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New York Times, Thursday, October 1, 2015

Author:
John Guzzetta
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2110/9/20122/8/20195
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1322463
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63100
John Guzzetta

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Guzzetta. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Guzzetta notes:
This is one of the earliest puzzles I submitted, when I was trying to put twists on rebuses. I hope solvers will enjoy the theme. It ... read more

This is one of the earliest puzzles I submitted, when I was trying to put twists on rebuses. I hope solvers will enjoy the theme. It might be a tad easy, which may explain why Mr. Shortz toughened up most of the clues in the upper half. As a Florida resident, I can only wish for the temperature change hinted at in the ladder. Our seasons are pretty much summer, summer, SUMMER, and summer. Then again, being able to go snorkeling and play ultimate on the beach in January has its own charms!

FWIW, when I first started submitting puzzles, I received two rejection letters which said, in effect, ‘Nice idea, but we are about to run this same theme.' I got into the bad habit of rushing to pop a puzzle into the mailbox five seconds after finishing the fill, to get a jump on the imaginary competition. I've learned to let puzzles cool off for at least a couple of weeks.

Upon a fresh solve of my own puzzle, I usually find many areas for improvement (and, of course, a couple of entries I wish I could improve, but just have to live with). This was perfectly illustrated when, a couple of months ago, I stumbled on the printout of this puzzle at the bottom of a stack, and realized I could do a better job. Actually, I think I gagged. The second row, for example, consisted of ULNAE, ALAE, and CAEN. I managed to decrease the word count by two, work in snazzier long downs, and improve the overall fill. It's not perfect, but it's better.

I must be a glutton for punishment, because this is my third Thursday in which I've used bendy or intersecting themers, which don't allow a great deal of flexibility. I'm thankful for Will and Joel giving me the opportunity to improve.

Jeff Chen notes:
Now here's something I haven't seen before: a word ladder incorporated into rebus squares, WARM changing to COLD one letter at a time. ... read more

Now here's something I haven't seen before: a word ladder incorporated into rebus squares, WARM changing to COLD one letter at a time. I liked John's layout, the WARM WORM WORD CORD COLD progression flowing (sort of) along the diagonal. Sort of like a titration curve, with its inflexion points.

The "Aberdeen Bestiary"

A lot of nice long fill. SCREEN SHOT and BESTIARIES = excellent use of the longest two slots. BESTIARIES reminds me of my old D&D days. Nerds of the world, ride our gryphons to world domination!

Nice selection of theme entries, too. PASSWORD HINT has a modern feel, and FOR THE RECORD and WARM BODY are great. WORMS EYE VIEW … I glossed over the clue and put in the only thing that seemed possible: BIRDS EYE VIEW. Given how many tricky ways people are rebusizing the crossworld these days, I figured this was some sort of BIRD gets the WORM rebus — maybe a BIRD to WORM word ladder?

Guh.

Now I appreciate WORMS EYE VIEW as a fun and interesting answer, but boy oh boy it didn't sit well with me when I was struggling to figure out the BIRD to WORM word ladder.

I liked John's care in short fill. For so much strong material packed in today, a bit of TSOS, TAY, I SAW is darn good. TSOS is minor, and I SAW is actually perfectly fine to me, as it can be clued relative to Caesar's famous boast.

AZOTH is an outlier, but it gets a neat clue related to alchemy. I like it.

I might have liked all the four-letter rebuses to be hidden better, as with FOR THE RE(CORD), since those are harder to uncover and thus a little more fun for me. And I bet solving on paper would have been a better experience — in Across Lite, it's hard to see rebus entries, since they show up truncated as "WA." and "WO." I know the technology is old and limited, but it sure makes for a less than satisfying solve sometimes.

Especially when you're trying to figure out how to change a BIRD to a WORM and you can only see the first two letters of each rung.

