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, Thursday, January 2, 2020

Author:
Ed Sessa
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
419/10/20071/2/20200
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
41078552
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63361
Edward Sessa

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 35 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 41 for Mr. Sessa. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Edward Sessa notes:
Working with short theme entries, I tried to have as many as possible, but eight plus a revealer did make for compromises on the fill, ... read more

Working with short theme entries, I tried to have as many as possible, but eight plus a revealer did make for compromises on the fill, with a fair number of three-letter entries. The NW had to be changed to eliminate NARCISSI, and the only replacement was AIR SINAI.

Nyctophobia is one of many words used to describe the fear of darkness. This one comes from the Greek word for "night," thus "fear of the night."

I was happy to be able to introduce the entry DARK N STORMY, a nice concoction of dark rum, ginger beer, and a slice of lime.

I'm glad that Will chose to reference the revealer to Darth Vader and the "Star Wars" mythology. The puzzle begins with FEAR and ends with THE DARK SIDE, bringing to mind a quote from Yoda "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." Segue to the words of FDR, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," and we have a lesson for our time.

Jeff Chen notes:
Who's afraid of the DARK? Not Ed! We've written in the key words (see grid below), which hopefully makes the concept clear. I've seen ... read more

Who's afraid of the DARK? Not Ed! We've written in the key words (see grid below), which hopefully makes the concept clear. I've seen a bunch of "black squares mean BLACK or DARK" themes, but I liked how the revealer made this one distinct. THE DARK SIDE calls to this uber-nerd, and it describes the concept perfectly.

We wrote in the four DARKs below because I had a hard time picturing where they were. Was the problem that a couple of movies I either didn't know or had forgotten ("Wait Until Dark" and the unfortunate "Darkman")? Or was it the awkwardness of BE IN THE DARK? Or NSTORMY as the only partial-looking theme entry? Whatever the case, I kept on losing track of the four special squares.

For this theme type, I like it best when those special squares stand out more. The best way is to make them the only squares that are by themselves (like the one between SPCA and STOPGAPS), but that does create filling challenges.

Making all the themer pairs span the entire grid helps make them stand out, but there's a tiny NIT to pick, that NIT isn't part of the theme.

I wondered if it would have been better to use only three sets of themers, which would have allowed for a cleaner puzzle. However, in the end, I decided I liked Ed's decision, which gave the puzzle a (dark) meatier feel. A couple of ORNO ARIE UAR blips were worth it. Along with some JOHN DOE STOPGAPS AIR SINAI bonuses, it's a reasonable set of trade-offs.

A couple of more recognizable entries like A SHOT IN THE DARK, DARK MEAT, WENT DARK, would have helped sharpen the solving experience. Overall though, the apt revealer helped pull everything together.

1
S
2
E
3
A
4
L
5
S
6
C
7
O
8
N
9
E
10
S
11
L
12
E
13
T
14
P
L
I
E
15
E
F
F
E
C
T
16
A
L
E
17
A
F
R
A
18
I
D
O
F
T
H
E
19
M
A
N
20
S
P
C
A
21
S
T
O
P
22
G
A
P
S
23
W
24
A
I
T
U
N
25
T
I
L
26
H
O
R
S
E
27
O
R
N
O
28
I
T
E
29
M
30
P
R
E
S
31
M
I
A
32
A
33
C
M
E
34
U
35
A
R
36
B
E
I
37
N
T
H
E
38
N
S
T
O
39
R
40
M
41
Y
42
A
V
E
43
J
A
K
E
44
E
E
O
45
C
46
A
47
S
K
48
Z
49
I
O
N
50
A
G
A
R
51
A
F
T
E
52
R
53
C
H
O
54
C
55
O
L
A
T
E
56
T
R
A
D
E
57
S
I
N
58
U
R
A
L
59
N
I
T
60
T
H
E
D
61
A
R
K
S
I
62
D
63
E
64
A
C
E
65
R
E
S
O
R
B
66
K
N
E
W
67
P
A
N
68
O
A
T
E
R
S
69
A
G
E
E
© 2020, The New York TimesNo. 0102 ( 25,622 )
Across
1
Sight on a dollar bill : SEAL
5
Offerings at many coffeehouses : SCONES
11
Rent : LET
14
Ballet movement : PLIE
15
Result : EFFECT
16
"For a quart of ___ is a dish for a king": Shak. : ALE
17
Nyctophobic : AFRAIDOFTHEDARK
19
1990 Sam Raimi superhero film : DARKMAN
20
Zoophilist's org. : SPCA
21
Impermanent fixes : STOPGAPS
23
1967 thriller for which Audrey Hepburn received an Oscar nomination : WAITUNTILDARK
26
Surprise winner : DARKHORSE
27
"A simple yes ___ will suffice" : ORNO
28
Unit in a shopping cart : ITEM
30
R.M.N. or L.B.J. : PRES
31
Battle stat : MIA
32
Crowning point : ACME
34
Former Mideast alliance, for short : UAR
36
Not know something others know : BEINTHEDARK
38
Cocktail made with ginger beer : DARKNSTORMY
42
Independence in Washington, e.g.: Abbr. : AVE
43
A-O.K. : JAKE
44
Fair-hiring inits. : EEO
45
Container in a tasting room : CASK
48
National park through which the Virgin River runs : ZION
50
Bio lab medium : AGAR
51
Post-sunset : AFTERDARK
53
Sweet that lacks milk : DARKCHOCOLATE
56
Uses as partial payment : TRADESIN
58
Territory east of Ukraine on a Risk board : URAL
59
Little peeve : NIT
60
Where Darth Vader gets his strength ... or what eight answers in this puzzle share : THEDARKSIDE
64
Top gun : ACE
65
Suck in again, scientifically : RESORB
66
Didn't doubt a bit : KNEW
67
Prospector's accessory : PAN
68
Many John Wayne films, informally : OATERS
69
"The Night of the Hunter" screenwriter James : AGEE
Down
1
Eponymous Belgian town : SPA
2
Famously nonunionized worker : ELF
3
Tel Aviv-to-Cairo carrier : AIRSINAI
4
Reach quickly, as a conclusion : LEAPTO
5
Wheels for four : SEDAN
6
Cash flow tracker, for short : CFO
7
Like much freelance work : OFFSITE
8
Stinging plant : NETTLE
9
Unoriginal voice : ECHO
10
N.B.A. All-Star Curry : STEPH
11
Hedy of old Hollywood : LAMARR
12
Pass : ELAPSE
13
Gets ready for a punch, say : TENSES
18
Critical hosp. area : ICU
22
Lose amateur status : GOPRO
23
Baby's first home : WOMB
24
Grammy winner India.___ : ARIE
25
"Nature's great healer," per Seneca : TIME
29
Perfume ingredient : MUSK
32
Transport to remote areas, briefly : ATV
33
Bistro sign word : CHEZ
35
Ended a fast : ATE
37
Plain for all to see : NAKED
38
Erstwhile iPod type : NANO
39
Entertaining lavishly : REGALING
40
Spam, for one : MEAT
41
Old days : YORE
43
Guy in a suit : JOHNDOE
45
Little shut-eye : CATNAP
46
"I bless the rains down in ___" (lyric from a 1983 #1 hit) : AFRICA
47
College of ___ Island (CUNY school) : STATEN
49
Most bone-chilling : ICIEST
50
#49 : ALASKA
52
Once more in vogue : RETRO
54
Checks : CURBS
55
Planet of 1970s-'80s TV : ORK
57
Kind of butter used in cosmetics : SHEA
61
Train schedule abbr. : ARR
62
Poor mark : DEE
63
Animal that sounds like you? : EWE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?