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

New York Times, Thursday, October 19, 2017

Author:
Ned White
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
221/16/20106/27/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1105258
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59010
Ned White

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. White. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ned White notes:
An earlier version of this puzzle went over the word limit, so was essentially DOA with the Times. It also crammed far too much theme ... read more

An earlier version of this puzzle went over the word limit, so was essentially DOA with the Times. It also crammed far too much theme material into the grid, forcing some pretty ugly fill in places. In short, it was a bucket of bolts. Solution? Rethink it, keep the same theme idea, but scale back on the theme material and keep things as clean as possible.

The main challenge, of course, was stacking good theme answers — and the central HEAD OVER HEELS revealer provided extra challenge since it doubled as a pair of theme entries in its own right, and needed its own set of accompanying head and heel. DIRTY RAT dovetailed nicely, but I struggled with 36-Across until I kept digging and chanced upon BIG WHEEL.

62-Across was originally POTOK, and I loved the curiosity that both author Potok and 47-Across actor TOPOL shared the same first name — CHAIM. But it forced some unwieldy and convoluted cluing, so I'm glad Will and company changed Potok to NOT OK, which was very OK to me. Another one: 31-Across was RUMI in my version (a debut), with MIR at 32-Down, but I noted to Will they could choose RUDI and the abbreviation DIR if they wanted. And they did. But RUMI, an oft-quoted 13th-century Sufi mystic (and a favorite of my wife), has to be acceptable in future puzzles. You think?

Jeff Chen notes:
Three literal HEADs OVER HEELS. Fun finds, NUMERO UNO, BIG WHEEL, TOP BANANA all snazzy synonyms for HEAD, and SCOUNDREL, DIRTY RAT, ... read more

Three literal HEADs OVER HEELS. Fun finds, NUMERO UNO, BIG WHEEL, TOP BANANA all snazzy synonyms for HEAD, and SCOUNDREL, DIRTY RAT, and NOGOODNIK juicy equivalents for HEEL. I'd happily use any of those six as fill in another crossword!

It's a shame the NYT hasn't caught the Wall Street Journal's meta contest madness. This would have made for a nice one: "What phrase is hinted at three times within this puzzle?" As much as I liked HEAD OVER HEELS in the center of the puzzle, it did make for a very easy Thursday solve. Would have been a neat a-ha moment, staring at the grid, wondering, wondering, wondering ... and then finally, ba-bam! HEAD OVER HEELS! Love those great moments of discovery.

Seven long themers? In one 15x15 puzzle? Man oh man, that's usually asking for serious trouble. And stacked pairs of answers as well? Along with three themers slammed up against each other in the center? Zoinks! I'd usually not even consider trying something like this.

Not a surprise to get so much crossword glue needed to hold everything together. I stopped keeping track after EUR, DIR, OLA, MTNS, STA, but then couldn't stop my OCD constructor's brain from pointing out OTYPE ("type O," yeah?), ETAT, IND, TOD, TSR, aaugh, stop it, you stupid brain and just enjoy the puzzle!

Luckily, that same annoying brain pointed out the fact that the slew of crossword glue was almost a necessary result if seven themers were to be used. And for the most part, I thought it was a reasonable trade-off, considering the fun pairs along with the revealer. The only part I didn't like much was that BIG WHEEL wasn't over DIRTY RAT like the others. But you'd need an off-size grid (maybe 16x15) to put that pair in the center (and you'd have to move HEAD OVER HEELS somewhere else — another reason to make it a meta puzzle!).

Overall, I thought it was a neat concept, even with the necessary flaws. I would have given it POW! consideration if it had been cleaner — maybe two pairs of longer answers and two pairs of shorter ones? — or if I'd had to work for my Thursday a-ha moment more.

ADDED NOTE: Astute reader Brian Greer pointed out that BIG WHEEL is over HEEL, and HEAD is over DIRTY RAT. Nice catch! It doesn't follow the same pattern of the other pairs, but it's pretty cool.

