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

New York Times, Monday, January 12, 2015

Author: Jason Flinn
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1410/9/20137/21/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0112505
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53030
Jason Flinn

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JKQX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Flinn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jason Flinn notes: I find that a theme idea often has to percolate for a while and undergo many changes before it's good enough to work on. This ... more
Jason Flinn notes:

Bleak House I find that a theme idea often has to percolate for a while and undergo many changes before it's good enough to work on. This puzzle is a great example. The seed came from reading "Bleak House" and encountering the phrase "from pillar to post" (I had to look that one up in the dictionary!).

This started me thinking about a puzzle containing interesting phrases of the form "from x to y" (of which there are certainly a lot). But, after enumerating theme possibilities, the original idea felt too loose and the most interesting entries were just a bit too obscure.

So, the idea sat for a while until I noticed that several of the phrases denoted completeness from some perspective: a much tighter theme possibility! This led to today's grid, with the "from" dropping out due to grid/symmetry constraints. However, in my submission, I clued the theme entries too literally; e.g., CRADLE TO GRAVE was "all, from a lifetime's perspective".

In editing, Will and Joel made another big improvement by introducing more wordplay; e.g., changing the above to "... for a life insurance agent". So, that's a further theme evolution I should have made. They also toned down the difficulty to Monday-level by changing a relatively large percentage of the clues (lesson learned, hopefully).

All in all, I'm happy how this one turned out. I like that it has a pair of long downs (THE SCREAM and PSYCHOTIC) that fit well together despite the need to cross a lot of theme entries. I hope it starts your puzzling week off on the right foot.

Jeff Chen notes: Five 'X to Y' phrases meaning 'everything' or 'complete' or 'comprehensive,' clued from the point of view of different professions. I ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Five "X to Y" phrases meaning "everything" or "complete" or "comprehensive," clued from the point of view of different professions. I liked the colorful phrases, especially the more specific one. STEM TO STERN is lively (arr, mateys!), and SEA TO SHINING SEA appropriately spans the grid. (I can't wait for Talk Like a Pirate Day, apparently.)

So. Tell me about your mother.

Definitely agreed; fun echo on THE SCREAM and PSYCHOTIC. Along with "Bleak House," it'd be interesting to get Jason in a therapy session and see what's going on.

I like how the glue is spread around, both in location and in type. Most people don't enjoy seeing an ETUI in their crossword, but as long as there's not another thing that's never really used in real life – an OLIO or something – it's passable. And I like that there's one foreign oddity (ORO), an ending (ERN), a partial (AS A), and a not super-common acronym (GSA). So even though there's five gluey bits, the solver (at least this one) isn't really bothered. Sure, I would almost always prefer a squeaky clean, but if you're going to have five sticky bits, I'd rather have a little Elmer's, a bit Krazy Glue, a dab of rubber cement, etc.

One thing I really like here is the cross-referencing of HOMER and APU in a less opaque than usual manner. Often I skip clues that read like [Friend of 62-Across], annoyed that I have to jump around. I usually never go back and see what the referencing was all about. So it was nice to get the word "Squishees" in both clues. I'd still like to see it as [Buyer of Squishees on "The Simpsons"] and [Seller of Squishees on "The Simpsons], but this is a step in the right direction.

All in all, I would have liked a even more consistency/tightness, as all the phrases seemed slightly different to me. I was searching for a word to describe the theme, and the best I could do was to use a combination of terms. Would have been perfect if a single word had jumped out as the unifying factor. Otherwise though, a pretty nice construction job and a fun solve.

