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Answers to 48 Hardest Clues

Below are the answers to what I consider to be the 48 hardest clues in what I consider to be the hardest New York Times crossword puzzle ever published (at least since 1972).

If you don't know how you got here, go here first.

  • If you're sure you don't want to work the puzzle, go ahead and scroll down to see them.
  • But before you do, see the sidebar at right about the single most baffling clue, not listed below, that I found in the Hardest NYT puzzle, and what happened about it.
  • And while you're on that subject, read more about this whole puzzle from someone whose opinion is better-informed than mine.

















  Levantine coffee cup   ZARF
  Coloratura Mills   ERIE
  Vale of -----   TEMPE
  Lavabo   RITE
  Hills   MOTES
  Midianite ruler   EVI
  Oswego tea   BALM
  Direction from Levine   ARIOSO
  Defunct Russian parliament   DUMA
  Prada offering   ARTE
  Beanie   DINK
  He was: Lat.   ERAT
  Kepi part   VISOR
  The Cornish Wonder   OPIE
  Trammel of baseball   ALAN
  Catfish   DORAS
  English river   NENE
  Georgian Aryan   OSSET
  Thessaly peak   OSSA
  Rigoletto's forte   JEST
  Leaflet-base appendage   STIPEL
  Buddhist sect   BRUNEI
  Schoenberg's "Moses und -----"   ARON
  High fashion   TON
  He played Big Daddy   IVES
  Abstract being   ENS
  Japanese kombu ingredient   KELP
  Annuli   RINGS
  Father of King Hadad: Gen. 36:35   BEDAD
  He, in Tarantao   ESSO
  Dispatch boat   AVISO
  Great Wall town   LINYU
  A U.N. member: Var.   KATAR
  The raisin capital of the world   FRESNO
  Remnants, in Roma   RESTI
  Author of "The Augustan Ages"   ELTON
  Honshu port   KOBE
  Cubiti   ULNAS
  Portuguese dollar   ESCUDO
  Rosary bead   AVE
  Eastern Roman   ZENO
  Roman family group   GENS
  Poetry of a people   EPOS
  Sights on the Atl.   STRS
  One-man shows   SOLI
  City having a casbah   ORAN
  Ancient wall word   MENE
  Have, in Haddington   HAE

How many of these 48 hardest clue-and-answer relationships in this Hardest NYT puzzle did you get right?


The clue that used up pretty much all of my day after Christmas in 1987, a day I should have been outside playing with my new sled, was 13-Down.

The clue for 13-Down is the single word "Trilbies," and the answer is FEET. 

Do you know why that answer is right?  I didn't until January of 1999, over a decade later, when I got help from people who stumbled onto this page and researched the question.  Ain't the Internet grand?  I'm now quite sure their  explanation about trilbies is correct.



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