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

New York Times, Thursday, November 1, 2018

Author:
Matt Ginsberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
471/17/200811/1/20187
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1603015463
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57330
Matt Ginsberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 47 for Mr. Ginsberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Matt Ginsberg notes:
I've always wanted to make a Schrödinger puzzle. The old CLINTON/BOB DOLE puzzle was just so amazing. What I really want to make ... read more

I've always wanted to make a Schrödinger puzzle. The old CLINTON/BOB DOLE puzzle was just so amazing. What I really want to make is a puzzle with two completely different solutions, but I think I need to be a better clue writer to do that. And to have more time on my hands!

As far as this puzzle goes, I often tell people (truthfully) that when my puzzles come out in The Times, I can't do them. That's especially true today; Will changed the vast majority of my clues. I'm confident that he thinks all of his modifications are better; I certainly think some of them are. We've discussed this briefly, and he seemed to think that my clues were just too weird. So now I'm trying to figure out if he's right. I had originally clued 60-A, for example, as "What Mrs. Ed would be" and had clued 61-A as "Tiller operator's drink, supposedly." Both of those clues require larger mental leaps than the clues that were eventually used. What do people think?

I will confess that I thought the gimmick here was localized enough that the puzzle itself would be pretty easy, which is why I tried to make the clues a bit harder than usual. But maybe I overdid it, or got it wrong, or what have you. Dr.Fill gets this puzzle right basically immediately (it doesn't get the Schrödinger element, of course, just filling in one of the two possible letters), and gives Will's clues a difficulty score of 54. It gets it right with my clues as well, but has to rework the answer twice to figure it out (which it does automatically); my clues get a difficulty score of 72.03. So my clues are harder, but that doesn't mean that they are either better or fair. Like I said, I'd be interested in comments from solvers.

My clues or Will's, though, I hope everyone found the puzzle fun.

Jeff Chen notes:
Some of my favorite puzzles are those that take two different theme types and combine them in an interesting way. I thought Matt did ... read more

Some of my favorite puzzles are those that take two different theme types and combine them in an interesting way. I thought Matt did well to start with two-part phrases, where the halves differ by one letter (in the same spot) — Patrick Berry did something in the same vein a few years ago, as did Patrick Merrell. PITTER PATTER entered into the grid as P(I/A)TTER is pretty fun already. But adding a Schrödinger element in the down direction? Very fun!

It's sort of a rebus meets a Schrödinger meets … a repeated word theme? Not sure exactly how to describe it, but it was creative.

I was especially delighted by the AS GOOD / AS GOLD find. I've seen similar theme concepts using PITTER PATTER, JELLY BELLY, and GALILEO GALILEI, but there's something golden about the AS GOOD / AS GOLD find. It was so interesting I had to stop during my solve to admire it.

I also liked how accurate most of the Schrödinger clues were for both options. [Sticky stuff] as GLOP or GOOP = perfect. Same goes for [Scratch, say] to describe FLAW / CLAW. I thought that one was particularly brilliant since it works so well for either option — but in very different ways. FLAW as a noun, CLAW as a verb.

And this former MBA loved the MICRO / MACRO find! How have I never thought of that before?

On the downside, BLOT felt much more apt for an ink stain than a BLOB. And although LET ON / LET IN worked well both ways, it wasn't as interesting to me, as a change of preposition isn't going to win any awards.

ADDED NOTE: Astute reader Luke Vaughn points out that although it's "just" a preposition change, look at how cleverly both fit the clue. LET ON, as in admitted a truth, and LET IN, as in admitted into a party. I stand corrected!

Overall, such an enjoyable experience to uncover those themers. This is a well-made puzzle with great bonuses like DOGGEREL and APTITUDE.

ADDED NOTE: I forgot to mention, Matt is (among many other things) an author! I enjoyed Factor Man, a thriller about a tech guru's world-changing invention.

Jim Horne notes:

Mr. Ginsberg loves to play with convention. Check out this mind-bender from 2010.

