XW Info

Sunday, June 26, 2016
by Priscilla Clark and Jeff Chen
© 2016, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes:

Will sends some newbie constructors my way, usually when they have a decent idea but can't provide him with a satisfactory grid. I like going back and forth with the person as we trade ideas on how to build a nice final product. And sometimes I learn something, which I absolutely love. Nothing like unexpectedly picking up a little tidbit.

Riding one of these in HOT PANTS!

That was the case in working with Pris. Not only did I really enjoy working with her on this fun theme, but she challenged me on a couple of pieces of long fill I suggested, giving me rationale on why something else might be better. The best example: HAVE PITY. I had HATERADE in that slot at first, feeling good about introducing a newish piece of slang (haters drink the haterade, a play on Gatorade). Pris tactfully mentioned that she worried about it being a negative term, and she preferred to keep her crosswords upbeat and positive.

What a great reminder! Sometimes I get too focused on incorporating entries that are fresh and new, at the expense of the main goal: providing people with an enjoyable and uplifting solving experience. Many thanks to Pris for helping make a course adjustment as we filled this grid.

For any Sunday 140-word puzzle, I'm not happy unless I work in at least four long bonus entries. And for a wide-open grid like today's, I really want at least 10 snazzy bonus entries — given that there are only five theme entries, it's important to me to give solvers a lot of pick-me-ups to keep up their interest. There was something amusing about balancing a UNICYCLE over BAD DATES, and I liked the variety of OLD MASTER to LAWYERS UP to HOVERCAR to TSA AGENT to HOT PANTS. Something for everyone.

We tried a couple of fresh entries in the upper right, my favorite being OTTER PUPS. But we couldn't get that to work to our liking, and although OUT OF TUNE wasn't as squee-worthy, it seemed like it would lend itself to a fun clue. It also allowed us to incorporate CREED. If you haven't seen it, Michael B. Jordan is amazing ... and surprisingly, so is Stallone!

