Play this week’s crossword here.
It’s the end of the week, as good a time as any to have a movie night. But today’s puzzle by new constructor Ryan Gibbons might do you one better. His theme? The Infinity Stones from Avengers: Infinity War. Grab a blanket, microwave some popcorn, and join Gibbons for an Avengers crossword night, instead.
Read on below for help with tricky clues, thoughts from Gibbons, and the answer key.
1A: Maybe I need to watch more 17A, because right off the bat, Gibbons stumped me with this one. The Herzog he’s looking for is TODD.
14A: I read Moby Dick in high school, but it looks like I’ve forgotten the nautical terms I learned. The answer almost rhymes with the clue: to be [Sheltered at sea] is to be ALEE.
16A: This [Lethal compound] is nothing to be messed around with. Here, Gibbons is looking for the nerve agent SARIN.
22A: Don’t overthink this one. Or, maybe do? With some very tricky cluing, Gibbons isn’t looking for the letters in an actual postcard. He’s looking for the letters in the middle of the word itself: “s,” “t,” and “c.”
26A: The Rick Riordan wiki tells me that these Egyptian cobra figures appeared briefly in The Kane Chronicles, but I can’t for the life of me remember them. A quick lesson in Egyptology, the answer here is URAEUS.
5D: Although we’re still a long ways off from the holiday season, here, Gibbons had me reaching for my Christmas playlist. Eartha KITT was the first to sing “Santa Baby” back in the 1950s.
35D: Another gap in my pop culture knowledge, this time Gibbons points solvers to a Mean Girls reference that, I have to admit, is pretty funny. Karen, one of the characters, tells her friend that she’s psychic, but confuses extrasensory perception, ESP, for the sports network ESPN. “It’s like I have ESPN or something!”
Today’s six theme answers all start with the name of an Infinity Stone from Avengers: Infinity War. I was excited to finish the puzzle because I figured that if the Stones gave Thanos the power to disintegrate half of all life in the universe, they might help me cut the number of pages I have to write for my next writing seminar assignment in half. Alas, while Gibbons is certainly shaping up to be a good constructor, he’s not that good.
However, he did manage to fit all the Stone names into nine-letter theme entries, which nicely differentiates them from the other, shorter across entries. The theme answers are gettable for someone unfamiliar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, too, but they’re also a nice surprise for fans. I appreciated the humor in some of the down entries, like U MAD, HI MOM, and CENA. They reminded me of the staggering number of Infinity War memes created after the movie’s release.
Owen, one of our Head Puzzle Editors, joked in a recent meeting that nobody would want to be the first one to go without thanking him and Gabe in their Constructor Notes. He was wrong. I have no intention of acknowledging the incredible help they’ve been and the support they’ve provided throughout the semester that made my puzzle debut (along with many others) possible.
Instead, I’ll thank my mom for getting me into crosswords in the first place. Love ya.
Constructing my first crossword was an absolute blast, and a whirlwind at that. The idea popped into my head as I was drifting asleep just over a week ago, and barely left my mind until the board was fully filled. I hope you enjoy solving the puzzle as much as I enjoyed creating it!
Still need help? See below for the answer key.