1
E
2
S
3
T
4
A
5
T
6
E
7
A
8
D
9
S
10
U
11
R
12
A
13
L
14
S
L
A
P
O
N
15
B
O
A
16
P
E
P
E
17
P
IA
T
T
E
R
18
E
G
G
19
P
L
A
N
T
20
T
A
I
L
O
21
R
22
G
A
L
I
L
E
OI
23
T
E
N
A
24
C
E
25
U
N
M
A
N
26
B
27
P
28
L
U
S
29
N
O
R
30
I
S
K
31
L
O
A
D
S
32
L
E
C
H
33
FC
34
A
35
T
36
O
L
D
E
37
JB
38
E
L
L
Y
39
P
L
O
W
40
BT
O
Y
41
N
E
V
E
42
P
I
A
N
O
43
R
E
T
A
G
44
S
45
E
L
W
E
S
46
S
47
A
48
M
O
A
49
G
E
I
50
S
E
L
51
C
H
IA
T
T
52
E
R
53
S
P
R
A
54
N
55
G
56
H
E
C
T
O
R
E
57
D
58
A
S
G
O
OL
59
D
60
M
A
R
E
61
T
E
A
62
T
I
E
R
O
D
63
O
D
O
R
64
E
N
D
65
E
N
R
A
P
T
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1101 ( 25,195 )
Across
1. Something you must be willing to leave? : ESTATE
7. Them's the breaks! : ADS
10. River past Orsk and Orenburg : URAL
14. Add to in haste : SLAPON
15. Snake genus, or one of its members : BOA
16. Pet form of José : PEPE
17. *Sound of little feet : PITTERPATTER
18. Shade of deep purple : EGGPLANT
20. Custom-fit : TAILOR
22. *Tycho Brahe contemporary : GALILEOGALILEI
23. Bridge player's combo : TENACE
25. Deprive of courage : UNMAN
26. 3.3, give or take : BPLUS
29. Without a downside : NORISK
31. A lot : LOADS
32. Solidarity leader Walesa : LECH
33. *Mr. Moneybags : FATCAT
36. McGillin's ___ Ale House (historic Philadelphia tavern) : OLDE
37. *Branded candy with multicolored beans : JELLYBELLY
39. Close follower of a team? : PLOW
40. *Woman's young lover, in slang : BOYTOY
41. Actress Campbell : NEVE
42. Staple of ragtime music : PIANO
43. Corrects, as an ID on Facebook : RETAGS
45. Cary of "The Princess Bride" : ELWES
46. Neighbor of Tonga : SAMOA
49. Dr. Seuss' real surname : GEISEL
51. *Small talk : CHITTERCHATTER
53. Leapt : SPRANG
56. Bossed around : HECTORED
58. *Idiom meaning "guaranteed" : ASGOODASGOLD
60. Sea of Tranquillity, e.g. : MARE
61. Chief agricultural export of Kenya : TEA
62. Part of a steering system : TIEROD
63. Something commonly found in a laundry bag : ODOR
64. Remnant : END
65. Wholly absorbed : ENRAPT
Down
1. Picking up things? : ESP
2. Louver feature : SLIT/SLAT
3. "See ya!" : TATA
4. Ability : APTITUDE
5. Like sandals : TOELESS
6. ___ Field, former home to the Houston Astros : ENRON
7. Figure seen on the National Mall, informally : ABE
8. Writing on many a greeting card : DOGGEREL
9. Frank Herbert's "Dune" series, e.g. : SAGA
10. What you need to talk to a satellite : UPLINK
11. Sphere : REALM
12. Nocturnal affliction : APNEA
13. Admitted : LETON/LETIN
19. Richly luxurious : PLUSH
21. Did one leg of a triathlon : RAN
24. What's helpful to a degree? : COLLEGE
26. Ink stain, e.g. : BLOB/BLOT
27. Explorer whose name is a sport : POLO
28. Word in many Catholic church names : LADY
30. Frigid : ICY
33. Scratch, say : FLAW/CLAW
34. Tops : AONE
35. Groups on Noah's Ark : TWOS
37. Take a flier : JET/BET
38. Bond girl in 2006's "Casino Royale" : EVAGREEN
39. Visigoth vis-à-vis Rome : PILLAGER
41. "Cool beans!" : NEATO
42. Uses a keyhole, perhaps : PEERSIN
43. Scoundrel, in Britain : ROTTER
44. Girl in the fam : SIS
46. Loser : SCHMO
47. Up : AHEAD
48. Prefix with economics : MICRO/MACRO
50. Rush : SPATE
52. One-named French designer : ERTE
54. "The Thin Man" role : NORA
55. Sticky stuff : GOOP/GLOP
57. One who might explain the birds and the bees : DAD
59. Debugging aid? : DDT

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?