It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.
This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

New York Times, Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Author:
Gary Cee
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
395/28/200910/14/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
113108421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56021
Gary Cee

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQWXZ} This is puzzle # 36 for Mr. Cee. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I'm a big fan of 'what connects these disparate things?' themes. It's a lot of fun to get to the end of an early-week puzzle and still ... read more

I'm a big fan of "what connects these disparate things?" themes. It's a lot of fun to get to the end of an early-week puzzle and still have no idea what's going on. PASSABLE gave me a good a-ha click – PASS the HAT, PASS the TORCH, PASS the TIME, PASS the BUCK.

I also like Gary's consistency. You could use other passable things, like PASS MUSTER or PASS A NOTE, but sticking strictly to a PASS THE ___ pattern adds some tightness.

It's unusual to have mid-length slots (6-7 letters) add much to the quality of a solve, but there were a lot of strong ones today: PRONTO, PISCES, AGHAST, HOBBIT, EVOLVE, STOOGE. Outstanding stuff.

Speaking of AGHAST, though, let's address the issue that overrode the solving experience for me.

Will and I had a dialogue over BEANER; an offensive term slung at people from Mexico. I wondered if it might be a West Coast / East Coast thing, so I alerted Will about this. He thought about it but decided that since there is a valid dictionary definition, people would have to just ignore the secondary meaning.

I generally think Will does a great job in editing the NYT puzzle — hard to argue with results, with solvership exploding into the hundreds of thousands under his helm. This is one of the less than 5% of things that I strongly disagree with, though. Yes, BEANER is in the dictionary as a baseball term. But a pitch at someone's head is usually called a "bean ball," not a BEANER.

And I Googled BEANER to see what came up first — a page full of definitions as the racist term.

I respect Will's viewpoint that people will see what they want to see in any entry. For example, I personally take offense to CHINK in puzzles, and a couple of readers have bluntly told me "I'm being too sensitive" (and worse). My response is that it's easy to say that if you haven't been told to "go home, you dirty f*cking chink" (and much worse). But I do understand this one, since a CHINK in one's armor is a very common saying. So I shrug it off.

BEANER on the other hand, feels so, so, so very wrong, considering that the alternate definition isn't much in real usage these days.

Puzzles ought to be enjoyable, a smile-inducing diversion from the daily struggles of life. Even if BEANER punches just a small number of solvers, that makes it worth changing — especially since the fix is super easy. ABEL to AHEM and ANI to ALI is just one of the many ways to revise.

An ugly blot on an otherwise pleasant puzzle.

ADDED NOTE: A spokesperson from the NYT issued this statement: "Tuesday's Crossword puzzle included an entry that was offensive and hurtful. It is simply not acceptable in The New York Times Crossword and we apologize for including it."

Will Shortz notes:
(copied from Wordplay) I'm very sorry for the distraction about BEANER (2D) in today's fine puzzle by Gary Cee. Neither Joel ... read more

(copied from Wordplay)

I'm very sorry for the distraction about BEANER (2D) in today's fine puzzle by Gary Cee.

Neither Joel [Fagliano] nor I had ever heard the slur before — and I don't know anyone who would use it. Maybe we live in rarefied circles.

In researching this puzzle, we discovered the other meaning of the word as a slur. Later, Jeff Chen over at XWord Info brought it to our attention as well.

My feeling, rightly or wrongly, is that any benign meaning of a word is fair game for a crossword. This is an issue that comes up occasionally with entries like GO O.K. (which we clued last April as "Proceed all right," but which as a solid word is a slur), CHINK (benign in the sense as a chink in one's armor), etc. These are legitimate words.

Perhaps I need to rethink this opinion if enough solvers are bothered. I want your focus to be on the puzzle rather than being distracted by side issues. But I assure you this viewpoint is expressed with a pure heart.

Meanwhile, for any solver who was offended by 2-Down in today's puzzle, I apologize.

