NYT Crossword Answers for April 4, 2024

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THURSDAY PUZZLE — I don’t always drink alcohol, but when I do, there is only one drink I want, and it’s the subject of Kevin Curry’s puzzle. You probably guessed the beverage thanks to the black-square design in the grid. That shape alone put a smile on my face.

I highly recommend that you finish it — the crossword, not the drink — because there is a nice surprise at the end.

The first MARTINI (57A) I ever sipped was a lemon drop, on a vacation to a Caribbean island long ago. It was made with fresh lemons, Grey Goose vodka, passion and love, all topped by a sparkling lemon-sugar rim. The bartender made it with what I can only describe as BRAVURA (59A), working up a sweat as he muddled and poured.

My great-aunt Rose used to use the word “luscious” to describe tasting experiences like this. After my first sip, I declared to my companion that this drink was not only luscious; it was life-affirming. Just so you know, this statement was made without the influence of any other adult beverages, because I know what you’re thinking: Deb would not rhapsodize about a drink to this extent unless she was already three sheets to the wind.

But to this day, I compare all other MARTINIs to that one.

On the other end of the spectrum was a pickle MARTINI I once tried with a friend in New York City. The less said about that drink, the better.

Thanks for the memory, Mr. Curry. Oh, right, the puzzle.

The 15×16 grid contains 19 black squares that represent a MARTINI glass. The theme material is a basic recipe for your drink. The theme clues are italicized.

You’ll need “One part VERMOUTH” (4D), then you “Chill with ICE CUBES” (9D). Add “Five parts GIN” (39D) and “Garnish with an OLIVE” (43A).

If you prefer your drink SHAKEN NOT STIRRED (3D), as 007 did, please shake away. And while you are at it, raise your glass to E.B. White, the author of “Charlotte’s Web,” who proclaimed the MARTINI to be the ELIXIR OF QUIETUDE (10A). His recipe for the drink, taken from the book “Letters of E.B. White,” is as follows: “Equal parts lime juice, apricot brandy, honey and dry vermouth. Stir this all together (you only need a tiny amount of the whole business), then add four times the amount of gin. Plenty of ice, stir and serve.”

When you are finished solving the crossword, a MARTINI — alas, not a real one — will appear, complete with a green pimento OLIVE and a stirrer (also known as a swizzle stick). The stirrer is the diagonal line of black squares that runs through the OLIVE. This may turn the square at the crossing of 43A and 30D (the O in OLIVE) black, but the O should still show up in white. That square is the end of the stirrer.

10A. A “Coastal retreat?” sounds like a lovely place to be right now, but the clue is not hinting at a vacation spot (not even one that makes amazing lemon drop MARTINIS). The retreat refers to the EBB of the ocean.

18A. Mr. Curry mentions in his notes that this entry was one of the seeds for the puzzle. “What Scott Joplin might yell after a spill?” is RAGTIME, a pun on the musical genre of his compositions.

44A. The answer to “Gave a red card, informally” is DQED, an abbreviation for disqualified. It’s often used when a referee wants a player to leave the field and the game.

54A. For those who are not followers of sports, the “Debut participants in July” are BATTERS, who take part in Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby.

62A. Hand up if you, like me, confidently wrote “eye exam” for the clue “Screening with a lot of characters?” only to find that the real answer was EYE TEST.

19D. In internet speak, TL;DR means “too long; didn’t read.” If you have a lot to say online, you might consider writing a TL;DR summary for those who don’t have time to read it all.

25D. If you are just beginning to push past Wednesday into the harder puzzles, this entry is worth remembering because you will see it every now and then. The clue “Leaves in hot water” is not about washing something. Here, “leaves” is a noun, not a verb. The answer is TEA.

Hi, Crossworld! I’m a part-time corporate carbon-footprint consultant and part-time stay-at-home-dad of three young kids (although the title is ironic, since it seems as if we’re never at home).

I’m thrilled to be making my solo New York Times debut!

This puzzle came to me at the end of a long day, when I was at my wits’ end with my kids. They were running around the house while we were trying to eat dinner, and one knocked over her milk for the third time that day. “Rag time,” I groaned.

Then a lightbulb went off. I wrote a clue involving Scott Joplin, the ragtime composer, and stuck the entry in a prominent spot of a blank grid. Even though I don’t drink and had to look up what a martini is, the rest of the puzzle somehow fell into place.

A big thanks to my wife, Zhou, for enduring years and years of dad jokes while I looked for the perfect one to print in The Times.

I hope this makes it all worth it. After all, when does a joke become a dad joke? When it becomes apparent!

Want to be part of the conversation about New York Times Games, or maybe get some help with a particularly thorny puzzle? Here are the:

Spelling Bee Forum

Wordle Review

Connections Companion

Work your way through our guide, “How to Solve the New York Times Crossword.” It contains an explanation of most of the types of clues you will see in the puzzles and a practice Mini at the end of each section.

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