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

New York Times, Monday, October 21, 2013

Author: Gary Cee
Editor: Will Shortz
Gary Cee
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
335/28/20094/24/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1988421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56011

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: none – this is a pangram This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. Cee. 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!

Gary Cee notes: I heard the phrase BREAKOUT STAR on TV and wondered if there had ever been a crossword based on two-word phrases beginning with a ... more
Gary Cee notes: I heard the phrase BREAKOUT STAR on TV and wondered if there had ever been a crossword based on two-word phrases beginning with a synonym for "flee." Quick research said no. ESCAPE CLAUSE then came to mind, also 12 letters. Bingo. I'm a Grisham fan, so RUNAWAY JURY had to be in this puzzle, and TAKE-OFF RAMP naturally countered it. So there's a cool theme. To the grid I went with hopes of a making this one a very accessible Monday offering (Will has told me that the Monday happy stack is the shortest of the bunch).

It's a good idea to begin in the center then fill the grid just as a drummer tunes a snare, starting with the corner with the trickiest theme letters, then advancing to its polar opposite. When the ESQ-QUAFF fit nicely, I decided to go for the pangram, which I usually don't give a hoot about, but I already had J, K and W taken care of in the theme so why not? Now for some fresh fill. POGO STICK, TOUCH UPON (which I actually added in a second take after Will requested a change in the SW corner), VARIOUS and the tasty FUMET (which I may have heard once on the Food Channel) have never appeared in a Shortz-era NYT puzzle so in they went. My apologies about ERY. Finally, CATTY is a strong 1A, a lively word, but not my all-time favorite. That would be CHIAROSCURO.

Will Shortz notes: A simple theme with a solid construction — a bread-and-butter Monday puzzle. Among the nontheme entries, I especially like ... more
Will Shortz notes: A simple theme with a solid construction — a bread-and-butter Monday puzzle. Among the nontheme entries, I especially like BAND-AID, QUAFF, I DUNNO, and POGO STICK. FUMET (66A) was new to me, but all the crossings are good.
Jeff Chen notes: Fun offering to start the week. Standard type of theme, where the first word of each phrase is synonymous. To Gary's credit, I didn't ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Fun offering to start the week. Standard type of theme, where the first word of each phrase is synonymous. To Gary's credit, I didn't notice the puzzle was a pangram until I analyzed it in our database. That's a testament to the smoothness of his work, because often times if the fill feels forced or iffy, it's because a constructor has stretched to incorporate the last letter he/she is missing. I don't support making pangrams for their own sake, but I fully endorse anything that enhances the solving experience. Often times, adding Scrabbly letters (JQXZ and perhaps KV) can do just that.

FUMET might generate a little controversy. I generally like learning something new from a crossword, and all the crosses to FUMET are certainly fair. But in my opinion, it felt out of place for a Monday. I realize I have a different philosophy than Will (and probably many others), mine being that I want Monday xws to be both interesting to current solvers but also something a novice could get hooked on. It doesn't take much to turn someone off to a new hobby, and hitting DICTA, AGLET and FUMET in one day feels like it might turn a novice away from future solves. We'll have to agree to disagree on this one, methinks.

Regarding the theme, it's a fine Monday idea. Straightforward, easy to cotton to, perfect for a beginner. I don't know if it's possible, but as I was solving I was hoping to see a Shawkshank Redemption story emerge, something like a HOLE then a BREAKOUT then an ESCAPE and finally FREEDOM. Probably too much to ask, and incorporating this might have made it too opaque. But a guy can dream.

Finally, nice long fill today. POGO STICK, BAND AID, and TOUCH UPON are strong entries, plus Gary delves into the six-letter fill to give us I DUNNO, CHOKER, and YAWNER. It's often difficult to incorporate strong six-letter fill, so kudos to Gary for being deliberate about adding these types of entries to enhance the solving experience. Overall, a solid offering.

