This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

Thumbnails

Puzzles for June, 2022
with Jim Horne comments

Wed 6/1/2022
AMENREGROWJOB
MAGIOMEARAADO
PHONENUMBERWED
MISTEDEMBASSY
ELOPEIDO
STNSANDCRAFTS
CHADREGARDLEA
AEROSOLNESTING
PLOTALESEEFTS
OFTHEDARKBEES
CIAROLES
MIASMICASHLEE
ORRCOLLECTIONS
MIDATASTERBIS
ASSRANDOSTODO

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen, who's getting his tarot cards read.

Rules? What rules?

Puzzles of all kinds have rules, but an odd property of crosswords is that the rules are secret. You figure them out by playing the game. How do you know that puzzles get more difficult as the week progresses? Or that wordplay outweighs strict definitions? Or that clue/answer tenses must match? Or that answers might involve multi-word phrases, writing more than one letter in a square, or entering answers backward? We often get angry email from solvers encountering such tricks for the first time. These learned conventions make regular solvers feel like they're part of a fun secret society, but they can be frustrating for new solvers.

Fortunately, early-week themed puzzles often have an explanation answer called a revealer that "justifies" the apparent nonsense. Not today!

Mr. Dittrich gives us four phrases where the first word of each hides in circled letters in the remaining words. We learn by playing the game that the four long answers make sense when you extract the word spelled in the circles and prepend it to the initial phrase. It's not explained, but it's a good gimmick because you know it's correct once you figure it out.

Does it feel inelegant that two of the four raw theme answers can stand alone and two can't? I imagine it's challenging to find phrases that fit this puzzle's rules. Of course, solvers don't care how hard the crossword is to construct any more than audiences at a magic show care how technically difficult the effect is, but these are questions that constructors and editors chew pencils over.

Matisse at MOMA (51-Down) continues through to Sep. 10.

Thu 6/2/2022
BACKMILANTLC
ETNAADAGECHAR
SHOTTHEBOWRAKE
TOTAAASGOATEE
SEOULEILISH
KNOCKDRAGOUT
IDIOTRAILNRA
NICKSENTARMOR
CSAMAYOLIENS
HANDSAMERICA
STAINSCOLBY
STENCHELEVRIM
WEVEUPSIDECAKE
ARESNAOMIUKES
MSNTYSONBESS

The NRA at 34-Across (1930s Depression-fighting org.) is the National Recovery Administration.

POW Fri 6/3/2022
LOGICOTISTILT
OPENINGACTEMIR
BANKROLLEDNONO
OLECREEPDUVET
SUMSLAUREN
CANOLABARTER
EBOLAFANCYTHAT
LEVARIREFREDO
STARFLEETRARER
SPIELSDECENT
SCALEDWEEK
PHONETEENSMOM
RATECRUNCHTIME
EVILBIRDHOUSES
PEASSPOTPEONS
Sat 6/4/2022
INOUYEPUBSOLD
SECRETMENUTBAR
ACTNATURALOATY
ACAHUPBIOMES
CODASPITOPART
NAMESIGNCIA
DRAGMOTHEREAST
ROLLERSTEATREE
ALOESHEHERHERS
GENGEOMETRY
OMEGAWOKALLOW
NOTELLNANIRA
EDIEOHFORGETIT
GEMSCOOTIESHOT
GLEEKEYASPENS

Jim (he/him/his) here, sitting in for Jeff Chen, who's binge-watching Claire FOY in "The Crown."

It's been ten years since Daniel INOUYE retired from the U.S. senate. He was the highest-ranking Asian-American politician in U.S. history, making him a great 1-Across even if he didn't have such a spectacular name.

What makes a great Saturday crossword? I have no idea, but what makes a satisfying one for me is:

  • It's not too easy
  • But I can finish it and be confident it's correct
  • And I encounter some new facts that I appreciate learning.

Today's puzzle hits all three for me. A NAME SIGN makes total sense. I hope every queen has a great DRAG MOTHER. I'd love to eat at the WOK AND ROLL.

