After Words: 3228

After Words: 3228

Notes and commentary on last week’s Nation crossword.


Today’s post is about Puzzle 3228, whose solution was posted on the Nation website yesterday. We plan to do this every Friday, on the day after the new puzzle goes live. Of course, we realize that many solvers work on the puzzle when the hard copy reaches them, which can be as much as three weeks after the online version appears. But since the blog is on the website, it seemed to make more sense to be in sync with the online schedule.

If you don’t want to see answers, either because you are still working on the puzzle or because you haven’t started, don’t look at our Friday posts!

We invite your responses and comments; feel free to reveal answers to this puzzle if it will help you make a point or clarify a question. We will read all your comments, but we may not be able to respond immediately, so please feel free to respond to other solvers’ comments and questions

Puzzle 3228 is here and the solution is here. (Subscribers only).

1A QUARTERBACK  Change offensive position (11)

One might interpret “change” to clue “quarter,” instead of the intended “quarter back” (the change you get after a 75-cent purchase). To us, it seemed that change in the sense of “coins” would refer to more than one quarter, and the dictionary backs us up. Still, there’s no denying that the clue could easily be misconstrued.

26A PROLIFERATE  Multiply what some Republicans might charge each other? (11)

Long-time solvers of the Nation puzzle may recall that Frank Lewis had used the same basic idea in cluing PROLIFERATION.

3D TOP HAT  …to cool stovepipe (3,3)

PHAT = cool, in slang. You may be surprised that this usage dates back to 1963 (per Merriam-Webster). Also note that in the surface reading, “cool” is a verb, but in the cryptic reading, it is an adjective.

5D ADAM  A hydroelectric structure is ur-
gent? (4)

Ur-, as a prefix, means “original.” So Adam is the “ur-gent,” the original man. We felt this clue was difficult enough that we wanted to give a hint as to what was going on, hence the hyphen and the line break.

15D TERIYAKI  With Garr or Hatcher around, I chatter and dish (8)

The clue puts TERI around I YAK, but of course TERI is also there intact at the beginning of the word. That’s a slight weakness; perhaps there was a better way to frame it.

19D INTENSE  The way we count on energy is extreme (7)

We were under the impression that ten-based counting was one of those cross-cultural constants, like fear of snakes, but we’ve since been told that that’s not true. Oops.

Your turn to comment! Please limit yourself to puzzle #3228 (or earlier).

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