Off the Grid: Sally breaks down USA TODAY's daily crossword puzzle, Gee Whiz (2024)

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Sally HoelscherUSA TODAY

There are spoilers ahead. You might want to solve today's puzzle before reading further! Gee Whiz

Constructor: Dennis Nullet

Editor: Jared Goudsmit

What I Learned from Today’s Puzzle

  • ARIA (49A: Yunah Lee solo) Yunah Lee made her professional debut with the New York City Opera while she was a student at Juilliard. Her signature role is Cio Cio San, the title role of Madama Butterfly, which she has performed over 170 times, in performances around the world. Although I learned about Yunah Lee from this clue, I was able to fill in the answer without difficulty. The word "solo" in a clue, is often an indication that the answer will be ARIA.
  • SKI (14D: Compete like Sabrina Simader) When Sabrina Simader competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics, she became the first female and the first alpine skier to represent Kenya at the Winter Olympics. Sabrina Simader was born in Kenya. She began to SKI after moving to Austria with her family when she was three years old.

Random Thoughts & Interesting Things

  • SATES (8A: Word that aptly bookends "satisfies") This is a nice – one might even say, satisfying – hidden word clue.
  • IMHO (15A: Texter's "The way I look at it...") IMHO = in my humble opinion
  • TROPE (16A: Love triangle, e.g.) A TROPE is a storytelling device, a tool used to convey meaning to an audience. TROPEs are neither good nor bad. In fact, it is nearly impossible to write a story without TROPEs. The love triangle is a popular TROPE. It is commonly used in soap operas, but also in many other genres.
  • TET (24A: Vietnamese Lunar New Year) TET, also known as Vietnamese Lunar New Year, celebrates the arrival of spring based on the Vietnamese calendar. TET is one of the most important celebrations in Vietnamese culture.
  • ADA (33A: Activist Deer) ADA Deer (1935-2023) was a member of the Menominee Nation, and advocated with federal authorities for the Menominee. From 1993 to 1997, she served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs, the first woman to hold that position. ADA Deer was a Distinguished Lecturer at the School of Social Work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the director of the school's American Indian Studies Program (2000-2007). Her memoir, published in 2019, is titled Making a Difference: My Fight for Native Rights and Social Justice. I really like this challenge from ADA Deer, "Be activists to change. We all pay our rent on the planet. How are you paying your rent?"
  • GET (37A: "Let's ___ down to business / To defeat the Huns") These lyrics, "Let's GET down to business / To defeat the Huns," are from the song "I'll Make a Man Out of You." The song was sung by Donny Osmond (as the singing voice of Captain Li Shang) for the soundtrack of the 1998 Disney animated movie, Mulan. I am a fan of the use of song lyrics to add interest to a clue for a common three-letter word, particularly when, as is the case here, the answer is inferable even for solvers not familiar with the lyrics.
  • MEL (57A: Giedroyc who co-hosted "The Great British Bake Off") MEL Giedroyc and Sue Perkins were the hosts of the first seven seasons (2010-2016) of the cooking competition TV series, The Great British Bake Off. I enjoy any mention of the fabulous show, The Great British Bake Off. In fact, earlier this year, I used the show's title as the theme for a puzzle.
  • GURU NANAK (64A: Founder of Sikhism) GURU NANAK, born in 1469, was the founder of Sikhism. He was succeeded by nine other GURUs. The tenth GURU affirmed the sacred scripture, Adi Granth, as his successor, ending the line of human GURUs. The central religious scripture of Sikhism,GURU Granth Sahib, is regarded as the final, sovereign, and eternal living GURU.
  • DOG (1D: Kishu or Rottweiler, e.g.) The Kishu, also called a Kishu Ken, is a Japanese breed of dog. The medium-sized breed was once used for hunting boar. The Rottweiler is a breed of dogs that originated from the town of Rottweil in Germany. These dogs are large and muscular, and known for their loyalty.
  • EPISODE (11D: Installment of "Atlanta" or "Tuca & Bertie") Atlanta is a TV series that follows the life of Earnest "Earn" Marks (portrayed by Donald Glover), a Princeton dropout struggling with homelessness and poverty.Tuca & Bertie is an animated sitcom that airs on the Cartoon Network as part of their Adult Swim programming. Tuca and Bertie are anthropomorphic birds, a toucan and a song thrush.
  • NERDS (39D: Brainy people) Although it doesn't start with the letter G, some NERDS are also GEEKs, GENIUSes, and GURUs.
  • GRENADA (47D: Island country home to Grand Etang Lake) GRENADA is an island country located in the Caribbean Sea, about 100 miles north of the South American mainland. The island of GRENADA was formed by volcanic activity approximately two million years ago. Grand Etang Lake is a crater lake ( a lake formed during a volcanic eruption) located on GRENADA. The volcano that formed Grand Etang Lake last erupted over 12,000 years ago.
  • EGGS (59D: Katsudon ingredients) In Japanese cuisine, katsudon is a dish that consists of rice topped with a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet, EGGS, and vegetables.
  • CATS (62D: Khao Manees, tabbies, etc.) Khao Manees are a breed of CATS that originated in Thailand. They have short, solid-white fur. Khao Manees have vivid eyes, that may be blue, golden, or green. Some Khao Manees are odd-eyed, a term used to describe a CAT with eyes that are different colors. Tabbies have a distinctive M-shaped marking on their foreheads, and stripes on their faces, bodies, and legs. My cat, Willow, is not a Khao Manee or a tabby. She is a calico, a breed distinguished by their three colors of fur – white, orange, and black.
  • RAW (65D: Like kinilaw and sashimi) Kinilaw is a RAW seafood dish that originates from the Philippines. Kinilaw dishes are prepared with vinegar and acidic fruit juices. Sashimi is a dish in Japanese cuisine, that is a delicacy of thinly-sliced RAW fish or meat.

