NYT crossword answers: the banking giant that makes the Venture card

MONDAY PUZZLE – It’s always a pleasure to see Adam Aaronson’s signature – he’s a prolific independent builder who always brings a personal touch to his puzzles, whether it’s on his own site or in the New York Times Crossword . Today’s personal touch extends to the theme, as I discuss a little more below.

But before I get to that, I want to take a quick detour to a common crossword clue: the “comment in parentheses” (see 30D). There are four of them in today’s puzzle, all associated with Complete Clues (FITB). Consider, for example, the clue at 11A: “‘You don’t have to be ___, Roy’ (rhymes with the words of Paul Simon).” On a puzzle of the week (for example, Thursday or Friday), you probably won’t get the comment in parentheses after the FITB. from the line “You don’t have to be ___, Roy.”

But since it’s Monday, and Monday’s puzzles are meant to be easier, most of today’s FITB clues come with an additional clue in parentheses. Make sure you use them to your advantage and keep an eye out for them no matter the day – you never know when a flippant comment (like this one?)

1A. When a clue is in quotes, such as “This is not the truth!” You need to identify a colloquial expression that means the same thing as the clue. In this case, I’LL SAY means the same as “Isn’t that the truth!” “

15A. A clue with a geo tag, such as “in Leicester”, tells you that the answer will be in the language spoken there. A “Keister, in Leicester” is an ASS because ASS is British English for, well, you know. As an added layer of fun here Keister and Leicester seem to be able to rhyme, and although they actually don’t, I had a great time reading this like “Keester in Leester” in my head.

42A. Here we have a FITB clue where a parenthesis was not deemed necessary! “Lacto -___ vegetarianism” is the OVO index – a lacto-OVO vegetarian does not eat meat, but drinks milk and eats eggs.

43A. The clue “Element that also names a household appliance” is fun for IRON, which is both a chemical element (Fe) and a household appliance that smoothes out clothes (or at least, I’m told – I don’t. haven’t touched an FER in at least two years!).

58A. Clues that start with “Word with” look for a word that could come before the other word (s) named in the clue. “Word with butter or stadium” is the clue for SHEA because you can put shea butter on your skin or watch a game at SHEA stadium.

66A. He’s an idiot – “The words of an altar ego?” is a pun hint for I DO, making a pun on the phrase “alter ego” to refer to a altar ego, which, presumably, is a person standing in front of an altar taking marriage vows.

41D. This is another familiar clue (note the quotes). In this case, “Like, forever! “Is colloquially equivalent to” EONS! Perhaps in response to a question such as “How long have you been solving crosswords?” “

48D. I loved seeing RANDOS (“Foreign totals, in modern slang”) in the grid; This is only the fifth occurrence of RANDO or RANDOS, which seems small compared to how often I use this word in my daily life.

52D. A “right angle shape” is an ELL, which is how a crossword puzzle spells the letter “L”. Don’t ask me why we’re doing this. I dunno.

60D. Here’s a FITB with a comment in parentheses for you: “___ East (Maine)” is the clue for DOWN. I’m not sure how many other four letter words might have filled that blank (PRES, maybe?), But the parenthesis definitely helped me get to BAS faster!

If I had to guess what Mr. Aaronson’s inspiration for this puzzle was, I wouldn’t look any further than his own name. With the initials AA (and an AA at the start of “Aaronson,” it’s no surprise that Mr. Aaronson landed on a theme built around the revealing DOUBLE A TEAM (“Tennessee Smokies or Portland Sea Dogs… or what are the answers to headings clues include? ”). In fact, he confirms it in his builder notes!

According to this revealer, each of the six starred clues begins with the letters AA, constituting a “team” of six AA entries. These include the first long entry, AA BATTERIES (“TV remotes, often”); the central entrance AA MILNE (writer “Winnie the Pooh”); the famous AARDVARK (“Animal whose name means” land pig “in Afrikaans”) and many others.

It’s a perfect Monday theme: it has a simple but well executed concept and a diverse set of themes (none of the AA words use these letters the same). Kudos to Mr. AAronson (uh, I mean, Aaronson) for this tidy puzzle!

This puzzle was presented to you by my initials. And also by my last name. Sure, it might not be the most cerebral theme of all time, but double A’s are kind of my thing.

For my friends who find my Saturdays a bit steep, I hope it was a nice change of pace! I have more puzzles ranging from easy to difficult on Aaronson.org that didn’t quite make the topic entry today.

The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system, which will reopen on January 3.

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