NYT Crossword Answers: Has largely replaced ophicleid

When I solved it, it there were no enlarged squares, as there is now. Apparently these were added later. You’re probably thinking there are benefits to be addressed early, but here we are. I just assumed the word “big” was missing, but I wasn’t sure why.

You are luckier. If you are solving on paper, online, or in the app, some squares should be slightly larger than others. I think you see where this is heading.

At 20A, the response to the verbalized clue “I can’t believe I said that” should be ME AND MY BIG MOUTH, but we don’t have enough room for all of that. We have to write ME AND MY MOUTH, but the word MOUTH is written in these big squares. This makes it a BIG MOUTH.

Likewise, the response to the index at 32A, “This favor is not cheap!” should be written in the grid as YOU DOW ME TIME, with the word TIME written in large squares. YOU owe me a lot of time.

Despite my confusing beginnings, I really liked this theme. It’s not a rebus, but it feels like it is. And on a Thursday, that’s not a bad thing at all.

Hope this puzzle is a big hit with everyone!

Although not a direct inspiration, this puzzle owes a spiritual debt to Sandy Ganzell’s puzzle of March 23, 2017. I’m still intrigued by the puzzles that find a way to use the grid itself- even as revealing. It can be risky to build a puzzle like this, with so many resolutions done in apps and limited by the electronic format – hope this one translated well.

I originally designed the grid in Excel – normal squares were 15 cells by 15 cells, while large squares were 17 by 17, about 28% larger.

Credit…Courtesy of Joe Deeney

Originally, I centered each “big” answer relative to its position in the rest of the grid, which resulted in some of the downward answers being a bit of a zigzag. The editorial team’s grid is much nicer. They chose to use cells that are not quite square to improve the readability of the entries down. I suspect that the uniqueness of this grid and the decisions about how to handle it electronically is part of the reason why this puzzle spent 20 months in the acceptance signal before it was released.

With four thematic answers of the same length, I remember exploring the 24 permutations of the order in which the answers appear in this grid to see which gave the best bonus fill.

The editorial team’s favorite clues: 2-Down (how did I miss the opportunity to mark it like that myself?); 6-low, 17-across. My favorite that survived: 13-Across.

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 “How to Create a Crossword Puzzle” series.

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Warning: There will be spoilers ahead, but subscribers can take a look at the fix.

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