You might recognize EDIE Windsor from the Supreme Court case, United States v Windsor that overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, thereby legalizing same-sex marriage.

Part of the joy of Saturday crosswords is that puns get stretched far beyond any reasonable limit. "A strain in the theatre" for ARIA? That's so outlandish, it's hilarious.

Sun 6/5/2022 Let's Get Literature
FUSESPACEBARBOASIS
AHOYMORELABITPLANK
COMESOUTOFONESSHELLEY
THEMOORSUTILEUNEASY
PARTIDOSAMEND
GOESTHROUGHHELLERFOG
AWOKEAIDELOLSCOWL
LIPDAMNMOMOAARLO
EELSTAKESALONGWALKER
SEALESWORDSERBSTY
LEOIWISPSSOBE
OOHGUNNTHATSNARCO
PLAYSTHEFIELDINGALPS
TIREAMISSBOOBETA
ENDATLENTTYLUSAIN
DELBREAKSTHELAWRENCE
YETISTWIXALAS
TVEXECSHOOTSTRAWHAT
GIVESAFAIRSHAKESPEARE
INERTRINKEVITAEVAN
FORTSODDSRENEWDEBT
Mon 6/6/2022
VINEPLASMASRI
IDOLCIPHERPET
DELLASTREETACE
ISAACILKSCAM
TWELVESTEPS
MCSSETERIES
OAKSPCPGAUGE
STICKTHELANDING
SONIAIMPSTAG
NOTESASPSTY
BOYNEXTDOOR
ENDSPEEARGON
LEIHONEYIMHOME
LIPISOMEREWAN
ELSCESSNAANNE
POW Tue 6/7/2022
ESCCRAGSASPER
SALMEDIABORAX
PHOTOBOMBSNOTS
RAVENMLBALF
IRESTWEETSTORM
TARTAREWHINER
POSHANGST
COMPUTERCRASH
ARNIEYOLK
BUSMAPTOSTADA
EMAILBLASTARAB
PFCSIRCREMA
FLAKETECHBOOMS
DEREKUNDUELEE
ASIDEPACERADD

If your computer actually crashes (35-Across) can you still get a "spinning beachball of death"? Well, no, but this is another example of the crossword convention of "close enough."

Wed 6/8/2022
ATBATVACAYMEL
MAORISAMOREOLE
PICKETHLINESVIA
MLKDUALBIOS
PUBLICTOILETH
ECLIPSEHEATER
THINARTSCHOOL
CATFADDIETHLIE
HOTELBARSGENX
ELOISEPARASKI
MARKETHPLACES
EBBSOATSLIP
ABUMODELROCKETH
LOGPROWLRUINED
STSHEXESEXAMS
Thu 6/9/2022
CAMISTORTTRAP
LEECHOVERHEHE
AREHARADIOEDIS
SACHUEDOLEOUT
STUSTREWDUNNE
IOTATORAHSEAR
CRECHEAREAS
SHORTFILMS
ELLENSTOOPS
KGBLYRISTGURU
IRATEMALEKLOG
SORORALIDAMTA
SUERSTORMPCUER
MOLTMAILPAIGE
ENYAENBYARCED
Fri 6/10/2022
ACROSSSPICED
CHEMLABYEAHNO
CELERIACNEGATE
ORALDROPCLOTHS
SITESGUISEBUN
TEETHINCPOST
BORNTOOLATE
GARAGEDOORS
SUREFIREHIT
SHESNAGNIKES
TISBROCASCANT
INSOLENTLYINGA
NEWDAYSLEEPSIN
GOHOMEOAKLAND
SNORESREESES

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who is celebrating Día de los REYES (Three Kings' Day) six months late.

If you drive out to Belle Fourche, South Dakota this weekend (and why wouldn't you?) you'll encounter a cairn with a hand-written sign declaring it the Center of the Nation. That's not what 38-Down asks, though. It wants the "Home of the continental U.S.'s geographic center" where we must somehow believe that Alaska isn't part of a continent, so we push down to Lebanon, KANSAS, and that's our answer.

