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, Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Author:
Robyn Weintraub
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
253/28/20113/7/20200
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
02320135
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59000
Robyn Weintraub

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 35 Missing: {JQZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 4 for Ms. Weintraub. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Robyn Weintraub notes:
I started 'playing' with this game theme a long time ago. I had SORRY OTHELLO from the very beginning, and would crack myself up ... read more

I started 'playing' with this game theme a long time ago. I had SORRY OTHELLO from the very beginning, and would crack myself up constantly with that one — clearly I don't get out enough. But I couldn't find the right other entries to work with it and had to shelve it for a while. Some possibilities that didn't make it, but had great cluing potential, were CANDYLAND WAR (I decided card games didn't qualify), and RISK PERFECTION. Once I found the giveaway BACK TO BACK GAMES, however, I knew the theme was ready for primetime.

I've always been a huge NEIL SIMON fan. I'm glad he's made it into the Shortz era. I'm sure the CHIPMUNKS are excited to be here too.

Will Shortz notes:

A cute theme idea with all good examples. Games are a fun topic for a crossword anyway.

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun theme today, two games paired together to give us wacky BACK TO BACK GAMES phrases. Each of the three theme phrases works pretty ... read more

Fun theme today, two games paired together to give us wacky BACK TO BACK GAMES phrases. Each of the three theme phrases works pretty well, CLUE MONOPOLY evoking a funny image of Clouseau hoarding his clues, and SORRY OTHELLO sounding a trombone wah-wah-wah-wah sound effect in my head. The revealer works really well, tying everything together with a snappy phrase reinterpreted.

I appreciated the long fill today and wanted to point out a good technique Robyn used. Incorporating long fill is often a difficult matter, given the need to keep a puzzle relatively free of ugly short entries. Sometimes constructors (including myself) will push too hard, trying to incorporate parallel long downs or even triple-stacks of long downs to achieve extra snazziness, with the unfortunate result of junky three and four letter fill. Today, Robyn spreads out her long entries via thoughtful black square placement: note how CHIPMUNKS, SARDINE, and CUTLET/BAKERY are spaced through the width of the puzzle (same goes for NEIL SIMON, GOOD COP, and I GOT IT, of course, due to symmetry). Just like with long theme answers, increased spacing in long down placement usually means more flexibility and therefore better fill. Well done!

Robyn's also done well on the short fill front. There's no doubt that a constructor would rather not have AS I or ETH if at all possible, but there will almost always be some of those entries required to hold a puzzle together. I've heard complaints about ISP before, and it makes me scratch my head because I hear that term all the time (internet service provider). It's a good reminder that there's a wide range of opinion regarding what is acceptable and what is not (and that these judgment calls are usually very subjective).

The consistency of the theme is good in that they are all games, but the specificity gave me pause. Ideally, a constructor wants to avoid the question "why did you select these answers instead of X, Y, or Z?", because using a finite and or complete set adds elegance. I don't know if it would have been possible, but it would have been fantastic to see only famous board games (eliminating Twister), or only games with black and white pieces (chess, Othello, Go, etc.). For me, that sort of specificity is a factor that lifts a puzzle from the ranks of good to great.

Fun note from Robyn today; she sounds like someone who ought to come to the ACPT and have a drink with us (hint hint).

