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

GOING OFF SCRIPT

New York Times, Sunday, October 29, 2017

Author:
Ross Trudeau
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
102/9/201710/14/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4130200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65011
Ross Trudeau

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 77 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Trudeau. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ross Trudeau notes:
A couple thoughts: 1. 'Going off script' includes lines from four white actors. Moreover, the SHOW ME THE MONEY line was also spoken by Cuba Gooding Jr., a black actor who goes ... read more

A couple thoughts:

1. "Going off script" includes lines from four white actors.

Moreover, the SHOW ME THE MONEY line was also spoken by Cuba Gooding Jr., a black actor who goes uncredited in this puzzle (despite upstaging Tom Cruise).

2. "Going off script" also includes lines from four male actors.

The original version did include WOODLINE / I FEEL PRETTY OH SO PRETTY, which got axed because it yielded asymmetric themers. But then again, Natalie Wood, an American with Russian parents, was cast to play Maria, a Puerto Rican. Dios.

Aside from Mrs. Wood, I only found revealers that referenced white males (PENNLINE, CRYSTALLINE, SHORTLINE, etc.), let alone ones that matched with legitimately iconic movie quotes.

So, open question: If Hollywood's gender/race representation problem means that, after an honest effort, you only get white male actors for your ___LINE puzzle, do you scrap it? Is doing otherwise cynical and opportunistic? Are your sins mitigated if you subsequently construct an UZI GAL GODOT puzz? (Very interested in collaborating on that puzzle. Let's chat.)

Jeff Chen notes:
Ross showed me this concept a few months ago. I liked the general idea, but some themers felt much stronger than others. CRUISE LINE was perfect, as 'cruise line' is a real thing, plus Tom ... read more

Ross showed me this concept a few months ago. I liked the general idea, but some themers felt much stronger than others. CRUISE LINE was perfect, as "cruise line" is a real thing, plus Tom Cruise has so many iconic lines! LEDGER LINE wasn't quite as good — "ledger line" felt like something only us finance dorks would know off the bat — but it still worked.

Turns out I was wrong about LEDGER LINEs! They're not related to bank ledgers, but musical scores. Huh. So much for my 20+ years of playing in orchestras ...

LANE LINE … that didn't seem like a real phrase to me. And FORD LINE is a thing, no doubt, but it felt so arbitrary, opening up crosswords to things like HP PRINTERS or EDDIE BAUER SOCKS or whatever. I wouldn't use either of these LINEs in a regular crossword.

FORD LINE at least lends itself to all sorts of possibilities, as Harrison Ford gets quoted so often. LANE LINE … granted, I haven't seen "The Lion King" in its entirety, but it took a long time to figure out who LANE was (Nathan Lane), and what character sang HAKUNA MATATA (… Timon? The meerkat?). So that one felt the weakest to me.

I've been impressed with Ross' work ethic, going at his grids with a fine pencil and a lot of erasing — literally! I always get a smile when people see what a huge help it is to jump from manual construction to computer-assisted. Akin to jumping from a legal pad to Microsoft Word. You still need to do the nut and bolts work, but technology simplifies things greatly.

Nice result, very little crossword glue in the form of ELHI, ALPES, ACS, BANC, ECOLE, ONEAS, etc. No major sticking points there. And to work in such great fill as ALAKAZAM, GRE SCORE, ROYAL WE, THE CURE, FATHER TIME, AMEX CARD — wow! Even if the theme didn't catch your attention, there's more than enough snazzy bonus fill to entertain.

Ross did use more cheater squares than I like to see — the black squares in the very NW / SE corners, the pyramids on the west / east, the little L blocks everywhere. Makes the grid feel inelegant, needing so many extra black squares (16!) to nibble away at the white space to be filled. But I'd much rather constructors err on the side of using too many cheaters, especially since so many tend to end up with Sunday grids splotched everywhere with ugly crossword glue.

Nice idea, wish all four theme pairs worked as strongly as CRUISE LINE / SHOW ME THE MONEY.

