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NYT Crossword Answers: Team USA Gymnastics Medalist

NYT Crossword Answers: Team USA Gymnastics Medalist
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MONDAY PUZZLE — It’s commencement season, and students graduating from college typically find myriad ways to celebrate. Some find new and unusual ways to party. Others make crossword puzzles that get published in The New York Times.

Well, at least Alexander Liebeskind does.

Mr. Liebeskind made his New York Times Crossword debut in December, and his second puzzle is running just weeks after he graduated from Columbia University with a degree in computer engineering.

Now he must venture into the professional world, where everything is … well, you’ll see once you’ve solved his puzzle.

“The idea for today’s puzzle was a happy accident,” Mr. Liebeskind said in an email. “When I came up with the theme, I was sitting on a plane without internet, turning over sentences in my head. Once I became fascinated with 37-Across, it was a matter of implementation.”

“Given that I graduated from college in the last few weeks,” he went on, “the publication timing feels especially apt.”

The crossword editor Will Shortz called Mr. Liebeskind’s puzzle “a textbook example of a Monday New York Times crossword.”

“The theme is simple but elegant,” Mr. Shortz said. “Each of the long answers conveys the theme in a different way. There’s probably nothing in the entire puzzle that an average Times reader wouldn’t know. At the same time, the vocabulary isn’t trite, and there aren’t too many proper names. And there’s not a single partial phrase.”

“Overall, Monday puzzles don’t get much better than this,” he added.

The typical Monday puzzle contains four theme entries, but Mr. Liebeskind has packed five into his grid if you count the revealer at 37-Across, which gives solvers a hint to the theme.

All of the theme entries begin with the syllable “new” using different spellings, and the revealer is right on point: The answer to the clue “Fresh starts … or, when said aloud, what 18-, 23-, 53- and 58 -Across all have?” is NEW BEGINNINGS. That’s something Mr. Liebeskind can certainly relate to.

At 18-Across, the answer to the clue “Nutty candy offering” is NEWGAT BAR. Similarly, at 23-Across, the answer to “Ultradense galactic body” is NEWTRON STAR, which uses a different spelling of the syllable.

As Mr. Shortz noted, the clues in Mr. Liebeskind’s puzzle are mostly straightforward, although he does use some entertaining wordplay. Here are a few that stand out.

66A. The answer to “It’s catchy” is TRAP. While the clue sounds as if someone is commenting on a piece of music, the “it’s” refers to the answer. Traps are “catchy” things.

1D. “Intel employee?” sounds as if we are supposed to be thinking about someone who works for Intel Corporation, but this clue is pulling a fast one on us. We need to parse it a bit differently and read it as “Someone who employs intel at work.” The answer is SPY.

11D. I’ll admit it, I laughed at this one. A “Kind of phone on the coast of Alabama?” is a MOBILE phone, which is a play on the name of the port city of Mobile, Ala.

26D. The reasoning behind this clue is similar to the one behind 66A. As alarming as “This is not good!” sounds, the answer is SPOILED, because the clue is not a cry for help; it refers to something — most likely food — that is “not good.”

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.”

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