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, November 14, 2015

Author:
Kameron Austin Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
116/6/20146/29/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000137
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57000
Kameron Austin Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 28 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kameron Austin Collins notes:
I try to surprise people with culture and language they didn't expect to see in the Times crossword. If you saw GAYBORHOOD, SPITS ... read more

I try to surprise people with culture and language they didn't expect to see in the Times crossword. If you saw GAYBORHOOD, SPITS GAME, OLIVIA POPE or even WAR ON WOMEN coming, kudos, but I don't believe you.

As for flaws, any constructor who has to measure up against Patrick Berry at the end of the week deserves an "I Survived..." T shirt, assuming they survived. That said, occasional foreign language entries like OSO don't bother me at all, given our country's demographics (45 million Hispanophones and counting); AMAS deserves a second life with this new clue; and IN A is only a partial, rather than a proper noun, for solvers' sake (Food Network fans know why).

Jeff Chen notes:
So much fresh material in this one! Kameron constructs a bi-weekly themeless which also features innovative entries. I've enjoyed ... read more

So much fresh material in this one! Kameron constructs a bi-weekly themeless which also features innovative entries. I've enjoyed them. I don't know that I'd get such a neat combination of entries like FAN FICTION, WAR ON WOMEN, and SPITS GAME from anyone but Kameron — he presents a unique blend of art, liberal politics, and current slang.

OLIVIA POPE, from Scandal

GAYBORHOOD is new to me, but it was inferable and a fun word to learn. SPITS GAME … that one seems like something you either know or you don't, but it's a nice and colorful phrase either way. To me it's like GOAT RODEO — I had never heard of it before, but am I glad I ran across it.

OLIVIA HOPE was tough. Again, it's either something you know or you don't, and not being a Scandal fan, I didn't really care. It exemplifies a dilemma Will goes through all the time when a constructor features a proper name that's not ubiquitously known. If you're a fan, it's a thrill to see the name in the NYT crossword ... but there's no challenge to filling it in. If you don't know it, you struggle for every last square, with very little payoff. DON LEMON was the same way for me, filling in the final square with a shrug.

Aaugh, OLIVIA POPE! HOE House and Museum sounded just as good as POE House. Yes, it's my fault for not making the Baltimore / Poe connection, but these crossing entries / clues felt on the verge of being unfair.

There was a great deal of colorful long material — 16 long entries, a great majority converted into assets — but there were also a number of liabilities. Nothing was major — OSO (sorry Kameron, OSO is worse for me than the much more known-to-non-Spanish-speakers UNO or MAS, for example), BLO, and AMAS had a reasonable save try, cluing to the American Music Awards. Totally agreed with Kameron on INA / IN A though; that one is totally fine by me. And OPEL isn't major here in the US, but it's much bigger in Europe.

All in all, I felt like the assets minus liabilities was around 10, which makes it a strong themeless in my eyes.

ADDED NOTE: Kameron wrote to me after reading my comments, saying that his puzzle deserve more credit than I've been giving them. After reading up on OLIVIA POPE and DON LEMON, I agree that I missed a level in this puzzle, by being too flip about those two names. I personally find it tough to appreciate proper names I don't know, and I tend to not look them up afterward. It's unfortunate that my laziness caused me to miss out, as I hadn't realized how popular "Scandal" was, or the ground DON LEMON has broken in the field of journalism.

