Friday, December 2, 2022

NYT Crossword Answers: Canada’s Oldest National Park

TUESDAY PUZZLE — Congratulations to the crossword-constructing duo Malgorzata Nowakowska and Eileen Williams, who are both medical students making their New York Times debut today with a puzzle that pays tribute to an artist whose way with words makes her the perfect subject for a crossword.

As Ms. Nowakowska (who goes by Margaret) and Ms. Williams observes in their notes, there is an appetite among many crossword solvers for more puzzles by and about women. One place to look for such puzzles is the Inkubator, an independent puzzle outlet that publishes “crossword puzzles by women and nonbinary constructors.” Edited by the New York Times Crossword constructors Laura Braunstein, Tracy Bennett (who is also an associate puzzle editor here at The Times), Stella Zawistowski and Brooke Husic, the Inkubator brings a fresh, alternative perspective to crossword puzzles. The outlet also recently published the collection “100 Audacious Puzzles by Women and Nonbinary Creators,” which I’ve been enjoying all summer. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I have a few puzzles in the book myself, but I don’t get paid if you buy it! I just think it’s really well done and the puzzles are fabulous.)

So now that we’ve set the stage for appreciating puzzles by and about women, let’s dive into today’s audacious puzzle by two women creators!

1A. I confidently plunked down “fins” for “Swimmer’s set,” which really slowed me down in that corner until I realized this had to be LAPS instead.

5A. When a clue asks for a “word with” two other words, you need to identify a word that could go before or after each of the words named in the clue to form a common term or phrase. In this case, “Word with dressing or days” is SALAD, as in SALAD dressing (yum) or SALAD days (a term for a period of youthful innocence).

22A. A “Nuts and bolts drawer” might be a place in a toolshed for storing loose nuts and bolts, but a “Nuts and bolts drawer?” (with a question mark to tell you to look for a pun) is a MAGNET, which might draw nuts and bolts toward it with its magnetism.

47A. I thought “Things made by doctors and bartenders” might be “shots,” but that didn’t have enough letters to fill the space. The actual answer here is ROUNDS, which is way better.

59A. I love the inclusion of the word YOINK, which I use on a daily basis when I take toys away from my overzealous chewer of a dog. The word has appeared once before in the New York Times Crossword and means, essentially, “take stealthily, informally.”

5D. Finally, the clue “Element of doubt?” sounds like it should be about something that contributes to uncertainty or doubt. Instead, it’s a wordplay clue for SILENT B, which is an element of the word “doubt.”

As I mentioned above, this crossword pays tribute to an artist — one who is near and dear to my heart: This puzzle, dear solvers, is a Taylor SWIFT tribute puzzle! If you aren’t a Swiftie, you may not have noticed the theme as you solved. But the revealer at 49D clues you in that this puzzle is about “Taylor ___, some of whose hit songs are featured in the answers to the starred clues.”

These hit songs are MINE, FEARLESS, BABE, RED, BLANK SPACE, SHAKE IT OFF and DEAR JOHN, all of which are clued straight, without reference to the oeuvre of T. Swift (eg, DEAR JOHN is clued “Start of a classic breakup letter,” with no reference to the song or its purported subject, her ex-boyfriend John Mayer). In addition to the starred theme entries, this puzzle also contains some bonus theme content, including the reference to “OUR Song” (60D: “’___ Song,’ 2007 hit that begins ‘I was ridin’ shotgun with my hair undone.’ ”) and the clue “Mischievous creature of folklore,” which contains the title of the singer’s 2020 album “Folklore” and refers to an ELF.

It would be excessive for me to include the videos for all the songs mentioned in the puzzle (as much as I want to), so instead I’ll just drop RED, the song referenced at 30A (“Visibly embarrassed”), which explicitly mentions crossword puzzles and which Ms. Nowakowska and Ms. Williams allude to in their notes.

Hi, we’re Margaret and Eileen — so excited to be writing to you all! We’re both medical students at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Margaret grew up in Poland and started solving crosswords to improve her English after moving to the United States at age 16. For many years, we were (almost) daily solvers, but had never considered constructing until we met each other.

We started working on this crossword a year ago while on vacation together in Maine. We picked the Taylor SWIFT theme because:

1. She’s fantastic,

2. We wanted more crosswords with women and by women, and

3. People who like words should give her music a try.

As Taylor alludes to in one of the hidden songs mentioned above, there’s nothing more frustrating than trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer. We hope you don’t feel that way solving today. Please feel free to reach out to us about anything Taylor- or crossword-related (,

PS Eileen here. On a personal note, despite my best efforts over many, many years, I have yet to fulfill my greatest life goal: meeting Taylor! (Well, and becoming a great ER doc.)

If you’re interested in receiving puzzles, brain teasers, solving tips and more in your inbox every week, sign up for the new Gameplay newsletter.

The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system, which will be closed July 1 to Aug. 1. In the meantime, you can review our submission guidelines here.

For tips on how to get started, read our series, “How to Make a Crossword Puzzle.”

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