Something to Think About 2023
Congrats to Michael Lieberman, who makes his 16th appearance in the New York Times Crossword with this delightful Tuesday problem. The topic is based on an amusing discovery about language, which identifies four-word pairings that share an unusual characteristic. More about this similarity is provided below. But first, let’s examine a few of the more difficult hints in the grid.
As a Taylor Swift fan, I was delighted to see the clue “Taylor Swift’s ‘___ Song’” for OUR.
“One of clubs?” ” The question mark indicates it is a wordplay hint. There is no “one of clubs” in a regular deck of playing cards, hence this reference is fictitious. Instead, the correct response is a person (“one”) who is a member of a club — a MEMBER.
A DOULA is a “helper during childbirth.” DOULA care entails offering non-medical physical and emotional support before, during, and after delivery.
This crossword problem contains four entries with the same theme: Each phrase consists of 11 letters and two words, with the final nine letters being a three-letter string that repeats three times. I guarantee that it is easier to solve than to describe!
The first of these triple-triple theme entries is TABOO BOO-BOO (“Injury so humiliating that no one is permitted to discuss it?”). In this instance, the tripled syllable is BOO. Next is QATAR TARTAR (“Effect of failing to pack a toothbrush for a trip in Doha? “), which sounds dreadful!
The third dance, DACHA CHA-CHA (“Cuban dance performed in a Russian villa? “), is perhaps the most difficult of the group. I learnt the word DACHA through crossword puzzles and have little use for it in everyday life; thus, I assume that several younger solvers may not be aware with this name for a Russian estate.
My favorite of the group is LEMUR MURMUR (“Indistinct mumbling from a primate with a ringed tail?”). I adore the mental picture of a dissatisfied primate babbling incoherently, possibly while watching the “Madagascar” films’ parody of its species.