If you are a fan of crossword puzzles, you might have encountered the clue “Brain cases” in the New York Times crossword puzzle of October 23, 2022. This clue was created by Daniel Bodily and Jeff Chen and edited by Will Shortz. It appeared in the 14th row and the 10th column of the 15×15 grid, and it had six letters. The answer was CRANIA, which is the plural form of cranium, the part of the skull that encloses the brain.
Why is this clue difficult?
The clue “Brain cases” is difficult for several reasons. First, it is a cryptic clue, which means that it does not directly define the answer, but rather gives a hint or a wordplay that leads to the answer. Cryptic clues are common in British-style crosswords, but less so in American-style crosswords like the New York Times. Second, the clue uses a word that is not very common in everyday language. Crania is a technical term that is mostly used in anatomy, anthropology, or archaeology. Third, the clue has a misleading surface meaning, which is the apparent meaning of the clue as a phrase or a sentence. The surface meaning of “Brain cases” suggests that it refers to something that contains or involves brains, such as head injuries, lawsuits, or puzzles. However, the actual meaning of the clue is simply the containers of the brains, i.e., the skulls.
How to solve this clue?
To solve this clue, you need to apply some strategies that are useful for solving cryptic clues. One strategy is to look for indicators that signal the type of wordplay involved in the clue. For example, the word “cases” could indicate that the answer is a container or a wrapper of something, or that it is an anagram of something. Another strategy is to look for synonyms or alternative meanings of the words in the clue. For example, the word “brain” could also mean intellect, mind, or head. A third strategy is to use the crossing letters from the other clues to narrow down the possible answers. For example, if you already have the letter A as the second letter of the answer, you can eliminate some options that do not fit.
Using these strategies, you might be able to guess that the answer is CRANIA, or at least confirm it if you already know it. However, if you are still stuck, you can always use some online tools or resources to help you. For example, you can use a crossword solver that can generate possible answers based on the clue and the number of letters. You can also use a crossword dictionary that can provide definitions and examples of crossword terms. Or you can use a crossword blog that can explain the logic and the origin of the clues and the answers.
What can you learn from this clue?
Solving this clue can be a rewarding experience for crossword enthusiasts, as it can challenge your vocabulary, your knowledge, and your reasoning skills. It can also teach you some interesting facts and trivia about the topic of the clue. For example, you can learn that crania is derived from the Greek word kranion, meaning skull. You can also learn that crania is used to study the evolution, the variation, and the health of human and animal populations. You can also learn that crania is sometimes used as a metaphor for intelligence or creativity, as in the phrase “crack the crania”.
In conclusion, the clue “Brain cases” is a difficult but fascinating clue that can test your crossword skills and expand your knowledge. If you enjoy solving clues like this, you can find more of them in the New York Times crossword puzzle, which is published daily and has different levels of difficulty throughout the week. You can also find other crossword puzzles from various sources and platforms, such as newspapers, magazines, websites, or apps. Crossword puzzles are a fun and educational way to spend your time and improve your brain power. Happy puzzling!