Part of the joy of crosswords is that you learn something new or, even better, dredge up some factoid you'd forgotten. Clues are different than school tests. You don't have to calculate the geographic center of mass, let alone show your work. You make educated guesses based on other information you collect — how many letters, what letters you already have with what level of confidence, etc. The clue could be "state somewhere in the middle of the U.S." or, since it's a Friday, "place somewhere in the middle" but that would deny you the joy of feeling smug next time a geographic center question comes up at Trivia Night.

The previous NYT crossword editor, Eugene Maleska, targeted solvers who had, what was known at the time as a "classical liberal education." You had to know your Byron, Shelley, and Keats, Norman Rockwell and the Norman Invasion of 1066, and world geography. You also had to know some French, the International Language of Diplomacy, in case you ever needed to negotiate a treaty or sentence a war criminal.

Modern puzzles like today's reflect modern America, relying more on Spanish language and Mexican culture. That makes it tougher for people like me who grew up in a country where French is an official language, but it's fairer for everyone else.

Sat 6/11/2022
TIMEWARPMAME
SHAPEWEARENID
HASSLEFREEACNE
ITSODDREACTION
REAMSPODRACERS
TIGCITYPLANS
STEWPOTSLIST
HOLYLUPE
COREHIGHSTEP
ROCKSTARSANI
DALAILAMAJENGA
OPENEARSWALLIN
IAMSWETMARTINI
NCAASEMITONES
GENYRATSNEST
Sun 6/12/2022 Didn't We Just Have This?
ASKSCOCOTOOLELMER
THINGOAHUEXPONAOMI
RODEOATITCHINLBOMB
ANDANOTHERTHINGIOTAS
IDIDNTFEEDEJAVU
NAEAIMEDLIEOVERSEE
OSMOSESSHINDIGS
THISISNTMYASANAATOP
RAMONERIYALTOY
ADULTPERILVISORRNA
ITSDEJAVUALLOVERAGAIN
LOTRAYONBORAXTYPED
ANIKOREASONICS
BABYARENAFIRSTRODEO
UNROLLEDRUSSOLO
MARTIALREPSTYNEGMO
OPIATETAUENSUED
MIAMIBABYONEMORETIME
ONSETELLEIDEAMELON
DITTOLIONSTARYETIS
STAIRSAGSEONSLYRE

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who is listening to Luigi Russolo "music" on Spotify.

Will Nediger. Will Nediger. That name sounds familiar...

The mission statement for XWord Info — to celebrate NYT crosswords and the people who make them — came from an early observation I made in 2007 when I was first experimenting with what I could learn from NYT puzzle data. At the time, The Times made their crossword archive back to 1996 available in digital format, so it was easy to extract clues and answers, and analyze them. As I worked through past puzzles, I discovered that many of the ones I most enjoyed were by the same constructor, a medical doctor in San Francisco named Manny Nosowsky.

When you read novels, you're aware of the authors and you seek them out. Sophisticated filmgoers follow their favorite directors. (Why not screenwriters? Long story.) I wanted to help crossword solvers have that same connection with the geniuses behind the grids.

Will Nediger has a particular style, and it's independent of venue. His New Yorker crosswords bear his personal mark too. Every constructor has a personal style. They can't help it. Some styles and some constructors will resonate more with you. I happen to love Mr. Nediger's. Knowing who wrote the puzzle helps me enjoy it more, and knowing their proclivities can make me a better solver. You can get a sense for a constructor's individualism by looking at the words they debuted and their word cloud.

Today's theme is phrases about repeating things that repeat a key word from earlier in the grid. Excellent Sunday theme. A few notes:

  • The L-BOMB at 26-Across refers to saying, "I love you." Go for it!
  • ___ particle at 104-Across is just a way to clue a random Greek letter.
  • Is REBLOG at 96-Down a word? Apparently so.
  • Activist Ayọ Tometi has a dot under the ọ in her first name. (Her parents are Nigerian.)
  • Will Nediger doesn't like AN I as an answer, but for me, the cute clue at 78-Across saves it.

One more observation. Crosswords, for better or worse, shy away from words that might offend, but they revel in clues that seem titillating, Did "Be on the bottom" at 42-Down make you think of sex? You pervert!

