Saturday, October 1

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‘Cup o’ Joe’: Crossword Commentary

Hints and commentary on the puzzle, plus thoughts from the constructor

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

Play this week’s crossword here.

Everyone got their cup of Small World coffee? If not, don’t worry — no “joe” needed to stay engaged throughout this lively puzzle from Gabe Robare. Today’s is a shorter edition of crossword commentary as the Puzzles section has been busy training incoming crossword constructors. Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for some new names in the byline!


In the meantime, read on below for help with clues, thoughts from Robare, and the answer key.

Tricky Clues

15A: If sports trivia isn’t your strong suit, this is the same George who is known for the George FOREMAN Grill. Between this entry, STAPLERS, and SANDALS Jamaica, I’m starting to think that Robare is working a mini “The Office” theme into the puzzle.

16A: The word we’re looking for here is CALDERA, which refers to a crater-like formation often caused by the collapse of a volcano.

17A: When a player commits too many fouls in a professional basketball game, they FOUL OUT. When that happens, Michael Jordan takes it personally. (Fun fact: Robare informs me that Michael Jordan only fouled out 10 times in his 1072 career games.)

26A: There’s a surprising number of words that can come before SAKE. See how many you can think of, then check out Jacob Stulberg’s crossword that was based around this discovery.


29A: This clue isn’t talking about the color white but rather an EGG white. Tricky wordplay, as indicated by the question mark on the end of the clue.

33A: Since this is a themeless crossword, Robare picked this answer/clue to inspire the title of the puzzle. DINERS are where you might order a “cup o’ joe.” Also, let’s all take a moment to appreciate the beautiful graphics made by Ashley Chung that accompany these columns every week.

44A: Whenever I tell my friends back home that I’m taking a COS class, they stare at me with a puzzled expression. The department code here is COS, but perhaps it’s more common to hear CS or COMP SCI.

14D: Here, the clue is not referring to New Jersey or Georgia (!). Instead, a [Blue state?] is SADNESS.

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21D: Did you hear about PLUTO? That’s messed up right?

Today’s Theme

Themeless puzzles typically have fewer words and trickier clues than themed puzzles, due to the fact that there are fewer restrictions on the grid. This particular puzzle is full of wordplay and mid-length (seven or eight-letter) entries. After such a hectic week of school, having a nice puzzle to relax is definitely my cup of tea. Er… cup o’ joe, that is.

Constructor Notes

I’m back in The Daily Princetonian Puzzles section with another themeless puzzle. I’ve wanted to make a puzzle with this sort of grid design for a long time — i.e. tall stacks in all the corners with a long diagonal line of black squares in the middle. It gives room for lots of mid-length fill (there are 28 seven-letter words in this puzzle), and no part of the grid is too sectioned-off.

As for the fill, I really like ANTI-HERO, ARUGULA, and SCALARS. I’m proud of the clues, too, especially 27-Across, 47-Across, and 14-Down.

Need more help? See below for the answer key.