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

New York Times, Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Author: Ruth Bloomfield Margolin
Editor: Will Shortz
Ruth B. Margolin
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
72/26/20148/20/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2013100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48100

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQVX} This is puzzle # 5 for Ms. Margolin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

Support XWord Info

Donation Amount

XWord Info is only possible when people like you choose to support it through donations.

Donate to get access to XWord Info for a year.

Benefits vary by donation level. Thank you!

Ruth B. Margolin notes: While driving home one day, I heard on the radio news something like 'This would affect France's chances of .....', and the ... more
Ruth B. Margolin notes:

While driving home one day, I heard on the radio news something like "This would affect France's chances of .....", and the rhyming phrase just jumped out at me. Home to the notepad, where "chances" quickly became DANCES. Then, it turns out that there are relatively few country names that are short and have comfortable rhymes that can make the pattern work.

Initially, I sent the puzzle in with GUAM'S PALMS (which appear on the Territory's flag and official seal), but Will rightly pointed out that those two words don't rhyme in everyone's pronunciation. I should have anticipated that. After all, I am someone who is routinely teased (by my children, of course) for my pronunciation in which "fire" and "wire" aren't exact rhymes, which always makes talking about "firewires" awkward. No problem: I liked CUBA'S TUBAS even better!

Of course, it is hard not to "fall in love" with certain answers or certain clues. In this case, while I didn't mind changing the theme answers, I did love some of my original clues. For CUBAS TUBAS: "Low blows at Guantanamo?" and for CHINAS MYNAHS: "Asian producers of counterfeit audio?" and for TOGOS LOGOS: "Items only seen on two Winter Olympians ever?" Careful editing has adjusted these clues to appropriate Tuesday puzzle level, but breaking up is hard to do.

Jeff Chen notes: Country rhymes, using a consistent (country) + (possessive S) + (rhyme for the country). At first the theme seemed too loosey-goosey ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Country rhymes, using a consistent (country) + (possessive S) + (rhyme for the country). At first the theme seemed too loosey-goosey for me — pretty easy to rhyme many countries with words — but after some thought, it struck me that Ruth only used countries with exactly two syllables. That helps tighten things up. Additionally, she only used countries with the first syllable stressed — no JAPAN or IRAN.

Not all of the themers gave me a smile, but there's something amusing about CUBA'S TUBAS, with its visual of Raul Castro parading around in an oom-pah-pah band.

Neat that Ruth pushed the envelope, leaving a ton of white space to work with in this 72-word grid. I immediately got a delight in ALLOSAURUS, and CRIME SPREES and INNER BEAUTY sure helped to enhance my solve. What really stood out though, was the abundance of good mid-length material: LESOTHO, TOP HAT, PEORIA, SNEEZY, TIN EAR — so many bonuses packed in, all throughout the grid.

It all did come at a price, but not a very expensive one. The only region that made me hitch was the lower left, with OUS (awkward suffix) crossing the partial AS AN. I don't mind the latter that much, since it's so common in various similes, but since I had just uncovered THOS and AMBI nearby, it felt like a lot of compromises in one sector.

For me, the top right is a much better trade-off between snazz and smoothness. Love ALLOSAURUS, and LOOMPA is fun even without Oompa, just for the low, low price of AGR. (ETAS to me is so common as to be negligible.)

Although Ruth did make strides toward selecting a tight theme set, I still felt like it wasn't quite tight enough for me, as it was too easy to think of others: TURKEY'S JERKIES, SWEDEN's EDENS … okay, maybe it's a tighter theme than I first (or second) thought! And all the nice bonuses in fill sure were appreciated.

