New York Times, Thursday, February 13, 2014

Author: Daniel Landman
Editor: Will Shortz
Daniel Landman
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This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Landman. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Daniel Landman notes: Though this isn't my debut, I'll take this opportunity to introduce myself — I'm a 28-year old rabbinical student and ... more
Daniel Landman notes: Though this isn't my debut, I'll take this opportunity to introduce myself — I'm a 28-year old rabbinical student and part-time special ed teacher living with my wife and two sons in Alon Shevut, a town on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

On to the puzzle: I got the idea after seeing Byron Walden and Robin Schulman's "wedding puzzle," which featured nine I DO rebus squares, including the central "IDO IDO IDO IDO IDO." I wanted to do something similar, and came up with "IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD." This was late 2011, and only my second attempt at constructing (the first attempt being what eventually became my debut puzzle), and I was not aware at the time that having a 13-square central answer would make gridding such a challenge. I ended up submitting a grid that had way too many 3-letter words (many of them ugly), obscure names and a 6-letter partial (!). Will rejected it, but indicated that he liked the idea and the central answer. Thankfully, I realized that I needed to scrap the whole grid and start over, and the result is what you see here. I hope you all enjoy it!

Jeff Chen notes: Rebus puzzle today, MAD squished into eight different squares, with the marquee answer ITS A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD. That's one of the ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Rebus puzzle today, MAD squished into eight different squares, with the marquee answer ITS A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD. That's one of the first movies I ever saw (in school, too — no wonder I didn't learn anything) and I can never remember how many MADs to use. It makes me mad mad.

Will has said he has too many rebus puzzles in the queue, so he's trying to space them out to stave off "rebus fatigue." I'll admit, I had a case of that a few months back, feeling like there was no real point to many rebus puzzles. But I think Will's tactic has helped, because I found this one to be a nice challenge. It took me a while to uncover the MAD in MADELINE/ARMADILLO (I plugged ELOISE in at first, drat!), but I found it very satisfying when I did. Extra challenge, overcome!

Daniel does a nice job segmenting his grid, making it easier to fill by placing a single MAD in each quadrant. I tend to like when rebus squares are within long answers, so ARMADILLO really did it for me, while AMADEUS/MADAM, not as much. It is much easier to incorporate rebus squares into shorter answers though, so I can see why he did that. The MADE WAVES/LADY MADONNA entries are quite nice, but there is the price to pay of AS WAS, an awkward five-letter partial, right below SEIS and UNI. A pretty typical trade-off of longer, colorful phrases at the price of a couple of no-so-great entries.

The overall construction is quite a challenge — the fact that there's a central 13 effectively splits the grid vertically in half (Daniel could have split the word SESTETS in half at the T, but that would have created many more three-letter words and also caused a ripple effect in black square placement). With such big chunks of white in each of the four corners, you're almost definitely going to see signs of stress. I really like themeless-quality fill like ED ONEILL (who will always be Al Bundy to me) and even the wacky SORE ARM. Are they worth the price of SERE and SE RI? I think so, but some will disagree. Perhaps trying a less audacious 74 words (instead of the current 72) could have cleaned things up.

All in all, a fun workout, made extra challenging by those free-floating MADs.

1
A
2
K
3
I
4
M
5
B
6
O
7
A
8
L
9
P
10
A
11
C
12
A
13
S
14
R
E
L
O
A
D
15
I
C
A
N
T
L
I
E
16
MAD
E
L
I
N
E
17
T
A
X
I
F
A
R
E
18
I
N
F
19
D
R
20
E
S
D
E
N
21
U
N
I
22
L
E
A
23
N
24
L
A
I
R
25
MAD
D
E
N
26
L
A
M
E
27
A
R
MAD
A
28
S
E
I
S
29
O
R
E
G
30
N
O
MAD
31
A
S
W
A
S
32
L
33
A
D
Y
MAD
34
O
N
N
A
35
A
36
B
E
T
S
37
MAD
R
E
38
V
39
I
40
S
41
A
42
R
O
C
A
43
S
W
A
T
44
E
C
O
L
45
A
I
N
T
46
S
C
O
T
47
S
E
R
I
48
MAD
A
M
49
S
T
A
R
E
50
A
51
T
52
D
E
A
53
E
D
O
54
N
E
I
L
L
55
M
I
56
A
T
A
S
57
U
N
T
U
R
N
E
D
58
I
N
H
E
R
E
59
S
E
S
T
E
T
S
60
S
A
MAD
A
M
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,473
Across Down
1. One way to stand : AKIMBO
7. Sources of wool : ALPACAS
14. Come up again, as a web page : RELOAD
15. Statement preceding a blunt truth : ICANTLIE
16. Title girl in a children's book series set in Paris : MADELINE
17. Meter reading : TAXIFARE
18. Like the first two "Brandenburg" Concertos : INF
19. City known as "Florence on the Elbe" : DRESDEN
21. Prefix with -form : UNI
22. Trim : LEAN
24. Plotter's place : LAIR
25. Sportscaster who lent his name to a popular video game series : MADDEN
26. Unconvincing : LAME
27. Fleet : ARMADA
28. Cinco follower : SEIS
29. Wash. neighbor : OREG
30. One on the move : NOMAD
31. ___ the custom (traditionally) : ASWAS
32. 1968 Beatles hit : LADYMADONNA
35. Backs, as a front : ABETS
37. Member of the familia : MADRE
38. Big name in plastic : VISA
42. Almond ___ (candy brand) : ROCA
43. Big hit : SWAT
44. Earth sci. : ECOL
45. What shouldn't follow you? : AINT
46. Macbeth or Macduff : SCOT
47. Golfer ___ Pak : SERI
48. Woman : MADAM
49. Ogle : STAREAT
52. Justice Dept. division : DEA
53. "Modern Family" actor : EDONEILL
55. Boxster competitors : MIATAS
57. In situ, as stones : UNTURNED
58. "Psst!" follower, perhaps : INHERE
59. Sonnet enders : SESTETS
60. Corona alternative : SAMADAMS
1. Carrier of plates? : ARMADILLO
2. Asset for a mimic : KEENEAR
3. Notoriety : ILLFAME
4. Cry of mock incredulity : MOI
5. Wedding staple : BAND
6. River through Pomerania : ODER
7. "Evangeline" locale : ACADIA
8. More easygoing : LAXER
9. Nabokov novel after "Lolita" : PNIN
10. Justice Dept. division : ATF
11. Italian actress Cardinale : CLAUDIA
12. Nickname for Michael Jordan, with "His" : AIRNESS
13. Welcome to one's home : SEEIN
15. 1963 movie with the tagline "Everybody who's ever been funny is in it!" : ITSAMADMADMADMADWORLD
20. The Jetson boy : ELROY
23. Disregard : NEGLECT
25. Caused a stir : MADEWAVES
27. Added stipulations : ANDS
28. Nine-digit ID : SSN
31. Flying without ___ : ANET
33. ___ loss : ATA
34. Hold forth : ORATE
35. Titian subject with Bacchus : ARIADNE
36. Witticisms : BONMOTS
39. Summer drink : ICEDTEA
40. Pitcher's woe : SOREARM
41. George Eliot and George Sand : ALIASES
43. Balance : SCALES
45. Musical middle name : AMADEUS
46. Time spent doing time, say : STINT
49. Dry : SERE
50. Marseille mates : AMIS
51. "Glee" girl : TINA
54. Weirdo : NUT
56. Arabic name meaning "highly praised" : AHMAD

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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