Off the Grid: Sally breaks down USA TODAY's daily crossword puzzle, I Won't Stand For It! (2024)

Sally Hoelscher, USA TODAY

·5 min read

There are spoilers ahead. You might want to solve today's puzzle before reading further! I Won't Stand For It! (Freestyle)

Constructors: Renee Thomason & Zhouqin Burnikel

Editor: Jared Goudsmit

What I Learned from Today’s Puzzle

  • DOJO (5A: Karateka's place) A DŌJŌ is a place for experiential learning. A karateka is one who practices karate. As with other martial arts, training for karate happens in a DŌJŌ.

  • INCA (14A: Worshipper of Mama Sara) In INCA mythology, Mama Sara was the goddess of grain. She was also associated with willow trees.

  • BEN (20A: Actor Whishaw) BEN Whishaw is an actor whose name I didn't recognize, but whose face was familiar to me when I looked him up. The British actor has an extensive list of acting credits on stage and in movies and TV shows. I recognize him from the role of Michael Banks in the movie Mary Poppins Returns (2018). BEN Whishaw also voiced the character of Paddington Bear in the movies Paddington (2014), Paddington 2 (2017), and Paddington in Peru (expected release date November 8, 2024).

  • ANT EGG (45A: Insect pupa in gaeng khai moht) Gaeng khai moht is a dish in Lao cuisine that is also known as ANT EGG soup. The main ingredient in the soup, as the name suggests, is ANT EGGs. The ANT EGGs used in the soup are from the weaver ant species, which construct their nests on the undersides of the branches of mango trees and coconut palms. I have previously written about ANT EGG soup, but today I learned a new name for it.

  • JOHN (7D: "They Cloned Tyrone" actor Boyega) They Cloned Tyrone is a 2023 movie directed by Juel Taylor. The sci-fi comedy movie stars JOHN Boyega as Fontaine (a drug dealer), Teyonah Harris as Yo-Yo (a sex worker), and Jamie Fox as Slick (one of Fontaine's customers). Together, Fontaine, Yo-Yo, and Slick stumble upon a secret operation that is cloning Black people.

Random Thoughts & Interesting Things

  • TEEN (21A: Katniss Everdeen, age-wise) Katniss Everdeen is the TEEN protagonist of The Hunger Games trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. Katniss, who is 16 years old at the beginning of the series, competes in the Hunger Games after volunteering to take the place of her younger sister. Jennifer Lawrence played the role of Katniss Everdeen in the movie adaptation of the books.

  • ODE (25A: "___ to Browsing the Web" (Marcus Wicker poem)) You can read Marcus Wicker's poem, "ODE to Browsing the Web," on the Poetry Foundation website. ODE is a word we see frequently in crosswords due to its length and crossword-friendly letters. I enjoy when ODE is clued as it is today, in a way that introduces me to a new poet and/or poem.

  • CECE (34A: Singer Peniston) CECE Peniston has had five number one hits on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, including her signature song, "Finally" (1991).

  • AARP (35A: Org. for people 50 and older) My favorite fun fact about AARP is that, although it promotes itself as a 50+ organization, and advocates for those in that age range, AARP does not have a minimum age requirement for membership.

  • SOAPY (36A: Like a bubble bath) I had "sudsy" here at first, but crossing answers soon set me on the SOAPY path.

  • UFO (51A: "Resident Alien" spacecraft) Resident Alien is a TV series that premiered on the Syfy network in 2021. The show is based on a comic book of the same name. Alan Tudyk portrays the title character, whose UFO crash-landed in Patience, Colorado.

  • ERIC (57A: Disney prince who sings "Wild Uncharted Waters") "Wild Uncharted Waters" is a song that Lin Manuel Miranda wrote for Prince ERIC to sing in Disney's 2023 live action adaptation of the 1989 animated movie The Little Mermaid.

  • ONE (8D: Second number in the Fibonacci sequence) The Fibonacci sequence is a sequence of numbers in which each number is the sum of the two numbers that precede it. The sequence begins with the numbers zero and ONE. The third number in the Fibonacci sequence is also ONE, as zero plus ONE equals ONE.

  • TLDR (10D: Letters before a summary) TL;DR = too long; didn't read

  • PETSAT (42D: Cared for a neighbor's iguana, say) I enjoyed the choice of iguana for this clue. Fun to see a PET other than the standard cat and dog mentioned. My husband and I once PETSAT for a friend's PET snake. My cat, Willow, is not happy with me for applauding the choice of iguana in this clue.

Off the Grid: Sally breaks down USA TODAY's daily crossword puzzle, I Won't Stand For It! (2)

  • RENE (48D: "Tin Cup":" actress Russo) Tin Cup is a 1996 sports-themed romcom starring RENE Russo and Kevin Costner. The film is set in the world of golf, and Kevin Costner's character ("Tin Cup") is a former golf prodigy attempting to make a comeback. RENE Russo's character (Dr. Molly Griswald) is a clinical psychologist, who offers to become Tin Cup's sports psychologist in return for golf lessons.

  • OTTO (52D: "A Man Called ___" (2022 Tom Hanks film)) A Man Called OTTO is a remake of a 2015 Swedish movie titled A Man Called Ove. Tom Hanks portrays the film's title character.

  • A few other clues I especially enjoyed:

    • LIST (1A: Something Santa or a shopper might check)

    • SCAM (26A: Email from an heirless prince, probably)

    • LET ME GUESS (29D: "Wait, don't say the answer yet!")

