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ON WHEELS

New York Times, Sunday, April 20, 2014

Author: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Editor: Will Shortz
Elizabeth C. Gorski
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2197/31/19952/23/20160
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6716363439243
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5430225

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 78 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 211 for Ms. Gorski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Elizabeth C. Gorski notes: Frantic question overheard in my building lobby more than a few times: 'Where'd I park the car?' This puzzle was inspired by and dedicated to Alternate Side Parking — the NYC tradition that ... more
Elizabeth C. Gorski notes: Frantic question overheard in my building lobby more than a few times: "Where'd I park the car?"

This puzzle was inspired by and dedicated to Alternate Side Parking — the NYC tradition that drives semi-clothed New Yorkers to their cars at strange hours in search of a parking space.

What do these folks do while wait? They drink coffee, talk on the phone and solve crosswords. I am sure that these folks will swing into high gear and crack the thematic code in no time flat: names of car models sit atop circles that contain the letter O. That's where the rubber hits the road — the solver is asked to inflate each circle with an O and imagine a tire.

Yeah, that's right. I'm making puzzles with tires. For car owners, this should be right in their wheelhouse. For those who don't own cars, I hope the gimmick doesn't fall flat.

But just to be fair, I (someone who doesn't own a car but who makes puzzles while listening to "Car Talk") made sure that the puzzle rolled off the assembly line with something for everyone. The cars are made by different manufacturers and parked in themed entries that have nothing to do with cars. If you're like me (someone who knows nothing about cars) you can still solve the puzzle!

One last question: Did you find your car in the puzzle?

I hope you enjoy the solve today. And if the puzzle drove you up a wall ... you know that's music to my ears.

Jeff Chen notes: I absolutely loved the concept behind this puzzle. It's a rare person that can come up with something I've never seen before, and when it comes to a visual element, it's the amazing Liz Gorski more often than not. ... more
Jeff Chen notes: I absolutely loved the concept behind this puzzle. It's a rare person that can come up with something I've never seen before, and when it comes to a visual element, it's the amazing Liz Gorski more often than not. Each of the themers today are cars hidden in longer phrases, and each car is resting beautifully on two "wheels" (check out the grid below if you missed this)! How cool is that? And as if that weren't enough, all the letters inside the wheels are O's. Loved, loved, loved it.

Liz does such a nice job of choosing themers and hiding the cars within. CIVIC PRIDE, what a nice phrase, and without a hint that it's camouflaging the Honda CIVIC. Even down to the Subaru FORESTER within CS FORESTER, that's beautiful stuff.

And some of the clever clues, dynamite. [De-file?] for ERASE was so nice. [Ones who are the talk of the town?] for CRIERS? A puzzle chock full of these would put me in heaven.

Jim and I had a good conversation this week, and I mentioned that I almost gave my POW to Liz for this beauty, but I had a hard time with OPTIMA CARD, which stuck out as not nearly as good as the others. Plus, even given the constraints, there was a bit too much of the BAAL, SLYE, ME ON, YEO, OTIC, TOPOL, TO YOU, etc. for me. I realize that much of that kind of crossword glue was largely all due to the wheel O's, but I had a hard time with the sheer quantity of it. Jim's reply struck me as so elegant that I asked him if I could repeat it here:

"Here's an analogy I haven't yet mentioned in public writing but I keep thinking about. When I look at a painting in an art gallery, the fineness of the brushstrokes and the correctness of the proportions are interesting, but I when I think, wow, that's beautiful or strange or insightful or compelling or I have some other strong emotional reaction, those technical details never affect my appreciation (or not) of the painting. The nude in La Grande Odalisque by Ingres is anatomically unlikely but few would argue that she doesn't belong in the Louvre."

I have a hard time disconnecting my constructor/solver's brain, unable to avoid looking at the little flaws and tics. I wish I were able to forget about it all and just look at the big picture. I would imagine it's an incredibly beautiful way to look at life in general, one generating a abundance of happiness. Something I will aspire to.

So overall, it really was a beautiful puzzle. Jim sums it up best: "Liz has a visual sense of the possibilities of a crossword puzzle that nobody else seems to have. She sees pictures." Hear hear!

