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

New York Times, Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Author: John R. O'Brien
Editor: Will Shortz
John R. O'Brien
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
26/4/20121/24/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0110000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59010

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FKQVX} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. O'Brien. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

Support XWord Info

Donation Amount

XWord Info is only possible when people like you choose to support it through donations.

Donate to get access to XWord Info for a year.

Benefits vary by donation level. Thank you!

Jeff Chen notes: Many different constructors have written to me about a HIDDEN GEM idea, but it's usually with hiding the word as in SAGO PALM. ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Many different constructors have written to me about a HIDDEN GEM idea, but it's usually with hiding the word as in SAGO PALM. Interesting to see the different interpretation today, gems spread out through a word or phrase. I really liked PAPER AIRPLANE, as it reminded me of the days I was shuttled off to Chinese school on Friday nights. Not sure what my parents were expecting, but I did learn to make some great PAPER AIRPLANES, spitwads, and other prankish devices. Mischief managed!

Will doesn't often take themes dependent on single words, as they tend not to be as interesting as multi-word phrases. Multi-word phrases also help distinguish "good" crosswords from "crapwords" (that's a technical term) in little local newspapers, as those tend to feel dictionary-generated. I did like JEOPARDIZE and PRESUMABLY, but not nearly as much as PAPER AIRPLANE.

I liked John's NE corner, that beautiful stack of AMYGDALA / POSEIDON (love me some mythology!) / AUTOZONE. I typically would use more black squares in a region like this, because it's so hard to execute on it cleanly and with sparkle. John does need a CYSTS (a bit icky) and LTS, ENE, but I thought it was well worth it.

I thought the opposite corner didn't come out as well. See all those answers that have to work through / next to PAPER AIRPLANE and PRESUMABLY? It's a pretty good triple of PARROTED / ANNE RICE / PEASANTS, but all those constraints force an ORA right in the stack. Then a RECTO and ID EST down below. And there's EMS (admittedly more minor) and the outdated ERES TU. All in all, not bad, but not nearly as strong as the NE corner.

Overall, HIDDEN GEM didn't quite resonate with me as a theme rationale here. The circled letters aren't really hiding anything at all, TOPAZ et al. popping right out. That'll play well with some solvers wanting a more straightforward puzzle, but I like having to work harder to get an a-ha moment at the end of a puzzle. I did appreciate that the large quantity of interesting mid-to-long fill helped keep my attention, though.

1
H
2
O
3
G
4
A
5
C
6
T
7
A
8
S
9
P
10
A
11
P
12
A
13
L
14
O
T
O
15
P
A
I
N
T
16
I
M
O
U
T
17
T
O
L
18
L
P
L
A
Z
A
19
C
Y
S
T
S
20
D
O
D
O
S
21
I
M
22
P
23
G
E
O
24
O
L
E
O
25
J
26
E
O
P
A
27
R
D
I
Z
28
E
29
G
E
N
T
30
E
E
L
31
D
E
A
D
O
N
32
R
E
I
33
D
34
A
L
O
N
E
35
P
36
A
37
P
E
R
A
I
38
R
39
P
L
A
N
E
40
L
A
N
E
S
41
P
O
L
L
42
O
R
N
A
T
43
E
44
L
A
Y
45
A
46
W
47
A
48
Y
49
P
R
E
S
U
M
50
A
51
B
L
Y
52
L
A
C
E
53
O
R
A
54
S
T
L
55
M
A
R
C
O
56
S
T
I
N
57
G
58
H
I
59
D
60
D
E
N
G
E
M
61
R
E
C
T
O
62
O
G
R
E
S
63
O
D
E
64
I
D
E
S
T
65
S
E
E
Y
A
66
D
E
N
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0124 ( 24,549 )
Across Down
1. Harley-Davidson bike, in slang : HOG
4. Assume the role of : ACTAS
9. Like Vatican affairs : PAPAL
14. Plains tribe name : OTO
15. Emulate Picasso or Pollock : PAINT
16. "Too rich for my blood" : IMOUT
17. Place to pay the going rate? : TOLLPLAZA
19. Skin abnormalities : CYSTS
20. Dummies : DODOS
21. Dennis the Menace, for one : IMP
23. Former G.M. compact : GEO
24. Margarine : OLEO
25. Put at risk : JEOPARDIZE
29. Affectedly polite : GENTEEL
31. Exactly right : DEADON
32. Former Nevada senator Harry : REID
34. How Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic : ALONE
35. Something that might be thrown behind a teacher's back : PAPERAIRPLANE
40. Bowling venue : LANES
41. Input for fivethirtyeight.com : POLL
42. Like Baroque architecture : ORNATE
44. Purchase payment plan : LAYAWAY
49. In all probability : PRESUMABLY
52. Add punch to, as the punch : LACE
53. ___ pro nobis : ORA
54. Cardinal's insignia : STL
55. Florida senator Rubio : MARCO
56. "O death, where is thy ___?": I Corinthians : STING
58. Masterpiece waiting to be found ... or a hint to the words in the circled letters : HIDDENGEM
61. Right-hand page of an open book : RECTO
62. People eaters, maybe : OGRES
63. Work of Horace : ODE
64. Namely, in Latin : IDEST
65. "Toodles" : SEEYA
66. Room with an easy chair : DEN
1. "Oh, goody!" : HOTDOG
2. Peter with eight Academy Award nominations (and, sadly, zero wins) : OTOOLE
3. ___ Globes : GOLDEN
4. iPad downloads : APPS
5. "Silent" prez : CAL
6. ___ Maria : TIA
7. W.W. II Allied landing site in Italy : ANZIO
8. Philatelist's buy : STAMP
9. Polaroid, e.g. : PIC
10. Part of the brain believed to control emotion : AMYGDALA
11. Neptune's Greek counterpart : POSEIDON
12. Big name in car parts : AUTOZONE
13. Capts.' inferiors : LTS
18. Booty : LOOT
22. Rocket launch site : PAD
25. Taunt : JEER
26. "On the Waterfront" director Kazan : ELIA
27. "I'm not kidding!" : REALLY
28. Cincinnati-to-Philadelphia dir. : ENE
30. 1974 top 10 foreign-language hit : ERESTU
33. Double-___ recession : DIP
35. Repeated word for word : PARROTED
36. "The Vampire Chronicles" author : ANNERICE
37. The "them" in "Let them eat cake" : PEASANTS
38. Restaurant freebie : ROLL
39. The "thing," to Hamlet : PLAY
40. Cut (off) : LOP
43. Letters on many ambulances : EMS
45. King of comedy : ALAN
46. Mars, for example : WARGOD
47. Give in (to) : ACCEDE
48. Guards at Buckingham Palace : YEOMEN
50. One of the Three Musketeers : ATHOS
51. Singer Mary J. ___ : BLIGE
55. ___ Verde National Park : MESA
56. Guru's title : SRI
57. Tricked but good : GOT
59. "Dr." who co-founded Beats Electronics : DRE
60. Actress Susan : DEY

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?