WEDNESDAY PUZZLE — In an interesting take on the “trickle-down” theory of economics, the constructors Amanda Rafkin and Ross Trudeau offer us a Downs-only theme that will make us richer in puns when we’ve finished solving.
Of course, puns and a Metro card will get you on the subway, but given the current state of the economy, I think we can use all the help we can get. In the barter economy of the future, puns might be worth something. You never know.
1A. Photo editors and tech aficionados, please re-sheathe your swords. Yes, a JPEG is a photo and a PDF can be a document, but the point is that they are both files, and can therefore be considered alternatives to each other.
15A. I had TWIST (as in plot twist) before IRONY, but I guess TWIST on its own is not really a literary effect.
16A. I don’t know where this has been all my life, but I was today years old when I learned about a snack called Muddy Buddies. Apparently, you mix chocolate, peanut butter and CHEX Mix together and you have something really delectable.
46A. Very clever. “France” is your signal that the answer to the clue “Connections on Air France?” should be in French. The question mark tells you that those “connections” are not about making your next flight. The answer is ETS, with “et” being the word “and” in French. “Et” or “and” can be used to connect phrases together in a sentence.
53A. E.A. POE is not a favorite entry of mine. I’m honestly not sure whether anyone ever referred to him that way, but it has been an entry in the New York Times Crossword 29 times, going back to 1951, so what do I know?
57A. This is always a fun type of clue. Is “Refuse” referring to the act of refusing something, or is it referring to garbage? In this puzzle, the answer is JUNK.
64A. The answer to this one, of course, is the actor TAYE Diggs, who is best known for appearing in “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Rent,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” and accidentally following everyone on Twitter.
65A. Hi, kids! “Golf’s ‘Slammin’ Sammy’ SNEAD” was purported to be one of the best players of all time.
52D. TIL (Today I learned) that the comedian ALLAN Sherman created the game show “I’ve Got a Secret.” I remember him from all the times my mom played the song “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.”
Some puns are groaners, but I liked these. The theme is about money: following it, posting it (referring to bonds) and sharing it. Ms. Rafkin and Mr. Trudeau reimagine three common phrases and clue them as puns.
For example, at 3A, the answer to the clue “Joins a Federal Reserve Facebook group?” is FOLLOW THE MONEY.
I found it especially hilarious that the three theme entries were long Down ones, because it reminded me of raining money, which, of course, reminded me of the “trickle-down” theory (see above).
But that’s not what made my day. What made my day is that these two constructors have succeeded in getting our attention with their money-themed puzzle and are encouraging us to SHARE THE WEALTH in ways that will make the world a better place (see their notes below).
The revealer, at 54A, is SOCIAL CAPITAL, which is just brilliant. Use that capital for a good cause, I say.
Amanda Rafkin: Always a thrill to be back in The New York Times! I hope everyone is doing OK, staying sane and healthy, and continuing to fight for much-needed social justice.
Speaking of which, there are a handful of wonderful people in the puzzle community who are doing puzzles for donations, so if you’re looking for a way to do some good while also getting your hands on some amazing puzzles, look no further than the list below:
1) Erik Agard is raising money for 1StruggleKC. If you go to the organization’s website and send Erik a screenshot of your donation receipt at [email protected], he’ll send you some of his unreleased crosswords.
2) Paolo Pasco is raising money for the Black Lives Matter cause of your choice in exchange for a handful of puzzles by various constructors. Here are the details on how to donate, as well as what puzzles you’ll be receiving.
3) Eric Berlin is raising money for Feeding America with his “Social Distancing Puzzle” pack: “11 challenging puzzles to solve with a partner, over Zoom, or in the same room.” Here are instructions on how to donate and receive the puzzles. Your donation will get you two packs of puzzles (one for each solver) and a third file with hints and solutions.
4) Lone Shark Games has put together a puzzle pack of “Marching Bands For The Marchers.” When you make a donation to Campaign Zero to end police violence, you’ll receive your puzzle pack.
And if you’re looking for some additional puzzles to solve while staying at home, I post new puzzles to my site every day.
Ross Trudeau: My payment for today’s puzzle is being donated to Violence in Boston, Inc.
If you’re looking to get into crossword constructing, and especially if you identify as a person of color, as a woman, or as L.G.B.T.Q., I’d be thrilled to offer whatever assistance I can to help you get your puzzles published. Contact me via Twitter, Instagram or rosswordpuzzles.com.
The Tipping Point
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.
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