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

OSCAR DOUBLE FEATURES

New York Times, Sunday, March 2, 2014

Author: Alan Arbesfeld
Editor: Will Shortz
Alan Arbesfeld
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1138/27/198110/20/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
22523332415
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.605089

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 136, Blocks: 70 Missing: {JQ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 105 for Mr. Arbesfeld. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Today gives us two Oscar winners / nominees smashed together to create quasi-wacky, quasi-realistic phrases. I was slightly confused at first because AIRPORT TRAFFIC was one of the first themers I uncovered, and I ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Today gives us two Oscar winners / nominees smashed together to create quasi-wacky, quasi-realistic phrases. I was slightly confused at first because AIRPORT TRAFFIC was one of the first themers I uncovered, and I thought how cool it was that a regular phrase could be formed. But then ROCKY WITNESS came into view, which helped me cotton to the wacky aspect of it.

Two full grid-spanners (21-letter entries) and a central 17 anchor this puzzle, and with a total of seven themers, it's a toughie to construct. Alan does a nice job of separating his themers from each other pretty well, especially so given that he's used only 136 words today. The difference between 136 and 140 (the maximum Will allows in a 21x) may not seem like much, but it's tremendous. It does allow Alan to work in such long downs as FORCEFUL, DONT ASK, MAN ALIVE, PINPRICKS, etc. That's a lot of good stuff, making the solve more colorful as I went.

It's so hard to create a super-smooth Sunday puzzle at 140 words, and the stress of going to 136 words shows up a little today. A couple of AN ASS, EAU DE type partials by themselves are par for the course, but there were a few crunchy areas that will give some real difficulty to even intermediate solvers. Not sure if there's any way to save the AARE / AKERS crossing with easier cluing? Even though I've seen AARE dozens of times, I paused, wondering if AIRE / IKERS was right. BAFF was also a head-scratcher for me, even though I'm such a bad golfer, I really ought to know the word BAFF. (I have no idea who left all those divots, BTW.)

So an interesting continuation of Will's experiment, using lower word-count Sundays which hopefully snazz up a solver's experience through a higher-than-average amount of good long fill. I might have preferred to break up a pair or even two of the long downs in order to enjoy smoother fill, but to each his/her own.

The solving audience for the NYT xw is likely several million people, and I believe it's a diverse crowd, with greatly differing preferences. This one doesn't break any new ground in the crossword art form, but my guess is that it will cater to a large percentage of Will's audience. Sometimes it's nice for people to get a familiar theme idea, something that won't break their brain as they try to figure out what's going on.

ADDED NOTE: A reader, Angela Osborne, wrote in just an hour after the puzzle went live: "A movie buff, I loved this puzzle. As a member of the Writers Guild and Directors Guild I vote in those categories. Those two guilds have their own awards and are not part of the Oscar votes, but they may influence members of the board that vote for the Oscars. The only problem is I was having so much fun doing this puzzle today that I have no puzzle to do on Sunday."

