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, Saturday, October 5, 2019

Author:
Trenton Charlson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
164/26/201710/5/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
11022541
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.79012
Trenton Charlson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 32 Missing: {FX} Spans: 2 Minimum word length: 4 This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Charlson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Trenton Charlson notes:
This puzzle dates back to around the time I finished reading the Harry Potter series (fashionably late, I guess). I started with ... read more

This puzzle dates back to around the time I finished reading the Harry Potter series (fashionably late, I guess). I started with QUIDDITCH, had the idea to line up a few Q's on a diagonal, and aimed to work in three other interesting nine-letter entries with Q's branching out from the center. The grid began to come together when I found the nice arrangement of QB SNEAK crossing BYZANTINE EMPIRE.

I was pleased to come up with the stack in the lower-right, along with IT HAPPENS running through it, with IDIO- as the only real trade-off. Finding a suitable stack for the upper-left took more time, but I think it turned out pretty well, especially with MESONS fortuitously positioned near ANTIQUARK.

I also like the connection that can be drawn between the two fifteen-letter entries, with the first even clued as an adjective. And although I don't typically worry about the number of three-letter entries in a themeless puzzle as long as it's less than, say, twenty, I think it's a nice change of pace to have none at all here.

I feel like the tone of the clues here suits this puzzle well, and particularly like my clues for 51-Across, 6-Down, 20-Down, and 28-Down. Although I'm a bit disappointed that my clue of [ ___ box] for both JURY and JUICE didn't survive the edit, I do like the new clue for TENSES.

Hope you enjoy the puzzle (AT your LEISURE, of course).

Jeff Chen notes:
I wondered where all the rare letters (JQXZ) were — could it be that Trenton decided to do stray from his usual leanings? ... read more

I wondered where all the rare letters (JQXZ) were — could it be that Trenton decided to do stray from his usual leanings?

Nah. Fun diagonal of Qs and a J in the center of the puzzle. Tucking them under a line of black squares is a great way to incorporate rare letters since so many Qs and Js come at beginnings of words. It reminded me of another puzzle utilizing this concept — I loved that one's impenetrable line of Qs, whereas today's lone J stuck out a bit.

Great entries coming off those rare letters. QUIDDITCH always makes me laugh, thinking about college kids riding around on brooms. ANTIQUARK is beautiful, as is COME QUICK! Certainly no QUAGMIRES of crossword glue, either, smoothly filled throughout.

I like that Trenton snuck in another rare letter, a Z, near QB SNEAK. Working it into the fantastic BYZANTINE EMPIRE is magnificent.

I wasn't a fan of the sectioned feel of the solve, though. The middle swath fell quickly, given my smugness, knowing Trenton's construction preferences. But after that, I got stuck in both the NW and SE, without any rare letters to help me get toeholds. Given that I had trouble recalling the exact spellings of IGER, OREM, and HORUS, the west region came together only shakily.

It'd have been much better to have more connectivity in the grid. The NW corner is so closed off, tied to the rest of the puzzle by just three answers (TAKE NO PRISONERS, ANTIQUARK, COME QUICK). Even if the bottom exit point had been jiggered to be more like the top one, that would have done wonders.

Easier said than done, though. Sectioning is so constructor-friendly, making it possible to divide and conquer. I doubt the middle swath, chock full of rare letters, would have been doable with a more open grid.

As with most every Charlson themeless; so solid, so meaty. I enjoy knowing about Trenton's proclivity toward rare letters — these relatively easy Saturday solves make me feel smurt.

Jim Horne notes:

Grids with no three-letter answers aren't as rare as you might think. This is the 61st in the Shortz Era.

