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

New York Times, Saturday, May 10, 2014

Author: Barry C. Silk
Editor: Will Shortz
Barry C. Silk
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
929/1/20037/8/20166
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
358532741
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.651215

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 31 Missing: {FV} Scrabble average: 1.89 This is puzzle # 82 for Mr. Silk. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Barry C. Silk notes: My seed for this puzzle was MCMANSION. When filling out the puzzle, I tried to use as many scrabbly words as I can, without ... more
Barry C. Silk notes: My seed for this puzzle was MCMANSION. When filling out the puzzle, I tried to use as many scrabbly words as I can, without introducing obscurities or crosswordese. I hope solvers find this puzzle entertaining and challenging.

When I submitted this puzzle back in early November 2012, I thought MCMANSION would be a great debut word in NYT. I was surprised when I solved Paula Gamache's December 14, 2012 puzzle and found MCMANSIONS there. I was even more surprised when Will Shortz accepted this puzzle two days later on December 16.

Jeff Chen notes: Another appropriately silky creation from Barry. This one eschews the typical separation of corners, instead meshing two sets of ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Another appropriately silky creation from Barry. This one eschews the typical separation of corners, instead meshing two sets of triple-stacks in the NE and SW corners. Very hard to do well, as the high constraints make it difficult to get both snappy answers and clean crossings in those locations.

That top stack is loaded with juicy answers; MCMANSION / CRAZY BONE / DONT PANIC. Ah, if only the latter had been clued to "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." I had never read the book until two years ago and thunked myself on the forehead for being so remiss. And I had an initial hitch at CRAZY BONE, waffling on whether to love it or try to force in FUNNY BONE. But it Googles fine.

It's impressive then that Barry got a nice stack running down the right side. ON IN YEARS is a nice one, as is IONIAN SEA. NECTARINE is a bit more bland in my book, but a nice clue related to the color, not the fruit, gave it extra oomph.

Given how nice those six long answers are, it's no surprise that there's a bit of glue needed to hold them together. MCD seems like it should be "a thing" (short for McDonald's?) but as a random Roman numeral, it sticks in my craw a little. Just personal taste. And AZTEK is a fun combination of odd letters, but SHAK feels wonky to me. I suppose there needs to be a way to abbreviate Shakespeare (and maybe this is the uber-common way to do it?) but what an unsightly four letters stuck together. I like the SBA as they do some good work in facilitating loans to entrepreneurs, but I hardly ever like an ASE. So a mix of snazzy stuff with some glue required.

Contrast the SW corner. There's still really nice stuff in there, DREAMLAND being excellent, but there's nothing that jumped out to me as a marquee answer in that corner. It is really nice to have only a DSO and MIES holding it all together. So not quite as snazzy, but not a lot of junk either.

A really nice feature of this grid arrangement is that it allows the NW and SE corners to be more isolated than usual, and Barry does a bang-up job in both. Love the JINXES and PIZZA and ZIPPO Scrabbly letters, all done without making it all feel forced.

Figuring out Saturday puzzle clues is getting to be my favorite part of crosswords, and the clue for BONSAI didn't disappoint. It is a small job indeed — not a job that will take a small amount of time, but a small work of art. And seeing then MONKEY as a wacky 1960's dance, that adds a lot of spice. Finally, I really liked the Ruy LOPEZ clue. For years I've been fascinated by chess terminology, and there's something awesome about hearing this lingo. I didn't actually know the Ruy Lopez opening, but seeing this made me go look it up.

Now to think of what the Chen Crossword Maneuver should be...