1
P
2
I
3
T
4
H
5
O
6
N
7
T
8
I
9
M
10
E
11
A
12
N
13
D
14
S
O
H
O
15
R
A
I
D
E
R
16
L
E
I
17
S
T
E
M
18
T
O
S
T
E
R
N
19
P
G
A
20
T
A
S
E
R
21
H
A
L
22
T
H
E
N
23
C
R
A
24
D
25
L
E
T
O
26
G
R
A
V
E
27
W
28
A
R
29
Y
O
U
30
E
T
U
I
31
A
G
E
32
S
33
G
S
34
A
35
N
A
36
P
37
S
38
S
E
A
T
39
O
S
H
I
40
N
41
I
N
G
S
E
42
A
43
E
M
M
A
44
M
O
M
45
E
Y
E
S
46
A
S
47
A
48
P
49
T
I
50
L
51
C
P
A
52
S
53
T
54
A
R
T
T
O
55
F
I
N
I
56
S
H
57
H
A
Z
Y
58
H
O
E
59
L
E
O
60
N
61
I
62
A
P
U
63
T
O
P
T
64
O
65
B
O
T
T
O
M
66
P
E
R
67
A
M
E
C
H
E
68
T
I
S
H
69
E
R
E
70
R
E
D
H
O
T
71
O
C
H
O
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0112 ( 23,806 )
Across Down
1. Soft plant tissue : PITH
5. Not delayed, as a plane : ONTIME
11. Plus : AND
14. Artsy New York neighborhood : SOHO
15. Oakland footballer : RAIDER
16. Hawaiian souvenir : LEI
17. All, for a ship's captain : STEMTOSTERN
19. Links org. : PGA
20. Gun that delivers a jolt : TASER
21. "2001: A Space Odyssey" villain : HAL
22. Now and ___ : THEN
23. All, for a life insurance agent : CRADLETOGRAVE
27. "This means ___!" : WAR
29. Who is solving this puzzle : YOU
30. Sundries case : ETUI
31. Improves, as wine : AGES
33. Govt. management org. : GSA
35. Brief sleeps : NAPS
38. All, for an anthem writer : SEATOSHININGSEA
43. Jane Austen novel : EMMA
44. ___ and pop : MOM
45. Optometrists' interest : EYES
46. "Quickly!" : ASAP
49. Pop music's ___ Tuesday : TIL
51. Pro who balances books : CPA
52. All, for a race organizer : STARTTOFINISH
57. Like some memories or summer skies : HAZY
58. Tough row to ___ : HOE
59. Actress Téa of "Fun With Dick and Jane" : LEONI
62. Seller of Squishees on "The Simpsons" : APU
63. All, for a house cleaner : TOPTOBOTTOM
66. The "p" of r.p.m. : PER
67. Actor Don of "Cocoon" : AMECHE
68. Mrs. Addams, to Gomez : TISH
69. Prior to, poetically : ERE
70. Super-popular : REDHOT
71. Eight, in Acapulco : OCHO
1. "Hey, buddy!" : PSST
2. Smidgen : IOTA
3. Edvard Munch masterpiece : THESCREAM
4. Buyer of Squishees from 62-Across : HOMER
5. Spanish gold : ORO
6. "Illmatic" rapper : NAS
7. 10% for the church : TITHE
8. Do some brainstorming : IDEATE
9. Varietal red wine : MERLOT
10. Suffix with north or south : ERN
11. Beta preceder : ALPHA
12. Desert of Israel : NEGEV
13. "Jack & ___" (1982 John Cougar hit) : DIANE
18. Airplane seat attachment : TRAY
22. Emergency medical procedure : TRIAGE
24. Franks : DOGS
25. Verdant : LUSH
26. "Peter ___" (1950s-'60s detective show) : GUNN
27. Existed : WAS
28. James who wrote "A Death in the Family" : AGEE
32. Figure in many religious paintings : STMARY
34. Goal : AIM
36. Crazed, in a way : PSYCHOTIC
37. Ooze : SEEP
39. It dries hops : OAST
40. "Don't count on me" : NOTI
41. "You can count on me" : IMIN
42. Naked ___ jaybird : ASA
47. Not away : ATHOME
48. Plumb tuckered out : POOPED
50. Friend of Stitch in the movies : LILO
52. Circle or square : SHAPE
53. Gradually decrease to a point : TAPER
54. Sky-blue : AZURE
55. Command to Fido while throwing a ball : FETCH
56. Dustup : SETTO
60. Between-meal bite : NOSH
61. Disclaimer before some Internet comments : IMHO
63. Roof goo : TAR
64. "Well, look what we have here!" : OHO
65. Wager : BET

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?