This Sunday, I’m choosing up the Variety column for the primary time, filling in for Caitlin Lovinger. I used to be a little bit apprehensive about unzipping the advance file of puzzles, not understanding what I’d discover. Inside, was a model of brainteaser that I had not solved earlier than: a PandA, or Puns and Anagrams puzzle. PandAs, the place have you ever been all my life?
PandAs, as I’m positive most of you recognize, could resemble cryptics, however are one thing else completely. A couple of days in the past, I’d have informed you that cryptics had been extra my cup of tea and that I recognize them for the extraordinarily rigorous, concentrated little artistic endeavors they are often. While I patiently chip away at them, pleased to reach at three or 4 solutions at every nibble, associates say they devour cryptics and given a selection for his or her puzzle exercise, they like the British ones, with their additional layer of regional impermeability.
But who can flip away a beautiful anagram, or flip up their nostril at a tremendous and even corny pun? Laughing is as essential because it ever was, if no more so. Still, once I first joined The New York Times, I attempted to dodge puns in an overreaction to a stylebook caveat about indulging unwisely in wordplay, because it had been.
But no such constraints bind Daniel Raymon and his puzzle, which I tackled by skipping and tripping among the many clues and filling within the ones that felt proper, then going again over the blanks and shaking up the letters that remained, hoping to see the solutions fall into place.
Even although, once I was fixing, the one different creature stirring was one of many cats, 1D induced me to chuckle aloud. The clue is “Head covering mother holds.” It took me the longest time to succeed in MAHATMA, or MAMA holding HAT. Get it? I do know you do.
I didn’t, at first. My downside got here from my misinterpretation of a crossing clue. Although I’m having fun with the truth that PandAs, in contrast to cryptics, have extra of a scaffolding of crossing phrases that assist the solver, I preserve anticipating the solutions to be sewn up as neatly as they’re in some cryptics.
In this case, it was 17A that led me astray. Reading the clue: “What a fellow does to an envelope,” I made an assumption — or did not make one. I considered a fellow as one who receives a fellowship quite than as a male human, and I ended up with “readdresses,” when the precise reply was HE ADDRESSES. That helped me get MAHATMA, however I stored wishing there had been a millinery joke within the envelope, or perhaps the HEADDRESSES/HAT cross was the millinery joke?
At 19A, “Cartoon character in Acapulco,” I ended. I didn’t count on to see APU, a longtime common on “The Simpsons,” who was caught up in an issue over racial and ethnic stereotyping. Hank Azaria, the white actor who voiced the character — a extremely educated immigrant from India who runs a comfort retailer — determined, in response to public disapproval, that he would now not be the voice of Apu. He continued in different roles on the present.
The clues that the majority intently resembled these of a cryptic had been simpler for me to decipher, like 15A, “Expresses a rustic tale well.” The reply, ARTICULATES, means “expresses” and the anagram comes from recombining “a rustic tale.” (We’d need to toss away the “well,” although.)
I burst into laughter at 59A, “Redloh god toh,” which I mistook for a second as an expression in a vaguely acquainted overseas language. Then I needed to resolve whether or not the “redloh” needs to be a NUB or bun. (Snoino eht dloh.)
I believe I’m in love with PandAs, and I need to attempt extra of them. But I can’t say I completely grasp the importance of each reply. Maybe you readers who’re skilled with this manner will help me choose aside 1A, “Social Security Administration operating in four states.” I labored out that the reply is MISS AMERICA. And I discovered CA for California, RI for Rhode Island and both MI for Michigan or MISS for Mississippi. And both method, I’ve letters left over and no fourth state.
Where did I am going flawed?