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.

PERSONAL STATEMENTS

New York Times, Sunday, January 11, 2015

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1095/2/20069/14/201912
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
612253614106
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.565313
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: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 7 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?