Kosman and Picciotto on their Nation puzzle, cryptic crosswords, wordplay and puzzles in general.
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A few helpful words for solvers of The Nation’s puzzle #3232. We will put hints for beginners further down, so that intermediate and advanced solvers can avoid looking at them.
Hints for everyone:
This puzzle contains possibly unfamiliar entries at 1A, 12A, 18A and 23A.
1A: You can probably guess the word’s ending.
18A and 1D: Each of these clues contains a word that is a verb in the surface reading, but a noun as the definition, or part of the definition.
26A: “Finally, Martha” and “above-average” each supply a single letter. “Washington” supplies two.
7D: This clue references a long-ago movie actor, but it should be solvable even if you haven’t heard of him.
Hints for beginners:
9A, 23A, 1D, 14D, and 24D are charades. 5D is also a charade, but it is clued as a whole phrase.
6A: What item is proverbially sharp?
25A: Think Roman numerals.
22D: “Exalting,” in a down clue, can indicate a reversal.
Need more hints? Just ask!