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.

POWER BALLADS

New York Times, Sunday, October 8, 2017

Author:
Erik Agard and Alex Briñas
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5011/6/201212/7/201923
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1056763121
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62180
Erik Agard
TotalDebutCollabs
110/8/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1000000
RebusCirclePangram
000
Alex Briñas

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 76 Missing: {JQVX} This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Agard. This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Briñas. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
ERIK: Music and wordplay are but two of Alex's superpowers (you can see some of her punny drawings on her Instagram), so when this puzzle's then-half-formed theme needed rescuing, I knew ... read more

ERIK: Music and wordplay are but two of Alex's superpowers (you can see some of her punny drawings on her Instagram), so when this puzzle's then-half-formed theme needed rescuing, I knew who to shine the Bat-Signal for. Through a couple of revisions and upwards of a hundred emails, the collaboration was always fun, and I'm looking forward to her next puzzle.

ALEX: Erik was the true superhero here — zipped nimbly through the bulk of the work and picked up after all my snafus. I'm a super-newbie to everything in the crossword world, but I do enjoy myself a good pun every now and then, so this was fascinating and foreign and exciting and daunting all at once! And I owe much thanks to Erik for inviting me to sidekick this mission in the first place.

For your enjoyment (we hope), here are some of the theme answers from the cutting room floor:

[Human Torch's favorite band?] (3,7,4)

[Blade's favorite band?] (7,7)

[Wonder Twins' favorite band?] (5)

[Storm's favorite rapper?] (6)

[Beast's favorite singer?] (6)

[Wolverine's favorite guitarist?] (5)

[Lady Deathstrike's favorite band?] (13)

[Banshee's favorite band?] (5,5)

Jeff Chen notes:
SUPER GROUP played upon today, various bands/singers amusingly interpreted as a particular superhero's favorite. I'm a huge fan of the Flash, so I got a laugh out of imagining Barry Allen ... read more

SUPER GROUP played upon today, various bands/singers amusingly interpreted as a particular superhero's favorite. I'm a huge fan of the Flash, so I got a laugh out of imagining Barry Allen squeeing at a TAYLOR SWIFT concert. Of course, the Hulk would love GREEN DAY, and Thor would be a fanboy of MC HAMMER.

I'm a huge superhero nerd, so all the characters came to me quickly. (In a Flash, you might say … *rimshot*) I appreciated that Erik and Alex executed the concept in a way that even if you don't know superheroes well, the puzzle still might amuse you. They could have easily relied on fringe characters like Hawkman or Plastic Man or Zatanna, for instance.

The nerd inside of me cries for Zatanna's exclusion, but what are you gonna do.

And even if you're a person who likes neither superheroes (infidel!) nor music, the grid was still interesting and clean enough to allow for a pleasant solving experience, treating it as a giant themeless puzzle. COIN TOSS, ETYMOLOGY, GOING PLACES, SACRED COW, SAN FRAN, PREGGERS, MUD PIE, and my favorite, SON OF A …! Something so entertaining about phrases implying a swear word, like "Why you little …" and "What the …".

All of that without much crossword glue: minor ARAT, CARO, CEST, DEO, DOI, NEO, SEI, etc. Notice how careful Erik and Alex were to keep their glue limited to very short words of mostly three letters? That's a great way to minimize their potential for feeling inelegant. Almost every Sunday 140-word puzzle will need some crossword glue, but sticking to very short (3-4 letters) stuff is a good way to make it seem less consequential.

Loved Erik's voice coming through in ALLEGEDLY: [legally covering our butts here]. He's so great with his memorable cluing. (ADDED NOTE: I would have bet $1000 that it was Erik's clue ... good thing I don't bet very often! It was Will's.)

The only things I wasn't wild about were the 2x2 chunks of black squares in the SW and NE. It's a subjective assessment, but they look so heavy and unnecessary to me.

Fun connections between two disparate sets of interests, and excellent gridwork. Strong offering, especially considering it's Alex's debut.