1
P
2
O
3
D
4
I
5
A
6
G
7
I
8
F
9
S
10
V
11
P
12
S
13
G
14
U
15
M
16
S
17
C
H
A
R
A
D
18
E
19
O
M
A
R
20
A
L
A
21
K
A
Z
A
M
22
H
A
K
U
N
A
M
23
A
T
A
T
A
24
L
A
N
E
L
I
N
E
25
A
S
T
I
26
P
S
Y
C
H
27
M
O
I
28
R
E
G
A
L
29
N
E
R
D
30
D
E
K
E
31
E
32
C
A
R
D
33
S
34
A
G
T
35
G
R
E
S
36
C
O
R
E
37
P
R
O
V
E
38
E
39
C
40
O
L
E
41
E
S
E
42
S
H
O
W
43
M
E
T
H
E
M
44
O
N
E
Y
45
S
P
A
R
46
O
R
I
O
N
47
R
E
D
S
48
T
49
A
50
R
51
B
O
O
52
P
L
U
M
S
53
W
I
S
E
54
A
L
E
55
D
O
L
T
56
A
R
I
S
E
57
B
A
N
C
58
A
X
O
N
59
C
R
U
I
S
60
E
L
I
N
E
61
L
E
D
G
E
62
R
L
I
N
E
63
H
A
N
D
64
A
L
M
A
65
M
E
M
E
S
66
E
P
E
E
67
A
C
C
68
E
T
N
A
69
V
A
P
I
D
70
F
E
D
71
R
O
Y
72
A
L
W
E
73
T
O
K
E
N
74
H
75
A
L
S
76
C
H
E
W
77
I
E
W
E
R
E
78
H
O
M
E
79
F
80
A
81
A
82
B
83
A
S
I
L
84
S
E
E
M
S
85
A
M
E
X
86
C
A
R
D
87
G
O
V
88
L
89
T
S
U
L
U
90
G
R
I
N
91
A
C
T
V
92
O
N
E
93
A
94
S
95
Y
U
P
96
C
97
R
E
P
E
98
L
E
H
I
99
F
O
R
D
L
100
I
N
E
101
W
H
Y
S
O
S
102
E
103
R
I
O
U
S
104
O
B
S
E
R
V
E
R
105
W
O
E
S
106
T
H
E
C
U
R
E
107
R
O
E
S
108
E
R
S
109
I
F
S
O
110
S
C
O
T
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1029 ( 24,827 )
Across
1. Lecterns : PODIA
6. Some looping online animations : GIFS
10. No. 2's : VPS
13. Canine supporters : GUMS
17. It's all an act : CHARADE
19. Actor Epps : OMAR
20. "Abracadabra!" : ALAKAZAM
22. "The Lion King" : HAKUNAMATATA
24. Pool divider, or a further hint to 22-Across : LANELINE
25. Wine often served with dessert : ASTI
26. College department that might offer paid studies, informally : PSYCH
27. "Who, me?" : MOI
28. Majestic : REGAL
29. Get excited about crosswords, say, with "out" : NERD
30. Hockey feint : DEKE
31. Hallmark.com offerings : ECARDS
34. Bond, for one: Abbr. : AGT
35. Fig. on a master's application : GRESCORE
37. Geometry test directive : PROVE
38. Maître's domain : ECOLE
41. Suffix with legal : ESE
42. "Jerry Maguire" : SHOWMETHEMONEY
45. Box a bit : SPAR
46. Hunter in the night sky : ORION
47. Feature of Chairman Mao's cap : REDSTAR
51. Reaction to a bad joke : BOO
52. They're often cross-bred with apricots : PLUMS
53. Smart-alecky : WISE
54. American pale ___ : ALE
55. Bozo : DOLT
56. Get up : ARISE
57. Judge's seat : BANC
58. Neural conductor : AXON
59. Carnival, say, or a further hint to 42-Across : CRUISELINE
61. Musical score marking, or a further hint to 101-Across : LEDGERLINE
63. Full house, for one : HAND
64. ___ mater : ALMA
65. Ideas spreading virally : MEMES
66. Duel tool : EPEE
67. Blue Devils' org. : ACC
68. Hephaestus' forge is said to be under it : ETNA
69. Uninspired : VAPID
70. Satiated : FED
71. What I may turn into : ROYALWE
73. Coin at an arcade : TOKEN
74. "The Merry Drinker" painter : HALS
76. "The Force Awakens" : CHEWIEWEREHOME
79. Traffic-monitoring org. : FAA
82. Herb pronounced differently in the U.S. and U.K. : BASIL
84. Appears : SEEMS
85. Item with the words "Member Since" : AMEXCARD
87. White House extension? : GOV
