The New York Times crossword puzzle is one of the most popular and challenging word games in the world. It is published daily in print and online, and attracts millions of solvers every day. The puzzle consists of a grid of white and black squares, with clues for the words that fill the white squares. The clues are divided into two categories: across and down, depending on the direction of the answer. The puzzle also has a theme, which is usually revealed by the longest or most prominent answers in the grid.
One of the clues that appeared in the NYT crossword puzzle of December 25, 2022 was “Bounds”. This clue had five letters and was part of the down clues. The answer to this clue was AMBIT, which means the scope or extent of something. This word is derived from the Latin word ambitus, which means a circuit or a going around.
But how can you figure out this answer if you don’t know the word or its meaning? Here are some tips and strategies that can help you solve the Bounds NYT crossword clue and other similar clues in the future.
Use the Crossings
One of the easiest ways to solve a crossword clue is to use the letters that cross the answer. For example, if you already know the answers to some of the across clues that intersect with the Bounds clue, you can use those letters as hints. For instance, the first letter of AMBIT was shared with the clue “I, on the periodic table”, which had the answer IODINE. The second letter was shared with the clue “Cookie often dipped in milk”, which had the answer OREO. The third letter was shared with the clue “Night before”, which had the answer EVE. The fourth letter was shared with the clue “Back, to a boatswain”, which had the answer AFT. And the fifth letter was shared with the clue “What you might say as you crack open a beer”, which had the answer AAH. Using these letters, you can narrow down the possible answers to the Bounds clue to words that start with IO, have an E in the third position, and end with AH. There are not many words that fit this pattern, so you can easily guess that the answer is AMBIT.
Use the Theme
Another way to solve a crossword clue is to use the theme of the puzzle. The theme is usually related to the longest or most prominent answers in the grid, and sometimes it is also hinted by the title of the puzzle. For example, the title of the NYT crossword puzzle of December 25, 2022 was “Colorful Rhymes”, and the theme was words that rhyme with colors and are also related to colors. For instance, one of the theme answers was “Lavender blender”, which is a rhyme for a device that mixes purple hues. Another theme answer was “Crimson prison”, which is a rhyme for a jail that is red. Using the theme, you can infer that the Bounds clue might also be related to a color and a rhyme. Since the answer has five letters, you can think of colors that have five letters, such as green, brown, black, white, etc. Then you can try to find words that rhyme with those colors and have the same letters as the crossings. For example, you can try GREEN and think of words that rhyme with it, such as screen, queen, seen, etc. But none of these words match the crossings, so you can eliminate GREEN as a possibility. You can repeat this process with other colors until you find one that works. In this case, the color that works is INDIGO, which rhymes with AMBIT, and also matches the crossings. Therefore, you can deduce that the answer to the Bounds clue is AMBIT, which is also a color-related word.
Use the Dictionary
A third way to solve a crossword clue is to use the dictionary. If you have access to a dictionary, either in print or online, you can look up the definition of the clue or the possible answers. For example, if you look up the word “Bounds” in the dictionary, you will find that it has several meanings, such as leaps, limits, borders, etc. You can then try to match these meanings with the letters that you have from the crossings or the theme. For instance, you can try LEAPS, which is a synonym of bounds, and see if it fits the grid. But you will find that it does not match the crossings, so you can eliminate it as an option. You can also try LIMITS, which is another synonym of bounds, and see if it works. But you will find that it also does not match the crossings, so you can discard it as well. You can continue this process with other synonyms of bounds until you find one that fits. In this case, the synonym that fits is AMBIT, which means the scope or extent of something. If you look up the word AMBIT in the dictionary, you will also find that it is related to the color INDIGO, which is part of the theme of the puzzle. Therefore, you can confirm that the answer to the Bounds clue is AMBIT, which is also a dictionary word.
These are some of the tips and strategies that can help you solve the Bounds NYT crossword clue and other similar clues in the future. By using the crossings, the theme, and the dictionary, you can increase your chances of finding the correct answer and completing the puzzle. Solving crossword puzzles can be a fun and rewarding activity that can improve your vocabulary, memory, and general knowledge. So, next time you encounter a crossword clue that stumps you, don’t give up. Try these methods and see if they work for you. You might be surprised by how much you can learn and enjoy from solving crossword puzzles. Happy puzzling!