Mon 6/13/2022
ARCEDLASTOPED
CELLOALPENEAR
DAUBSPIECHARTS
CLEOBEACHED
WAILSRADAR
BADEGGSOPERATE
ELIDESGOAEMTS
SPASHIPPEDPEE
TALCORALATENT
OCELOTSALMONDS
WADUPDIANA
MUSLIMSSATE
JUMPSUITSKTURN
ISEEFACTFETID
BANDIMHOCROPS
Tue 6/14/2022
CHILIADDTOABU
AARONBEARDDIP
BLACKCOFFEEESS
OBOISTSSLOE
AHALOLPATENT
SYMBOLBEALE
IDIOTBEDSPRING
ARGOMOLDSICEE
MOONJELLYBLARE
IRATETRENDS
FORESTSUETSE
EVESLAUTREC
MICROCKANDROLL
UNOHALEREUROS
RENOFUSERESOD
Wed 6/15/2022
PALSINCASALAD
ELANTEASAROMA
NOMATTERHOWMUCH
STAIRPENH
LAPSECOOLTO
RFKYOUFERRIED
ERICORCASATED
PUSHTHEENVELOPE
ATSEADONESUES
STICKTOITSTET
TINKERPESOS
FISHHATCH
STILLSTATIONARY
INDIAASIATRIP
STOCKTEENASTO
POW Thu 6/16/2022
SUCKSAMPABETS
ORNOTPARILLBE
NNNNICSCIENTIST
ALLEYCATS
WITTOSSERSABS
ATOASTPOPDUO
IAMBHICKSADDS
FLOURCUEKIDDO
IOTAATEINDY
MAOJUNIPERDMS
ANOSTEWSDOO
RIOICEPACKDVR
ICONSVATEYDIE
SEOULETCYODEL
ASONENTHSUDSY

Jeff's least favorite theme answer is ATTENDEES. That's my favorite.

The reason that we have different opinions is that we're different people. At least we agree that the puzzle is brilliant.

Fri 6/17/2022
PLOTTWISTPDF
POOLNOODLEARAB
INFLUENCERLAKE
GETITTHEMAMEN
ESCITSADATE
PSASAPPRICA
HOUONASIDENOTE
DADAISTSENSATE
SPILLTHETEACON
DOLERODCHOY
PIPEDOWNSOU
ASHYBOUTPRYOR
CHICINRAREFORM
SELAEASTEREGGS
SETSTEALAWAY
Sat 6/18/2022
BATWOMANBLIP
ACROPOLISFRIDA
CHIWETELEJIOFOR
KITDIXCURIE
SNOGFADMELONS
GNUSNEAPFAT
NERDFESTPAY
SKINCAREROUTINE
PANTWININGS
ELFNADASKIT
DIONNESLYSNIP
ROASTYOOSNL
TIMEISONOURSIDE
SMELLVAGUEIDEA
PODSTAPSTERS

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen, who's working on his skincare routine.

What do you want to get from solving crosswords? What do you want to accomplish by constructing one?

The answers feel like they should be obvious. Constructors like Lynn, Robyn, and Patrick get praised, here and elsewhere, for their skill in building smooth puzzles within a crossword's crazy constraints. And no question, they're brilliant, and their puzzles are fun. You usually learn a few facts from them, but the learning never feels forced.

Crosswords are changing, though, and more constructors with a point of view realize they have a platform and an opportunity to express an opinion. To push people out of their comfort zone. To point out what the quiet, comfortable puzzles are leaving out, and open a window to worlds and people and cultures that NYT crosswords have neglected. I've come to appreciate that, and I have constructors like Brooke Husic to thank.

Consider the top-left corner. I haven't read comics since childhood, but I had no idea there were queer DC characters. SUPERMAN wore his underwear over his blue tights, so maybe "heroine" is his preferred identifier? No, it's BATWOMAN. Fascinating! (Are gay references in NYT crosswords becoming more common? Yes!)