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,539
Across Down
1. Healing cover : SCAB
5. Instants : SECS
9. Ancient symbols of royalty : ASPS
13. Checks : STEMS
18. "___ and Louis," 1956 jazz album : ELLA
19. The Sun, The Moon or The Star : TAROT
21. Best-selling novelist whom Time called "Bard of the Litigious Age" : SCOTTTUROW
23. Attribute of Elks or Lions Club members : CIVICPRIDE
25. Recital piece for a wind player : HORNSONATA
26. Toast words after "Here's" : TOYOU
27. Relative of turquoise : TEALBLUE
29. Proceeds : GOESON
30. Within earshot : NEAR
32. Anthem preposition : OER
33. Mobile home seeker? : CALDER
34. 1966 Wilson Pickett R&B hit : MUSTANGSALLY
40. Abbr. on sale garment tags : IRR
41. Short open jackets : BOLEROS
42. Commandment word : NOT
43. Pipe valves : STOPCOCKS
49. "I've got half ___ to ..." : AMIND
50. '50s political inits. : DDE
51. Year, to Casals : ANO
52. Greeting that includes a Spanish greeting in reverse? : ALOHA
53. Andean tuber : OCA
54. Opera based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais, with "The" : BARBEROFSEVILLE
58. Complete shutout? : EMBARGO
61. Post letters : VFW
62. Hammer : POUNDON
63. Stockholm-bound carrier : SAS
65. Yale Bowl fan : ELI
66. Roisterous : NOISY
68. Bond yield: Abbr. : INT
69. These, to Thierry : CES
70. Ruler known as "Big Daddy" : IDIAMIN
72. TV's Cousin ___ : ITT
73. Urban renewal target : EYESORE
76. Qualcomm Stadium athlete : SANDIEGOCHARGER
79. Paris's ___ du Carrousel : ARC
81. Writer Chekhov : ANTON
82. Pet Shop Boys, e.g. : DUO
83. Stella D'___ (cookie brand) : ORO
84. Jermaine of the N.B.A. : ONEAL
86. They're steeped in strainers : LOOSETEAS
89. Mrs. abroad : MME
90. Vocabulary : WORDAGE
92. Reversal, of sorts : UEY
93. Walker's strip : BEETLEBAILEY
95. Govt. promissory notes : TBILLS
99. Former Chevrolet division : GEO
100. Suffix with narc- : OTIC
101. Dirty rats : LOUSES
102. Like equinoxes : BIANNUAL
105. Fine hosiery material : LISLE
110. Visa alternative : OPTIMACARD
112. "The African Queen" novelist : CSFORESTER
114. Makeup removal item : COTTONBALL
115. Classic theater name : ODEON
116. Stain : BLOT
117. Designer Anne : KLEIN
118. Leonard ___ a.k.a. Roy Rogers : SLYE
119. Covenant keepers : ARKS
120. All alternative : NONE
1. Breakaway group : SECT
2. Renault model with a mythological name : CLIO
3. Woody's "Annie Hall" role : ALVY
4. "Joanie Loves Chachi" co-star : BAIO
5. ___ 500, annual race in Ridgeway, Va. : STP
6. Wildlife IDs : EARTAGS
7. Ones who are the talk of the town? : CRIERS
8. Baking ___ : SODA
9. Actress Judd : ASHLEY
10. Use elbow grease on : SCOUR
11. Opening for a dermatologist : PORE
12. Common newsstand locale: Abbr. : STN
13. Seat at the counter : STOOL
14. Ready to be played, say : TUNED
15. De-file? : ERASE
16. ___ Trend : MOTOR
17. Graceful trumpeter : SWAN
20. ___ Aviv : TEL
22. John Irving character : TSGARP
24. QE2's operator : CUNARD
28. Leave in a hurry : BOLT
31. Music producer Brian : ENO
33. ___-Magnon man : CRO
34. New corp. hire, often : MBA
35. Man, in Milano : UOMO
36. Cuts, as a cake : SLICESINTO
37. Coffee break time, perhaps : TENAM
38. Shakespeare's "Titus ___" : ANDRONICUS
39. Financial writer Marshall : LOEB
40. "What business is ___ yours?" : ITOF
43. Bird whose feathers were once prized by milliners : SNOWYEGRET
44. Neil of Fox News : CAVUTO
45. Ken of "Brothers & Sisters" : OLIN
46. Quaker production : COLDCEREAL
47. One of the Kardashians : KHLOE
48. Composer Camille Saint-___ : SAENS
50. The U.N.'s ___ Hammarskjöld : DAG
51. Pounds' sounds : ARFS
54. Give rise to : BRING
55. "You Must Love Me" musical : EVITA
56. Nosy one : SPIER
57. Millennia on end : EONS
59. Candy heart message : BEMINE
60. "That's ___!" ("Not true!") : ALIE
63. Rug fiber : SISAL
64. Hersey's Italian town : ADANO
67. Roman emperor : OTHO
71. Flaps : ADOS
74. Naval petty officer: Abbr. : YEO
75. "Amazing" debunker : RANDI
77. Anita of jazz : ODAY
78. "La Dolce Vita" setting : ROME
80. Slugger's practice area : CAGE
84. Futurist : ORACLE
85. ESPN broadcaster Bob : LEY
87. Certain Sooner : TULSAN
88. Some M.I.T. grads: Abbr. : EES
89. "Are you putting ___?" : MEON
90. Slick hairstyle : WETLOOK
91. Fancy tie : OBI
93. English church official : BEADLE
94. Kick-around shoe : LOAFER
95. Chaim ___, 1971 Best Actor nominee : TOPOL
96. City that sounds like a humdinger? : BUTTE
97. Query from Judas : ISITI
98. Life Saver flavor : LEMON
99. Like bachelorette parties, typically : GIRLY
101. Product of Yale : LOCK
102. Jezebel's idol : BAAL
103. Many a PX patron : NCO
104. Prime letters? : USDA
106. Amazon fig. : ISBN
107. D-Day invasion town : STLO
108. Former C.I.A. chief Panetta : LEON
109. Artist's alias with an accent : ERTE
111. "The Price Is Right" broadcaster : CBS
113. I.C.U. pros : RNS

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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