1
S
2
A
3
R
4
A
5
M
6
I
7
L
8
A
9
A
10
C
11
H
12
E
13
D
14
W
R
I
T
15
T
E
N
I
N
16
C
L
O
V
E
17
A
I
S
L
E
S
E
A
T
18
R
I
S
E
N
19
T
A
K
E
N
O
P
R
I
20
S
O
N
E
R
S
21
I
S
N
T
22
Q
A
N
T
A
S
23
C
24
L
25
O
S
E
S
26
J
U
R
Y
27
H
O
R
U
S
28
Q
U
A
G
M
29
I
30
R
31
E
32
S
33
I
G
E
R
34
Q
U
I
R
E
35
T
O
R
I
36
C
O
M
E
37
Q
U
I
C
K
38
S
H
O
A
L
39
B
I
D
E
40
T
H
A
T
S
O
41
S
42
A
43
S
S
E
D
44
R
E
A
P
45
B
Y
Z
A
N
T
I
46
N
E
E
M
P
47
I
48
R
49
E
50
I
R
U
L
E
51
T
O
P
S
E
E
D
E
D
52
B
U
R
M
A
53
C
L
O
U
D
N
I
N
E
54
S
P
E
A
K
55
H
A
S
P
56
S
O
O
N
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1005 ( 25,533 )
Across
1
Manhattan's ___ D. Roosevelt Park : SARA
5
Kunis of "That '70s Show" : MILA
9
Had a bad feeling : ACHED
14
Added to the ballot, say : WRITTENIN
16
Bulb unit : CLOVE
17
Terminal request : AISLESEAT
18
Escalated : RISEN
19
Ruthlessly aggressive : TAKENOPRISONERS
21
Fails to be : ISNT
22
Flag carrier with a 17-hour nonstop flight to London : QANTAS
23
Winds up : CLOSES
26
Peer group : JURY
27
Egyptian sky god : HORUS
28
Sticky situations : QUAGMIRES
33
Disney president who oversaw the Pixar acquisition : IGER
34
Part of a ream : QUIRE
35
Inner tubes, topologically : TORI
36
"Get over here now!" : COMEQUICK
38
Submerged ridge : SHOAL
39
Wait : BIDE
40
"For real?" : THATSO
41
Gave grief, in a way : SASSED
44
Get back : REAP
45
The Hagia Sophia was built in it : BYZANTINEEMPIRE
50
Triumphant cry : IRULE
51
Not likely to be upset : TOPSEEDED
52
One end of the railway in "The Bridge on the River Kwai" : BURMA
53
Euphoric state : CLOUDNINE
54
State : SPEAK
55
Feature of many a diary : HASP
56
In a jiffy : SOON
Down
1
Clock : SWAT
2
Stage highlight : ARIA
3
Reward seeker's concern : RISK
4
Free : ATLEISURE
5
Accelerator particles : MESONS
6
Like Wile E. Coyote : INEPT
7
Incredible person : LIAR
8
One of the two components of 5-Down : ANTIQUARK
9
It stands for something : ACRONYM
10
First name in westerns : CLINT
11
First of the Minor Prophets : HOSEA
12
Medgar who said "You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea" : EVERS
13
Places for trophies : DENS
15
Perfect and then some? : TENSES
20
Base boss : SARGE
23
Smart : CHIC
24
Kangaroo, for 22-Across : LOGO
25
City on Utah Lake : OREM
26
Oomph : JUICE
28
Game with a ball called a quaffle : QUIDDITCH
29
Vague expression of empathy : ITHAPPENS
30
Ginseng, e.g. : ROOT
31
Times gone by : ERAS
32
Cylindrical construction : SILO
34
Lull : QUIET
37
Short yardage play, briefly : QBSNEAK
38
Having eaten crow : SHAMED
40
Does some course prep? : TEESUP
41
Shaved ice ingredient : SYRUP
42
Heraldic hue : AZURE
43
Actress Hayek of "Frida" : SALMA
44
Some tow jobs, for short : REPOS
45
Front covers : BIBS
46
Home of The Times-Picayune, informally : NOLA
47
Prefix with -cracy : IDIO
48
Ashcroft's predecessor as attorney general : RENO
49
Elysium : EDEN

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?