XW Info

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
by Mike Doran
Tue 11/12/2013
JETSRATEDGHOP
EARPAPOGEEERR
DRAFTDODGERRIO
ISMWARDCMON
DIRTYDANCING
CANONSIDEST
EXAMSANERCAD
DEMOLITIONDERBY
ESEORALSBALE
DURANTABBED
DUNKINDONUTS
IRAEROTASAS
MGMDOUBLEDUTCH
LEEONSITENATO
YDSSTATESIN2D
© 2013, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: A straightforward theme today, phrases starting with D and D. The dork in me so badly wanted DUNGEONS and DRAGONS to appear somewhere as bonus entries, but I suppose I'll have to settle for entertaining myself with my +1 laptop of doom.

Really nice theme answers, well-chosen from the universe of D and D type phrases. It is a shame that DAILY DOUBLE didn't make it in, but I was glad to hear Mike say that he gave it up in order to make a better puzzle. It's extremely difficult as a constructor to let go of a great entry, and too many of us hang on for dear life, even though it means there are heavy OLEO (or is that OLIO?) and ORT prices to pay.

This is a good example of why most of the time, constructors break up the three first across answers 4/5/4 or 3/5/5 (or some permutation thereof) instead of a 3/6/4 arrangement. There's a lot of fun fill in the very NW corner, with JEDI and JETS and EARP, but the center has the unfortunate APORT. Trying to fill a six-letter stack is (perhaps surprisingly) much harder than filling a five-letter stack. This arrangement also has the drawback of the NW and SE corners feeling a bit separated from the rest of the grid. I certainly appreciate APOGEE and RATED G, very fun answers, but the price of including APORT and ROTA seems a bit high to me.

Finally, neat inclusion of a number in the revealer. It happens so infrequently that it had me stumped for long seconds, and I appreciated it when I finally figured it out. I wish IN2D had more of an "in-the-language" feel, as IN3D seems much more common to me, but still, it was a fresh way to tie together the phrases, turning a common type of theme into something a little new.

Will Shortz notes: 67A is a mean trick to throw in a Tuesday puzzle. Still, the theme is otherwise straightforward, so Tuesday feels right. I tried to make the lower-right corner as easy as possible. Not surprisingly, the clue for 60D was my addition.
1.767s, e.g. : JETS
5.Tame, as movies go : RATEDG
11.Move like a bunny : HOP
14.Wyatt out West : EARP
15.Farthest point of a 50-Down : APOGEE
16.Goof or go off : ERR
17.1960s dissident : DRAFTDODGER
19.___ de la Plata : RIO
20.Suffix with Tao or Mao : ISM
21.Fend (off) : WARD
22."You've gotta be kidding!" : CMON
23.1987 movie with the hit "Hungry Eyes" : DIRTYDANCING
27.Bodies of rules : CANONS
30.In other words, in old Rome : IDEST
31.Checkup : EXAM
32.More together : SANER
34.He's no gentleman : CAD
37.Smash-hit entertainment? : DEMOLITIONDERBY
41.K.C.-to-Nashville direction : ESE
42.Tests for many Ph.D. candidates : ORALS
43.Farm unit : BALE
44.Boxer Roberto with "hands of stone" : DURAN
46.Like some schoolbook folders : TABBED
48.Fast-food chain with an orange and pink logo : DUNKINDONUTS
52."Dies ___" : IRAE
53.Series of golf courses that host the British Open : ROTA
54.Carrier to Oslo : SAS
57.Co. whose logo includes Leo the Lion : MGM
58.Jump-rope style : DOUBLEDUTCH
62.___ jeans : LEE
63.Like some job training : ONSITE
64.Grp. whose members account for more than 50% of the world's defense spending : NATO
65.Abbr. on a golf scorecard : YDS
66.Solid, liquid and gas : STATES
67.Lacking depth ... or like 17-, 23-, 37-, 48- and 58-Across? : IN2D
1.Darth Vader, once : JEDI
2.Corny things? : EARS
3.Public transport option : TRAM
4.Letters on a beach bottle : SPF
5.Some control tower equipment : RADARS
6.To the left, at sea : APORT
7.Winter warmer : TODDY
8.Flan ingredient : EGG
9.Actor Billy ___ Williams : DEE
10.Neighbor of Lux. : GER
11.Creature that adopts a seashell : HERMITCRAB
12.Figure of myth known for his belt : ORION
13.Tine : PRONG
18.Minnesota player : TWIN
22.IV units : CCS
23."___ arigato, Mr. Roboto" : DOMO
24.T. rex and others : DINOS
25.Mideast port : ADEN
26.Mathlete, stereotypically : NERD
27.Surrender : CEDE
28.Lumberjacks' tools : AXES
29.Acted the fink : NAMEDNAMES
32.Lectern, e.g. : STAND
33.Suffer : AIL
35.Skilled : ABLE
36.Like orange hair : DYED
38.Actress Singer : LORI
39.Hassan Rouhani's land : IRAN
40.Goes back : EBBS
45.Lanai strings : UKE
46.Students taught alone : TUTEES
47.Slightly : ATAD
48.How romantic dinners are lit : DIMLY
49.Encouraged : URGED
50.Satellite's path : ORBIT
51.Nick of "Cape Fear" : NOLTE
54.Persian suffix that ends seven country names : STAN
55.When the balcony scene occurs in "Romeo and Juliet" : ACT2
56.Like racehorses' feet : SHOD
58.Opposite of no-nos : DOS
59.Prov. bordering Manitoba : ONT
60.Winner of more than half of all the World Puzzle Championships : USA
61.Prefix with lateral : UNI

© 2014, Jim Horne