Play this week’s crossword here.
The latest Friday crossword comes to us courtesy of Gabe Robare and features a quote from MLK, many clever clues, and a wide selection of trivia. From DICKENS and PLATH to AJAX and ECHO, prepare to dust off all your books from the Humanities sequence reading list. As you solve, also take a moment to consider the truth in King’s words — and their continued relevance today.
Read on below for help with clues and the theme, thoughts from Robare, and the answer key.
17A: Crossword puzzles do not typically lend themselves to self-expression in the same way as art or prose, yet the voice of a constructor will nevertheless find ways to shine through. Perhaps this clue is Robare’s way of telling us that he’s not a big fan of MATH.
19A and 13D: Parallelism is a common gimmick in crossword clues that appears here with [Those against, say] and [Those in favor, say]. What makes this pairing even better is that the two answers — ANTIS and YESES — cross each other in the grid.
32A: EOS was the Greek goddess of the dawn, even before she lent her name to the popular brand of lip balm. Is egg-shaped Chapstick really that much better than stick-shaped Chapstick?
39A: This is one of those clues that really makes you groan when you finally land on the answer. [Places to read between the lines?] are PALMS, like in a palm reading. Let’s see … what does it mean if your life line is short and your heart line just wants to be friends?
42A: Here, LAX refers to Los Angeles International Airport. [Grp. that sure isn’t lax at LAX] is the TSA. People who forget to dump out their water bottles and then hold up the line … you know who you are.
59A: DRMLKINGJR is not the most common way to abbreviate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but it gets the job done. Moreover, this spelling is necessary to obey the rules of crossword symmetry. Themed answers in symmetrical locations must match in length.
1D: “But now I’ve gone and thrownnnn it allllll awayyyyyy… MAMAaaaaa ooooooooooo”
2D: This is a dad joke of the highest order. When a door is not a door, it’s AJAR (a jar). Rimshot, please.
3D: Remember when everybody suddenly started caring about beauty YouTuber drama? Way back in 2019? It was TATI Westbrook’s video that started it all.
51D: Here, Robare refers to “Mending Wall,” a poem by Robert Frost. The final phrase is “Good FENCES make good neighbors.”
65D: ITS is the answer here because an apostrophe is often forgotten or misplaced when spelling this word. Its a forgivable mistake. (‘Prince’ copy editors: please let me have this one).
So-called “quote puzzles” can be tricky to pull off; they can be dry, unfamiliar, or lacking in punch. Today’s crossword is none of the above.
With an important and powerful quote at its center, this puzzle kept my attention the whole way through. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said: “A RIOT IS THE / LANGUAGE OF / THE UNHEARD.” The quote comes from a speech that King delivered at Stanford University in 1967, in which he also asks: “What is it that America has failed to hear?” While solving today’s puzzle and on a daily basis, King’s question should be in all of our minds.
My friends and solvers of this puzzle know that I like a good quote, and it’s hard to do much better than this puzzle’s theme. I was looking for a theme to fit in with Black History Month, and when I realized that “A riot is the language of the unheard” could be split into three ten-letter answers, it was too good to pass up. I’m very excited to be able to honor Dr. King’s words, which are only more relevant half a century later.
My other favorite entries include references to Sylvia PLATH’s “Morning Song” and the fun fact on the Arctic TERN. I have to thank my friend Julian Gottfried ’24 for the inspiration for the latter.
Need more help? See below for the answer key.