XW Info

Friday, November 21, 2014
by Kevin Christian
Fri 11/21/2014
© 2014, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: Interesting grid today, one that perfectly embodies a standard and timeless themeless-building principle: use four triple-stacks of 8's, separated out into the four corners. Visually, a pleasant grid pattern, easy on the eyes. There's something so pleasing about its symmetry, as Kevin described above.

Nice stacks. The NW corner is particularly fine; JONESING / EMOTICON (Do people really say EMOJI now? Kids these days.) / RED SAUCE. I might have preferred the more colloquial JONESIN', but that's splittin' hairs. Nice that Kevin managed to take pretty good advantage of his eight-letter slots, even the single-word entries carefully chosen to still give some oomph. CATALYST is a strong entry, and STREAMED gives the puzzle a bit of 21st century feel.

Hoosiers' warm-ups

I'd make a funny comment about INDIANAN being a middle-of-the-road entry, but Will is from Indiana. More importantly, so is my wife. And Bloomington, home of IU, is quite a nice place to visit. Not to mention IU's basketball team has the most ridiculous warm-up pants ever. (I may or may not secretly want a pair.)

This layout doesn't have other long (i.e. 8+ letter) entries, so Kevin has to take advantage of his seven-letter slots to gain more assets — often not an easy task. I really like NBA GAME with its fun clue (and schadenfreude against the often big-headed Heat), and BAY AREA spoke to me, as it's where both Kevin and I hail from. It's too bad that the rest of the 7s were just neutral, i.e. PASSION, OPEN ERA, etc.

For non-stunt grids, I like to see five or less glue entries, so getting CDT, SOR, SST, ASST, A TRY, ESAS, NITRE did feel somewhat inelegant. But overall, a nice array of eight-letter entries helped make up for that.

1.Having a big itch : JONESING
9.Giant jet : AIRBUS
15.Sideways look? : EMOTICON
16."Swann's Way" novelist : PROUST
17.Marinara, e.g. : REDSAUCE
18.When to put all your eggs in one basket? : EASTER
19.Late legend in countdowns : KASEM
20.Bell part : LIP
22.Fertiliser ingredient : NITRE
23.Neighbor of 10-Down : IRAQ
24.Underlying : BASAL
26."Country Girl" memoirist O'Brien : EDNA
27.Capital player, briefly : NAT
28.Fire : PASSION
30.Soy, north of Mexico : IAM
31.Elves, in poetry : FAYS
32.Heat loss, maybe? : NBAGAME
34.Home of minor-league baseball's Brewers : HELENA
37.Like lizards and lizardfish : SCALED
38.Tennis since 1968 : OPENERA
40."Give this ___" : ATRY
41.It can be dry or sparkling : WIT
42.Title woman of a 1977 Neil Diamond hit : DESIREE
44.Org. of sisters : SOR
47.Bit of design info : SPEC
49.Not still : ASTIR
50.Where a ducktail tapers : NAPE
51.Paroxysm : THROE
53.Looney Tunes devil, for short : TAZ
54.Ceilings, informally : MAXES
55.Refuse to leave alone : HARASS
57.Farmers' market frequenter, maybe : LOCAVORE
59.Novelist Shreve and others : ANITAS
60.Hoosier : INDIANAN
61.Key figure? : TYPIST
62.Spark : CATALYST
1.Close-fitting, sleeveless jacket : JERKIN
2.1998 Masters champ Mark : OMEARA
3.Acknowledges without a sound : NODSAT
4.Footnote abbr. : ETSEQ
5.Neighbor of India and China in Risk : SIAM
6.Post-O.R. stop, maybe : ICU
7.What a boor has : NOCLASS
8.Rock with colored bands : GNEISS
9.Boor : APE
10.Neighbor of 23-Across : IRAN
11.Good name for an optimist? : ROSIE
12.Call from the rear? : BUTTDIAL
13.Avatar accompanier : USERNAME
14.Like music on Pandora Radio : STREAMED
21.Hassle : PAIN
24.Giants' environs : BAYAREA
25.Source of the delicacy tomalley : LOBSTER
28.Like many mirrors : PANED
29.Nautilus shell feature : NACRE
31.Home for a sedge wren : FEN
33.Like the out crowd? : GAY
34."Come again?" : HOWSTHAT
35.Moment when the fog lifts : EPIPHANY
36."Go for it!" : LETERRIP
39.Second: Abbr. : ASST
40.Major copper exporter : ARIZONA
43.Slanted : ITALIC
44.State bordering Poland : SAXONY
45.Unlikely fare for philistines : OPERAS
46.Mind a lot : RESENT
48.Kinkajou's kin : COATI
50.Like some forces : NAVAL
52.Those, in Toledo : ESAS
54.Hermes' mother : MAIA
56.Boomer for nearly 35 yrs. : SST
58.Setting for many Card games : CDT

© 2014, Jim Horne