May 20, 2022


Your Partner in the Digital Era

NYT Crossword Answers: Charles who helped invent the mechanical computer

34D. I like the clue “Fitness center” for CORE; your CORE is the center of your body that you might use in a fitness class for such exercises as situps or planks.

43D. The “?” indicates wordplay, so you must read the clue “Pop-up business?” with an eye for misdirection. As a phrase, “pop-up business” typically refers to a business that is open only briefly (or “pops up”). In this case, however, an entity in the pop-up ad business might be an AD SITE.

As I mentioned above, this was one of those themes that you almost certainly needed the revealer to spot. The long Across entries, which typically contain the theme entries, include LONG STORY (17A. “It might be made short”) and TIME-SAVERS (24A. “Shortcuts”). You might think that there’s no obvious thread uniting these two entries, except perhaps that a TIME-SAVER would be to cut short a LONG STORY.

But you would be incorrect (just as I was while solving). There is a theme to this puzzle, and it’s revealed at 54A: “The great beyond … or where each word in 17-, 24-, 35- and 45-Across might be found?” This entry is AFTERLIFE (“the great beyond”), which could also be parsed as AFTER LIFE, as in, each word in the theme could follow the word “life” to make a common phrase.

For example, consider the two themers above. Adding “life” before LONG and STORY yields “lifelong” or “life story,” both of which are common phrases. Similarly, adding “life” to “TIME-SAVERS” creates the compound words “lifetime” and “lifesavers.”

See Dan’s notes below for the many other entries he found that could fit this theme — it’s an impressive set. Commenters, feel free to chime in with your own!

I’ve had a draft of this puzzle lying around since 2015, and while cooped up at home last year I decided to dust it off. With fresh eyes, I was able to find a stronger grid that was more open and supported more interesting fill. The theme is pretty basic, but I enjoy that every bit of each theme entry is truly a part of the theme. It was also fun to play with all of the potential theme entries and the permutations of the words within them — LONGBOAT, STORYLINE, STORY TIME, STYLE COACH, TIMELINE, TIME MAGAZINE and TIMESPAN all entered consideration along the way.

I’ve loved puzzles of all kinds since I was child and have aspired to construct a crossword for The New York Times for nearly as long, so it’s a thrill to have my first puzzle published!

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 series, “How to Make a Crossword Puzzle.”