WEDNESDAY PUZZLE — Making a good crossword puzzle means that constructors have to adhere to a lot of fussy little rules. Matched tenses, all-over interlock, no two-letter words. It requires a lot of discipline.
Surprisingly, so does writing about them. For example, you would not appreciate it if I put the answer to the revealer in the headline. “Spoilers!” you’d all shout, and somewhere in the crowd my mother would be shaking her head with disappointment, reminding me that at one point in my life, I had the grades to get into law school.
So I maintain my discipline and don’t put the answers in the headline. For one thing, I would have made a terrible lawyer. That requires a totally different kind of discipline. Lawyering requires you to write long documents containing words that sound like they are made up [That’s called Latin, Deb. — Ed.] and in the wrong order. If you are a lawyer who has been put in charge of writing one of these documents, you have to maintain a serious tone — where people are referred to as “the party of the second part” — and most of the time you have to dress up in an uncomfortable suit. You can’t even slip any jokes into these documents (“Why did the party of the second part cross the road?” “To sue the other side a posteriori presto change-o!”), or the head lawyer will frown at you. Not spoiling the answers to a crossword puzzle is easy in comparison.
So when constructors subvert the rules of puzzle making, I can’t help but watch with glee, mostly because I cannot do it in this forum. Alison Ohringer and Erik Agard, who collaborated on this puzzle, might not even have had the intention of breaking a supposed rule of constructing, but I’m going to give them the credit anyway. That’s how much I liked their theme.
The rule I’m talking about is the Sunday Morning Breakfast Test, which says that an entry should not be something that will make you gag on your eggs Benedict as you enjoy a leisurely solve over breakfast. Some people say that the rule doesn’t exist anymore. Others still have a clear line as to what they would like to see in their puzzles first thing in the morning, as the constructor Merl Reagle explained in the 2006 documentary “Wordplay”:
“You can’t use bodily functions in puzzles, you know. ‘Urine’ would bail me out of a corner a million times a year. Same with ‘enema.’ ‘Enema’: talk about great letters. But you’ve got to keep those words out of puzzles, because it doesn’t pass the Sunday Morning Breakfast Test. I mean, there are people solving the big Sunday puzzle. They’ve waited all week for this. They’re sitting there relaxing, and here comes, you know, ‘rectal’? I don’t think so.”
And yet Ms. Ohringer and Mr. Agard have figured out how to spoil breakfast in a completely different way. Good for them, I say.
14A: “Measurement that might be a lot?” is a play on the words “a lot.” The measurement we’re supposed to be thinking about could be “a lot” in terms of being a large volume of things, or even the snarkier form of “a lot” if we are talking about the metric system (That’s a lot funnier if you went to public school in the United States. In 1970s America, the resistance to converting to metric was even stronger than it seems to be now). In this puzzle, however, we’re actually talking about a physical lot, which could be an ACRE of land.
20A: Some solvers might read “Rhyming opposite of break” and think, “What word for ‘fix’ rhymes with ‘break’?,” but that’s not where this is going. The clue is asking you for the phrase “MAKE or break,” with the word “or” indicating the opposite of “break.”
22A: I suppose that ARIA could be a woman’s name, and that there are, in fact, some lovely women name ARIA out there. The only one I know is Arya Stark (Brief diversion: Who watched the season opener of “Game of Thrones”? Was that amazing or what?). At any rate, we do know it as the opera term.
29A: The clue “W.C.” stands for “water closet,” which is a British term for the LOO, or toilet.
7D: Sometimes. It can also be “Ma’am.” And SIR can be clued in ways that don’t sound like it’s erasing the contributions of women who serve our country.
12D: I loved this debut of the superlative WOKEST, because honestly, is it really a competition?
55D: We’re talking about eyeball parts, people. The answer to “It gets bigger in the dark” is the PUPIL, which opens in the dark to let in more light.
On the menu in Ms. Ohringer’s and Mr. Agard’s puzzle are breakfast items that are, if not spoiled, vaguely disappointing. We have STALE CEREAL, BURNT TOAST and two other items I’ll let you find, and the central revealer at 38A, clued as “Plea concerning the menu in 18-, 26-, 53- and 64-Across?,” is FIX BREAKFAST. In the surface sense of the phrase, to “fix breakfast” means to prepare it, but in this puzzle, it’s a cry for help to actually rescue the ruined items.
Kudos to Ms. Ohringer and Mr. Agard for choosing four fresh (spoiled food notwithstanding) theme entries and a unique revealer.
Alison Ohringer and Erik Agard: This puzzle blossomed from an email exchange riffing on a previous New York Times puzzle that had HOT OATMEAL as a theme answer (“What’s the alternative? Cold oatmeal?”). The realization that LUKEWARM OATMEAL (15) is the perfect length to span a weekday grid sent us down a rabbit hole of, with increasing seriousness, suggesting suboptimal foods for theme answers.
When we thought of the phrase FIX BREAKFAST and its dual meaning, we knew we had something legit. We had a lot of fun creating this puzzle (and a fair amount of horror upon realizing that some common breakfast foods do not Google well — please just take our word for it), and we hope you have just as much fun solving it.
Almost finished solving but need a bit more help? We’ve got you covered.
Warning: There be spoilers ahead, but subscribers can take a peek at the answer key.
Trying to get back to the puzzle page? Right here.
