It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.

PERSONAL STATEMENTS

New York Times, Sunday, January 11, 2015

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1045/2/20064/18/201812
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
51225361394
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.564313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 70 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 85 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:
I knew I was taking a chance with this puzzle, since the core concept — repurposing an initial S in someone's last name as a possessive S added to his/her first name — had been ... read more

I knew I was taking a chance with this puzzle, since the core concept — repurposing an initial S in someone's last name as a possessive S added to his/her first name — had been done before (for instance, see 9/14/2009). I was hoping that the added twist of cluing the answers in a fill-in-the-blank manner with two possible interpretations would sufficiently distinguish this puzzle from its predecessors. I also like the fact that one S (in BOBBY'S HER MAN) is repurposed as a contraction, and that three of the last names can be parsed into an S and two words (HER MAN, TALL ONE, and TAN DISH).

This puzzle rose from the ashes of a failed puzzle I wrote about a year ago. The theme-revealer in that one was BOAT PEOPLE. It featured the names of several people whose last names ended in a nautical term (Rhoda MorganSTERN, Tim TeBOW, etc). One of the entries was BEN STILLER. I noticed that one could interpret that name as "Ben's tiller", and I was off and running. Alas, poor Ben. Even though he inspired this puzzle, he didn't make the final cut. He's like one of those young geniuses that create a successful start-up company only to be voted out once the venture goes public.

Other names that didn't make the cut included BRITNEY SPEARS, ISAAC STERN, ROBERT STACK, LEON SPINKS, and KATEY SAGAL.

I did a little clue analysis on this puzzle, which I've never done before. I went through clue-by-clue and rated each clue Exact (if it was the same as my clue, with a possible tiny modification), Almost (if the gist was nearly the same, but the wording significantly different), or Different (if the clue went in a completely different direction from mine). Of the 140 clues in the puzzle, I rated 86 (61%) Exact, 15 (11%) Almost, and 39 (28%) Different.

Jeff Chen notes:
Famous people treated as if the first letter of their last name was a possessive S. I loved the SYLVESTER STALLONE to SYLVESTER'S TALL ONE. Great wordplay. I can see why Pete placed it ... read more

Famous people treated as if the first letter of their last name was a possessive S. I loved the SYLVESTER STALLONE to SYLVESTER'S TALL ONE. Great wordplay. I can see why Pete placed it smack dab in the middle of the puzzle; a marquee entry.

Bobby Sherman. Or Bobby's her man?

BOBBY SHERMAN was interesting to read about. I had no idea who he was, or why HERMAN was a teen idol. "Perhaps it's an ‘American Idol' thing?" I thought to myself, before shrugging and moving on. I wish the clue had better gotten to the HER MAN parsing, as I thought that was pretty clever. I wouldn't have appreciated though, it if I hadn't taken the time to go back and figure it out so I could explain why it made sense.

The rest of them didn't do a lot for me. But Jim and I had a fun back-and-forth, as he loved the themers, each one presenting him a new nugget of goodness. Go figure.

Ah, NYT Sunday puzzles are a tough beast to conquer. Even at the maximum of 140 words, even with the average-ish seven themers, there are so many open areas to fill. I tend to notice roughness after about five gluey entries, so I was a little worried when I ran into ACRO, O SOLE, DIEGOS, and O LORD right off the bat. Pete kept the teeter-totter flipping, as I'd get a great SHOOT PAR and then a LOCKA and then a nice TOY SHOP and then an OREL / TAMLA.

It's so tough to smooth out a 21x puzzle. Overall, I felt like there was too much rough stuff and not quite enough assets, the balance sheet tipping toward the liabilities. I'm starting to feel like some other criteria than "140 words max" might be better for Sunday puzzles. "At least six additional colorful pieces of fill"? "No more than eight gluey bits"? I'm still forming this idea in my head, obviously. But I'd much rather have a smooth 142 word puzzle than a bumpy solve on a 140-worder, even if that meant sacrificing a bit of nice fill.

Nice concept, a couple of fun themers, and some liabilities weighing it all down.

Jim Horne notes:

It's interesting to see how the name choices differed in a similar theme 32 years earlier.

