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‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’: Crossword Commentary

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

<h6>Candace Do / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Candace Do / The Daily Princetonian

Play this week’s crossword here.

Difficulty Level: 4/5

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Step up to the plate! Head Puzzles Editor Gabriel Robare makes his return today with a fiendishly tricky puzzle. The theme is straightforward enough — it’s the wealth of difficult clues that might have you scratching your head.

Read on below for help with some of these clues, plus thoughts from Robare and the answer key.

Tricky Clues

36A: The FAA, or the Federal Aviation Administration, has a towering presence. Not because it is particularly outstanding or impactful but because it has a lot of control towers. Fair warning: there’s a lot more where this came from. Robare wasn’t kidding when he informed me of his intention to be “fairly tricky.”

43A: If you’ve managed to come up with CIRCE at 25-Across, you just might be able to make the jump to her island home of AEAEA. Or maybe not. It’s an obscure reference, though all those vowels make it a crossword constructor’s dream come true.

45A: Even if you’re a bio major, this clue might have you stumped. The “pair” in cells is not anything biological but rather a pair of ELS. As in, the letter “L,” repeated twice. Don’t get mad at me; I’m just the messenger.

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4D: I normally don’t wear glasses, but I bought a cheap pair of blue light ones when classes went virtual. The problem is that they get all FOGGED whenever I use them with a mask.

6D: [Turn up at the ice rink?] is probably my favorite clue in this puzzle. We aren’t “turning up” in the way you might think; there are no moves happening at the ice rink. That is, unless you’re talking about the AXEL jump, which involves turning quickly and leaping up into the air.

39D: I’d prefer not to be reminded about the fact that SEP is the [First day of school mo.] when I’m barely making it through the last few weeks of the current semester. What’s that? Princeton’s first day is even earlier, in AUG? @#$%

40D: Considering the theme of this puzzle, it’s oh-so-tempting to enter “baseball” here, a word that fits perfectly into the eight-letter answer slot. The real answer is a sport much more unique: FALCONRY.

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Today’s Theme

Robare, who has previously written for the Sports section here at the ‘Prince,’ gives us a nice baseball theme in today’s puzzle. If a player HITS FOR THE CYCLE, it means that they hit a SINGLE, a DOUBLE, a TRIPLE, and a HOMER all in the same game of baseball. Each of these words can be found at the beginning of one of the theme answers.

It’s nice to see Robare’s name back in the byline, as he now spends most of his time on the editing side of things. Today’s puzzle is another solid addition to his ‘Prince’ puzzles portfolio. It also happens to be a pangram, which means that every letter in the alphabet is used at least once!

Constructor Notes

I’m excited to return as a constructor to the ‘Prince’ crossword section, rather than as an editor or commentary-writer. I had the idea for the theme of this puzzle while walking up the eastern side of the First College quad (or the “fuad,” as my friends and I affectionately call it). I’m a big baseball fan, and I had to see if it would work. I’m quite happy with the theme answers and I think the fill is quite smooth. I’m proud of notching my first pangram in my constructing career as well.

Some highlights for me include the top-right corner. Owen edited a few clues I enjoyed but that may have been too difficult: we had [The pits] for AWFUL and [City that was the title of the Will Smith song on “Big Willie Style”] for MIAMI. I also like the reference to CIRCE and AEAEA, and the stack of names in the bottom right: HOMER SIMPSON, JIMI Hendrix, ADAM, and RENE Descartes: imagine a dinner with the four of those guys!

Need more help? See below for the answer key.

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