1
A
2
M
3
I
4
G
5
O
6
D
7
E
8
P
9
A
10
L
11
M
12
A
13
T
14
O
15
U
16
S
17
L
18
E
19
M
A
S
O
N
20
S
21
R
E
S
H
O
E
S
22
R
A
N
T
A
T
23
B
R
A
V
E
H
24
E
A
R
T
O
U
T
O
25
F
A
F
R
I
C
A
26
E
L
A
27
B
A
F
F
28
R
I
S
K
E
D
29
E
L
K
S
30
R
O
C
31
K
Y
W
I
T
32
N
33
E
S
S
34
H
E
35
M
A
L
36
M
O
L
L
37
I
D
E
A
38
L
39
S
40
W
A
L
L
41
E
42
T
43
T
44
I
45
T
A
N
46
E
47
L
S
E
48
A
S
49
I
A
N
50
I
D
A
51
A
D
O
R
E
52
S
53
A
I
R
54
P
55
O
R
T
T
R
A
56
F
F
I
C
57
T
E
X
T
58
P
59
S
I
60
A
N
A
S
S
61
L
I
E
T
O
62
I
D
I
63
F
I
E
N
64
D
65
N
Y
M
66
T
67
W
I
N
68
C
69
H
I
C
A
G
O
70
T
A
X
I
71
D
R
I
V
E
72
R
73
A
N
E
W
74
N
O
R
75
E
A
U
D
E
76
A
77
T
78
E
79
A
80
L
81
P
H
A
82
A
83
E
T
N
A
84
Z
E
E
85
I
K
E
A
86
G
O
I
N
G
87
M
Y
W
A
Y
B
88
A
89
B
E
90
N
91
F
L
E
R
S
92
A
N
N
93
L
O
S
E
S
94
L
L
D
95
S
96
O
L
D
I
E
97
R
I
P
98
K
E
N
99
S
K
100
I
101
D
O
O
102
A
103
A
R
E
104
R
E
D
A
105
N
106
N
E
T
W
107
O
R
K
C
R
108
A
109
S
110
H
111
A
112
M
I
E
113
R
E
114
S
115
E
C
T
116
A
G
E
E
117
L
E
A
118
P
I
C
N
119
I
C
O
N
T
H
E
120
W
121
A
T
E
R
F
122
R
O
N
T
123
E
D
K
O
C
H
124
I
T
E
R
A
T
E
125
S
U
P
I
N
E
126
D
I
S
N
E
Y
127
P
A
S
S
F
O
R
128
L
I
S
A
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,490
Across Down
1. Compadre : AMIGO
6. Director of "Carrie" and "Scarface" : DEPALMA
13. Muss : TOUSLE
19. They put up walls : MASONS
21. Does some farrier's work on : RESHOES
22. Berate : RANTAT
23. Nelson Mandela? [1995, 1985] : BRAVEHEARTOUTOFAFRICA
26. She, in Lisbon : ELA
27. Strike the ground in a golf swing : BAFF
28. On the line : RISKED
29. Fraternal group : ELKS
30. One giving unreliable testimony? [1976, 1985*] [* = Nominee] : ROCKYWITNESS
34. Blood-related : HEMAL
36. Gang girl : MOLL
37. Paradigms : IDEALS
40. Bread holder? : WALLET
43. Magnate : TITAN
46. Alternatively : ELSE
48. Like yaks and mynas : ASIAN
50. Muckraker Tarbell : IDA
51. Flips over : ADORES
53. Reason for missing a flight? [1970*, 2000*] : AIRPORTTRAFFIC
57. Message from one who's all thumbs? : TEXT
58. It's pitchfork-shaped : PSI
60. "With the jawbone of ___ ..." (declaration of Samson) : ANASS
61. Purposely misinform : LIETO
62. First name in tyranny : IDI
63. Real enthusiast : FIEND
65. Ending for acro- or homo- : NYM
66. Look-alike : TWIN
68. Part of a line at O'Hare? [2002, 1976*] : CHICAGOTAXIDRIVER
73. From the top : ANEW
74. Hide-hair connector : NOR
75. ___ cologne : EAUDE
76. Put away : ATE
79. Leader of the pack : ALPHA
82. Insurance giant : AETNA
84. Part of a jazz duo? : ZEE
85. Noted provider of pictorial instructions : IKEA
86. Cheesy pickup line? [1944, 1995*] : GOINGMYWAYBABE
90. Bears, but not Cubs : NFLERS
92. Novelist Patchett : ANN
93. Forfeits : LOSES
94. Degrees for attys. : LLDS
96. "Hound Dog" or "What's New Pussycat?" : OLDIE
97. Baseball's Iron Man : RIPKEN
99. Snowmobile brand : SKIDOO
102. River to the Rhine : AARE
104. V-shaped fortification : REDAN
106. Reason why all the computers are down? [1976*, 2005] : NETWORKCRASH
111. Gallic girlfriend : AMIE
113. Surgically remove : RESECT
116. Pulitzer winner James : AGEE
117. Locale in Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" : LEA
118. Seaside outing? [1955*, 1954] : PICNICONTHEWATERFRONT
123. Former Gracie Mansion resident : EDKOCH
124. Repeat : ITERATE
125. Lying face up : SUPINE
126. ___ Channel ("Hannah Montana" airer) : DISNEY
127. Successfully impersonate : PASSFOR
128. Early Apple computers : LISAS
1. Yellow shade : AMBER
2. Thomas of TV : MARLO
3. Caravaggio's "The Sacrifice of ___" : ISAAC
4. End of some URLs : GOV
5. Individually : ONEBYONE
6. Annual N.B.A. event : DRAFT
7. Auction ending? : EER
8. The Oscars are awarded on it: Abbr. : PST
9. When repeated, a plea of Richard III : AHORSE
10. Daughter in "The Sound of Music" : LOUISA
11. 1986 World Series champs : METS
12. "Dilbert" intern : ASOK
13. Reciprocal raising of tariffs, e.g. : TRADEWAR
14. Lummox : OAF
15. "Amazing!" : UNREAL
16. Many a hanging : STILLLIFE
17. Deficiency : LACK
18. Some P.A. announcements : ETAS
20. Knitted wrap : SHAWL
24. TurboTax option : EFILE
25. "Yuk!" : FEH
31. Target competitor : KMART
32. Not yet final, legally : NISI
33. Linda of Broadway's "Jekyll & Hyde" : EDER
35. "Holy cow!" : MANALIVE
38. Historic fort on the Oregon Trail : LARAMIE
39. Bygone boomers : SSTS
41. Mince words? : EDIT
42. Tijuana treat : TACO
43. Star of "Mr. Hulot's Holiday" : TATI
44. Put the finger on : IDED
45. Poisonous : TOXIC
47. "The Divided Self" author R. D. ___ : LAING
49. "I'm not kidding!" : ITSTRUE
52. Enliven, with "up" : SPICE
54. Like Gamal Abdel Nasser's movement : PANARAB
55. Jet black : ONYX
56. Numismatic condition : FINE
59. Ocean routes : SEAWAYS
63. Achieved through trickery : FINAGLED
64. "Rough day?" response : DONTASK
67. Expand : WIDEN
69. Chemistry Nobelist Otto : HAHN
70. Award won 21 times by Harold Prince : TONY
71. In a stupor : DAZED
72. Like fall leaves : RAKED
77. Hatcher or Polo : TERI
78. Allay : EASE
79. Food thickener : AGAR
80. Actress Anderson : LONI
81. Small irritations : PINPRICKS
83. Meadow mamas : EWES
85. "No one's ___ than me" (Eminem lyric) : ILLER
87. Belgium or Denmark : MONARCHY
88. Tons : ALOT
89. Diddle away : BLOW
91. Emphatic : FORCEFUL
95. "Beetle Bailey" figure : SARGE
98. Excited about : KEENON
100. Moves slowly : INCHES
101. Scares off : DETERS
103. Astronaut Thomas on four space shuttle flights : AKERS
105. Prefix with natal : NEO
107. Western : OATER
108. Dr. Alzheimer : ALOIS
109. Medicinal plant : SENNA
110. Can't stand : HATES
111. Mimicked : APED
112. Skirt style : MIDI
114. Short cut : SNIP
115. James portrayed by Beyoncé : ETTA
119. Clinch : ICE
120. Post-W.W. II female service member : WAF
121. From ___ Z : ATO
122. The Engineers of the N.C.A.A., for short : RPI

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

Previous puzzle | Next puzzle