1
I
2
N
3
C
4
H
5
E
6
B
7
O
8
L
9
A
10
M
11
A
12
Y
13
A
14
S
I
R
E
15
T
O
G
O
S
16
L
O
G
O
S
17
A
N
I
L
18
A
L
L
O
S
A
U
R
U
S
19
Y
E
M
E
20
N
S
L
E
M
O
N
S
21
S
T
E
N
O
22
P
R
A
Y
23
I
24
N
25
G
26
O
Y
S
27
T
28
O
29
P
30
H
A
T
31
N
I
P
32
P
33
E
O
R
I
A
34
S
35
A
N
T
A
36
F
R
A
N
C
E
S
37
D
38
A
N
C
E
S
39
C
R
E
T
E
40
T
I
N
E
A
R
41
E
Y
E
42
S
43
W
A
N
E
E
44
B
45
I
46
T
47
L
E
S
48
O
49
T
H
O
50
Z
51
E
E
N
A
52
C
H
I
N
53
A
54
S
55
M
Y
N
A
H
S
56
R
57
O
58
M
E
O
R
O
M
E
O
59
D
U
E
T
60
C
U
B
A
S
T
U
B
A
S
61
E
T
R
E
62
A
S
A
N
63
S
T
I
R
S
64
D
Y
E
D
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1101 ( 24,465 )
Across Down
1. Tailor's unit : INCH
5. African virus : EBOLA
10. Ancient Central American : MAYA
14. "Your majesty" : SIRE
15. Commercial symbols in Lomé? : TOGOSLOGOS
17. Source of indigo : ANIL
18. Reptile at the top of the Jurassic food chain : ALLOSAURUS
19. Basis of a refreshing Mideast beverage? : YEMENSLEMONS
21. Court recorder : STENO
22. Speaking up? : PRAYING
26. Cries of dismay : OYS
27. Downton Abbey headgear : TOPHAT
31. Chill in the air : NIP
32. Metonym for Middle America : PEORIA
34. Leader of a group of elves : SANTA
36. Gavotte, minuet and cancan? : FRANCESDANCES
39. Where Theseus slew the Minotaur : CRETE
40. Tone deafness : TINEAR
41. What a cyclops has in common with a cyclone : EYE
42. River in Stephen Foster's "Old Folks at Home" : SWANEE
44. Chomped down on : BIT
47. Country completely surrounded by South Africa : LESOTHO
50. Ethan Frome's wife : ZEENA
52. Far Eastern mimics? : CHINASMYNAHS
56. Cry from Juliet : ROMEOROMEO
59. Sondheim's "It Takes Two," e.g. : DUET
60. Providers of low notes for rumbas? : CUBASTUBAS
61. To be, in Toulouse : ETRE
62. "___ aside ..." : ASAN
63. Begins to wake : STIRS
64. Blond now, say : DYED
1. Arbitrary non-explanation, after "because" : ISAYSO
2. No longer an octogenarian : NINETY
3. Events in Bonnie and Clyde's biography : CRIMESPREES
4. Her face launched a thousand ships : HELEN
5. Greek H's : ETAS
6. ___ weevil : BOLL
7. Leer : OGLE
8. Lead-in to land for Willy Wonka's workers : LOOMPA
9. Categorize : ASSORT
10. Timid : MOUSY
11. Cabinet dept. : AGR
12. The "Y" of TTYL : YOU
13. Total jerk : ASS
16. Actress Turner : LANA
20. Emphatically zero : NOTONE
23. What kindness and graceful aging reveal : INNERBEAUTY
24. Quibbles : NITS
25. 4.0, e.g. : GPA
28. Tolkien terror : ORC
29. Alternative to cake : PIE
30. "___ mañana" : HASTA
33. Have supper : EAT
34. One of the Seven Dwarfs : SNEEZY
35. Obama's signature health measure, for short : ACA
36. David ___, comic with a famous Richard Nixon impression : FRYE
37. When repeated, child's term for supper : DIN
38. "Wheel of Fortune" buy : ANE
39. Cartoon frame : CEL
42. Skins' opponent in a pickup game : SHIRTS
43. Prevailed : WONOUT
45. Cry after "Psst!" : INHERE
46. Sampled : TASTED
48. Indian ___ : OCEAN
49. Pres. Jefferson : THOS
51. Broke off : ENDED
53. Prefix with dexterity : AMBI
54. Burn superficially : SEAR
55. Rolling stones lack it : MOSS
56. First U.S. color TV maker : RCA
57. Suffix with hazard : OUS
58. C.E.O.'s deg. : MBA

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?