It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.

New York Times, Saturday, January 18, 2014

Author: David Steinberg
Editor: Will Shortz
David Steinberg
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
576/16/201112/7/20168
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
3556716141
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.642103

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 31 Missing: {KQ} This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. Steinberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes: I was inspired to build this Saturday puzzle after reading so many blog comments complaining that my puzzles were too easy. NO ... more
David Steinberg notes: I was inspired to build this Saturday puzzle after reading so many blog comments complaining that my puzzles were too easy. NO JIVE ... not! My true inspiration for constructing this puzzle back in April 2012 was that I had a bunch of 11-letter seed entries I wanted to put into a crossword grid, which included BANANAGRAMS, ADOBE READER, and TIJUANA TAXI. I also had a sizable number of 8-letter entries that seemed fresh, my favorites of which were UGG BOOTS and MEGAN FOX.

My original submission contained the entry TINIE TEMPAH (a British rapper) at 60-Across, which Will felt wouldn't be familiar to the majority of solvers. So I reworked the lower half of my puzzle and ended up with a stack I felt was superior to the original. I particularly loved EJECTOR SEAT and SASHA FIERCE, though I also really liked I LOVE LA, FACEPALM, and IF I DID IT.

The long entries did necessitate the duplication of I in the lower left and a few "meh" entries — I found SRIS, ITES, and SAV particularly irksome — though I was (and still am) happy with how the fill turned out. My favorite clue/entry pair is "Professional organizers?" for TAXONOMISTS, though I also love Will's new clue for TAVERNS ("Round houses?"). I hope you enjoy my puzzle!

Will Shortz notes: David Steinberg, who turned 17 in November, was the most published constructor in the Times last year. He had 15 puzzles published in 2013, nosing out Ian Livengood, who had 12.
Jeff Chen notes: David continues his NYT crossword tear today. I'll set the over/under for how many he has in 2014 at... 14.5. Let the betting begin! ... more
Jeff Chen notes: David continues his NYT crossword tear today. I'll set the over/under for how many he has in 2014 at... 14.5. Let the betting begin!

Slightly unusual today is David's use of triple-stacks of 11-letter entries. Typically most themeless constructors shy away from this approach, choosing to use triple-stacks of 8-10 letter entries, because 1.) it creates more three-letter words in the puzzle (USM / GEE / GAG in the NE, for example) and 2.) makes for that many more crossings to deal with. Eight parallel downs through a triple-stack is hard to work with, and 11 can be very hard to do cleanly. We see traces of that difficulty in ARNEL at the top and ITES / AJA at the bottom, but otherwise they're clean.

It's particularly interesting to me that while David's 11-letter stacks are nice and sparkly, I wasn't as big a fan of his stacks of 8s (in the NE and SW). After all, neither LAVATORY nor SEA ROUTE seem terribly exciting. And seeing IVAR / the stilted IT IS I / TYS ... what's going on, I wondered? It should be easier to fill that SW corner than one of the big NW or SE corners, shouldn't it?

I believe it has to do with where a constructor spends his/her black squares. With a maximum of 72 words allowed, the black squares must be used sparingly, and David does a great job of applying them so that the NW and SE are easier to cleanly fill. But that doesn't leave as many to facilitate filling the SW and NE corners. I wonder if the fact that both a 7-letter and a 8-letter answer (I LOVE LA / FACEPALM) cross the SW stack has something to do with the relative roughness. That's a lot of white space in one area.

Finally, I loved the clue for TAVERNS ("Round houses?") and TAXONOMISTS ("Professional organizers?") and would have liked a few more of those in my Saturday puzzle. Many of the entries today are great in the own right, but they're difficult to clue in a playful way (MEGAN FOX and BANANAGRAMS for example, you either know or you don't so the cluing must be made straightforward). It's a tough trade-off constructors must weigh: lean more on entries snappy in their own right but must have a straightforward clue, or ones that make for clever cluing? Anyway, a fun puzzle with some very nice entries.