[Literally, "high city"] is another great clue. Acrophobia is a fear of heights, and OPLIS seems like a city, so it's an answer you can get by thinking about it. It's Saturday-tricky because you think about the Acropolis of Athens which itself isn't a city, per se.

Then we get to CHIWETEL EJIOFOR at 16-Across. Even if you saw the film and even if you remember his name, you might have no idea how to spell it. Unfair! It's a weird name, so it's not remotely inferable!

The point is, it's weird to you. Others will celebrate his inclusion and feel that the NYT crossword welcomes them in too. Mr. Ejiofor's successes and awards make him worthy of inclusion in a crossword.

Do you feel like you're being preached to? Get used to it. There will always be gentler puzzles but expect Saturday puzzles, in particular, to keep expanding the traditional ambit of knowledge.

Sun 6/19/2022 Some Light Reading
ITSBADINFRASPECTRUM
OREIDABAAEDLIKEWISE
WINTERMINTSUNGLOVED
APTESTSLGAGITSPANS
NORMTHESPIANSHALE
DYEDHAIRMPGDEIST
OILSTIPSDEAR
SIGNEEEELSBOARPSI
ALOTBIELSANDTRAPS
TOVDOUGHVODKABULL
DIVEINTHEPAGESILIE
EVERSTATEPREYSMIC
PAINTCANSNITSPANE
PSTHOPECOCOMAINER
HEREHAWKYAWN
TBIRDNAPFAKEGOLD
HARELOSEAGAMEPEEL
PAREREBASOLATPEACE
STRATEGOCATCHHANDED
ACIDHEADOHYOUARMING
THEJOLLYGIANTTRENTE

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who's stuck at a red light.

The first national color television broadcast in the United States was the 1954 Rose Parade, but crosswords are mostly still monochrome. For 25 years, NYT relied on Across Lite's .puz format to distribute puzzles to their most enthusiastic solvers, a format that didn't support color, most foreign characters, or other modern gimmicks. That format is now history, but color is still rare. Even at the Times, some of their distribution channels are black and white only.

Today's gimmick couldn't work without color. Blocks of three black squares have colored circles representing traffic lights. What's more, they're rebus elements. And, the rebus has to be interpreted differently Across and Down. That's a wild combination we've never encountered before.

This will be confusing for newer solvers, so I'll spell it out:

  • Ignore the gray circles. Only the color ones matter.
  • The Across answers use the color names. So, 103-Across is CATCH [RED] HANDED and 109-Across is THE JOLLY [GREEN] GIANT.
  • The Down answers use the color meanings. So, 35-Down is HEART [STOP] PING, and 37-Down is DON'T [GO] THERE.
  • The yellow light at 43-Down is ambiguous. The answer is either I'LL GO NOW or I'LL STOP NOW depending on how aggressively you drive.

Note that the orientation of the lights is correct — red on top and green on the bottom. Why is this important? So RED/GREEN color-blind drivers know which pedal to press as they tootle around.

Electric cars don't have MPG (39-Across), but they do have MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent), so you can compare efficiencies.

Back in 1999 when USENET (18-Down) was still a thing, the Times invited Usenet users from around the world to contribute to this Cryptic Crossword.

