NYTimes Crossword

Wednesday June 1, 2016 — NYTimes Crossword No. 0427

Wednesday June 1, 2016 — NYTimes Crossword No. 0427

I learned something today. I love it when the crossword puzzle can be used as a teaching tool. 

The clues I did not know include five female authors who’ve used male pen names. I only knew one of these women had used a male pen name, and that one I knew only by her true name: Emily Bronte. I love the Bronte’s. These sisters wrote some of my favorite books. 

But I didn’t solve early 17A: ELLISBELL (Pen name of the female author of “Wuthering Heights”). No, I first came upon 23A: ISAKDINESEN (Pen name of the female author of “Out of Africa”), which I knew from an earlier crossword in the past couple weeks, but had no idea the writer was a woman, and this her nom de plume.

So I was thinking I had made a mistake, and still looking for some kind of a trick, non-existant. I next came to the center, with 39A: ROBERTGALBRAITH (Pen name of the female author of “The Cuckoo’s Calling”), which is where I began to understand that these are true pen names, and not some punny crossword trick. 

49A: GEORGEELIOT (Pen name of the female author of “Silas Marner”) was then easier for me, but I am unfamiliar with 61A: ANDYSTACK (Pen name of the female author of True Detective stories), and so had to rely upon crossers. 

I had misanswered 1D: CHEN (“Big Brother” host Julie) as “Chan.” But didn’t like the looks of “Allis Bell,” and noodled through to get “Chen,” who I then realized I had heard of before. 

I also misanswered at 26D: EROS (God with a bow), and had said “Ares.” 

I liked 1A: CHASM (Grand Canyon, notably), and also 14A: HAIKU (Three-line work).

The river winding / like a snake flows through Earth’s split / all desert life clings

I didn’t know 48D: ITASCA (Lake that’s the source of the Mississippi), and plan on doing a little geographical study to learn something else today that I never knew. 

Then there was the throwback clue of the day, at 43A: ASTA (Terrier of old whodunits). If you are here to look up this clue, welcome. I remember when I didn’t know that one, either. 

This puzzle took some time for me today, 42 minutes. But, as I’ve said, I learned some things, so definitely not wasted time. 


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