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, Monday, January 11, 2016

Author:
Howard Barkin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
97/23/201410/6/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2202111
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64100
Howard Barkin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QVZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Barkin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Howard Barkin notes:
This puzzle's 'rocky' theme and its long answers occurred to me after seeing a highway sign warning of falling rocks. The goal here ... read more

This puzzle's "rocky" theme and its long answers occurred to me after seeing a highway sign warning of falling rocks. The goal here was to merely make an accessible, early-week puzzle. As far as fill, ROCK LOBSTER is a musical guilty pleasure; it still brings a smile when I hear it and I was glad to fit it in the grid.

Insider note: the inclusion of ERODED was not in my initial fill (I tried EVADES/EVADED at first). The obvious connection with the theme didn't occur to me until halfway through a later fill attempt. Although I didn't feel a "reveal" was necessary, it's a nice little bonus.

In general, it's tougher than it looks to make a puzzle with clean fill that also avoids semi-obscurity. I'm not as pleased with ELY, ESTER or SADE, but they were fair costs for smoother areas. (LESSOR could have been LESSER for example, but REE just didn't work for me as anything common).

Jeff Chen notes:
Neat progression: a BOULDER, ERODED into a ROCK, to a PEBBLE, finally into DUST. I like this theme type, especially when the concept ... read more

Neat progression: a BOULDER, ERODED into a ROCK, to a PEBBLE, finally into DUST. I like this theme type, especially when the concept isn't readily apparent until you hit the revealer. I appreciated how Howard disguised some of the progression, as BOULDER DAM (the original name for the Hoover Dam) doesn't automatically make you think of a giant boulder, and ROCK LOBSTER (awesome song!) also camouflages what's going on.

ROCK LOBSTER!

It would have been great to do the same with PEBBLE BEACH and DUST JACKET, but there's not really other usages of PEBBLE or DUST. And before I got to those, I had already hit ERODED, so the jig was up anyway.

It's a shame that ERODED wasn't the final across answer. I really liked this concept, but I might have loved it if it had kept the theme opaque all the way until the end. It isn't easy to work with a six-letter revealer in the last across spot, but, I think it would have been possible. Also, it feels inelegant to have ERODED in a random-feeling spot. I suppose a case could be made that it's kind of cool that ERODED intersects two themers, but to me, its placement feels a bit haphazard.

Nice job working in PAPER TRAIL and KNOW BY NAME, two snappy phrases, in the normal long down configuration. It's unusual to have long fill in the across direction, and I like that Howard worked in WINGSPAN and SMACKERS. (FOR A TIME feels more neutral to me, and I could go either way on LONESOME.) Long fill in the across direction can muddy up what's theme and what's not, but here, I like that it helps disguise things!

No surprise that there's some ESE/ETTE, ESTA, ESTER sort of stuff given how much long fill Howard worked in, but it would have been nice to get more variety in types of gluey bits. So many E, S, T letters in there, and two suffixes tend to make them stick out. Given the flexibility in the SE corner, maybe something like ETTA could have been better.

All in all though, a really nice idea that gave me a smile.

