This was a fun one! I didn’t look at the puzzle until this morning but got the printed one prepared for my mom last night. I like to save toner and print out at 70% darkness for the blacked out squares, but this puzzle didn’t let me do that. It’s happened in the past, and I figured it was someone lazy early in 2021. But no! The version in today’s NYT is necessary if you’re going to do the puzzle by hand.
I pulled out 27A City near Leeds with historic walls: YORK because I originally had CORK in there, which I knew didn’t make sense. Cork is a city in Ireland, but I knew that Leeds is on the west coast of England, except for the actual being-on-the-west-coast-of-England part, and Cork is like this 🤏 close to Leeds on a map whose scale is small enough. CORK not only bothered me as an answer but also prevented me from successfully completing the puzzle. York is like a 40-minute drive from Leeds. And parts of the York Walls date back about two millennia.
The theme of this puzzle is initially Clued[AND]Confused.
1 Rubberneck: STOP[AND]STARE.
5 Stiffly formal: PRIM[AND]PROPER.
9 Old Glory: STARS[AND]STRIPES.
33 Kind of sauce in Chinese cuisine: SWEET[AND]SOUR. Sweet and sour chicken is at the top of the Chinese food list for me. It’s followed by broccoli beef, and then broccoli chicken is a distant third.
41 Fully from, as a place: BORN[AND]BRED.
43 Footwear fashion faux pas: SOCKS[AND]SANDALS. But who hasn’t gone outside in socks and sliders to grab the mail during this pandemic?
45 Risk losing one’s license, say: DRINK[AND]DRIVE. I remember the days of walking home from the bar. Also walking to the bar. Good place to watch sports. I haven’t been to a bar in almost a year. Wow.
56 Proven to be reliable: TRIED[AND]TRUE.
I hadn’t seen a puzzle with this type of cluing, and I really don’t mind it. I thought I’d be stuck awhile, but I wasn’t.
Good job, Eric Bornstein.
Finished this one in 15:43.