TUESDAY PUZZLE — Context is everything, especially when communicating with emoji. For a chef, for example, the eggplant emoji can be read as a simple ingredient suggestion. But for the rest of us, well, no need to elaborate on that, right?
In other words, emoji is writing letters and gestures are speaking. Emojis are visual cues that rely on surrounding communication to convey meaning.
And today’s grid built by Margaret Seikel, gesturing wildly. As we work through the problems, we will come to understand how what we do with our hands and words depends on the context.
What do you call this emoji? ✌️
Whether you can solve today’s crossword may depend on your answer.
The “when ordering” (4D) symbol in restaurants is TWO, PLEASE.
But when you put it on someone’s head for a “silly group photo” (10D), it’s BUNNY EARS.
If you’re flashing “in an anti-war demonstration” (20A), it’s a peace sign.
As a message of “From Winston Churchill” (52A), it meant V FOR VICTORY.
I now want to know more emoji ambiguity anecdotes. Please share if you have.
15A. / 7D. This crossed homophonic fill will delight theater and fashion geeks alike. You can settle for one or the other first, depending on your interest. “Japanese obi” is an obi, “theater award” is a clue 200 or more The New York Times crossword times — refers to OBIE.
25A. Yesterday I suggested that the best way to resolve verbal cues is to say them out loud to yourself. It’s because I’m OK.
30A. This is my favorite clue — a common metaphor alluding to nameless nouns.Here the “it” in “it’s a drug” is in a sense herbal tobaccoSo the fill you’re looking for is TOKE.
40A. I thought “trunk” indicated the back of the body rather than the front, like the idiom “junk of ____”. (I think I’m in the minority. popular method To the torso clue. )
43A.You too POSIES generalized bouquetnot a particular kind of flower.
8D. “It’s a utensil for eating soup, isn’t it for stirring coffee?” I’m using the BIG SPOON to stir my coffee tomorrow and no one can stop me.
9D. OMEGA is the “opposite of alpha” in that it is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, but alpha is the first letter. (These antonyms are also Biblical Meaning, if you want to explore them. )
46D. The title of this author’s work Conditioned Reflexes is a hint to you. drooling dog study.
Notes on constructors
I first submitted a very different version of this puzzle in August 2020. Three months later, an editor expressed interest in the concept, but proposed a different set of themes and removed the original liberal. Unable to find a rewrite to be proud of, she shelved the idea for another day.
Fast forward to May 2022. I thought about 4-Down and realized that mirror symmetry could accommodate funky intersections — boot up some cool grid art. Thanks to Matthew Stock for suggesting the angle of the partial emoji clue. That Saturday, I responded to his 2020 rejection email and received my approval by Thursday afternoon. A year later, I look forward to sharing it with the world.
Want to submit a crossword to The New York Times?
The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system where you can submit puzzles online.
Read our How to Make a Crossword Puzzle series for tips on how to get started.
Are you still drifting? Subscriber can peek at the answer key.
Want to get back to the main gameplay page? You can find it here.