Possible source: https://nytminicrossword.com/nyt-mini-crossword-answers-january-14-2020/

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1. Listen to
5. Desolate
7. Like desert terrain
8. Lines of work
9. Monopoly purchases
10. Armed conflicts

1. Tilling tool
2. List of mistakes
3. More like the desert
4. Delights
5. Spa attraction
6. Loch ____ monster

I've tried finding any possible link between "desert" and "arrive" and had no success. I need to know.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ how sure are you that it is indeed the correct answer for that clue? Does the crossword have any gimmicks that you know of? $\endgroup$
    – SteveV
    Jan 15, 2020 at 16:27
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Is it possible you can add an image from the crossword so we can see how 'arrive' was found to be the word for that clue? I know off the top of my head with those letters and that clue I'd think something more along the lines of arid (obviously not long enough but a word related to it) would make sense. Also if you do this ensure to include reference to the source. $\endgroup$
    – gabbo1092
    Jan 15, 2020 at 16:37
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ ...is this a quick clue or a cryptic one? (I'd guess the former.) Did you see the solution or is "arrive" something you feel fits with other answers you've filled in of which you feel sure? As a quick clue for 6 letters I'd think it was "barren". $\endgroup$ Jan 15, 2020 at 17:05
  • 12
    $\begingroup$ Given the edit, I wonder if the clue was just a printing mistake. Perhaps "7. Like desert terrain" was a previous version of the clue "5. Desolate" (answer Barren in both cases) and was printed by mistake instead of the actual clue that was meant for 7-across? $\endgroup$
    – JS1
    Jan 16, 2020 at 19:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @JS1: I reckon #5 is the older one. It seems likely to me that they wanted to rephrase clue #5 to be more similar to #3down, but accidentally replaced #7 instead. $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2020 at 6:37

1 Answer 1


The printing mistake (substitution of a second clue for 5 across, as in JS1's comment) is the most likely option.

But - stretching credulity to the limit - if you assume the puzzle maker wanted to add a single cryptic clue to their puzzle then there is an alternate solution.

  • Desert terrain is dry, so would typically be without a river.
  • The prefix a- (from the Greek) can be used to mean not or without, for example in atonal = without tone.
  • So adding a- to the root word river, a-river or ariver could, at a stretch mean without river.
  • And (ta-dahhh!) ARIVER is an anagram for ARRIVE.

I rest my (very weak) case m'laud, and ask for the court's mercy.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ This seems very unlikely - that's not how cryptic clues work, and that would immediately be thrown out by any remotely competent editor. $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Nov 12, 2020 at 23:02

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