play Spelling Bee, remedy the crossword, in that order.

The fill is vivid right this moment, and there are fairly just a few fascinating lengthy entries; it is fairly simple 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,’ eg,” and I believed 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 “SaP.” Ridiculous, however just one letter off from the proper description — Dufresne, performed by Tim Robbins within the film, grew to become a jail ESCAPE.

94A. This entry shocked me, though I’m an proprietor and an enormous fan. “They would possibly get all around the flooring” refers to cheerful, rechargeable ROOMBAS.

17D. Mr. Goldberg is a software program engineer, and once I noticed “Server error,” with just a few strategic crossing letters in place, I wrote “root fault.” This does not appear to be a factor; there is a “root listing,” but it surely’s benign. Also, the “server” in query is not part of a pc system or a restaurant workers member; it is a reference to tennis and the error of a FOOT FAULT.

53D. “Primeval” makes me consider previous-progress forest with out folks 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, “’ru 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, by 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-Across, that factors out a element of that letter shift that had by some means escaped me.

Another factor that by some means escaped me whereas I used to be fixing this puzzle was the precise pairing of the themes. I blame this on discovering nearly all of the entries that acquire a letter first; these are at 24-, 51-, 71- and 96-Across, and they’re a barrel of monkeys.

At 24-Across, “Places the place some belts are tightened?,” the entry is BELLY BOTTOMS, which is anatomically right as an easy reply, however can also be a play on “bell bottoms.” If you seen the puzzle’s title, you will nod right here — “Why? Well, why not?” is smart for a theme that requires the addition of the letter “Y” to phrases and phrases for comedic impact.

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

I had solved three of these clues earlier than I obtained anyplace with their companions in crime, that are at 29-, 58-, 80- and 108-Across. For some motive, these had been rather more tough for me, and I did not see the connection for some time. 29-Across, “Stephen Crane’s ‘The Red Badge of Courage,’ eg?,” resolves to COMBAT READ. Yes, sure, well-known conflict novel. Got it. 80-Across was extra of a headscratcher however by some means nonetheless acceptable: “Doctor’s description of the start of triplet sons?” solves to THREE TIMES SALAD. Ah, sure, Mr. Goldberg, very intelligent.

Fortunately, 58-Across saved me. “Sleep part?” solves to SLUMBER PART. Aha! This “slumber get together” is lacking its “Y” in a case of “Well, Why Not?” That signifies that COMBAT READ is a play on “fight prepared,” and, um, oh, that is “Three occasions a girl.”

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

This theme happened serendipitously. Luckily, 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 method of producing theme concepts, however conserving your mind in “crossword mode” whereas going about your day can sometimes yield fruit.

Overall, the grid-making course of was pretty easy. As the themes solely wanted a single letter elimination/addition, there have been ample choices to select from. I did wrestle a bit with the place of the revealer. For these purists on the market who like their revealers to be within the closing throughout slot, simply know that I fought laborious to make that occur however could not fairly pull it off. At least not with out some ugly fill choices that I wasn’t prepared to just accept.

Hope y’all benefit from the remedy.

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