How to Keep the Beat in a Way with NYT Crossword Puzzles

If you are a fan of crossword puzzles, you might have encountered the clue “Keep the beat, in a way” in some of the New York Times crossword puzzles. This clue has appeared multiple times throughout the years, and it has two possible answers: CLAP and TOETAP. But how do you know which one to choose? And what does this clue have to do with keeping the beat? In this article, we will explore the meaning and origin of this clue, and give you some tips on how to solve it.

What Does “Keep the Beat, in a Way” Mean?

The clue “Keep the beat, in a way” is a cryptic way of saying that the answer is a word that can describe a way of making a rhythmic sound with your body. To keep the beat means to maintain a steady tempo or rhythm, usually in music or dance. For example, you can keep the beat by tapping your foot, clapping your hands, snapping your fingers, or nodding your head. These are all ways of making sounds that can match the beat of a song or a metronome.

Where Did This Clue Come From?

The clue “Keep the beat, in a way” first appeared in the New York Times crossword puzzle on September 25, 2020. The answer was TOETAP, which is a word that means to tap one’s toe lightly on the floor, especially in time to music. This clue was created by David Steinberg, a crossword constructor and editor who is known for his clever and tricky clues. According to Daze Puzzle, a website that provides crossword solutions and explanations, Steinberg said that he came up with this clue because he wanted to make a pun on the phrase “toe the line”, which means to conform to a rule or a standard.

The clue “Keep the beat, in a way” appeared again in the New York Times crossword puzzle on November 23, 2022. The answer was CLAP, which is a word that means to strike the palms of one’s hands together, usually to express approval or excitement. This clue was created by Joel Fagliano, a crossword constructor and editor who is also the digital puzzles editor of the New York Times. According to Try Hard Guides, a website that provides crossword tips and guides, Fagliano said that he used this clue because he wanted to make a reference to the popular song “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, which has the lyrics “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”.

How to Solve This Clue?

The clue “Keep the beat, in a way” is a challenging one, because it can have more than one answer, and it requires some lateral thinking and wordplay. Here are some tips on how to solve this clue:

  • Look at the number of letters in the answer. This clue can have either a four-letter or a six-letter answer, depending on the puzzle. If the answer has four letters, it is most likely CLAP. If the answer has six letters, it is most likely TOETAP.
  • Look at the crossing words. Sometimes, the letters of the answer can be filled in by the words that intersect with it. For example, if the first letter of the answer is T, and the word that crosses it is TREE, then the answer is probably TOETAP. If the last letter of the answer is P, and the word that crosses it is SOAP, then the answer is probably CLAP.
  • Think of other words that can fit the clue. There might be other words that can describe a way of keeping the beat with your body, such as SNAP, NOD, or HUM. However, these words might not fit the puzzle, either because they have the wrong number of letters, or because they conflict with the crossing words. You can use a crossword dictionary or a thesaurus to find synonyms or related words that might work.
  • Use logic and elimination. Sometimes, you can rule out some words that do not make sense for the clue. For example, if the clue is “Keep the beat, in a way”, and the answer has four letters, it is unlikely to be DRUM, because drumming is not a way of keeping the beat, but a way of making the beat. Similarly, it is unlikely to be SING, because singing is not a way of making a sound with your body, but a way of using your voice.

Conclusion

The clue “Keep the beat, in a way” is a fun and clever clue that can test your crossword skills and knowledge. It can have two possible answers: CLAP and TOETAP, depending on the puzzle and the context. To solve this clue, you need to use a combination of strategies, such as looking at the number of letters, the crossing words, the synonyms, and the logic. If you enjoy this clue, you can find more of them in the New York Times crossword puzzles, which are published daily and available online. Happy puzzling!