The Last of the Ptolemys

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FRIDAY PUZZLE — Some of us get really excited about puzzles. It could be working through one that feels made just for you, or reaching a peak in your streak or (bingo!) seeing the byline of your newest fave constructor(s). This week I’m thrilled to be writing about a Sophia Maymudes/Kyra Wilson production. I’m also a bit cowed. Can I solve it? This is a team whose grids I first encountered at The Inkubator, the subscription service that publishes edgy work and is dedicated to groups underrepresented in the conventional crossworld.

The people at Inkubator largely devote themselves to developing the skills of constructors who identify as women. They help you nurture an idea or theme, share some wisdom about their craft, polish and publish your puzzle and pay you real money for it. (Full disclosure, Inkubator has published a couple of my puzzles and taught me a great deal.)

Ms. Wilson’s Inkubator bio describes her as a “research assistant in the Neuroscience of Language Lab at N.Y.U. Abu Dhabi” and a 2020 graduate of Carleton College with a computer science/linguistics double major. Among her leisure activities, she includes being “harassed by the Duolingo owl.” Ms. Maymudes’s bio said she uses her computer science degree and math minor as a software engineer in Seattle. The two met through friends at Carleton and found that they were in the same orbit of activities.

Tricky Clues

The clues and answers are fresh and crispy. Take 16A, “Bumper adornment.” That would be a “sticker,” right? A very small one. One that would fit neatly into five letters. Or, and this is something I never noticed until I moved to the New York area, “teddy,” like the stuffed animals truck drivers lash to their bumpers, presumably not because they love Paddington, say, but as one more buffer between them and the cars that they park between. Sound the buzzer for a wrong answer! It’s a DECAL.

Crossword Puzzle of the Week: August 4

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The Crossword: Monday, July 12, 2021

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