1
G
2
A
3
Y
4
B
5
O
6
R
7
H
8
O
9
O
10
D
11
T
12
I
13
T
14
O
15
I
M
A
F
R
A
I
D
S
O
16
I
C
A
N
17
F
A
N
F
I
C
T
I
O
N
18
N
E
X
T
19
T
S
K
20
G
I
A
N
21
L
22
A
T
I
S
H
23
P
I
N
T
24
C
E
V
I
C
H
E
25
T
26
H
O
N
G
27
D
O
M
I
N
E
E
R
28
S
H
I
E
S
29
S
U
M
O
S
30
B
L
O
31
P
E
S
T
32
C
L
E
A
N
33
R
A
T
A
34
I
N
A
35
F
O
O
T
S
36
G
I
B
E
D
37
T
A
I
38
L
O
R
T
O
39
S
A
T
Y
R
40
S
T
R
A
I
N
S
41
P
A
G
E
42
G
U
N
N
E
R
43
M
I
L
L
44
M
45
O
46
P
47
A
R
E
A
48
O
49
L
I
V
I
A
50
P
O
P
E
51
M
A
S
T
52
W
A
R
O
N
W
O
M
E
N
53
E
L
S
E
54
S
T
A
T
E
S
E
A
L
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1114 ( 24,112 )

Support XWord Info today

Pay now and get access for a year.

1. Select account level
2. Choose how to pay
Across
1
Place like Chicago's Boystown or San Francisco's Castro, in modern lingo : GAYBORHOOD
11
Jackson sibling : TITO
15
"Looks that way, unfortunately" : IMAFRAIDSO
16
"___ help" : ICAN
17
Stories unauthorized by authors : FANFICTION
18
Following : NEXT
19
Tut relative : TSK
20
___ Lorenzo Bernini, designer of St. Peter's Square : GIAN
21
Somewhat behind : LATISH
23
Little capacity : PINT
24
Latin American seafood dish with a citrusy kick : CEVICHE
25
Article of attire for 29-Across : THONG
27
Tyrannize over : DOMINEER
28
Starts : SHIES
29
See 25-Across : SUMOS
30
Slo-___ fuse : BLO
31
Real pain : PEST
32
Barbell lift to shoulder height : CLEAN
33
Pro ___ : RATA
34
___ rage : INA
35
Picks up, in a way : FOOTS
36
Like players on opposing teams, often : GIBED
37
Fit for : TAILORTO
39
Bacchus attendant : SATYR
40
Types : STRAINS
41
___ views (webmaster's data) : PAGE
42
Artillery operator : GUNNER
43
Move (about) : MILL
44
Beatle feature : MOP
47
Department : AREA
48
Heroine of ABC's "Scandal" : OLIVIAPOPE
51
Staff at sea : MAST
52
Democratic talking point beginning in 2010 : WARONWOMEN
53
Other : ELSE
54
Where California and Missouri put bears : STATESEALS
Down
1
Easy exam question, so to speak : GIFT
2
Grammy alternatives voted on by the public, for short : AMAS
3
A lot of pull? : YANK
4
Really good bud : BFF
5
Starts : ORIGINS
6
Aflutter : RACING
7
Try to strike : HITAT
8
Anthony Hopkins's role in "Thor" : ODIN
9
One in un zoológico : OSO
10
"CNN Tonight" host beginning in 2014 : DONLEMON
11
Animated Spielberg hero : TINTIN
12
1990 #1 hit that starts "Yo, V.I.P., let's kick it!" : ICEICEBABY
13
There might be one offshore : TAXSHELTER
14
Traveling : ONTHEROAD
22
Budget partner : AVIS
23
Yearly Library of Congress appointee : POET
24
There's no sense in them : COMAS
25
Picture about a pitcher : THENATURAL
26
Jordan, to worshipers : HISAIRNESS
27
Owed : DUETO
28
Uses pickup lines, in slang : SPITSGAME
29
Airtimes : SLOTS
32
Do for the African-American community? : CORNROWS
33
Confession, e.g. : RITE
35
Pâté base : FOIE
36
Secret enforcers : GAGLAWS
38
Woolly : LANATE
39
Cleansing solution : SALINE
41
Revolution in basketball? : PIVOT
43
Actress Sorvino : MIRA
44
Home to Mondrian's "Broadway Boogie Woogie" : MOMA
45
Real gem of a car? : OPEL
46
Stationery shop display : PENS
49
Rowing machine target, for short : LAT
50
___ House and Museum (Baltimore attraction) : POE

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?