1
J
2
A
3
F
4
A
5
R
6
O
7
L
8
O
9
R
10
D
11
P
12
R
13
I
14
S
15
M
16
B
17
A
18
T
19
E
P
O
C
H
20
M
A
S
A
I
21
L
O
T
T
O
22
I
D
I
23
S
H
A
R
O
24
N
S
T
O
N
E
25
A
S
S
I
N
26
Z
A
G
27
S
I
M
O
N
E
28
S
L
O
G
29
A
N
30
P
R
O
31
T
E
G
E
32
E
D
S
33
D
A
34
S
35
E
N
O
S
S
36
L
A
U
G
H
T
E
R
37
B
A
T
H
38
E
39
S
H
O
O
T
P
A
R
40
E
41
S
42
A
U
43
E
A
V
44
E
45
S
46
E
N
G
47
M
E
48
W
49
L
50
S
51
B
O
B
B
52
Y
S
H
E
R
M
53
A
N
54
T
55
O
Y
S
H
O
P
56
B
A
R
B
E
T
57
E
O
S
58
P
59
A
A
R
60
H
O
P
E
61
S
P
A
L
L
62
L
63
O
C
K
A
64
O
L
M
E
65
C
66
L
E
D
67
S
Y
L
68
V
E
S
T
E
R
69
S
T
A
L
L
O
70
N
E
71
P
72
E
I
73
S
E
A
L
E
74
U
H
U
R
A
75
N
O
M
76
A
77
D
78
A
M
O
79
S
80
A
N
O
D
81
L
I
S
82
E
N
T
I
R
E
83
P
E
N
C
84
I
L
S
85
B
E
V
E
86
R
87
L
Y
S
I
L
L
S
88
A
R
S
O
N
89
A
90
F
R
91
A
R
N
I
E
92
O
K
O
K
93
R
A
94
P
95
S
H
E
E
96
T
97
A
S
L
98
A
N
99
M
100
Y
101
L
E
S
S
T
A
N
D
I
102
S
103
H
104
P
I
T
105
R
106
O
107
O
108
C
O
L
D
W
A
R
109
L
A
T
T
E
110
R
111
F
L
112
O
O
R
S
113
I
G
A
114
E
L
E
115
N
A
116
L
O
R
E
117
T
T
A
S
W
I
T
118
N
I
M
119
A
M
A
I
N
120
E
L
O
P
E
121
S
H
A
N
E
122
G
S
A
123
T
S
K
E
D
124
D
E
N
S
E
125
T
A
N
G
O
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0111 ( 23,805 )
Across
1. "Aladdin" antagonist : JAFAR
6. "___ God of hosts, hear my prayer" : OLORD
11. Beam splitter : PRISM
16. Face an ace : BAT
19. Historic time : EPOCH
20. People of Kenya : MASAI
21. Powerball, for one : LOTTO
22. Uganda's Amin : IDI
23. The makeup affected the appearance of all the cast of "Casino," including ___ : SHARONSTONE
25. Guilty ___ : ASSIN
26. Bit of evasive maneuvering : ZAG
27. Singer Nina : SIMONE
28. "Think different," e.g. : SLOGAN
30. Mentored one : PROTEGE
32. Op-___ : EDS
33. Court figs. : DAS
35. After the 1946 World Series, the dugout was filled with the Cardinals and their happy sounds, including ___ : ENOSSLAUGHTER
37. Wash : BATHE
39. Card a 72, maybe : SHOOTPAR
40. Son of Isaac : ESAU
43. Ice dam sites : EAVES
46. Grade school subj. : ENG
47. Whimpers : MEWLS
51. She said that when it comes to '60s teen idols, all you need to know is one thing: ___ : BOBBYSHERMAN
54. Doll house? : TOYSHOP
56. One might be made over a beer : BARBET
57. Dawn goddess : EOS
58. Allen's successor on late-night TV : PAAR
60. 2008 Obama catchword : HOPE
61. Break up, as concrete : SPALL
62. Opa-___, Fla. : LOCKA
64. Early Mexican : OLMEC
66. Headed up : LED
67. The bartender poured beers for all the action movie stars, including ___ : SYLVESTERSTALLONE
71. I.M. sent to a construction site? : PEI
73. Co-founder of the Black Panthers : SEALE
74. "Star Trek" crew member : UHURA
75. Bedouin : NOMAD
78. ___ Lee, singer with the 2011 #1 album "Mission Bell" : AMOS
80. "And giving ___, up the chimney he rose" : ANOD
81. French bloom : LIS
82. Complete : ENTIRE
83. SAT needs : PENCILS
85. The members of the Metropolitan Opera were hit with a host of problems, including ___ : BEVERLYSILLS
88. Cause for an insurer's denial, maybe : ARSON
89. It's east of S.A. : AFR
91. Schwarzenegger, informally : ARNIE
92. "Enough, I get it!" : OKOK
93. Prior listings? : RAPSHEET