1
B
2
A
3
N
4
J
5
O
6
M
7
C
8
M
9
A
10
N
11
S
12
I
13
O
14
N
15
O
L
E
I
C
16
C
R
A
Z
Y
B
O
N
E
17
T
O
W
N
S
18
D
O
N
T
P
A
N
I
C
19
C
H
E
X
20
C
U
E
D
21
I
N
T
22
H
A
R
E
23
M
24
S
H
A
K
25
M
A
Y
A
26
S
E
27
Q
U
E
L
28
M
I
N
E
R
29
D
30
S
31
O
32
R
U
N
T
33
B
O
N
S
A
I
34
R
A
R
35
E
G
A
S
36
L
A
N
T
E
R
N
37
E
L
A
T
E
D
38
W
O
R
K
39
A
S
E
40
A
L
L
E
S
41
H
E
B
R
E
42
W
43
M
I
E
S
44
B
A
B
E
45
Y
A
46
L
47
T
48
A
49
L
E
X
50
H
E
R
S
51
P
O
O
R
52
A
M
A
53
R
Y
L
L
I
54
S
55
Z
I
P
P
O
56
N
A
M
E
P
L
A
T
E
57
A
T
E
A
M
58
D
E
S
M
O
I
N
E
S
59
P
I
Z
Z
A
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,559
Across Down
1. Prop for Kermit the Frog : BANJO
6. It's big in the suburbs : MCMANSION
15. Kind of acid : OLEIC
16. Something you shouldn't knock? : CRAZYBONE
17. What dots may represent : TOWNS
18. "Stay cool!" : DONTPANIC
19. ___ mix : CHEX
20. Ready to play, with "up" : CUED
21. N.F.L. stat: Abbr. : INT
22. ___ pants : HAREM
24. Source of the phrases "cakes and ale" and "milk of human kindness": Abbr. : SHAK
25. Belize native : MAYA
26. What "II" or "III" may indicate : SEQUEL
28. Profession of Clementine's father in "Oh My Darling, Clementine" : MINER
29. R.A.F. award : DSO
32. Shrimp : RUNT
33. Small job for a gardener? : BONSAI
34. Noble one : RAREGAS
36. Spelunker's aid : LANTERN
37. High : ELATED
38. Something cited in a citation : WORK
39. Suffix with transcript- : ASE
40. Über ___ : ALLES
41. Origin of the word "behemoth" : HEBREW
43. Architect ___ van der Rohe : MIES
44. Knockout : BABE
45. Where Chekhov lived and Tolstoy summered : YALTA
49. Big Apple ave. : LEX
50. Half of a matched set : HERS
51. Inadequate : POOR
52. Girl in "The Music Man" with a floral name : AMARYLLIS
55. Nil : ZIPPO
56. Desktop item : NAMEPLATE
57. Elite unit : ATEAM
58. Capital on the Raccoon River : DESMOINES
59. Something from the oven : PIZZA
1. Mangle : BOTCH
2. ___ Tower (Pacific landmark) : ALOHA
3. More green : NEWER
4. Spelling problems? : JINXES
5. Brass maker: Abbr. : OCS
6. Year that Chaucer died : MCD
7. It follows a pattern : CROCHET
8. Stick : MANUAL
9. 2001-05 Pontiac made in Mexico : AZTEK
10. Org. in 1950s-'60s TV's "Naked City" : NYPD
11. Govt. lender : SBA
12. Where Syracuse is a port : IONIANSEA
13. Elderly : ONINYEARS
14. Relative of ocher : NECTARINE
23. Where many accidents occur : MERGES
24. Lies out : SUNS
25. Philadelphia tourist attraction : MINT
27. Target of a squat, for short : QUAD
28. 1960s dance, with "the" : MONKEY
29. State of sleep : DREAMLAND
30. Student loan source, familiarly : SALLIEMAE
31. Third-year hurdles, for some : ORALEXAMS
33. 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate : BARR
35. Lycée breaks : ETES
36. Temporal ___ : LOBE
38. It may come with a cookie : WEBSITE
41. Kentucky county in a 1976 Oscar-winning documentary : HARLAN
42. Forest ranger? : WAPITI
44. Melvin who was called "The King of Torts" : BELLI
46. Ruy ___ (chess opening) : LOPEZ
47. Relative of ocher : TOPAZ
48. Something from the oven : AROMA
50. Shot deliverer : HYPO
53. Radiation unit : REM
54. French possessive : SES
55. Use a laser on : ZAP

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

|