Funky Swifties are funny and include an adverb pun. The difference is that either of them is only an adverb ending in “ly”. First, at 17a, is the proof “I cooked this?” It’s disgusting*!’ Tom said ___. Unlike the previous two entries, the adverb describing how Tom gave this somewhat unpleasant appraisal lacks the ‘ly’ suffix entirely. Instead, insulting Tom is in very bad taste.
Finally, Tom, apparently present for the first birthday, complains to the three Magi about their gifts: “You’re supposed to be ‘wise men’ and *these* are the gifts you’re bringing for a newborn?!” Tom asked, ___. In this case, there’s the suffix “ly,” but it’s combined with another word to create frankly funny frankincense, which I would be if someone gave incense to an infant as a gift. I mean, really, what would he do with that?
While Swifty puzzles aren’t new, Mr. Smith contains a creative and clever collection of new puns. “Hooray for this puzzle!” Rachel said cheerfully.
Inspiration often comes from rarity, and that’s certainly true here – the rarity in question is the presence of PlayStation 5 consoles on store shelves, which led me to a nonsensical answer (we gamers can be pretty moody). This idea has progressed remarkably well in the year or so since I introduced this, although I understand availability is finally improving (just in time for the new “God of War” – woo!).
I built the grid around this central part, thinking it would be fun to give a lively glow to Swifty’s tried-and-true formula. I hope the answers elicit chuckles, or at least groans.
Personally, I still enjoy games, going to the movies, creative writing – and screenwriting in particular – and of course building crossword puzzles. My best friend recently helped me launch my own crossword puzzle, which has given me a rewarding outlet for some of my most special creations.
“I hope to be back here with more puzzles soon,” Ryan said vaguely. Thanks for the solution!
Want to submit a crossword puzzle to the New York Times?
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 series, “How to make a crossword puzzle. “
The turning point
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