Off the Grid: Sally breaks down USA TODAY's daily crossword puzzle, No Resolution

There are spoilers ahead. You might want to solve today's puzzle before reading further! No Resolution (Freestyle)

Constructor: Dena R. Witkes

Editor: Amanda Rafkin

April 19, 2024
April 19, 2024

Comments from Today’s Crossword Constructor

Dena: Working with the USA TODAY editing team is an educational process and I hope that goes both ways. My initial instinct was to push back on the editor's clue for 12D, but I saw the brilliance in including something that might be a gimme to some (despite it being completely out of my wheelhouse.) One of the only clues I pushed to keep was 1A on account of this puzzle being published on 4/19. Happy Bicycle Day!

What I Learned from Today’s Puzzle

  • MONAE (44A: Multi-hypenate Janelle) Janelle MONÁE is a singer-songwriter-rapper-actor. This I knew. I especially enjoyed her performance in the 2022 movie Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, in which she portrayed twins Andi and Helen Brand. What I learned from this clue is the word "multi-hyphenate," which is used to refer to a person with several different jobs. It is particularly used in reference to those in the entertainment industry, but can be used in other contexts as well. I typically describe my current profession as crossword constructor, editor, and blogger. Perhaps it's time to admit that, like Janelle MONÁE, I am a multi-hyphenate, and say I am a crossword constructor-editor-blogger.

Random Thoughts & Interesting Things

  • ACID (1A: Drug that's "dropped") LSD, commonly known as ACID, was first synthesized in 1938, by a Swiss chemist named Albert Hoffman. Several years later, on April 19, 1943, Albert Hoffman took a dose of LSD, and experienced the first documented ACID trip. The day is referred to as "Bicycle Day" in reference to Albert Hoffman riding a bicycle home from the lab (accompanied by his lab assistant).

  • SUB (21A: Classroom temp) Temp here is short for "temporary" rather than "temperature." The use of the shortened form temp in the clue alerts solvers that the answer will also be a shortened form – in this case, SUB for substitute.

  • SHIATSU (27A: Japanese "finger pressure" technique) SHIATSU techniques include massage, acupressure, assisted stretching, and joint manipulation. SHIATSU, which became popular in the twentieth century, evolved from another Japanese style of massage known as anma, which dates back to the 1300s. SHIATSU means, "finger pressure" in Japanese.

  • SOY (31A: Tempeh protein) Tempeh is made from fermented SOYbeans, and is a good source of protein.

  • TED TALK (47A: "Ideas worth spreading" lecture) TED TALKs originated at the TED Conference in 1984. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. TED TALKs present an idea in 18 minutes or less. Many TED TALKs are now available for viewing online, with the tagline, "ideas worth spreading." This has been the tagline for TED TALKs for about 20 years, but earlier this month, TED TALKs unveiled a new tagline: "Ideas Change Everything." I like it.

  • SIREN (68A: Temptress of Greek mythology) In Greek mythology, a SIREN was a creature who used their enchanting singing voice to lure sailors to shipwreck on their islands. Originally, SIRENs were described as a combination of a woman and a bird, but over time their appearance came to be described as women with fish tails who lived in the sea, also known as mermaids.

  • OLDER (12D: Like Taylor Swift's album "Lover" vis-a-vis "Midnights") Taylor Swift's albums, Lover and Midnights, were released in 2019 and 2022, respectively, making Lover the OLDER of the two albums. Both Lover and Midnights are OLDER than The Tortured Poets Department, Taylor Swift's 11th studio album, which was released today.

  • ROSA (26D: Montgomery bus boycott icon Parks) The Montgomery bus boycott was a protest against the policy of racial segregation on Montgomery, Alabama buses. The boycott began on December 5, 1955, four days after ROSA Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus so a white person could sit down. The Montgomery bus boycott lasted until December 20, 1956, when a Supreme Court decision declared laws that segregated buses to be unconstitutional.

  • IDA (34D: NAACP co-founder ___ B. Wells) IDA B. Wells (1862-1931) was an investigative journalist and a co-founder of the NAACP.  In 2020, IDA B. Wells was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize for "her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching."

  • TONES (41D: The Thai language has five) Thai is the official language of Thailand. Thai is a tonal language, that is, various TONES are used to distinguish the meaning of words. A single word may be said with different TONES, and each TONE will change the meaning of the word.

  • EMMY (48D: TV award that Zendaya has two of) Zendaya is a model, actress, and singer. Her two EMMY Awards are for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, which she won in 2020 and 2022 for her portrayal of the character Rue Bennett on the TV series Euphoria.

  • SCATS (50D: Improvises like Ella Fitzgerald) During her career as a jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) earned the nicknames "First Lady of Song," and "Queen of Jazz." Among other things, she was known for her SCAT-singing, improvising melodies and rhythms with wordless syllables.

  • ASTRO (52D: The Jetsons' dog) The Jetsons is an animated TV sitcom that originally aired from 1962-1963, and from 1985-1987. The Jetsons are a family living in Orbit City in the future. The show's theme song introduces the family that live in Orbit City in the future: "Meet George Jetson / His boy, Elroy / Daughter Judy / Jane, his wife." The Jetsons' dog is ASTRO the Space Mutt.

  • REEFS (53D: Structures made of coral or sunken ships) REEFS are ridges of material lying beneath the surface of a body of water. Coral REEFS are comprised of living organisms. The colonies of coral are held together by calcium carbonate they secrete. REEFs provide habitat for other marine creatures. Artificial REEFS can be formed by objects such as sunken ships.

  • SUN (65D: Connecticut WNBA team) The Connecticut SUN is a professional basketball team established as part of the WNBA's expansion in 1999. The team was originally established as the Orlando Miracle. In 2003, the Mohegan Tribe purchased the team, and moved it to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, renaming the team the Connecticut SUN.

Crossword Puzzle Theme Synopsis

There's no theme today, as this is a freestyle, or themeless puzzle. The title, NO RESOLUTION, is a nod to AGREE TO DISAGREE (39A: Copacetic way to end an argument).

In addition to the answers I've highlighted above, I also enjoyed I NEED A HUG, LIFE PARTNER, and STARTER HOME. The grid-spanning AGREE TO DISAGREE is a fabulous answer. Thank you, Dena for this excellent puzzle.

For more on USA TODAY’s Crossword Puzzles

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Crossword Blog & Answers for April 19, 2024 by Sally Hoelscher