June 9, 2023

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Welty with Pulitzer – The New York Times

Welty with Pulitzer - The New York Times

Applying instructions to turn entries into questions – by mentally adding an interrogative inflection – made the joke click for me. Re-reading 20A as a question, for example, made me imagine a server in a restaurant offering guests a drink, and asking, “Mineral water?” In response, a fictitious restaurant patron, who is not a fan of these things, might reply, “Well, actually.” As in, “I prefer good water, indeed.”

The same server may then ask how the patron prefers the steak: “MEDIUM RARE?” To which the patron might reply, “Well, actually,” which here can be interpreted to mean: “My best steak, actually.” And to finish the meal, the server might ask the patron (now full of good water, well-cooked steak and looking a bit agitated), “Are you worried?” To which the patron might reply, “Well, actually.”

I must point out that this restaurant scene has completely played in my head. Thank you, Mrs. Laurie, for this hilarious reinterpretation of a phrase usually associated with a caring tone and an unpopular interpretation. Let’s hear from her about inspiration.

“Well, actually…” is a pedant’s favorite opening phrase, and probably some puzzle writers/trivia buffs (ironically of course) as well. Occupational hazard, right? It has already become a verb, as in, “I’ve actually done Andre 3000, showing that the Polaroid image doesn’t require shaking.” So I focused on the phrase and thought about the questions you could answer while maintaining its status as a phrase used to correct someone. Then, I just had to make them approach the questions logically. By the way, I fully expect anyone commenting on this puzzle will find a way to “well actually”, so I’m shoving myself…

The New York Times Crossword has an open submission system, and You can submit your puzzles online.

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For tips on how to get started, read our series, “How to make a crossword puzzle. “

Almost done, but needs a file a little More help? I’ve got you covered.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead, but Subscribers can peek at the answer key.

Trying to get back to the puzzle page? over here.

your thoughts?