NYT Crossword Answers: Shakespearian Fool

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Let’s do one more: at 18A, the “Hot Coals” rating looks comfortable, especially at this time of year (at least for those of us here in the northern hemisphere, who freeze our patooties), but what could the answer be? If you cross that “l” in “coals”, you get “coats” and these “warm coats” are DOWN JACKETS.

As you mumble in a low voice about the injustice of this crossword puzzle, please note that, as far as I can see, there are no extraneous l’s or t’s in the clues. It’s incredible. You’d think that would make the hints stuffy, but it’s not.

Oh and there is a developer (61A) in the grid. The clue is “Reminder from the proofreader…or advice to end here?” and it’s an encore of CROSS YOUR T’S.

Well done, Mr. Wagner.

A few years ago, my wife, Anna, made cake pops for my birthday. When I asked how the hell she makes such perfect treats worthy of a Paul-Hollywood handshake, she replied that she uses a “cake pan”. I assumed that was a typo and that she meant “cake batter”, but no – apparently cake balls really are a thing. For a few seconds, however, I thought it was very funny and weird that digital text could make an analog error such as “forgetting” to cross a pair of t’s. And so a theme was born!

Many thanks to my brother-in-law, Jacob, for writing code to help me find LT pairs. (If you’re looking for something similar, XWord Info recently added a letter replacement tool, and Adam Aaronson’s Wordlisted has one too, which lets you search multiple lists of words.)

By far the most difficult part of this puzzle, however, was writing a natural sound, no– thematic indices without any superfluous capital l, t or I (which should actually be capital T, of course). It meant no “to”, “at”, “all”, “with”, “this”, “that” or “the other” “thing”. To use a millennial reference, it was like playing QWOP, where something as natural as running (or, in my case, writing) suddenly became an almost impossible task. I had to be hyper aware of my every move, and I was constantly face to face typing “it” without thinking, well, “it”.

If you want help getting started doing weird Thursday puzzles like this, or just want to be my crossword friend, come find me on twitter.

The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system, and you can submit your puzzles online.

For tips on how to get started, read our “How to Make a Crossword Puzzle” series.

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Warning: There are spoilers ahead, but subscribers can take a look at the answer key.

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