1
T
2
S
3
A
4
I
5
M
6
P
7
E
8
L
9
A
10
S
11
S
12
E
13
T
14
G
15
P
16
S
17
A
L
L
18
A
19
C
I
R
C
A
20
T
E
A
R
A
21
T
22
O
O
H
23
B
I
L
L
24
Y
O
C
E
A
N
25
A
R
C
A
D
E
26
F
I
R
E
27
S
T
E
F
A
N
28
P
R
E
29
G
G
E
R
S
30
T
O
N
E
D
31
G
R
R
32
P
A
D
33
D
U
N
E
34
R
U
G
35
G
36
R
E
E
N
37
D
A
Y
38
S
P
E
E
D
39
S
40
A
R
P
41
R
O
D
42
S
E
I
43
C
A
S
S
44
C
O
45
L
D
P
L
46
A
47
Y
48
I
S
L
49
E
50
C
R
51
O
O
N
52
S
53
T
O
N
E
54
M
A
T
E
55
T
A
Y
L
56
O
R
S
W
I
F
57
T
58
I
W
O
N
59
T
60
C
E
L
61
T
H
Y
62
I
N
R
O
63
A
D
64
F
O
R
65
R
E
A
L
66
P
67
R
O
W
68
M
E
T
A
L
L
I
69
C
A
70
Y
E
S
M
71
S
E
E
N
O
72
T
E
73
O
N
E
O
N
E
74
D
O
I
75
E
T
C
76
W
O
L
77
F
S
78
T
H
E
S
79
P
I
N
N
80
E
81
R
82
S
83
A
R
A
84
T
85
N
O
R
S
86
E
87
A
S
T
O
N
88
S
T
O
P
89
L
I
L
W
90
A
Y
N
E
91
N
92
E
O
S
93
N
A
94
Y
95
Y
M
A
96
C
O
L
97
S
E
98
T
T
L
E
99
M
C
H
A
100
M
M
E
R
101
U
M
A
102
Z
E
R
O
103
R
U
E
104
D
E
O
105
A
106
T
L
A
S
107
C
E
M
E
N
108
T
E
D
109
T
I
T
L
110
E
111
S
112
F
R
A
N
K
113
Z
A
P
P
A
114
S
U
P
115
E
R
G
R
O
U
P
116
R
O
T
117
A
I
R
O
U
T
118
A
S
I
D
E
119
O
G
R
E
120
O
D
E
121
T
O
P
S
Y
122
R
E
E
S
E
123
Y
O
W
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1008 ( 24,806 )
Across
1
Agcy. for Kennedy and Reagan : TSA
4
Push : IMPEL
9
Positive quality : ASSET
14
Provider of directions, for short : GPS
17
Penne ___ vodka : ALLA
19
Around : CIRCA
20
Claw : TEARAT
22
"Intriguing!" : OOH
23
Aquaman's favorite singer? : BILLYOCEAN
25
The Human Torch's favorite band? : ARCADEFIRE
27
___ Edberg, two-time U.S. Open tennis champion : STEFAN
28
With child, informally : PREGGERS
30
Nicely muscled : TONED
31
Canine warning : GRR
32
Feminine hygiene product : PAD
33
Seashore feature : DUNE
34
Oriental, e.g. : RUG
35
The Hulk's favorite band? : GREENDAY
38
Does 110, say : SPEEDS
40
Sculptor/collagist Jean : ARP
41
Staff : ROD
42
Number between cinque and sette : SEI
43
Mama ___ Elliot : CASS
44
Iceman's favorite band? : COLDPLAY
48
Bermuda, e.g. : ISLE
50
Sweetly sing : CROON
52
14-pound unit : STONE
54
Australian friend : MATE
55
The Flash's favorite singer? : TAYLORSWIFT
58
Adamant refusal : IWONT
60
Animator's frame : CEL
61
"Your" of yore : THY
62
Bit of progress : INROAD
64
"Seriously?" : FORREAL
66
Front of a vessel : PROW
68
Magneto's favorite band? : METALLICA
70
Quaint agreement : YESM
71
Comment advising you to set your sights a little lower? : SEENOTE
73
Low tie : ONEONE
74
Response to "You have something on your face," maybe : DOI
75
List-ending abbr. : ETC
76
Gobbles (down) : WOLFS
78
Spider-Man's favorite band? : THESPINNERS
83
Smell ___ (sense something fishy) : ARAT
85
Like Hägar the Horrible : NORSE
87
___ Martin : ASTON
88
"Enough already!" : STOP
89
Batman's favorite rapper? : LILWAYNE
91
Revivalists, for short : NEOS
93
Not only that but also : NAY
95
Singer Sumac : YMA
96
The Avalanche, on sports tickers : COL
97
Make do with a lesser option : SETTLE
99
Thor's favorite rapper? : MCHAMMER
101
Actress Thurman : UMA
102
32° Fahrenheit, in Celsius : ZERO