1
A
2
B
3
E
4
L
5
F
6
I
7
G
8
A
9
B
10
R
11
O
12
A
13
D
14
G
E
N
E
15
O
N
E
16
P
R
O
N
T
O
17
H
A
T
T
18
R
I
C
K
19
P
I
S
C
E
S
20
A
N
I
21
A
L
I
K
22
E
23
G
E
E
24
S
E
R
25
U
M
26
T
O
R
27
C
H
S
O
28
N
29
G
30
T
R
E
M
B
31
L
E
32
V
A
T
33
V
I
A
34
A
L
A
35
E
I
N
36
L
E
N
S
37
T
38
I
M
E
S
39
I
G
N
A
40
T
U
R
E
41
C
A
N
I
42
S
N
O
43
P
E
N
44
A
B
A
45
S
I
N
46
T
E
A
C
47
H
48
E
49
R
50
B
U
C
51
K
T
E
E
52
T
H
53
S
H
O
V
E
54
T
O
O
55
S
A
R
56
E
E
57
B
O
D
58
E
59
P
I
L
O
60
G
61
P
A
S
S
62
A
B
L
E
63
S
A
V
A
G
E
64
A
S
P
65
L
I
V
E
66
P
R
E
S
E
T
67
S
H
Y
68
I
T
E
M
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0101 ( 25,256 )
Across
1
First victim of sibling rivalry : ABEL
5
___ Newton (cookie) : FIG
8
Somewhere across the ocean : ABROAD
14
Transmitter of freckles or blond hair : GENE
15
"You're ___ to talk!" : ONE
16
"Now!" : PRONTO
17
Three goals in a single game : HATTRICK
19
Leap day baby, astrologically : PISCES
20
Darth Vader's nickname as a boy : ANI
21
Similar : ALIKE
23
"Hmm, I don't know" : GEE
24
Blood fluid : SERUM
26
Its lyrics tell of unrequited love : TORCHSONG
30
Shiver from fear : TREMBLE
32
Big tub : VAT
33
By way of : VIA
34
Turkey ___ king : ALA
35
A, in Munich : EIN
36
Telescope part : LENS
37
Music staff notation : TIMESIGNATURE
41
Child's plea : CANI
42
___-Caps : SNO
43
Calligrapher's tool : PEN
44
League that used a red, white and blue ball, for short : ABA
45
Greed or gluttony : SIN
46
Someone who likes to see many raised hands : TEACHER
50
Reason to get braces : BUCKTEETH
53
Push : SHOVE
54
___ close to call : TOO
55
Ranee's wrap : SAREE
57
What's shaped at the gym, informally : BOD
58
Literary last words : EPILOG
61
Barely adequate ... or what the starts of 17-, 26-, 37- and 50-Across are : PASSABLE
63
Wild : SAVAGE
64
Slithering killer : ASP
65
"___ a little!" : LIVE
66
Car radio button : PRESET
67
Short of money : SHY
68
Couple that might be snapped by paparazzi : ITEM
Down
1
Horror-struck : AGHAST
2
Pitch to the head, informally : BEANER
3
Total : ENTIRE
4
Call from a chair umpire : LET
5
Chocolate kiss wrap : FOIL
6
Provoke : INCITE
7
Gordon ___, lead role in "Wall Street" : GEKKO
8
Mobile device download : APP
9
Smart : BRIGHT
10
Things to stop and smell : ROSES
11
Quick appraisal : ONCEOVER
12
Caught a bite : ATE
13
Beehive and bouffant : DOS
18
Go off on tangents : RAMBLE
22
Watergate hearings chair Sam : ERVIN
25
Savory taste : UMAMI
27
Cocktail hour nosh : CANAPE
28
Number of batters in a lineup : NINE
29
Neither a liquid nor a solid : GAS
31
Famous collie of radio, TV and film : LASSIE
35
Inflated self-image : EGO
36
Break in the workday : LUNCH
37
Popular perfume : TABU
38
Out of commission : INACTIVE
39
Hammond ___, writer of "The Wreck of the Mary Deare" : INNES
40
Kids : TEASES
41
Vehicle with a meter : CAB
45
Moe, Larry or Curly : STOOGE
46
Defeat decisively : THRASH
47
Tolkien creature : HOBBIT
48
Develop gradually : EVOLVE
49
Cash in : REDEEM
51
Nuts containing caffeine : KOLAS
52
Spanish food served on small plates : TAPAS
56
Athletic award : ESPY
58
Hard-to-explain skill, for short : ESP
59
Tee box sign info : PAR
60
"I ___ it!" : GET
62
Cable news host Velshi : ALI

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?