Celebrating the Day

I’m going to spill the beans on the theme below, but first, did you notice anything odd about some of the Down answers toward the center of Mr. Kahn’s grid?

Today’s Theme

We are celebrating the 300th birthdays of two major American cities, NEW ORLEANS and SAN ANTONIO. Both happen to have been founded in May 1718.

I got the MAY part of the central revealer, MAY 1718, early on, and with the first part of JAZZ BANDS slotted in, I knew that 18A, the “U.S. city founded in 37-Across,” had to be NEW ORLEANS. That was the (big) easy part. I didn’t know that SAN ANTONIO was also founded that month, but the crossings in the northeast were kind and I pieced ALAMO DOME together, which also helped me guess SAN ANTONIO.

I didn’t fully recognize the significance of the date until I did some research and stopped to count, as I am wont to do, on my fingers. Three hundred years have passed since their founding and, as Mr. Kahn says in his notes below, it’s particularly elegant that he was able to cross the cities with things for which the other city is known.

But wait, as a wise man once said, there’s more. The year is in the grid as a number. If you are solving in print or on the web, you know what to do. If you are solving in one of our mobile apps, tap the “More” button (for iOS) or the “ … ” button (for Android) to reveal the number keys, and drop those babies in.

Constructor Notes

My wife and I were vacationing in New Orleans in November and the city was making plans to celebrate its 300th anniversary in May. Since the Big Easy often evokes colorful images, it seemed like a good theme for a puzzle.

Then, as luck would have it, I found out that San Antonio was also celebrating its 300th anniversary in May and also has 10 letters … and I could also cross two other themed answers with the cities. The tricky part was fitting the May 1718 date in the middle of the grid.

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