1
A
2
R
3
C
4
H
5
I
6
S
7
L
8
E
9
S
10
B
11
A
12
D
13
E
14
S
O
H
O
15
S
A
U
T
E
16
A
R
I
A
17
T
W
I
S
18
T
E
R
C
H
E
19
C
K
E
R
S
20
I
S
P
21
R
E
D
22
P
U
E
N
T
E
23
M
24
B
A
25
I
26
O
27
U
28
T
R
A
Y
S
29
C
30
L
U
E
M
31
O
N
O
P
32
O
L
Y
33
A
I
N
T
34
R
E
F
I
N
E
35
N
36
E
37
O
38
F
A
K
E
39
I
D
40
S
T
41
E
E
L
S
42
E
R
S
43
G
E
44
O
45
R
46
G
E
47
V
I
A
L
48
S
O
R
R
Y
O
T
49
H
E
L
L
O
50
R
51
E
52
M
I
T
53
R
E
O
54
A
R
S
55
E
L
I
C
I
56
T
57
D
58
O
N
59
I
60
D
61
A
62
B
A
C
K
T
O
63
B
64
A
C
K
G
65
A
M
E
S
66
E
T
R
E
67
C
O
L
O
R
68
S
O
U
P
69
L
E
O
N
70
K
A
P
P
A
71
I
N
X
S
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1023 ( 23,360 )
Across
1
Keystone place : ARCH
5
Some vacation spots : ISLES
10
Uttered, as a farewell : BADE
14
Carnaby Street's locale : SOHO
15
Brown, in a way : SAUTE
16
Gershwin's "Summertime" is one : ARIA
17
Tornado monitors? : TWISTERCHECKERS
20
AOL or MSN : ISP
21
Like Mao's "little" book : RED
22
Tito, the King of Latin Music : PUENTE
23
Deg. from M.I.T. Sloan : MBA
25
Note in a poker pot : IOU
28
Cafeteria stack : TRAYS
29
What the only detective on a case has? : CLUEMONOPOLY
33
"It ___ over till ..." : AINT
34
Improve, as one's manners : REFINE
35
Prefix with classical : NEO
38
What a bouncer may confiscate : FAKEID
40
Makes tough : STEELS
42
Medevac destinations, briefly : ERS
43
New British royal of 2013 : GEORGE
47
Smelling salts holder : VIAL
48
What a remorseful Iago might have said? : SORRYOTHELLO
50
Send as payment : REMIT
53
Classic car whose name is a monogram : REO
54
___ Antiqua : ARS
55
Draw out : ELICIT
57
Get into : DON
59
Wash. neighbor : IDA
62
Doubleheader ... or what 17-, 29- and 48-Across are? : BACKTOBACKGAMES
66
To be, to Béatrice : ETRE
67
Make blond, maybe : COLOR
68
Primordial ___ : SOUP
69
Spanish province or its capital : LEON
70
Fraternity letter : KAPPA
71
Band with the 1987 hit "Need You Tonight" : INXS
Down
1
Sparkling Italian export : ASTI
2
Toils on a trireme : ROWS
3
High-pitched group with a 1958 #1 hit, with "the" : CHIPMUNKS
4
Yuletide interjections : HOS
5
"Point taken" : ISEE
6
Rush-hour subway rider, metaphorically : SARDINE
7
Director Jean-___ Godard : LUC
8
Ordinal suffix : ETH
9
Flow slowly : SEEP
10
Business with an enticing aroma : BAKERY
11
Fight site : ARENA
12
Like some looks and laundry : DIRTY
13
Slacks off : EASES
18
Disneyland vehicle : TRAM
19
Often-breaded piece of meat : CUTLET
24
___ noire : BETE
26
Shot-to-the-solar-plexus sound : OOF
27
Reuters alternative : UPI
29
It may have outdoor seating : CAFE
30
"That is so not true!" : LIAR
31
Happy Meal with a Sprite, e.g. : ORDER
32
Beginning : ONSET
35
"Lost in Yonkers" playwright : NEILSIMON
36
Airline that doesn't fly on the Sabbath : ELAL
37
Kon-Tiki Museum city : OSLO
39
Outfielder's cry : IGOTIT
41
In perpetuum : EVER
44
Legendary Boston Garden skater : ORR
45
Part of a Reuben : RYE
46
Half a police interrogation team, maybe : GOODCOP
48
Make queasy : SICKEN
49
Pend : HANG
50
Revolting sort : REBEL
51
Make up? : ELATE
52
Prefix with brewery : MICRO
56
Clock sound : TOCK
58
Gumbo need : OKRA
60
Pierre's pair : DEUX
61
Deadly snakes : ASPS
63
Deadly snake : BOA
64
Peak next to a glacier, maybe : ALP
65
"Just ___ suspected" : ASI

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

See NYT Crosswords for info.