The R of R.B.G. – The New York Times

MONDAY PUZZLE Before we begin, please rise for the 71A national anthem.

Thank you. You may now be seated.

Please welcome Emma Craven-Matthews to the New York Times Crossword constructors club. She offers us a smooth and entertaining opening to our solving week.

A hearty congratulations to the TIM HORTONS chain for making its debut in the New York Times Crossword. Ive never had the pleasure of consuming a Tim Hortons doughnut or cup of coffee, but when travel restrictions ease up, I might take a road trip. I know they have a few locations in New York State, but Id like to have the authentic Canadian Tim Hortons experience.

The rest of the puzzle was easygoing. It was the kind of solve where I started typing and didnt stop until I heard the San Jose Strut finish music. Even so, here are a few clues that solvers may have had trouble with.

15A. We have another lovely quote clue for ART, this time by Hippocrates: Life is short and ART is long. The Latin translation from Hippocratess Greek is Ars longa, vita brevis. The entire quote is The art is long, life is short, opportunity fleeting, experiment dangerous, judgment difficult.

70A. Vancouver is often associated with RAIN. A nice bit of meteorological theme material.

4D. Beware the sneaky plural. I first read this as Leaf-watching time, maybe, and was thinking of autumn. That, as they say, is just what they want you to think. The clue, Leafs-watching time, maybe, refers to the N.H.L. team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the answer is HOCKEY NIGHT.

8D. Newer solvers: Remember, a language other than English in the clue means that the answer has to be in that language. So, Bear, un zoolgico is looking for the word bear in Spanish. The answer is OSO.

Ms. Craven-Matthews offers us a very brief tour of CANADA, with trips to HOCKEY NIGHT and TIM HORTONS along the way. There is even some delicious MAPLE SYRUP in the southwest corner. What a fun way to start the week.

The only thing missing from this puzzle are the Mounties and the McKenzie brothers. (Dear Canada, I fully recognize that you actually have a long, rich history filled with all sorts of delightful cultural and sporting activities. It was a joke. Please put away your hockey sticks. I am SAYING SORRY. Thank you.)

Im incredibly excited to be publishing a puzzle with The New York Times. Ive been a crossword fanatic for years, sometimes to my detriment (hand injuries from too much online puzzling), sometimes to my employers detriment (when I worked as a barista, Id hide a book of Sunday puzzles under the cash register for when business was slow) but I started constructing only this summer during lockdown.

I love words so much I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in comparative literature. I grew up in Vermont but Ive been living in Sweden for the past few years; Im currently pursuing a masters in international marketing and brand management at Lund University.

Im glad Will Shortz chose this puzzle because its theme is quite special to me and about half my family. Incidentally, Im thrilled my clues for 17A and 6D made it through I love to sneak in references to art I enjoy, places Ive lived, animals I think are cute, anything that makes people who know me say, Of course you shoehorned that in.

Looking back, I wouldnt have crammed two theme entries in the upper right/lower left corners; that limited my options for a clean fill but Ive chalked that up to experience. My theme answers and clues still make me smile though 4D and 27D are particular favorites.

A big thank you to my parents, who were a supportive test audience for numerous clunky first drafts. CC: Thanks for helping with these edits and for being my sounding board; PM: Sorry I didnt tell you I was getting published but I wanted to surprise you.

And of course I owe many thanks to the patient and helpful New York Times Crossword crew; Im honored to work with you all. Hope to do it again soon, eh?

Almost finished solving but need a bit more help? Weve 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.

Your thoughts?

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The R of R.B.G. - The New York Times

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