103
Parisian street : RUE
104
___ volente (God willing) : DEO
105
Old-fashioned provider of directions : ATLAS
107
Completely set : CEMENTED
109
Sir and madam : TITLES
112
Electro's favorite singer? : FRANKZAPPA
114
What the musical artists in this puzzle would form if they all performed together? : SUPERGROUP
116
Decompose : ROT
117
Let breathe, as stinky shoes : AIROUT
118
Tangent line? : ASIDE
119
Princess Fiona, after sunset : OGRE
120
One begins "Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness" : ODE
121
___-turvy : TOPSY
122
Chocolate cup inventor H. B. ___ : REESE
123
Pained cry : YOW
Down
1
Things the police may keep on suspects : TABS
2
Narrow cut : SLIT
3
[legally covering our butts here] : ALLEGEDLY
4
Clickable item : ICON
5
Boom ___ : MIC
6
Remit in advance : PREPAY
7
Digital greeting : ECARD
8
"Stay in your ___!" : LANE
9
Approximately : ATAGUESS
10
Untroubled : SERENE
11
Divine bovine? : SACREDCOW
12
Timeline sections : ERAS
13
Wee bit : TAD
14
Destined for greatness : GOINGPLACES
15
Opening in cosmetology? : PORE
16
Molt : SHED
18
Woodard with four Emmys : ALFRE
21
Covalent bonds of a carbon atom, e.g. : TETRAD
24
Things sailors spin : YARNS
26
Late afternoon hour : FOURPM
29
Some economic figs. : GDPS
32
Tournament bridge players, typically : PAIRS
35
Stick-to-it-iveness : GRIT
36
Santa ___, Calif. : ROSA
37
Speak out against : DECRY
38
City by the Bay, informally : SANFRAN
39
"Why, you little ..." : SONOFA
43
Several quarter turns? : COINTOSS
45
Jay with jokes : LENO
46
Starting squad : ATEAM
47
Speak up, and then some : YELL
49
___ Brand, two-time N.B.A. All-Star : ELTON
51
Boo-boo : OWIE
53
Good trait in a housemate : TIDINESS
56
"Jeez, wasn't expecting that!" : OHWOW
57
For rent : TOLET
59
Test for fit : TRYON
63
Song with the lyric "A loko e hana nei" : ALOHAOE
65
Things equestrians have on hand? : REINS
66
___ dish : PETRI
67
What 14-Across will do if you miss a turn : RECALCULATE
68
Fruit salad ingredients : MELONS
69
"___ bon" : CEST
71
Pup grown up : SEAL
72
Uptown : TONY
74
"___, won't you blow your horn?" (old lyric) : DINAH
77
Cold summer treat : FREEZEPOP
79
Puerto Rican city that shares its name with an explorer : PONCE
80
System of roots? : ETYMOLOGY
81
Part of a so-called "grand tour" : ROME
82
Trade barbs or blows : SPAR
84
Like some saws and bobsleds : TWOMAN
86
Supplication : ENTREATY
90
"What did Delaware?" "I don't know, but ___" (classic joke) : ALASKA
92
University in North Carolina : ELON
94
"Feel me?" : YADIG
98
"___ fugit" : TEMPUS
99
Gooey chocolate treat : MUDPIE
100
Public transit system : METRO
103
Be economical with : REUSE
105
Lead-in to -centric : AFRO
106
Stepped : TROD
107
Italian dear : CARO
108
Victim of a revolution : TSAR
109
What the upright yoga pose vrikshasana simulates : TREE
110
It's worth a little more than a dollar : EURO
111
Violently send out : SPEW
113
Stridex target, informally : ZIT
115
Mag personnel : EDS

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?