XW Info

Monday, November 11, 2013
by Elizabeth C. Gorski
Mon 11/11/2013
ORCSBLESSFOUR
MIRELEDUPLAZE
AGERANISEIRIS
HOPETHATHELPS
ARENASIDEB
PABLOTOSCA
ONASPRINGSOPEN
PAPPGENOAKIDD
ETERNALCITYKEY
LEROIREECE
CLOCKAUJUS
ALEXANDERPOPE
COLABRIERONOR
ANTIOTTERLENT
BOOMWASPSASEA
© 2013, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: Beautiful puzzle today from the master, Liz Gorski, with quite the upscale feel. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL is such a great quote to hide within a puzzle, injecting me with an uplifting push after finishing. Not being super familiar with the origin of the quote, I looked it up and felt even more invigorated after doing so. Entertaining and uplifting, exactly what a puzzle ought to do.

Interesting construction challenge, given that ALEXANDER POPE is the dreaded length of 13. It might seem like not that big a deal for a revealer to be 13 letters, but it makes all the difference in the world. Typically, theme answers are best spaced out as much as possible, because more space = more flexibility. There's a reason why most of the time, the first and last theme answers go in rows 3 and 13.

But putting a 13-letter answer into row 13 is no good, because it forms an unsightly column of three black squares (in order to conform to the "no two-letter answers" rule of crosswords). So up the answer goes into row 12. And the challenge doesn't stop there.

Note the big chunks of black squares in the SW and NE corners. These look like "cheater squares", but really aren't, just squares that help deal with the 13-letter answers. Five black squares all clustered like that are a bit inelegant though, in that they visually take up a lot of space. There are ways around this arrangement, but each of them comes with its own challenge.

I like it when a famous quote is hidden inside theme answers. I personally find it more interesting when it catches you by surprise, either by being at the ends of the theme phrases, or by masking the word meanings. For instance, if SPRINGS had been at the end of BOX SPRINGS, that would add a level of camouflage. However, for this particular quote, there aren't many phrases ending in ETERNAL. Can't win 'em all.

Generally I prefer Monday puzzles to be easy enough that I could give them to novice friends to get them hooked, so I paused when I hit things like PAPP and CUPOLA. But the more I thought about it, the more I appreciated that the fill mirrors the tone of the puzzle. And to top it off, having fill like SPIKE JONES and a FLIP BOOK made the puzzle even more fun. Perhaps it's not my ideal Monday puzzle, but I greatly admire the work.

Will Shortz notes: A literary theme like this is always appropriate. The Times crossword has more of this flavor than most other puzzles, which is one thing, I think, that sets it apart from others. Among the nontheme entries here, I especially like CREPE PAPER, SPIKE JONES, and FLIPBOOK.
1."The Lord of the Rings" creatures : ORCS
5.Sprinkle with holy water : BLESS
10.Number in a quartet : FOUR
14.Muck : MIRE
15.Preceded, with "to" : LEDUP
16.Loll : LAZE
17.New ___ (Enya type) : AGER
18.Licoricelike flavor : ANISE
19.Colored part of the eye : IRIS
20.Friendly comment after providing information : HOPETHATHELPS
23.Sports stadium : ARENA
24.Lesser-played part of a 45 : SIDEB
25.Cellist Casals : PABLO
28.Puccini opera or its heroine : TOSCA
32.Put ___ happy face : ONA
34.Goes "pop!," as a jack-in-the-box : SPRINGSOPEN
38.Shakespeare in the Park founder/producer Joseph : PAPP
40.Italian birthplace of Paganini : GENOA
41.Captain ___ (pirate) : KIDD
42.Rome's nickname, with "the" : ETERNALCITY
45.Lock unlocker : KEY
46.The king, in France : LEROI
47.Volleyball star Gabrielle : REECE
49.Cuckoo ___ : CLOCK
53.French words describing how roast beef is often served : AUJUS
56.Author of the verse that starts with the beginnings of 20-, 34- and 42-Across : ALEXANDERPOPE
59.Coca-___ : COLA
61.Bramble : BRIER
62.___ about (approximately) : ONOR
63.Prefix with lock : ANTI
64.Whiskered creature : OTTER
65.Loaned : LENT
66.Dynamite sound : BOOM
67.Insects with big stingers : WASPS
68.Where sailors go : ASEA
1.Nebraska's largest city : OMAHA
2.Severity : RIGOR
3.Party streamer material : CREPEPAPER
4.One of the Williams sisters : SERENA
5.Lacking pizazz : BLAH
6.Sultry singer Horne : LENA
7.Does some magazine work : EDITS
8.Fish-on-rice serving : SUSHI
9.Put the pedal to the metal : SPEED
10.Simple means of animation : FLIPBOOK
11.They're in locks on a boat : OARS
12.Israeli-made gun : UZI
13.In medias ___ : RES
21.Keep ___ on (watch) : TABS
22.Tennis do-overs : LETS
26.Org. for women drivers : LPGA
27.Pitcher Hershiser : OREL
29.Quirky bandleader with the City Slickers : SPIKEJONES
30.Give up : CEDE
31.Handy-___ : ANDY
32.German automaker : OPEL
33.Kids' detective ___ the Great : NATE
35."Monsters, ___" : INC
36.Alternative to rouge in roulette : NOIR
37.Box-office take : GATE
39.Declare loudly : PROCLAIM
43.River near the Pyramids : NILE
44.2013, e.g. : YEAR
48.Domelike top : CUPOLA
50.U-shaped bend in a river : OXBOW
51.Magna ___ : CARTA
52.Makes woolen bootees, e.g. : KNITS
54.Slightly leading in score : UPONE
55.Mattress brand : SERTA
56.Voice below soprano : ALTO
57.Shallow's opposite : DEEP
58.Makes mistakes : ERRS
59.Hack's vehicle : CAB
60.Yoko who married John : ONO

© 2014, Jim Horne