Mon 6/20/2022
ATOMANKABASIL
CAMEDIOSABIDE
EXITPOLLSCURLS
DITTONECKTIES
LOGSSAL
ANGELOUSPATIAL
DOEBEGSUNNI
OVERSIZEDCHECKS
RESINMARALL
ELEGIACFORESEE
FLOTWIT
TAILFINSCHEAP
RURALNATIONALS
ATONEERINISMS
PONDSDANKCYST
POW Tue 6/21/2022
GOBIFBILABGPS
ENOSOLDELILAT
NOWWEREEVENUSE
LENWAITFETA
AHEADAMSTERDAM
GARRSKAEAU
ASHRHINOZIPIT
STATUESDAYTONA
PETRISWOLEKFC
ANAERAGEEK
SNOWGLOBETARRY
EARLLISAOUR
WIGSPLITSECOND
EVAGRETELHOUR
RENTOREROEMTS
Wed 6/22/2022
SEARCHOWLAMP
UMPIREPOUTFEE
ZIPPERMERGEFTC
ILLWEIRDAGORA
EYESSNAPDRAGON
PAYRAYBAN
ASSADETESTOE
BUTTONMUSHROOMS
SSEEONSASSET
HISSATAWL
PINSTRIPESOTTO
UMBRAOATHSROB
DEEFINDCLOSURE
GNCFRAUEDICTS
YUKALAYANKEE
Thu 6/23/2022
DESIJADEACME
IMAMEDITACHES
CANOODLESTRIES
TITWIIGFLICKA
ALIASBOORADLEY
TEALHUNERS
EDGESLIMITS
OXYGENATION
AMYTANSLASH
AHSBRBVILE
TATTOOERSCELIA
TRAILSEACHFDR
IMPEIPATOOTIES
RELICSLUGELIA
EDENIMPSDENY
Fri 6/24/2022
ACTSINCASOFT
FREAKNOODLEBAR
TIARAPROVOLONE
TRANSAMIVLINE
STINGERALESIS
PENANTESRATE
ARTUROSHISH
SORORITYSQUAT
GOAPEHUMVEE
SEEPSEPTAIDE
APUOVOCARTALK
BIGSURBURRATA
AREACODESELISE
TINYHOUSELLOSA
ETESMOORSNOT
Sat 6/25/2022
IMHOSPACEFORCE
COAXTELENOVELA
ENVYADAMDRIVER
POECRANEDUAL
ARAGORNNASPRY
CAPULETTHAT
KILLEDITIMAC
LAPSCOTSPAR
NELLYAMMERON
DAISQUITESO
STYWEKUPTOBAT
CHEFALEPHERA
REALMATUREBAIL
IMSOOVERITOREO
METROAREASPSST

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen who is performing in both the Winter and Summer Olympics, in different sports.

This one is easy, right?

Whoa, Jim, you know better than that! Your life experiences, including the percentage of your life you devote to crosswords, are uniquely your own. You know things that I don't, and vice versa. But still. 1-Across has to be IMHO, and 5-Across is clearly SPACE FORCE, so before we've completely settled into our Eames puzzle chair, we've got two Across answers and the first letter of fourteen Downs. Fortunately, my ego boost was temporary, as the rest of the puzzle provided more resistance.

TELENOVELA ("soap in Mexico") ought to be a constructor's dream word, with its alternating vowels and useful consonants, Jeff tells me it's more common in other venues, but this is only its second appearance in the NYT. Juliet CAPULET is a prototypical "star-crossed lover." (I hope I didn't spoil the ending.) REAL MATURE is an evocative phrase. "Chains of churches" describes literal ROSARIES.

Pro tip: "Home" as in "Standing at home" often refers to baseball. "Course" as in "Course pro" often refers to either golf or meals. Other seemingly odd words like "shell" often refer to food, although not pasta this time. You "put away shells" at a TAQUERIA. Poke is often food too but, PSST, it's a literal finger poke today.

Are you Team Stridex or Team OXY? I have no opinion.

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less
gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

Sun 6/26/2022 Bonus Features
SEPTASLIPOAST
STAREDATOMICGLOAT
THESILENCEOFTHELAMBOS
HITEMLANECOLAUOFA
YPSIBEVERLYHILLSCOUP
MONAEEAUEACH
PANTSLABYRINTHISLAM
ETHOSDUECAROMSOGRE
TEADOSASELATEBMW
ESTADOTHIGHFIDELITY
PERUMOODEMO
JURASSICPARKADOUBTS
GETFATAHNARCSOOH
REEFLAMAZELGAGLOBE
UPSETBRIDGEOFSPIKES
AREAONOEATME
THISISSPINALTAPEMAXI
AUDISTATFOCIDAKAR
THEBLAIRSWITCHPROJECT
SALTYAMTRAKEXHORT
LEESEARNTSARS

Jim here, sitting in for Jeff Chen, who is practicing for his mellophone recital.