Crossword Puzzle Theme Synopsis

  • GEEK SQUAD (17A: Best Buy's group of technicians)
  • GENIUS BAR (38A: Place to get help with a glitchy Mac)
  • GURU NANAK (64A: Founder of Sikhism)

Each theme answer begins with a word starting with the letter G, that is a synonym of the word WHIZ (when used in the sense of describing a clever or skillful person): GEEK, GENIUS, GURU.

I enjoyed this clever theme. It's fun to see that there are a number of WHIZ synonyms that begin with the letter G. In addition to the answers I've already highlighted, I was also PLEASED with IDEALLY, TOTE BAG, SANDMAN, and PROPOSE. Thank you, Dennis, for this excellent puzzle.

One more thing today: Did you know that USA TODAY has a TikTok channel? Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 15, at 11:00 a.m. ET (10:00 a.m. CT, 9:00 a.m. MT, 8:00 a.m. PT), Jen Hefty, the Local Audience director for USA Today will be live-streaming her solve of the crossword. I'll be tuning in, and I hope you do as well.

For more on USA TODAY’s Crossword Puzzles

  • USA TODAY’s Daily Crossword Puzzles

Share your feedback to help improve our site!

Off the Grid: Sally breaks down USA TODAY's daily crossword puzzle, Gee Whiz (2024)


What is the crossword clue for Gee Whiz? ›

"Golly!" "Gosh!" "Hmm, I didn't know that!

How much is USA today crossword puzzle clue? ›

Unlimited Digital Access to USA Today Crossword: $19.99/year* Your subscription includes full access on desktop, tablet and mobile.

Is USA Today crossword free anymore? ›

Free to play and accessible anytime, anywhere. PERSONALIZED PUZZLE EXPERIENCE: Monitor your stats, pause puzzles, and change difficulty settings for a tailored gaming experience.

Where to play crosswords? ›

Daily Crossword Puzzles. Play Free at

What is another word for gee wizz? ›

What is another word for gee whiz?
my goodnessoh my
goodness graciousmy word
heavens to Betsyoh my god
39 more rows

What does the adjective Gee Whiz mean? ›

1. : designed to arouse wonder or excitement or to amplify the merits or significance of something especially by the use of clever or sensational language. play-by-play specialists who wallow in gee-whiz banality Jack Gould. 2. : marked by spectacular or astonishing qualities or achievement.

What is the best free crossword puzzle? ›

Here are the 10 best crosswords that you can solve for free online now.
  • The LA Times: Daily Crossword. FREE. ...
  • Tea Time Crossword. FREE. ...
  • Merriam-Webster: Missing Letter Crossword. FREE. ...
  • The Atlantic: Daily Crossword. FREE. ...
  • Vox Crossword. FREE. ...
  • AARP: The Daily Crossword. ...
  • Sheffer Crossword. ...
  • The New York Crossword (Weekly Crossword)
Dec 8, 2023

Does the USA today have a Sunday crossword puzzle? ›

Your Crosswords subscription includes access 24/7 to Crosswords, Monday through Sunday. Your subscription does not include unlimited digital news access, nor print supplements. You can cancel your subscription at any time by calling 1-800-872-0001.

What is the most famous NYT crossword puzzle? ›

Perhaps the most famous is the November 5, 1996, puzzle by Jeremiah Farrell, published on the day of the U.S. presidential election, which has been featured in the movie Wordplay and the book The Crossword Obsession by Coral Amende, as well as discussed by Peter Jennings on ABC News, featured on CNN, and elsewhere.

How to reset USA TODAY crossword puzzle? ›

B. Reset Puzzle – It will erase all entries you have made and will also reset the puzzle timer. Upon choosing this tab a new window will pop up in the screen to verify resetting the puzzle. You can either choose “Reset (ERASE) All Entries” or “Don't Reset this Puzzle.”

How can I get crossword for free? › is the largest supplier of free crossword puzzles on the web, publishing 15 grids daily from an archive of more 100,000. You can play in your web browser, smartphone, tablet or print in high resolution. No account registration required.

Can I play old nyt crosswords? ›

Archives. Select the Archives tab to play daily and mini Crosswords from the past.

What is the hardest day for crossword puzzles? ›

The Saturday crossword is actually the hardest puzzle of the week. Mondays have the most straightforward clues and Saturday clues are the hardest, or involve the most wordplay. Contrary to popular belief, the Sunday puzzles are midweek difficulty, not the hardest.

Where can I play crossword puzzles for free? ›

Crossword Puzzles Online - Play for Free at Arkadium.

What does eg mean in crosswords? ›

For example – EG (e.g., short for the Latin exempli gratia)

What type of word is Gee Whiz? ›

gee whizinterjection & adjective.

What are the clues in a crossword puzzle? ›

Clue: A crossword clue is a hint that the solver must decipher to find the answer that is then entered into the puzzle grid. Clues are not necessarily dictionary definitions; they can involve puns, anagrams and other types of wordplay.

What is a crossword puzzle dictionary? ›

noun. a dictionary that lists common clues found in crossword puzzles with potential answer words.

What is a hidden word in crossword? ›

How Can You Tell It's a Hidden Word Clue? Often, hidden word clues have a "tip-off" word. For example, the clue might have the word "contained” in it. That could mean that a portion of the clue "contains" the answer, which is the hidden word.

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