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New York Times, Saturday, October 31, 2015

Author:
Peter Wentz
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
339/27/20078/31/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
200121216
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.81005
Peter Wentz

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 27 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. Wentz. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter Wentz notes:
I constructed this in early 2014, which I only mention because it's interesting to note how my style has changed in the past year or ... read more

I constructed this in early 2014, which I only mention because it's interesting to note how my style has changed in the past year or two, so to myself this puzzle is something of a time capsule. What I prioritize in constructing now is largely similar to a couple years ago, though it's changed enough for me to notice the difference. Certainly, almost all of the puzzle I still stand by. My construction started in the NE quadrant, and I'd still be pleased with a similar level of quality today, but would probably give the NW corner another go if I had the chance now. At the very least, I'd limit myself to one IN!

On a tangential note, as we know, an entry's inclusion is by no means an endorsement from the crossword's author, but it is in the case of 24-Across, it happens to be a ringing one! Despite living in Raleigh, I'm a huge fan of many WNYC programs (especially "Radiolab"), which I hear via podcasts. I'm a small-time sustainer for the station, but hopefully the boost from including them in this puzzle will supplement that in some way. As far as I can tell, this is their crossword debut as an answer ... Hopefully the first of many!

Jeff Chen notes:
Always a joy to see Peter's byline — his standards are so high, always striving to work in not just good long fill but great, ... read more

Always a joy to see Peter's byline — his standards are so high, always striving to work in not just good long fill but great, colorful, entries that are both modern and understandable by a wide range of solvers. Today, he starts with a huge number of long (8+ letter) slots: 18 of them! On average, themeless constructors employ 12-14 slots and then have to work extraordinarily hard to make sure very few are wasted with just neutral, blah entries.

The notorious EL CAMINO

A good conversion rate today, with such goodness as THE KINKS, EASY AS ABC, FLAPJACKS, and the modern RAGE QUIT. Funny to think about gamers throwing their controllers across the room and storming off.

And there's a well-known ultimate Frisbee cheer based on EL CAMINO: the front is like a car, the back is like a truck, the front is where you drive, the back is where you ...

Huck. As in, launch the disc downfield. Was that not what you were thinking?

Although there are no real clunkers in the grid, Peter does let a few neutral entries slip in. I've noticed that more and more constructors are leaning on the "word + preposition" type entry to fill long slots, and those aren't as interesting to me. FESSED UP I really like, but SWARMS INTO isn't quite as zesty. Toss in BASHED IN — crossing INS — along with HAD IN, and I find that set of answers even less interesting.

Peter's grids are always so clean. SONE is an esoteric unit of measure, but what else? WNYC is fine for a NYT puzzle, and some might complain about a bridge reference in NO TRUMP, but this bridge lover gives it a big thumbs up. A couple of local elementary schools have started bridge programs, which teachers have reported to increase mathematical ability, logical reasoning, memory, partnership, and more.

Bridge is clearly the answer to our education crisis.

So a good number of assets today, but not an astounding number as I might expect from a Wentz themeless. Still, a clean puzzle and an entertaining solve.

1
B
2
E
3
R
4
E
5
T
6
F
7
L
8
A
9
P
10
J
11
A
12
C
13
K
14
S
15
A
L
O
N
E
16
E
A
S
Y
A
S
A
B
C
17
S
C
A
L
E
18
S
W
A
R
M
I
N
T
O
19
H
A
D
I
N
20
S
O
N
E
21
T
O
O
N
22
E
M
T
S
23
R
E
M
A
X
24
W
N
Y
C
25
D
I
E
T
26
S
O
D
A
S
27
H
E
S
S
E
28
I
N
S
29
N
O
U
N
30
F
A
R
31
N
O
T
32
R
U
M
P
33
G
E
N
E
34
S
35
E
36
T
37
A
B
S
38
D
R
U
G
39
H
U
H
40
T
41
H
42
U
G
S
43
T
I
E
D
S
44
C
O
R
E
45
V
A
S
E
46
M
O
V
E
S
47
H
O
O
K
48
I
R
A
Q
49
A
X
O
N
50
M
I
T
Z
I
51
D
I
G
U
52
P
D
I
R
T
53
O
L
S
O
N
54
O
B
E
I
S
A
N
C
E
55
P
L
I
N
K
56
L
O
S
T
A
T
S
E
A
57
E
S
T
E
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1031 ( 24,098 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Soft top : BERET
6. Diner stack : FLAPJACKS
15. Eating at the bar, perhaps : ALONE
16. Simple, simple, simple : EASYASABC
17. Blueprint notation : SCALE
18. Overrun : SWARMINTO
19. Invited over for coffee, say : HADIN
20. Aural measure : SONE
21. Charlie Brown, e.g. : TOON
22. Accident figures, for short : EMTS
23. Coldwell Banker competitor : REMAX
24. "Radiolab" producer : WNYC
25. Light fountain selections : DIETSODAS
27. 1946 Goethe Prize winner : HESSE
28. Progressive business: Abbr. : INS
29. Word that can be common : NOUN
30. Considerably : FAR
31. Bid for a balanced hand : NOTRUMP
33. What clones share : GENESET
37. Planks work them : ABS
38. Dope, say : DRUG
39. "What's that?" : HUH
40. Gangsta rap characters : THUGS
43. One to one, e.g. : TIEDSCORE
45. Site of an arrangement : VASE
46. Dance floor abilities : MOVES
47. Attention-grabbing riff, perhaps : HOOK
48. Former Baath Party stronghold : IRAQ
49. White matter component : AXON
50. Gaynor with the one-woman show "Razzle Dazzle!" : MITZI
51. Look to do some character assassination : DIGUPDIRT
53. Johnny who used to cry "Come on down!" : OLSON
54. Deferential respect : OBEISANCE
55. Short, sharp, metallic sound : PLINK
56. Like the explorer Henry Hudson : LOSTATSEA
57. ___ Park : ESTES
Down
1. Knocked down : BASHEDIN
2. 1960s-'80s Chevrolet coupe utility vehicle : ELCAMINO
3. Car and Driver assignment : ROADTEST
4. Secure, as help : ENLIST
5. Many a Snapchat user : TEEN
6. Came clean : FESSEDUP
7. Classic 1971 album that closes with "Riders on the Storm" : LAWOMAN
8. Ways of sitting in yoga : ASANAS
9. Test tube material : PYREX
10. Get stuck : JAM
11. In a manner of speaking : ASITWERE
12. Some printers : CANONS
13. Former chain store for kids : KBTOYS
14. Decorative fixture : SCONCE
23. Shares quarters (with) : ROOMS
26. Academy omissions : SNUBS
27. Socializes (with) : HANGS
30. Rows that run deep : FEUDS
32. Suddenly and angrily stop playing a game, in modern lingo : RAGEQUIT
33. Healthful beverage high in antioxidants : GREENTEA
34. Puts up a jumper, say : SHOOTSIT
35. Western union locale? : EUROZONE
36. British Invasion group : THEKINKS
38. Possible consequence of cheating : DIVORCE
40. Soap dish, possibly? : TVIDOL
41. Candy company that makes gummy bears : HARIBO
42. Linguists study them : USAGES
43. Targets of a so-called "juice cleanse" : TOXINS
44. Mellows out : CHILLS
46. Hardly pleased with : MADAT
50. Sulk : MOPE
52. "It Can Wait" spot, e.g. : PSA

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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