["Macbeth," but not "Hamlet"] is one of my favorite clues of the year. Note the quotes. "Hamlet" stresses the first syllable, so it's a trochee. "Macbeth" stresses the second, so it's an IAMB — that thing where, when you string five of them together, you get iambic pentameter. At that point, you're basically Shakespeare.

For this fine crossword, I will now explain
The bonus theme and all that it entails.

Today, we take well-known movie titles and add an extra letter (a "bonus", I suppose) to fit the goofy clue. Beverly Hills Cop becomes a "Rodeo Drive uprising" when we add a U to turn COP into COUP. By now, we're conditioned to expect a bonus layer in add-a-letter puzzles. We highlighted the bonus letters and, reading top to bottom, they spell OUTTAKES which are often included in movie bonus features.

Notes:

  • "Cry from a boxing coach" is HIT 'EM? How many opponents is this poor boxer facing?
  • "City that neighbors Ann Arbor" is Ypsilanti, commonly shortened to YPSI.
  • Yes, BMW makes Mini Coopers now. I love these cars.
  • "Head of Eton" is LOO. NYT loves the "head=loo" reference.
  • OGLALA is one of the seven subtribes of the Lakota people.
  • I have a little crush on YUNA. Oh yes, I do.
Mon 6/27/2022
POSHLASTMASON
ALPOASTOINURE
DDAYTHEMESONGS
SESAMEBUSNAT
SOFTGRUBIN
ACSNEAPONEI
CHECKERSITSME
MATTEPUPVALID
ENTRYNAMESAKE
ILSAIGORMEN
INCURTERSE
INGNEESELFIE
MUSICSCENEVIVA
USUALHAULIRAS
PENNEOUTSSENT
Tue 6/28/2022
SCOOPSCHATTY
TOPTHISTEATREE
ACEHIGHHORRORS
GONENOSEMAURA
ENTRSWAPNIN
DUOEREBCCED
TEASERTRAILER
HOTCOFFEE
TREASURETROVE
SHEMPRICODS
HOWTATESTAT
AROARALFAMEMO
FERRARIIMMORAL
TAKETENTEETIME
SUSSEDSWEDEN

Hey, constructors, are you looking for phrases where each word starts with T? A regular T*T* search will clutter up results with words like TATTOO that don't fit this theme because tattoo is a word, not a phrase.

But wait, our new OneLook Search button knows about phrases. We can help! Operators are standing by! Free shipping!

Click on these examples:

  • *T *T finds multi-word phrases (there's that space in the middle) where at least two words start with T. Promising! But too many of those "found" words are THE, which is boring.
  • *T *T-H means ignore the letter H, so no THEs to be found. Some good stuff is eliminated, but most of the results are better. Except, now we notice the word TO crops up too much.
  • *T *T-HO means ignore both H and O, so no more TO either.

None of these are perfect solutions. We still get some phrases with more than two words, we're missing phrases with non-THE Hs, etc. But, with zero programming, you've found several good options.

To get a better solution, you might try writing a Python script. We have some examples. You can make that as sophisticated as you want, but this solution also has a problem. You can only find answers your word list knows about. OneLook searches the Internet.

You don't have to understand any of this to be a good or even a great constructor. But sometimes, finding out more about how these tools work can make your job easier. Much easier.

Wed 6/29/2022
CHAIFIGHTWHOM
BORNENLAIHIVE
GRABEDAITEAJAR
BASEDINHAITALE
TARTTODS
BLAMERWANDAN
SRIHAZEHEAVE
AOMINALESNOWMAN
ROOMYONTOUSE
ADSPACETEMPT
ALEOHARA
ARACADARAISUZU
HUTTABCRUNCHES
OBOEREADSOURS
RENDSYSCOTHOR
POW Thu 6/30/2022
DATAAURORASAG
EXECPROVESEVA
VENDNGMACHNES
CREEDEBARK
MAREANTONETTE
ALONGTRAPLEST
PETARDOHARA
COVERYOUREYES
ATEUPKNELLS
CHARGREYODOUR
DETROTREDWNGS
CATERSLENO
ALLNONEPRNTER
SEEOPENERYULE
ERETHEORYXBOX