New York Times, Saturday, August 2, 2014

Author: Kristian House
Editor: Will Shortz
Kristian House
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
162/17/20099/9/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0053323
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.66013

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. House. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kristian House notes: I had a lot of fun writing this puzzle. I started with MAN ENOUGH, TURDUCKEN, ROALD DAHL, and BUTT NAKED. I was concerned with ... more
Kristian House notes: I had a lot of fun writing this puzzle. I started with MAN ENOUGH, TURDUCKEN, ROALD DAHL, and BUTT NAKED. I was concerned with that last one for two reasons. The first and most pressing reason was that I was afraid that it wouldn't pass "The Breakfast Test". The second reason was that I was more familiar with "buck naked", but after some quick research, I found that both versions are common. I liked the entry so much that I decided to keep it in the puzzle and hoped for the best.

Will changed a number of clues (for the better), but he kept my clue for 54-Across, which I came up with while thinking of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail". I really liked Will's clue for 66-Across. Mine was not nearly as clever.

Jeff Chen notes: Neat how a single entry/clue pair can make a puzzle for me. Today, that was CLIP CLOP and its Monty Python reference. That movie ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Neat how a single entry/clue pair can make a puzzle for me. Today, that was CLIP CLOP and its Monty Python reference. That movie brings back such great memories for me and always makes me laugh, even though I've seen it approximately a googol times. Bravo, Kristian! Neat when a constructor's right on my wavelength.

I thought today's puzzle would make for a good discussion of what is a "good" and "bad" piece of fill. I believe that very little of this is purely objective, so I'm always interested to hear other opinions. Here are all the entries I thought might come up in discussion:

  • TSE
  • RCA
  • YEST
  • OESTE
  • A NET
  • MRS C
  • OWER
  • PRIERS
  • OTBS
  • NES
  • E LEE
  • DEM
  • SKAT
  • ENER

Personally, I'd strike RCA, MRS C, and DEM off that list. I can understand the argument that RCA was broken up by GE decade ago, but it still played an important role in the history of technology. MRS C is a big part of my being raised by TV shows I wasn't supposed to be watching, so "Happy Days," the Fonz, MRS C and MR C will always have a place in my heart. And DEM is such a common abbreviation that it doesn't bother me at all.

At the other end of the spectrum, I think it's hard to argue a case for YEST and ENER (awkward abbreviations), OWER and PRIERS (rarely used noun-formed -ER words), E LEE and A NET (partials), or OESTE (a somewhat esoteric foreign word). I can see a case for SUR or SUD, as those words show up in relatively common place names, though.

The others are interesting, falling into my personal no-man's land. I've never seen an actual OTB, but my tolerance for gambling ends at losing five bucks. I've never played SKAT, but I don't doubt that it's a favorite game for many crossword solvers, especially older ones. And non-video game fans will scoff at NES, but if I only had a nickel for every hour I played "Super Mario Bros"...

Quite a lot of jazzy entries in this puzzle, highlighted by CLIP CLOP, ON ONE KNEE, and the really nice triple of TURDUCKEN, BLUE STATE, and SPYMASTER. Beautiful corner. Personally, I thought there were a tad too many liabilities in the puzzle, but 1.) that's personal opinion, 2.) I still found it to be an enjoyable solving experience, and 5.) thinking about the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch made me chuckle.