【叶】【宇】【看】【到】【她】【这】【个】【样】【子】，【恨】【得】【有】【些】【牙】【痒】【痒】，【他】【真】【很】【想】【打】【她】【一】【顿】，【但】【又】【不】【好】【意】【思】【下】【手】。 【他】【开】【口】【说】【道】：“【你】【只】【要】【不】【说】，【我】【就】【不】【教】【育】【你】。” 【李】【思】【雯】：“【那】【我】【晚】【上】【跟】【雨】【诗】【姐】【姐】【说】【一】【下】。” …… 【妈】【的】，【思】【雯】【这】【丫】【头】【就】【是】【想】【让】【我】【教】【育】【她】【一】【顿】？ 【他】【看】【着】【面】【前】【的】【李】【思】【雯】，【长】【相】【稚】【嫩】，【但】【身】【材】【玲】【珑】【有】【致】，【完】【全】【不】【像】【是】【她】【这】
【薛】【峰】【微】【一】【点】【头】【问】【他】：“【怎】【么】【样】？”【声】【音】【些】【微】【地】【发】【着】【颤】。 【其】【他】【人】【只】【是】【将】【目】【光】【在】【他】【身】【上】【稍】【作】【停】【留】【便】【转】【向】【对】，【准】【备】【在】【唐】【宁】【成】【发】【邮】【件】【的】【时】【候】【定】【位】【绑】【匪】【进】【行】IP【定】【位】。 【大】【宝】【边】【讲】【薛】【峰】【往】【前】【引】【边】【快】【速】【说】【道】：“【绑】【匪】【发】【了】【勒】【索】【邮】【件】，【警】【方】【现】【在】【正】【尝】【试】【追】【踪】【手】【机】【位】【置】。【姜】【医】【生】【跟】【着】【警】【队】【出】【去】【搜】【寻】【唐】【小】【姐】【的】【下】【落】【了】。” 【薛】【峰】【沉】【默】
“【那】【东】【西】【在】【什】【么】【地】【方】？” 【樊】【辰】【一】【年】【前】【确】【实】【让】【天】【虎】【找】【过】【一】【种】【叫】【复】【魂】【血】【玉】【的】【东】【西】，【那】【是】【他】【那】【便】【宜】【师】【父】【想】【要】【的】【东】【西】。 【不】【过】【对】【这】【东】【西】，【樊】【辰】【并】【不】【没】【有】【太】【上】【心】，【要】【不】【是】【天】【虎】【说】【起】，【他】【都】【差】【点】【忘】【了】【这】【事】【了】。 “【东】【西】【在】【血】【族】【那】【边】，【具】【体】【在】【谁】【的】【手】【中】，【我】【就】【不】【知】【道】【了】，【我】【的】【人】【无】【法】【渗】【透】【进】【血】【族】【里】【面】。” “【行】，【我】【知】【道】【了】，彩票开奖查询公告彩票中奖【阿】【布】【都】【不】【知】【道】【为】【什】【么】【闵】【西】【里】【面】【试】【要】【选】【一】【首】【这】【样】【悲】【伤】【而】【寂】【寥】【的】【曲】【子】，【让】【人】【想】【落】【泪】，【又】【让】【人】【有】【些】【贪】【念】。【等】【阿】【布】【都】【明】【白】【过】【来】【自】【己】【的】【情】【绪】【跟】【着】【她】【的】【琴】【弦】【起】【起】【伏】【伏】【的】【时】【候】，【他】【才】【明】【白】，【原】【来】【音】【乐】【不】【需】【要】【惊】【艳】，【只】【需】【要】【共】【情】。 【演】【奏】【者】【手】【上】【的】【乐】【器】【就】【像】【童】【话】【故】【事】【里】【的】【魔】【笛】，【只】【要】【一】【经】【演】【奏】，【听】【众】【就】【会】【想】【游】【魂】【一】【样】【随】【着】【音】【乐】【到】【达】【另】【外】【一】
【这】【位】【小】【王】【爷】，【乃】【是】****【的】【幼】【弟】，【当】【年】【先】【帝】【独】【宠】【萧】【贵】【妃】，【可】【以】【说】【是】【老】【来】【得】【子】，【这】【才】【有】【了】【如】【今】【的】【小】【王】【爷】。 【小】【王】【爷】【年】【幼】，****【虽】【说】【是】【他】【的】【兄】【长】，【但】【是】【他】【的】【年】【纪】【尚】【且】【还】【小】，【与】【六】【皇】【子】【同】【岁】。 【孟】【妈】【妈】【上】【前】，【娇】【俏】【着】【说】【道】:“【爷】【瞧】【您】【这】【话】【说】【得】……【爷】【想】【见】【我】【们】【妙】【音】【姑】【娘】【也】【是】【需】【要】【本】【事】【的】。” 【南】【宫】【奕】【玄】【一】【听】，【似】【乎】
【没】【有】【办】【法】【找】【到】【刘】【坊】【的】【尸】【首】，【姚】【穆】【雨】【深】【深】【的】【叹】【了】【口】【气】。 【几】【天】【前】【见】【面】【时】【还】【好】【好】，【没】【想】【到】【此】【时】【就】【这】【样】【阴】【阳】【两】【隔】【了】。 【现】【场】【还】【残】【留】【部】【分】【妖】【气】，【姚】【穆】【雨】【用】【法】【术】【识】【别】，【发】【现】【这】【妖】【气】【有】【种】【特】【别】【熟】【悉】【的】【感】【觉】【好】【像】【在】【哪】【闻】【过】，【但】【却】【想】【不】【起】【来】，【而】【且】【这】【妖】【气】【还】【不】【一】【般】【其】【中】【掺】【杂】【着】【魔】【气】。 【身】【上】【同】【时】【具】【有】【妖】【气】【和】【魔】【气】【的】【妖】【魔】【那】【得】【有】【多】【强】【大】