NYT Crossword Answers for April 3, 2024

Alex Eaton-Salners leaves space for the unknown.

Jump to: Today’s Theme | Tricky Clues

WEDNESDAY PUZZLE — Some of the most impressive crossword themes to behold are those that achieve either the ample presence or total absence of a single letter. In a puzzle from February 1999, Janet R. Bender subtly restricted her vowel use to the letter E, managing to squeeze it into her grid a whopping 78 times. In a puzzle from May 2012, Patrick D. Berry used every letter of the alphabet except E. These themes tend to resist apprehension until the grids are entirely filled — which makes the discovery of them all the more satisfying.

Alex Eaton-Salners takes a different tack in today’s crossword: He makes letters disappear and reappear at will. He even manages to slide them under our noses incognito. But I’ll make no more pronouncements on the matter and let the puzzle do the rest of the talking.

You probably noticed that some letters were missing from the themed clues and that they were easy enough to deduce from the words they should complete: “Lip_on produc_s” (17A), for example, was clearly missing its T’s. But this, dear readers, is hardly half of the riddle: We still have to solve the clue and figure out what those circles in the entry row might be trying to tell us.

17A’s answer is INSTANT TEAS (the bold type denotes the circled letters). Why isn’t that third T circled? The pattern is repeated at 28A, when “_lum-colored _lants” leads us to PURPLE PEAS. Here, too, the third P isn’t part of the circled set, so the entry circles must indicate something other than the letters missing from their clues.

It all clicked for me at “Fr_endly fac_al tra_t” (55A), which solved to SMILING EYES. Suddenly, I heard what I was meant to see all along: the EYES were the I’s. The sounds of the circled letters were reflected in the second words of their homophonic entries.

We are having trouble retrieving the article content.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Want all of The Times? Subscribe.

Source: Elections -


Wisconsin Voters Approve Bans on Private Aid for Election Offices

The U.S. Is Rebuilding a Legal Pathway for Refugees. The Election Could Change That.