I did the New York Times crossword puzzle! It took me three days (just getting to it when I could). Apparently they get harder as the week progresses and I chose a Wednesday puzzle (figured medium difficulty was best). I have a way that I do crossword puzzles. The Casie Tabanou technique:
Go through and answer all of the ones you don’t even have to think about
Then go back and see if that made any of the other ones easy to figure out
Then go back and try to think of the answers left, but don’t get a tumor over it or anything.
Then go back again and see if this made any of the others easy to figure out
Then go back one more time if you added anything else it
Then, when you can think of nothing else without inciting said tumor into existence…CHEAT
I don’t like to cheat. I get no thrill or satisfaction from just being given the answer. I enjoy figuring things out. So I try to search for things in a way that will still make me have to think instead of just going to a crossword clue site. Sometimes there is no choice but to go to a clue site in the end, but I try. Then I return to the go back one more time and see if it made something possible to figure out blah blah blah. I like to think of my cheating as learning moments. Let’s call it enrichment instead.
I started the puzzle in pen (not out of any hubris towards the gods of puzzledom…it was just handy) then very quickly sought out a pencil.
It was fun and now I want to do another. Here are my bits of “enrichment” (or the stuff I cheated on). Despite the length of the list, I really did a lot of the puzzle myself.
1.) Robert Mithchum is the star of the 1955 movie “The Night of the Hunter”
2.) The Feast of Trumpets could refer to the trumpet that will signal the coming of Jesus Christ or it can be a little celebrated Christian holiday akin to the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashana.
3.) Nona Hendryx was in the group Labelle
4.) Elsa was the name of Albert Einstein’s 2nd wife
5.)Literary olios could be anas (in my family oleo [notice the difference in spelling] was what my memal called margarine, but apparently it is also a word for a mishmash, potpourri or hodgepodge. I still can’t figure out what an ana is, but oh well…)
6.)A croupier is a person who takes money or bets at a gambling table
7.)Apparently a “Norwegian wood instrument” refers to a Beatles song and someone played the Sitar
8.)Hors de Combat, literally meaning "outside the fight," is a French term used in diplomacy and international law to refer to soldiers who are incapable of performing their military function. Examples include a downed fighter pilot, as well as the sick, wounded, detained, or otherwise disabled. Soldiers hors de combat are normally granted special protections according to the laws of war, sometimes including prisoner of war status.
9.)L-dopa is a treatment for Parkinson’s disease
10.)The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was a United States intelligence agency formed during World War II. It was the wartime intelligence agency
11.)A-Rod is a Dominican-American Major League slugger
12.)OED is a multi-volume ref.- it stands for the Oxford English Dictionary (by the way, this one was way outside of the way I think. I feel like this is one of those things that come up on crossword puzzles a lot that you really only know if you do crossword puzzles)
13.)An ern is a coastal bird (I figured this out when I was trying to find out if an emu was a coastal bird- the only three letter bird I knew that starts with E)
14.)Apparently a set shot is the “jumper alternative” I guess they meant a jump shot. I try to think outside the box, but this one got me for sure. I am not sports minded at all.
15.) Now this one just doesn’t make sense. The clue was: D-back, for one. The answer after giving up and going to a crossword clues site is: NLER. But even that site said, “ NLER is a crossword puzzle answer that we have spotted 55 times. There are no related answers. Try defining NLER with Google.” Google said, “No definitions were found for NLER” But upon further inspection, I found out that it is an abbreviation for a National Leaguer. Basically, a baseball player. I sort of figured out the D-back could mean a Diamond Back, but I never would have figured out the nler thing.
16.)Tris Speaker is a major league baseball player from the 1930’s who was inducted into the baseball hall of fame in 1999.
17.)A Yawp is a harsh cry. I knew this word and I just couldn’t think of it.
18.)FTD is the flower people (abbreviated)
19.)IMAC is an Apple variety (this is what happens when you don’t think outside of the box)
20.)Delta is an American rival (also what happens when you don’t think outside of the box)
21.)An acer is any of a variety of trees with winged fruit, but I still don’t know why that goes with the clue, “Super Server”
So there you go. Now I am one cossword puzzle smarter than I was before.