*headdesk*

1
WARM
2
B
3
O
4
D
5
Y
6
E
7
T
8
S
9
L
10
I
11
D
12
U
L
T
R
A
13
A
R
C
14
H
15
M
I
N
I
16
P
A
T
E
S
17
R
A
R
E
18
A
M
F
M
19
M
O
D
S
20
WORM
S
E
Y
21
E
V
I
E
W
22
B
E
D
D
E
23
D
24
K
E
Y
S
25
T
R
I
26
M
O
I
27
R
E
28
B
29
N
A
S
30
C
E
N
T
31
I
N
X
32
S
33
M
E
34
S
S
35
E
U
R
O
S
36
P
37
A
S
S
WORD
H
38
I
N
T
39
A
40
R
41
N
A
Z
42
T
S
O
S
43
E
44
M
45
I
46
R
47
N
A
I
R
O
48
B
I
49
T
A
50
P
51
I
C
U
52
T
N
T
53
T
E
A
54
R
55
W
A
56
P
N
E
R
57
F
O
R
58
T
H
E
R
E
59
CORD
60
R
A
U
L
61
A
V
I
A
62
C
I
T
I
63
I
D
T
A
64
G
65
R
E
L
Y
66
H
E
R
A
67
A
M
I
N
O
68
M
R
E
69
S
O
L
70
H
E
A
D
COLD
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1001 ( 24,068 )
Across
1
Any old person, so to speak : WARMBODY
6
French connections : ETS
9
Top : LID
12
Super- : ULTRA
13
Mischievous : ARCH
15
Cooper preceder : MINI
16
Party spreads : PATES
17
Like triple plays : RARE
18
Radio button : AMFM
19
Chat room overseers, for short : MODS
20
Low camera perspective : WORMSEYEVIEW
22
Slept with : BEDDED
24
Command and control : KEYS
25
Part of 52-Across : TRI
26
"Surely not me?" : MOI
27
Yank's opposite : REB
29
Budding : NASCENT
31
Band with the 1988 #1 hit "Need You Tonight" : INXS
33
Eyesore : MESS
35
Currency that features architecture, not portraiture : EUROS
36
"Birthday" or "mother's maiden name," e.g. : PASSWORDHINT
39
Bandleader who became a 1950s sitcom star : ARNAZ
42
General ___ chicken : TSOS
43
Desert royal : EMIR
47
Capital in sight of Kilimanjaro : NAIROBI
49
Percussive dance : TAP
51
Post-surgery place : ICU
52
Buster of rock : TNT
53
Mad rush : TEAR
55
Judge of 1980s-'90s TV : WAPNER
57
"Officially ..." : FORTHERECORD
60
Leader Castro : RAUL
61
Athletic shoe brand : AVIA
62
___ Field : CITI
63
What an endangered animal may get : IDTAG
65
Depend : RELY
66
Goddess in a chariot drawn by peacocks : HERA
67
___ acid : AMINO
68
Field ration, for short : MRE
69
Fifth on an eight-part scale : SOL
70
Cause of a stuffed-up nose : HEADCOLD
Down
1
Get ready to play : WARMUP
2
Make the scapegoat for : BLAMEON
3
German Expressionist who was blacklisted by the Nazis : OTTODIX
4
Title judge of a 1995 sci-fi film : DREDD
5
The P.L.O.'s Arafat : YASSER
6
You can't stop humming it : EARWORM
7
"East of Eden" family name : TRASK
8
What a tech specialist might ask you to send : SCREENSHOT
9
Constraint : LIMITER
10
Conflagration : INFERNO
11
Dunces : DIMWITS
14
2003 OutKast hit that was #1 for nine weeks : HEYYA
15
Dallas player, for short : MAV
21
German steel center : ESSEN
22
Fat meas. : BMI
23
Blue state majority, for short : DEMS
28
Books that may depict dragons, unicorns and griffins : BESTIARIES
30
Reply to a bit of cleverness : CUTE
32
Ship's pole : SPAR
34
Renaissance fair props : SWORDS
37
Mercury, in alchemy : AZOTH
38
"___ the light!" : ISAW
39
Provider of underground entertainment? : ANTFARM
40
Trampled : RANOVER
41
Latex-like glove material : NITRILE
44
Detail : MINUTIA
45
Smallest NATO member by population : ICELAND
46
Sci-fi play of 1921 : RUR
48
Tree with burs : BEECH
50
Outcast : PARIAH
54
Hip again : RETRO
56
"Star Wars" queen : PADME
58
Scotland's Firth of ___ : TAY
59
After-dinner drink : CORDIAL
64
Peter out, as a trail : GOCOLD

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?