1
O
2
N
3
E
4
R
5
B
6
I
7
S
8
S
9
A
10
S
11
H
12
A
13
N
U
M
14
E
15
R
O
U
N
O
16
P
U
P
I
L
17
S
C
O
U
N
D
R
E
L
18
O
T
Y
P
E
19
E
L
T
R
A
I
N
20
E
21
F
R
O
N
22
T
E
E
23
N
E
24
T
25
R
E
S
O
26
R
27
T
28
S
I
D
29
E
30
B
31
R
U
32
D
I
33
V
U
E
34
T
O
35
D
36
B
I
G
37
W
38
H
E
E
L
39
H
40
E
A
D
O
41
V
E
R
H
E
E
L
S
42
D
I
R
T
Y
R
A
T
43
T
S
R
44
S
Y
D
45
E
N
O
46
S
47
T
O
48
P
49
O
50
L
51
T
A
O
52
I
53
S
M
54
P
T
55
A
56
A
P
U
57
C
H
A
I
58
M
59
O
B
60
L
61
I
G
E
S
62
N
63
O
T
O
K
64
T
65
O
P
B
A
N
A
N
A
66
E
L
O
P
E
67
N
O
G
O
O
D
N
I
K
68
W
A
R
E
S
69
S
H
O
T
70
S
T
A
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1019 ( 24,817 )
Across
1. First in an infinite line : ONE
4. They're usually not credited after errors, for short : RBIS
8. One of the Obamas : SASHA
13. *Honcho : NUMEROUNO
16. It grows in the dark : PUPIL
17. *Louse : SCOUNDREL
18. Common blood group : OTYPE
19. Loop sight : ELTRAIN
20. Zac of "Neighbors" : EFRON
22. Sports item often carried in a pocket : TEE
23. Lepidopterist's need : NET
25. Tahoe or Taos, e.g. : RESORT
28. "Rock Around the Clock," originally : SIDEB
31. Designer Gernreich who invented the monokini : RUDI
33. French scene : VUE
34. Fox in "The Fox and the Hound" : TOD
36. *Honcho : BIGWHEEL
39. **One way to fall in love ... or a hint to the answers to the starred clues : HEADOVERHEELS
42. *Louse : DIRTYRAT
43. Co. that launched Dungeons & Dragons : TSR
44. Hip-hop's ___ tha Kyd : SYD
45. 1961 Project Mercury chimp : ENOS
47. See 57-Across : TOPOL
51. Eastern philosophy : TAOISM
54. Sch. backer : PTA
56. Kwik-E-Mart clerk : APU
57. With 47-Across, "Fiddler on the Roof" star : CHAIM
59. Makes morally bound : OBLIGES
62. Proscribed : NOTOK
64. *Honcho : TOPBANANA
66. Split to join : ELOPE
67. *Louse : NOGOODNIK
68. Things for sale : WARES
69. Kablooey : SHOT
70. Place with a platform: Abbr. : STA
Down
1. Starts : ONSETS
2. Atomic centers : NUCLEI
3. Chewed the scenery : EMOTED
4. Philadelphia's ___ Museum (art institution) : RODIN
5. Its home is on the range : BURNER
6. Suffix with elephant : INE
7. Lone : SOLE
8. One of billions in a puffball : SPORE
9. They're tired : AUTOS
10. John le Carré writing : SPYNOVEL
11. Au courant : HIP
12. Oktoberfest offering : ALE
14. Common Market market: Abbr. : EUR
15. Certain code carrier : RNA
21. Goose bumps cause : FRIGHT
24. Strapless summer wear : TUBETOP
26. French network : RUES
27. Hookup for a tenant: Abbr. : TEL
29. Entité politique française : ETAT
30. Evidence in a murder mystery : BODY
32. N, E, W or S : DIR
35. Moolah : DOREMI
37. Area with the last election results, with "the" : WEST
38. "Somebody who voluntarily walks into the unknown," per Tom Hanks : HERO
39. "Howdy" : HIYA
40. TV role for George Clooney or Noah Wyle : ERDOCTOR
41. Dutch surname starter : VAN
42. It ends in Nov. : DST
46. Like some traffic : STOPGO
48. Stonehenge worshipers, e.g. : PAGANS
49. Birthday party urging : OPENIT
50. Zambia's capital : LUSAKA
52. "Fingers crossed!" : IHOPE
53. "___ alive!" : SAKES
55. Superior's title : ABBOT
58. Range units: Abbr. : MTNS
60. Vietnamese neighbor : LAO
61. Mich. neighbor : IND
62. Unexplored : NEW
63. Greeting in Brazil : OLA
65. Shout at a circus : OOH

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?