88. George Takei's role on the U.S.S. Enterprise, in brief : LTSULU
90. Small beam : GRIN
91. When Macduff slays Macbeth : ACTV
92. They're first in the draft : ONEAS
95. "Sure" : YUP
96. Brunch offering : CREPE
98. Where Samson slew the Philistines : LEHI
99. F-150s or Thunderbirds, or a further hint to 76-Across : FORDLINE
101. "The Dark Knight" : WHYSOSERIOUS
104. Onlooker : OBSERVER
105. Ills : WOES
106. "Friday I'm in Love" band, 1992 : THECURE
107. Caviars : ROES
108. Defib locales : ERS
109. "In that case ..." : IFSO
110. Language in which the first four cardinal numbers are ane, twa, three and fower : SCOTS
Down
1. Sci-fi weapons : PHASERS
2. Symbol of strength : OAKTREE
3. Stonehenge priests : DRUIDS
4. McKellen who played Gandalf : IAN
5. City south of Seminole, Okla. : ADA
6. Singer with the 2012 #1 hit "Somebody That I Used to Know" : GOTYE
7. Apple desktop : IMAC
8. New Year's Eve figure : FATHERTIME
9. Mrs., abroad : SRA
10. Ad ___ tax : VALOREM
11. Daring thing to wear with polka dots : PLAID
12. ___ Gabriel Mountains : SAN
13. Big gust : GALE
14. Eponymous Israeli gun designer : UZIGAL
15. Get by : MANAGE
16. Refine : SMELT
17. What metathesiophobia is the fear of : CHANGE
18. Kind of penguin : EMPEROR
21. Splat preceder : KER
23. Out of whack : ASKEW
27. Connoisseur : MAVEN
30. Capital of Qatar : DOHA
32. Some salmon : COHOS
33. Get old : SENESCE
36. $100 bills, in slang : CSPOTS
37. Study : PERUSE
39. Turn over : CEDE
40. Yiddish cries : OYS
43. José, Bengie and Yadier ___, catcher brothers with five World Series rings among them : MOLINA
44. Redundant-sounding engine parts : ORINGS
45. Like the 1-to-7 balls : SOLID
48. Prepared for takeoff : TAXIED
49. Stag : ALONE
50. Actress Russo : RENE
51. Like trampolines : BOUNCY
52. ___ ballerina : PRIMA
53. Got one's feet wet? : WADED
55. Harry's wizarding foe : DRACO
56. Never-before-seen : ALLNEW
57. Candy heart message : BEMINE
58. Suisse peaks : ALPES
59. A fish ... or to cook it, in a way : CHAR
60. Have nutritious foods : EATWELL
61. Pariahs : LEPERS
62. Flinching, typically : REFLEX
65. Play up : MAKEMUCHOF
68. K-12 : ELHI
69. What "w" is in Welsh, at times : VOWEL
72. Window fixtures, for short : ACS
73. Get ready to drive : TEEUP
74. Most cozy : HOMIEST
75. "Preach!" : AMEN
77. Publishers : ISSUERS
78. ___ Productions, company behind TV's "Dr. Phil" : HARPO
79. Look onto the street, say : FACEOUT
80. First family after the Garfields : ARTHURS
81. Counsel : ADVISE
82. Endangered ape : BONOBO
83. Opposed (to) : AVERSE
86. Multicolored : CALICO
87. Choose : GOFOR
89. Jazz pianist McCoy ___ : TYNER
90. Artist's base : GESSO
93. Coolers in coolers : ADES
94. Camera option, for short : SLR
97. Loafs around a deli? : RYES
100. "___ had it!" : IVE
101. The U.S. joined it in 1917: Abbr. : WWI
102. Quizzical utterances : EHS
103. Fun, for short : REC

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?