Wednesday, November 30, 2022, Hoang-Kim Vu & Christine Simpson

Wednesday, November 30, 2022, Hoang-Kim Vu & Christine Simpson

Theme: Playing Innocent

 20. Shoplifting?: TAKING A STAND.

29. Insider trading?: BODY SWAPPING.

50. Money laundering?: GREEN WASHING.

60. "I did nothing wrong!," or an apt title for this puzzle?: IT'S NOT A CRIME.

Melissa here. Fresh and amusing theme today from Hoang-Kim and Christine - the clues are crimes (shoplifting), but the answers aren't (taking a stand). The unifier is perfect. Accordiing to this, Hoang-Kim has debuted 18 answer words in his NYT puzzles. He collaborates with his wife Jessica Zetzman (most recently 9/1/22), but here today with Christine Simpson - which appears to be her debut. Congratulations! Hoang-Kim's LA Times debut was May 2, 2019.


1. French "Thank you": MERCI. Nice, easy start.

6. Political alliance: BLOC. I first read this as Political allegiance.

10. Strongbox: SAFE.

14. Starters: A TEAM. Nice clue, I was thinking food.

15. New York school named after a Scottish isle: IONA. Iona University is a private Roman Catholic university in New Rochelle, New York. It was founded in 1940.

16. "Grand slam" awards acronym: EGOT. We see this regularly. The four awards are: Emmy (television), Grammy (music), Oscar (film), and Tony (theater). 17 people who have won an EGOT.

17. African herbivore: RHINO. It would be fun to see the full name rhinoceros, instead of shortened RHINO - although I'd never be able to spell it. Sad fact: Out of 100 that are known, there are currently only five species of living rhinos - three being critically endangered. Both species of African rhinos, black and white rhinos, are actually the same color - grey. Rhinoceros Fact Sheet.

18. "Double Indemnity" genre: NOIR. Stylish genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.

19. Filmmaker Ephron: NORA. So many good films. She died in 2012.

23. Huffy mood: SNIT. I like the term "spiff," a combo of tiff and spat.

24. Pacific Northwest st.: ORE. PNW State = Oregon. The others are Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Alaska.

25. "Lady Bird" Oscar nominee Metcalf: LAURIE. Looks good - Metcalf is brilliant in everything she does.

32. Male with horns: STEER. Second horned beast today.

35. Road goo: TAR.

36. Cushioned seat: SOFA.

37. La madre de su prima: TIA. Spanish for "his cousin's mother," making it his aunt.

38. Family docs: GPS. General Practitioners.

41. Food with altered DNA: GMO. Genetically Modified Organism.

43. Martin's "The West Wing" role: JED.

44. Lobby group for seniors: AARP. American Association of Retired Persons. Being retired isn't a requirement for membership.

46. Big primate: APE.

48. Erodes: WEARS.

54. Depress: SADDEN.

55. Group of whales: POD. A group of closely related matrilines (line of descent from a female ancestor) made up of mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins and their children. Pods usually consist of 5 - 30 whales, although some pods may combine to form a group of 100 or more.
56. Greeting Down Under: G'DAY. Australian phrase. King Charles III was officially proclaimed head of state of both Australia and New Zealand following Queen Elizabeth II's death at 96 in September of this year. Fun fact below.
63. Essential nutrient for the immune system: ZINC.

66. Pulled strings?: HARP. Sneaky - noun not verb.

67. Bushy-tailed canines: FOXES.

68. Field: AREA.

69. Aware of: ONTO.

70. Singer Patsy: CLINE.

71. Dollop: GLOB. I think I'd rather have a dollop than a glob.

72. Blast from the __: PAST.

73. Snow vehicles: SLEDS.


1. Gas station shops: MARTS.

2. "__ Frome": Edith Wharton novel: ETHAN.

3. Hands-on healing practice: REIKI.

4. "Do my eyes deceive me?": CAN IT BE.

5. "My time to shine!": I'M ON. Fun fact: Consummate actor Jack Lemmon had a habit of saying to himself before every take: “It’s magic time.”

6. Using only ones and zeros: BINARY.

7. Least strict: LOOSEST.

8. "Put a lid __!": ON IT.

9. Deterrent in a parking garage: CAR ALARM. Also Mike Ehrmantraut - one of the funniest running gags of all time in Better Call Saul.

10. Parodies: SENDUPS. Favorite parody, anyone?

11. Before now: AGO.

12. Pro: FOR.

13. "Wheels down" stat, for short: ETA. Estimated Time of Arrival.

21. Jupiter or Mars: GOD.

22. Suede property: NAP. The texture of the suede and nubuck's surface that can be felt and is created by the raised fibers of the hair.

26. Spanish wine region: RIOJA.

27. Deduce: INFER. Commonly misused to mean imply.

28. "Zounds!": EGADS.

30. __ chart: corporate diagram: ORG. "Corp. diagram," would indicate the shortened "org."

31. Move one's tail: WAG. Wag more. Bark less.

32. Males with antlers: STAGS. Yet more horned beasts!

33. Jeweled accessory: TIARA.

34. Like cornstalks?: EARED. Okay.

39. Spot for fast cash: PAWN SHOP.

40. Mud wrap venue: SPA.

42. Possess: OWN.

45. Human-powered taxi: PEDICAB.

47. Competitive video gaming: E-SPORTS.

49. Appetizer served with duck sauce: EGGROLL.

51. Brooklyn NBA player: NET.

52. Family-style Asian dish: HOT POT. Chinese Hot Pot is an interactive meal in which diners sit around a simmering pot of soup at the center of the table with various raw ingredients — meat, seafood, vegetables, tofu, and starches — in thin slices or small pieces for quick cooking.

53. Journalist Tarbell: IDA. In her most famous work, The History of the Standard Oil Company (which oil historian Daniel Yergin called the “most important business book ever written”), Miss Tarbell revealed, after years of painstaking research, the illegal means used by John D. Rockefeller to monopolize the early oil industry.

57. Carter of "Designing Women": DIXIE.

58. Modify: AMEND.

59. Agreements: YESES.

61. Mama's mama: NANA. That's what we called my dad's mom. She even had a restaurant called "Nana's Kitchen," and made the best Thanksgiving green bean casserole.

62. Ozone-destroying chemicals: Abbr.: CFCS. Chlorofluorocarbons. Today, the use of CFCs is outlawed by 197 countries around the world and scientists concur that the ozone layer is slowly recovering as a result.

63. Zig counterpart: ZAG.

64. Not online, online: IRL. In Real Life.

65. Prefix for classical and gothic: NEO.

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