1
G
2
I
3
F
4
S
5
E
6
B
7
B
8
E
9
D
10
O
11
P
12
E
13
L
14
O
R
E
O
15
S
A
U
N
A
16
K
A
N
E
17
B
O
U
L
18
D
E
R
D
A
M
19
O
P
T
S
20
I
N
D
I
E
21
S
M
A
22
C
K
E
R
S
23
D
A
24
D
25
S
26
E
T
A
27
R
E
O
28
A
29
S
30
K
31
R
O
C
32
K
L
O
B
33
S
T
E
R
34
W
I
N
35
G
S
P
A
N
36
S
I
R
37
E
C
O
L
38
E
R
I
39
C
40
A
41
F
A
42
I
43
R
44
W
O
45
O
46
F
O
R
47
A
T
I
M
E
48
P
49
E
B
B
L
50
E
51
B
E
A
C
H
52
L
O
X
53
E
L
Y
54
E
R
E
55
T
H
O
56
R
57
L
O
N
58
E
S
O
M
59
E
60
R
A
61
I
62
S
63
E
64
O
P
A
L
65
D
U
S
66
T
67
J
A
C
K
E
T
68
S
E
M
I
69
E
S
T
E
R
70
K
E
N
T
71
I
D
E
S
72
D
E
A
N
S
73
S
A
D
E
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0111 ( 24,170 )
Across
1
Online pics that often move : GIFS
5
Flowed back, as the tide : EBBED
10
European automaker : OPEL
14
Black-and-white cookie : OREO
15
Place to be in the hot seat? : SAUNA
16
See 38-Across : KANE
17
Colorado River landmark dedicated by F.D.R. : BOULDERDAM
19
Elects (to) : OPTS
20
Sundance Film Festival entry : INDIE
21
Bucks : SMACKERS
23
Honorees on the third Sunday in June : DADS
26
Amtrak guess, for short : ETA
27
___ Speedwagon : REO
28
Inquire : ASK
31
Novelty B-52's song with the lyric "Watch out for that piranha" : ROCKLOBSTER
34
Measurement for a bird : WINGSPAN
36
Title for Paul McCartney or Mick Jagger : SIR
37
Environmental sci. : ECOL
38
With 16-Across, Susan Lucci's "All My Children" role : ERICA
41
Carnival : FAIR
44
John who directed "Mission: Impossible II" : WOO
46
Temporarily : FORATIME
48
California locale of several golf U.S. Opens : PEBBLEBEACH
52
Bagel and ___ : LOX
53
Ron who played Tarzan : ELY
54
Prior to, poetically : ERE
55
Hammer-wielding deity : THOR
57
Friendless : LONESOME
60
Lift : RAISE
64
October birthstone : OPAL
65
One covering a big story? : DUSTJACKET
68
Big rig : SEMI
69
Compound found in wine and olive oil : ESTER
70
Clark ___ (Superman's alter ego) : KENT
71
___ of March : IDES
72
Heads of classes? : DEANS
73
"The Sweetest Taboo" singer : SADE
Down
1
Mongolian desert : GOBI
2
Fe, to chemists : IRON
3
Ongoing dispute : FEUD
4
Cube or sphere : SOLID
5
Suffix with Brooklyn or Japan : ESE
6
Tavern : BAR
7
BFFs : BUDS
8
Tooth cover : ENAMEL
9
Former New York senator Alfonse : DAMATO
10
"All right already, I get it!" : OKOK
11
Series of leads for a white-collar crime investigator : PAPERTRAIL
12
Main course : ENTREE
13
Landlord : LESSOR
18
Loved ones : DEARS
22
Uber competitors : CABS
24
Ignoramus : DOPE
25
Reminder of surgery : SCAR
28
Wonderment : AWE
29
[not my mistake] : SIC
30
Be familiar with without having met : KNOWBYNAME
32
Switchblade, e.g. : KNIFE
33
Search (through), as evidence : SIFT
35
Liquidy lump : GLOB
39
Layer of paint : COAT
40
St. Louis ___ (landmark) : ARCH
42
"As I see it," in textspeak : IMO
43
"Oedipus ___" : REX
45
Some World Cup cheers : OLES
47
Now, en español : AHORA
48
Former House speaker Nancy : PELOSI
49
Said "I do" without the to-do : ELOPED
50
Eaten away, like the first words of 17-, 31-, 48- and 65-Across in order? : ERODED
51
Flummox : BEMUSE
56
Oven shelves : RACKS
58
Whitney and Manning : ELIS
59
It is, en español : ESTA
61
Furniture store that also sells Swedish meatballs : IKEA
62
What to click after finishing an email : SEND
63
Suffix with cigar : ETTE
66
Number starting many a countdown : TEN
67
11th graders: Abbr. : JRS

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?