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Ori Brian’s New York Times crossword, “Animal Hybrids” —Nate’s write-up

We’re headed to the zoo in right this moment’s Sunday NYT puzzle! Let’s dive in:

08.28.2022 Sunday New York Times Puzzle

– 22A: BREAK THE ICE [Get a party started? [bee, hare tick]]
– 28A: WET BLANKET [Buzzkill [bat, elk, newt]]
– 34A: PARKING SPACE [A little of a lot? [carp, pig, snake]]
– 47A: WATERMELON PATCH [Locale of many vines [cat, elephant, worm]]
– 62A: BATHROOM SCALE [Something you might step on by the shower [cobra, moth, seal]]
– 78A: GENERAL HOSPITAL [Long-running soap opera that debuted in 1963 [ant, gorilla, sheep]]
– 91A: GLOBE THEATRE [London landmark [beetle, hog, rat]]
– 98A: GOLDEN GATE [Bridge that’s painted International Orange [dog, eel, gnat]]
– 108A: CROSSBREEDS [Mixes animal species … as eight answers in this puzzle do?]

What a enjoyable, well-executed theme! Each themer is an anagram of the trio of animals on the finish of its respective clue, exhibiting what occurs whenever you hybridize these animals. I appreciated that no animals have been repeated all through the puzzle, that each themer was completely in-the-language, and that the puzzle felt dense with theme. Why do I wish to guess that Ori initially named this puzzle Animal Crossing (after the tremendous widespread online game franchise) and the title was modified in modifying?

Also, kudos to Ori for making such a easy grid – it looks like one of many cleaner Sunday NYT grids this yr, which made it much more of a pleasure to unravel.

Other random ideas:
– 15A: PIN [Spare part?] – This was cute!
– 31A: PAWNS [Subjects of some promotions] – Fun misdirect right here
– 83A: MENU [One might be accessed by a QR code, nowadays] – To my dismay!
– 5D: ALKALIS [Lime and soda, e.g.] – Clever! This clue is trickily referring to lime (calcium oxide) and soda (sodium carbonate), each fundamental supplies.
– 21D: LANCE BASS [‘N Sync member who later became a gay rights activist] – I really like seeing shout outs to the LGBTQ+ neighborhood!
– 99D: OCHO [Number of planetas en el sistema solar] – How unusual to not simply have the complete clue in Spanish, particularly since there are such a lot of cognates that make it not too exhausting to determine what the clue is saying.

PS – Shout out to everybody in New York for Lollapuzzoola! I hope you had a good time and I’m solely majorly jealous to have missed it.

PPS – Today’s puzzle jogs my memory to shout out the enjoyable new anagram recreation, Anigrams, made with love by two individuals from inside our very personal crossword neighborhood, Adam Wagner and Rafael Musa. Each day, you get a set of letters to anagram right into a phrase. After determining that first phrase, you get an extra letter and wish to determine a very new phrase that every one the letters anagram to, and on and on. It’s a enjoyable problem with cute animal graphics and (fortunately for me!) variety hints. Check it out!




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