1
C
2
A
3
T
4
T
5
Y
6
D
7
R
8
I
9
V
10
E
11
P
12
A
13
P
14
O
M
A
H
A
15
R
A
D
A
R
16
O
N
E
17
R
U
N
A
W
18
A
Y
J
U
R
Y
19
G
E
E
20
A
S
K
I
N
G
21
A
N
I
22
D
O
W
N
23
L
E
S
24
E
L
25
F
26
N
O
27
S
E
S
28
B
R
E
A
29
K
O
U
T
S
T
30
A
31
R
32
S
33
E
34
T
A
35
T
I
N
36
S
U
P
I
N
E
37
A
X
O
N
38
S
39
L
E
40
A
41
D
I
C
T
A
42
F
E
U
D
E
43
D
44
E
S
45
Q
46
S
K
I
D
47
E
S
C
A
P
E
48
C
L
A
U
49
S
E
50
H
I
T
C
H
51
P
A
T
52
S
53
H
54
E
55
L
56
A
U
D
57
L
O
58
G
59
F
A
60
T
H
O
M
61
A
L
P
62
T
A
K
E
63
O
F
F
R
A
M
P
64
Z
O
O
65
A
R
E
N
A
66
F
U
M
E
T
67
Y
E
N
68
B
E
R
E
T
69
S
E
E
D
Y
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1021 ( 23,358 )
Across Down
1. Slyly spiteful : CATTY
6. The "D" of PRNDL : DRIVE
11. Easy-to-chew food : PAP
14. Mutual of ___ (insurance giant) : OMAHA
15. Aid in detecting speeders : RADAR
16. ___ Direction (boy band) : ONE
17. John Cusack thriller based on a Grisham novel : RUNAWAYJURY
19. "Golly!" : GEE
20. Inviting : ASKING
21. "Gimme ___!" (start of an Iowa cheer) : ANI
22. Southward : DOWN
23. "___ Misérables" : LES
24. Santa's little helper : ELF
26. Snouts : NOSES
28. Newly famous celebrity : BREAKOUTSTAR
32. ___ date (make some plans) : SETA
35. Tuna container : TIN
36. Lying on one's back : SUPINE
37. Conductors of impulses from nerve cells : AXONS
39. Grazing area : LEA
41. Judicial statements : DICTA
42. Fought like the Hatfields and McCoys : FEUDED
44. Abbr. after a lawyer's name : ESQ
46. Lose traction : SKID
47. Stipulation that frees one of liability : ESCAPECLAUSE
50. Minor difficulty : HITCH
51. Bit of butter : PAT
52. "He said, ___ said" : SHE
55. Praise : LAUD
57. Nautical record : LOG
59. Nautical unit of measure : FATHOM
61. Swiss peak : ALP
62. Part of a ski jump just before going airborne : TAKEOFFRAMP
64. Bronx ___ : ZOO
65. Pop concert venue : ARENA
66. Strong, seasoned stock, in cookery : FUMET
67. Japanese money : YEN
68. Military cap : BERET
69. Run-down, as a bar : SEEDY
1. Atoll composition : CORAL
2. Tell jokes, say : AMUSE
3. Oxygen suppliers for scuba divers : TANKS
4. Spicy Southeast Asian cuisine : THAI
5. Show that's bo-o-oring : YAWNER
6. Unmoist : DRY
7. Indian nobleman : RAJA
8. "Can't say" : IDUNNO
9. Sundry : VARIOUS
10. Suffix with crock or mock : ERY
11. Toy that hops : POGOSTICK
12. All over again : ANEW
13. Ball-___ hammer : PEEN
18. Shoelace end : AGLET
22. Hate, hate, hate : DESPISE
25. "Words ___ me!" : FAIL
27. Macho sort : STUD
28. Quick but temporary fix : BANDAID
29. Prepare for prayer : KNEEL
30. Voting against : ANTI
31. What library patrons do : READ
32. How the cautious play it : SAFE
33. Mates who've split : EXES
34. Mention in passing : TOUCHUPON
38. Aug. follower : SEPT
40. Inits. on a rush order : ASAP
43. State openly, as for a customs official : DECLARE
45. Drink, as of ale : QUAFF
48. Tight necklace : CHOKER
49. Fills with personnel : STAFFS
52. Disgrace : SHAME
53. ___ in on (got closer to) : HOMED
54. "E" on a gas gauge : EMPTY
55. Indolent : LAZY
56. ___ vera : ALOE
58. Trait transmitter : GENE
60. Factual : TRUE
62. File extension? : TAB
63. Grain in Cheerios : OAT

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?