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Crossword commentary: “Over in Berlin”

Hints and commentary on tricky clues and the puzzle's theme and comments from the constructor

<h6>Ashley Chung / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Ashley Chung / The Daily Princetonian

Play this week’s crossword here.

Keeping the ball rolling with ‘Prince’ Puzzles this week, Gabriel Robare offers up a tricky themeless puzzle that will have you asking yourself: What was that kid’s name on “Stranger Things,” again? John B? No, no, that can’t be right... See below for help with tricky clues, notes from the constructor, and the answer key.

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Tricky Clues

10A: Henry VIII was famously without an HEIR for many years while he ruled as King of England. On that note, trivia buffs will appreciate today’s puzzle, chock-full of references to history and pop-culture.

16A: For those new to crossword conventions, an abbreviated clue almost always indicates an abbreviated answer. Here, the use of “org.” suggests that the answer is USDA, an initialism for the United States Department of Agriculture.

20A: Here we have a phrase that has been used everywhere from viral TikTok songs to the floor of the New Zealand Parliament. Don’t like it? OK BOOMER.

24A: This clue does double duty as the title of today’s puzzle and a clever way to get at UBER, the German word for “over.”

26A: Steve’s bromance with fellow Hawkins, Indiana resident DUSTIN had the whole internet cracking a smile during season three of “Stranger Things.” Season four can’t come soon enough.

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34A, 40A, 25D, and 34D: Four interconnected first names are key to solving the center of this puzzle. In order, we’ve got BORIS Johnson, CONAN O’Brien, CORIN from “As You Like It,“ and BENNY Goodman. Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if BORIS Johnson appeared at 10-Down(ing Street) in the puzzle? I sense a potential theme idea.

39A and 46A: Here are two nearly-identical clues, neither referring to rapid rises in popularity. Instead, “blowing up” literally means exploding like TNT or a BOMB.

50A: It’s an “in-tents location,” not an intense location. CAMPSITE is the answer here.

63A: Ah, COS 126. How I’ve missed grinding my teeth for hours only to discover a missing semicolon in the middle of an if-ELSE statement. 226, please be nice to me.

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2D: Did anybody else know that Drake Bell now goes by Drake “Campana” (Spanish for bell)? And that he makes music in Spanish? Anyway, this clue refers to his co-star, Josh PECK.

27D: Here, Robare hits us with a relatively unknown shipping company, though he is kind enough to offer a phonetic hint in the clue. The Uihlein family founded ULINE.

38D: This answer feels all-too relevant during a time when so many restaurants are operating without indoor dining. Thankfully, you can still support many local businesses by doing CURBSIDE pick-up.

47D: This answer, RCAS, is often clued in other publications as a reference to electronics made by RCA (e.g. “Some TVs”). Here at the ‘Prince’, we can instead give a shout-out to all the great Residential College Advisers.

Today’s Theme

Many crossword puzzles involve a theme, some topic or play on words that connects several answers in the grid. Themeless puzzles, like today’s from Robare, will instead often focus on the inclusion of fun, interesting answers paired with clever clues. Personal favorites of mine include answers like MOONSHOT, CAMPSITE, and OK BOOMER. Robare makes a strong themeless debut with this puzzle, full of trivia and wordplay.

Next week, check back for our second themed crossword, the “1000-Dollar Puzzle.”

Constructor Notes

This was the first puzzle I made using a computer — I had made a few others before using pencil and paper. Those were beginner (read: bad) puzzles and will never see the light of day, but I’m happy that “Over in Berlin” is my first puzzle in the ‘Prince’. I find I enjoy making a clever clue more than a clever theme, so this themeless puzzle was fun to construct. My favorite entry in this puzzle is CORIN because it gives me a chance to shout out my castmates in Theatre Intime’s production of “As You Like It” this past fall and to shout out Theatre Intime as a whole. Love you guys.

Particular thanks are due to Owen for intrepid editing and partnership, to Kenny Peng, Emma Treadway, and all the managing editors for helping to get this section off the ground, to the technology and design teams for making our crosswords look beautiful, and to Jason DeGroat, for getting me into the constructing game in the first place. Thanks, everyone.

Need more help? See below for the answer key.


The solution image for "Over in Berlin"

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