1
M
2
A
3
N
4
E
5
N
6
O
7
U
8
G
9
H
10
B
11
A
12
N
13
G
14
S
15
O
N
O
N
E
K
N
E
E
16
U
R
I
A
H
17
V
E
A
L
O
S
C
A
R
18
T
I
E
T
O
19
E
T
H
A
N
20
R
E
21
N
T
A
C
O
P
22
R
S
23
V
24
P
25
E
N
D
E
R
S
26
S
27
M
28
O
G
29
A
R
30
T
31
I
S
A
N
32
O
R
W
E
33
L
L
I
A
N
34
K
E
35
B
36
A
37
B
38
T
S
E
39
U
S
E
R
F
40
E
E
41
R
C
A
42
S
C
R
43
U
B
44
R
O
A
L
D
45
D
A
H
L
46
T
R
47
U
S
T
M
E
48
E
Y
E
D
49
S
50
A
51
V
O
I
R
52
Y
E
53
S
T
54
C
L
I
P
C
L
55
O
56
P
57
O
E
58
S
59
T
60
E
61
A
T
R
I
A
62
T
U
63
R
64
D
U
C
K
E
N
65
R
E
G
A
N
66
B
L
U
E
S
T
A
T
E
67
F
R
O
N
T
68
S
P
Y
M
A
S
T
E
R
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,643
Across Down
1. Not too wimpy : MANENOUGH
10. Sensational effects : BANGS
15. Begging, perhaps : ONONEKNEE
16. David had him killed, in the Bible : URIAH
17. Dish with crab meat and Béarnaise : VEALOSCAR
18. Associate with : TIETO
19. Allen in history : ETHAN
20. Many an event security guard : RENTACOP
22. Say you'll make it, say : RSVP
25. They wrap things up : ENDERS
26. Dangerous blanket : SMOG
29. Craftsperson : ARTISAN
32. Like a Big Brother society : ORWELLIAN
34. Food order from a grill : KEBAB
38. K'ung Fu-___ (Confucius) : TSE
39. Charge at a state park : USERFEE
41. Zenith competitor : RCA
42. Hit the dirt hard? : SCRUB
44. Subject of the 2010 biography "Storyteller" : ROALDDAHL
46. "Honest" : TRUSTME
48. Regarded : EYED
49. Knowledge: Fr. : SAVOIR
52. The very recent past: Abbr. : YEST
54. Sound reproducible with coconut shells : CLIPCLOP
57. Left, on un mapa : OESTE
61. Mall features : ATRIA
62. Portmanteau bird? : TURDUCKEN
65. Shakespeare character who asks "To whose hands have you sent the lunatic king?" : REGAN
66. Left part of a map? : BLUESTATE
67. Weather map feature : FRONT
68. Smiley, e.g. : SPYMASTER
1. Shake a leg : MOVE
2. Operating without ___ : ANET
3. Webster's first? : NOAH
4. Swell : ENLARGE
5. Electric shades : NEONS
6. They're not forbidding : OKS
7. Perennial N.C.A.A. hoops powerhouse : UNC
8. Stick selection : GEAR
9. "This is yours" : HERE
10. Completely bare : BUTTNAKED
11. She came to Theseus' aid : ARIADNE
12. ___-in-law : NIECE
13. Bayou snapper, briefly : GATOR
14. Mall features : SHOPS
21. Punch-Out!! platform, for short : NES
23. Dance in triple time: Sp. : VALS
24. Snoopy sorts : PRIERS
26. They're often fried : SOTS
27. Joanie's mom, to Fonzie : MRSC
28. One in arrears : OWER
30. Alternative to tea leaves : TAROT
31. Opprobrium : INFAMY
33. It helps get the wheels turning : LUBRICANT
35. Act like a jackass : BRAY
36. Really long : ACHE
37. Completely bare : BALD
40. Part of a C.S.A. signature : ELEE
43. Perfect : UTOPIAN
45. Uncovers : DETECTS
47. It changes when you go to a new site : URL
49. Bolt (down) : SCARF
50. Let out, say : ALTER
51. Labor Day arrival, e.g. : VIRGO
53. "Semper Fidelis" composer : SOUSA
55. Some parlors, for short : OTBS
56. Trashy, in a way : PULP
58. It uses sevens through aces : SKAT
59. First of many body parts in "Alouette" : TETE
60. Cabinet dept. since 1977 : ENER
63. Chess's ___ Lopez opening : RUY
64. Frequent winner in a 66-Across: Abbr. : DEM

Answer summary: 4 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