Today's crossword puzzle is a great introduction for beginners looking to try their hand at solving crosswords. The constructor, Alexandria Mason, did an exceptional job with the grid and theme, which caught the attention of the New York Times puzzle editor, Christina Iverson. The theme of the puzzle revolves around words that have a common sound but different spellings. The revealer at 49-Across, 'Wrap up ... or a phonetic description of 17-, 19-, 25-, 41-, and 54-Across,' hints at the common sound in all the themed entries - a long 'I' sound. For example, the 'Warmest figures in forecasts' (17A) are DAILY HIGHS, and 'Japanese warriors who rose to power in the 12th century' (19A) were SAMURAIS. Although the entries may seem unrelated, they come together to create a delightful rhyming ballad. The varied spellings of the long 'I' sound in the entries add an interesting twist to the theme. The puzzle also includes some tricky clues, such as 'Commencement' (21A) referring to a beginning rather than a graduation ceremony, and 'Make-up artist?' (35A) referring to a skilled con artist rather than a cosmetics expert. Overall, this crossword is a great way to dip your toes into the world of crosswords and appreciate the complexities of our language. If you're interested in more accessible clues, you can sign up for the Easy Mode newsletter, where Ms. Iverson will send a weekly Friday crossword with easier clues directly to your inbox.