97. C. S. Lewis's lion : ASLAN
99. At Thanksgiving the Indians were impressed with the Pilgrims and their earth-toned platters, especially ___ : MYLESSTANDISH
104. Quarry, e.g. : PIT
105. Hundred Acre Wood denizen : ROO
108. Backdrop for many Bond films : COLDWAR
109. More recent : LATTER
111. Wows : FLOORS
113. Market initials in a red oval : IGA
114. Justice Kagan : ELENA
116. While trading barbs during the filming of "M*A*S*H," no one was able to match ___ : LORETTASWIT
118. Game of logic : NIM
119. With full force : AMAIN
120. Form a secret union? : ELOPE
121. Battier of the N.B.A. : SHANE
122. Cookie-selling org. : GSA
123. Showed some disapproval : TSKED
124. Like a neutron star : DENSE
125. Radioer's "T" : TANGO
Down
1. Eisenberg of "The Social Network" : JESSE
2. Ladybug's prey : APHID
3. Gets a head? : FOAMS
4. "-phobia" start : ACRO
5. Title woman in a Beach Boys hit : RHONDA
6. Meditation sounds : OMS
7. Back muscles, briefly : LATS
8. "___ Mio" : OSOLE
9. Went long : RANON
10. Painters Rivera and Velázquez : DIEGOS
11. Expects : PLANSON
12. Children's author Asquith : ROS
13. 1994 film based on an "S.N.L." skit : ITSPAT
14. Provoke : STIRUP
15. Challenge for a playboy : MONOGAMY
16. "Carmen" composer : BIZET
17. "Better safe than sorry," e.g. : ADAGE
18. Al Kaline, for his entire career : TIGER
24. Best at an inspection, say : NEATEST
29. Pale : ASHEN
31. Do some farmwork : THRESH
34. World leader in 1979 headlines : SHAH
36. Record : LOG
37. What toasters often hold : BUBBLY
38. Work night for Santa : EVE
40. Pulls back : EBBS
41. It's found in cakes : SOAP
42. Scrapes : ABRASIONS
44. Put up : ERECTED
45. Cig : SMOKE
48. Half of half-and-half : WHOLEMILK
49. Run easily : LOPE
50. Ran : SPED
52. Cheerleaders' practice : YELLS
53. Generally : ASARULE
54. Original name of Motown Records : TAMLA
55. Hershiser who once pitched 59 consecutive scoreless innings : OREL
58. High-minded sort? : POTUSER
59. Old orchard spray : ALAR
62. Is biased : LEANS
63. City in Los Lobos? : OSLO
65. Steers, as a ship : CONNS
68. Osso buco need : VEAL
69. Hindu deity : SHIVA
70. Idea : NOTION
71. ___ John's : PAPA
72. Part of FEMA: Abbr. : EMER
76. Woody offshoot? : ARLO
77. News station : DESK
79. Like sports games and musical works : SCORED
82. Bit of cosmetic surgery : EYELIFT
84. Really bothered : INASWEAT
85. Dutch treaty city : BREDA
86. Cell component, for short : RNA
87. Have trouble with sass? : LISP
89. ___ moment : AHA
90. Marshy region : FENLAND
94. Source of the quote in 6-Across : PSALMS
95. Run out of gear? : STREAK
96. Like nobles : TITLED
98. "Finally!" : ATLAST
99. Hosting, informally : MCING
100. Some meditation teachers : YOGIS
101. Cousin of a camel : LLAMA
102. Nicked : STOLE
103. Long-legged fisher : HERON
105. Martin's partner of old TV : ROWAN
106. Gasket variety : ORING
107. Bone: Prefix : OSTEO
110. Gym count : REPS
112. Workplace welfare org. : OSHA
115. Never, in Neuss : NIE
117. Tick (off) : TEE

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 7 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?