    • HEE (54D: "___-haw!" ("I'm a donkey!")

Crossword Puzzle Theme Synopsis

This is a freestyle, or themeless puzzle, so there's no theme today. The title, I WON'T STAND FOR IT!, is a nod to PLEASE HAVE A SEAT (53A: Polite "Wait here").

When I solve a freestyle puzzle, I'm on the lookout for the answer that inspired the title. Unlike themed puzzles, where the title is a hint to the theme, the title of freestyle puzzles are generally inspired by one (or more) of the puzzle's answers, or its general vibe. I chuckled when I filled in PLEASE HAVE A SEAT, and realized it was likely the inspiration for I WON'T STAND FOR IT. Thank you, Renee and Zhouqin, for this enjoyable puzzle.

For more on USA TODAY’s Crossword Puzzles

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Crossword Blog & Answers for June 18, 2024 by Sally Hoelscher

Off the Grid: Sally breaks down USA TODAY's daily crossword puzzle, I Won't Stand For It! (2024)

FAQs

What is the hardest day for crossword puzzles? ›

The crosswords are designed to increase in difficulty throughout the week, with the easiest on Monday and the most difficult on Saturday. The larger Sunday crossword, which appears in The New York Times Magazine, is an icon in American culture; it is typically intended to be as difficult as a Thursday puzzle.

How much is USA Today crossword puzzle? ›

Unlimited Digital Access to USA Today Crossword: $19.99/year* Your subscription includes full access on desktop, tablet and mobile.

Who is the famous crossword puzzle maker? ›

William F. Shortz (born August 26, 1952) is an American puzzle creator and editor who is the crossword editor for The New York Times. He graduated from Indiana University with a degree in the invented field of enigmatology.

What is the most used word in crossword puzzles? ›

Don't be intimidated by crossword puzzles. “ERA” is the most common entry in crosswords, as well as “ARE,” “AREA,” and “ORE.” If a clue is in plural, the word will probably end in “S.” “Cheating” by checking a letter or word is encouraged if you're stuck.

Are crossword puzzles good for your brain? ›

Research has shown a positive correlation between crossword puzzles and daily life functions, especially for people with mild cognitive impairment or dementia. Experts emphasize that larger clinical trials are needed to unravel the observed associations between crossword puzzles and how our brains function.

Is there a trick to solving crossword puzzles? ›

Tackle the easiest clues first.

Scan through the clues, and knock out all the easiest ones. Not only will this give your gameplay some structure, but also it'll give you an ego boost! Typically, fill-in-the-blank clues are the easiest. For example: “___ of Oz.”

Is there a strategy to crosswords? ›

Fill in the blanks first

Every puzzle usually has a small handful of fill-in-the-blanks, so if you're looking to get an early confidence boost, scan the list of clues for fill-in-the-blanks and knock them out early.

Why is my daily crossword not working? ›

Use the latest browser version available (ideally chrome, firefox, safari, or edge) Ensure your browser has third-party cookies enabled (the crossword puzzles and games are from a third-party, so these cookies are required; if you have them disabled that may negatively interfere with your ability to play the game).

How to play USA Today crossword for free? ›

Download the USA TODAY Crossword & Sudoku app today and enjoy hours of mind-bending puzzle fun. The app is free to download and play, with premium features available through in-app subscriptions.

What is the best free crossword site? ›

Check out these 20 best online crossword puzzles to get started.
  • Merriam-Webster Universal Daily Crossword. ...
  • BestCrosswords.com. ...
  • Rockwell Museum Crossword Puzzles. ...
  • Crossword Puzzle Free. ...
  • The New Daily Quiz Crossword. ...
  • Mind Food Daily Online Puzzle. ...
  • Daily Crossword Puzzle From Vox. ...
  • Boatload Puzzles.
Dec 12, 2023

What do you call a person who loves crossword puzzles? ›

noun. cru·​ci·​ver·​bal·​ist.

Can you get paid for making crossword puzzles? ›

How much does a Crossword Puzzle Maker make? As of Jun 11, 2024, the average hourly pay for a Crossword Puzzle Maker in the United States is $16.56 an hour.

What is the most famous crossword puzzle? ›

The most famous Schrödinger puzzle, and maybe the most famous crossword puzzle in American history, was published on the morning of Election Day in 1996.

What is the hardest day of the week for the NYT crossword? ›

The Saturday crossword is actually the hardest puzzle of the week. Mondays have the most straightforward clues and Saturday clues are the hardest, or involve the most wordplay. Contrary to popular belief, the Sunday puzzles are midweek difficulty, not the hardest.

Are Tuesday crosswords hard? ›

Monday is the easiest and Saturday is the hardest, with Sunday puzzles being larger and having the difficulty of about a Thursday puzzle. The biggest jump in difficulty is from Tuesday and Wednesday as the words get longer and longer and the clues get trickier. Hope this helps.

What is the hardest crossword day in the WSJ? ›

The daily puzzles are arranged in graded difficulty from Monday (easiest) through Saturday (hardest). The Sunday puzzle, which is larger—typically 21x21, vs 15x15 for the daily—is said to have a difficulty equivalent to about Thursday.

What is the easiest day of the week for the New York Times crossword? ›

In case you didn't know, the daily New York Times Crossword has a difficulty curve as the week goes on. Monday is the easiest puzzle, and then Tuesday is a little harder, climbing up to Saturday, which is the hardest day of the week.

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