1
B
2
A
3
N
4
A
5
N
6
A
7
G
8
R
9
A
10
M
11
S
12
U
13
S
14
M
15
A
D
O
B
E
R
E
A
D
E
R
16
G
E
E
17
T
I
J
U
A
N
A
T
A
X
I
18
G
A
G
19
E
D
I
T
20
E
R
A
21
S
22
A
B
R
A
23
S
A
V
24
C
L
U
T
25
C
26
H
27
S
O
O
N
28
S
E
29
T
H
30
P
A
L
O
31
P
O
U
F
32
A
E
33
C
34
T
E
R
35
Z
E
T
T
O
36
I
37
L
38
O
V
E
L
39
A
40
F
A
I
R
S
E
X
41
F
A
C
E
P
A
L
42
M
43
E
N
S
44
I
V
A
R
45
R
E
U
46
P
47
G
E
48
E
49
Z
50
D
A
R
N
51
A
C
R
O
52
S
S
53
R
A
54
G
55
I
T
I
S
56
I
57
D
I
P
58
W
A
N
E
59
D
O
N
60
T
61
A
62
X
O
N
O
63
M
I
S
T
S
64
I
R
A
65
E
J
E
C
T
O
R
S
E
A
T
66
T
Y
S
67
S
A
S
H
A
F
I
E
R
C
E
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,447
Across Down
1. Fast-paced alternative to Scrabble : BANANAGRAMS
12. Lance cpl.'s org. : USM
15. It has a Page Navigation menu option : ADOBEREADER
16. 100 sawbucks : GEE
17. Cop car, to a CBer : TIJUANATAXI
18. Inhibiter of free speech : GAG
19. Exchange some words? : EDIT
20. Follower of Bush or Clinton : ERA
21. Many an Israeli : SABRA
23. Part of some bargain store names : SAV
24. Do-or-die situation : CLUTCH
27. ___-to-be : SOON
28. Green on a screen : SETH
30. Texas' ___ Duro Canyon : PALO
31. High style of the 1700s : POUF
32. Oppenheimer's agcy. : AEC
34. Vocal trio : TERZETTO
36. 1983 song with the lyric "Let's leave Chicago to the Eskimos" : ILOVELA
40. Women, poetically, with "the" : FAIRSEX
41. Nonverbal equivalent of "You have got to be kidding me!" : FACEPALM
43. Cannes neighbors? : ENS
44. Financier Kreuger called the Match King : IVAR
45. Start another tour : REUP
47. "Man!" : GEEZ
50. Alternative to nuts? : DARN
51. Like 36 of this puzzle's answers : ACROSS
53. Grease monkey's pocket item : RAG
55. Formal identification : ITISI
57. Mix for a mixer : DIP
58. Draw to an end : WANE
59. Spanish gentleman : DON
60. Professional organizers? : TAXONOMISTS
64. Fidelity offering, briefly : IRA
65. Feature of 007's car : EJECTORSEAT
66. Cornerback Law and others : TYS
67. Beyoncé alter ego : SASHAFIERCE
1. Katharine Lee ___, "America the Beautiful" lyricist : BATES
2. Court wear, maybe : ADIDAS
3. "I swear, man!" : NOJIVE
4. Have an edge against : ABUT
5. Its website has lesson plans, briefly : NEA
6. Vintage fabric : ARNEL
7. Get set : GEARUP
8. Sharp knock : RATATAT
9. Org. whose members look down in the mouth? : ADA
10. Its flag has an eagle in the center: Abbr. : MEX
11. Some foreign misters : SRIS
12. Wear that was one of "Oprah's Favorite Things" four times : UGGBOOTS
13. Circumnavigator's way : SEAROUTE
14. "Transformers" actress, 2007 : MEGANFOX
22. Impugn : ASPERSE
24. Call from a tree : CHEEP
25. Tenor ___ : CLEF
26. Trio in Greek myth : HORAE
29. Round houses? : TAVERNS
33. Bow no longer shot : CLARA
35. Hits with wit : ZINGS
36. 2007 book subtitled "Confessions of the Killer" : IFIDIDIT
37. John's place : LAVATORY
38. Simple winds : OCARINAS
39. "The Twilight Saga" vampire : ALEC
42. "A Severed Head" novelist, 1961 : MURDOCH
46. Itinerary start : POINTA
48. Thing taken to a slip : ERASER
49. Ulcer treater : ZANTAC
52. Mad bit : SPOOF
54. Beau chaser? : GESTE
56. Endings of rock names : ITES
58. One way to crack : WISE
61. 1977 Steely Dan title track : AJA
62. One side in some chalk talks : XES
63. One might show muscles, in brief : MRI

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

Previous puzzle | Next puzzle