1.Foyer fixture : COATRACK
9.Paratroopers' gear : CHUTES
15.Building material for an 80-Across (in two different ways?) : ADOBE
20.Unsympathetic response to a complainer : OHBOOHOO
21.Warhol's "Campbell's Tomato Juice Box," e.g. : POPART
22.Italian vessel? : CRUET
26.Asia's ___ Sea : ARAL
27.Geological flat top : MESA
28.Staple at a luau : POI
29.Orange Pixar character : NEMO
30.Main character in Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" : SAMSA
32.River ___ (tributary of the Thames) : LEA
34.Balls or fire preceder : SPIT
37.Way off : AFAR
40.Decides, in a way : VOTESON
44.Dura ___ (brain membrane) : MATER
46."That's more than I want to know!" : TMI
47.Parenting problem at a zoo : TIGERSCANTHANDLECUBS
52.Luke Skywalker's landspeeder, e.g. : HOVERCAR
53.Spill one's secrets : SING
54."The Governator" : ARNIE
55.Focus of study for Niels Bohr : ATOM
56.Lead-in to dealer or dialer : AUTO
59.Winter Palace resident : TSAR
61.Particulars, in slang : DEETS
62.Logician's word : NOR
63.Show weariness : SAG
65.Eight days after the nones : IDES
67.Choice word? : EENIE
69.Cold War synopsis : YANKEESDEFEATREDS
74.Rimes with rhymes : LEANN
75.Othello, for one : MOOR
76."Kewl!" : RAD
77.Catch : NAB
80.See 15-Across : ABODE
83.It may be recounted : TALE
85.Be highly esteemed : RATE
87.Not mad : SANE
88.Roger Bannister, notably : MILER
89.Word repeated in James Brown's "It's a ___ ___ ___ World" : MANS
91."Please show some compassion!" : HAVEPITY
94.Show of respect at the Vatican : PADRESBOWTOCARDINALS
99.Wood in Lucius Malfoy's wand : ELM
100.Dear one? : DIARY
101.Rapt : FOCUSED
102.Twosome : DYAD
104.Incapacitate, in a way : TASE
105."Inside the N.B.A." airer : TNT
106.Yemen, once : SHEBA
111.Subj. for a radio astronomer : SETI
113.One in a gray suit, for short : REB
115.Most-applied-to sch. in the U.S. : UCLA
119.Split pair : EXES
120.Overthrow of a monarchy : NATIONALSTOPPLEROYALS
126.Smart ___ : ALECK
127.Only guest host in the 21 years of Leno's "The Tonight Show" : COURIC
128.It requires a balancing act : UNICYCLE
129.City of Light, informally : PAREE
130.Gives the old heave-ho : EXPELS
131.Faulty connections? : BADDATES
1.Food ___ (feelings after big meals) : COMAS
2.John who wrote "Appointment in Samarra" : OHARA
3.Hussein : Obama :: ___ : Garfield : ABRAM
4."Through many dangers, ___ and snares I have already come" ("Amazing Grace" lyric) : TOILS
5.Burgundy of "Anchorman" : RON
6."Pardon ..." : AHEM
7.Heart : CORE
8.Big name in headphones : KOSS
9.Number cruncher, for short : CPA
10.Short shorts : HOTPANTS
11.Until : UPTO
12.The Seal of Solomon and others : TALISMANS
13.Before, poetically : ERE
14.Letters on many a racecar : STP
15.Part of a plot : ACRE
16.___ queen : DRAMA
17.Pitched poorly : OUTOFTUNE
18.Queen ___ : BEE
19.SAT org. : ETS
24.Raft material : BALSA
25.Pentium creator : INTEL
31.Profess : AVER
33.Long stretch : EON
35.Supercontinent of 200 million years ago : PANGAEA
36."___ be my pleasure" : ITD
38.Scope : AMBIT
39.Climbs : RISES
41.World of Warcraft beast : ORC
42.Waver of a wand : TSAAGENT
43.Bathroom tile shade : ECRU
45.Prepped : READIED
47.Cowardly Lion harasser : TOTO
48.Bathroom bar : IVORY
49.The Pink Panther, in "The Pink Panther" : GEM
50.Takes the place of, in batting : HITSFOR
51.Seventh film in the "Rocky" series : CREED
52.___ characters (basic means of writing Chinese) : HAN
57."___ the season ..." : TIS
58.Leftover : ODDMENT
60.Hardly original works : RETREADS
63.Curled one's lip : SNEERED
64.Police blotter letters : AKA
66.Fair-hiring inits. : EEO
68.Org. with the Eddie Eagle safety program : NRA
70.Tree with catkins : ALDER
71.Charms : ENAMORS
72.Long stretch : ERA
73.Delicacy usually eaten as an appetizer : SNAIL
78.Marching band? : ANTS
79.Queen ___ (pop music nickname) : BEY
80.Stoked : AMPED
81.Deli roll : BIALY
82.Rubens or Raphael : OLDMASTER
84.Gets fitted for a suit? : LAWYERSUP
86.Drive-___ : THRU
87.Pool site : SPA
90.Leave runny on the inside, say : SOFTBOIL
92.Compete : VIE
93.Leftovers : ENDS
95.Once-common campus event : SITIN
96.Welcome to the fold? : BAA
97.Downside : CON
98.Go haywire : ACTUP
103.Clear for takeoff? : DEICE
107.OutKast chart-topper : HEYYA
108.On the button : EXACT
109.Southern beauty : BELLE
110.Low mounts? : ASSES
112.Take a hit : TOKE
114.Sein : German :: ___ : French : ETRE
116.Cotton or country follower : CLUB
117.Siberian river : LENA
118.Dry : ARID
120.Time out? : NAP
121.___ russe : ALA
122.A card? : ACE
123.Deli offering : LOX
124.Alternatives to Macs : PCS
125.What a constant hand-washer probably has, for short : OCD

© 2016, Jim Horne