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, Monday, November 20, 2017

Author:
Peter Gordon
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1159/5/19898/19/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
842241411619
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.5891611
Peter Gordon

This puzzle:

Rows: 16, Columns: 15 Words: 79, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 102 for Mr. Gordon. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter Gordon notes:
I can't recall what the phrase was that gave me this theme. It might have been KANGAROO COURT. Whatever it was, I saw it and thought ... read more

I can't recall what the phrase was that gave me this theme. It might have been KANGAROO COURT. Whatever it was, I saw it and thought it was interesting because it was alliterative but the two words started with different letters. I wondered if there were others like that. I thought of ones like KNITTING NEEDLE and SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, but those seemed cheap since the K and P are silent. I wanted ones where the opening consonants didn't have any repeats. The only ones I could think of that worked were G/J, PH/F, C/S, and K/C. The Z/X possibility led nowhere. Too bad this ZEBRA XYLOPHONE isn't better known.

The puzzle needed a revealer, but ALLITERATION (or ALLITERATIVE) is 12 letters, a bad length. If it's at the bottom, it has to go in Row 12, which squeezes everything too much toward the middle. That's when I thought of putting ALLITERATIVE down the middle of a 15x16, and having the other theme answers crossing it.

Jeff Chen notes:
Love this concept, two-word phrases that sound like ALLITERATION but don't start with the same letter. I've looked at the phrase PHOTO ... read more

Love this concept, two-word phrases that sound like ALLITERATION but don't start with the same letter. I've looked at the phrase PHOTO FINISH so many times in my life, but I've never realized that those two words are alliterative! Same with CAESAR SALAD. Very cool finds.

GENTLEMAN JOHNNY wasn't as much an everyday phrase, but it's such a great nickname.

KELLYANNE CONWAY didn't do it as much for me. Nice to have someone current and topical, but oof, does she bring up some ickiness for me. More importantly, I can imagine some solvers wondering how on earth Kelly, Anne, and Conway could be a triplet of alliteration. Felt like there might have been better options for a fourth themer.

I'm usually not that impressed by themer interlock, but I like what Peter did today. Something so elegant about the themers running through that ALLITERATION backbone. It does give away the game very quickly, as most solvers will read the ALLITERATION clue shortly after starting. But that was okay with me since even after reading it, I didn't understand the concept until solving two or three themers.

I enjoyed the theme so much that I gave this the POW! ... even though I think the grid is not right for a Monday. Not at all novice friendly. As a mechanical engineer, the first time I ever ran across MHO was through crosswords. DCV is pretty ugly (Peter and I have very different perspectives on random Roman numerals, though). The HEEP / LOGE crossing might prevent some newer solvers from a clean finish. And I can imagine novices bringing up the "you have to know weird esoteric stuff in order to do crosswords" argument with ANAPEST and TETCHY.

The theme is meaty enough, with hardish themers that felt more mid-weekish too. A real shame it was run on a Monday, where it might scare off newer solvers.

Not sure what the right answer is. It could have been Monday-ified by breaking up ANAPEST / STEERED into two words apiece, or losing some of the great bonuses, like IVORY TOWER and AB NEGATIVE. But I enjoyed those last two a lot.

Overall though, the idea was memorable, and that's hard to come by. POW!

1
A
2
N
3
A
4
P
5
E
6
S
7
T
8
M
9
R
10
I
11
D
12
D
13
S
14
R
U
B
E
L
L
A
15
E
A
T
16
S
O
U
T
17
G
E
N
T
L
E
M
18
A
N
J
O
H
N
N
Y
19
O
V
E
R
20
W
E
L
L
21
R
O
S
E
22
E
G
O
23
S
24
L
O
25
S
26
T
A
R
T
S
27
A
L
U
28
M
29
N
I
30
P
O
P
31
A
32
C
T
33
P
H
O
T
34
O
F
I
N
35
I
36
S
37
H
38
C
H
I
39
P
40
O
V
E
N
41
L
E
V
E
E
42
D
I
V
O
43
T
44
A
R
C
45
H
46
L
O
G
E
47
C
A
E
S
A
48
R
S
A
L
A
49
D
50
R
A
P
51
S
R
I
52
T
E
T
C
53
H
Y
54
M
55
A
56
R
I
A
C
57
H
I
58
V
E
T
59
S
60
A
R
A
B
61
O
O
62
H
63
S
64
I
O
N
65
E
66
K
E
L
L
67
Y
68
A
N
N
E
C
69
O
N
W
A
Y
70
O
N
L
E
A
V
E
71
M
O
L
I
E
R
E
72
S
A
Y
73
K
E
Y
74
S
T
E
E
R
E
D
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1120 ( 24,849 )
Across
1
Three-syllable foot, as in "bada-bing" : ANAPEST
8
Hosp. diagnostic procedure that's noninvasive : MRI
11
Cavity filler's deg. : DDS
14
German measles : RUBELLA
15
Patronizes a restaurant : EATSOUT
17
Nickname of Gen. Burgoyne in the American Revolution : GENTLEMANJOHNNY
19
"Your turn," to a walkie-talkie user : OVER
20
Source of fresh water : WELL
21
Valentine's Day flower : ROSE
22
Parts of psyches : EGOS
24
Skills that no one knows anymore : LOSTARTS
27
College fund-raiser targets : ALUMNI
30
Sound after snap and crackle : POP
31
Law : ACT
33
End of a close race : PHOTOFINISH
38
Ante matter? : CHIP
40
Cookie cooker : OVEN
41
"Drove my Chevy to the ___ ..." ("American Pie" lyric) : LEVEE
42
Bit of turf on a golf course : DIVOT
44
St. Louis landmark : ARCH
46
High-priced theater section : LOGE
47
Dish made with romaine lettuce, croutons and Parmesan cheese : CAESARSALAD
50
Busta Rhymes's music : RAP
51
___ Lanka : SRI
52
Irritable : TETCHY
54
Sombrero-wearing musician : MARIACHI
58
Animal docs : VETS
60
United ___ Emirates : ARAB
61
Exclamations during eclipses : OOHS
64
Actress Skye : IONE
66
Coiner of the phrase "alternative facts" : KELLYANNECONWAY
70
Taking a sabbatical, e.g. : ONLEAVE
71
"Le Misanthrope" playwright : MOLIERE
72
"You don't ___!" : SAY
73
Anthem writer Francis Scott ___ : KEY
74
Had the helm : STEERED
Down
1
Jason's ship, in myth : ARGO
2
Cuatro + cinco : NUEVE
3
Rare blood type : ABNEGATIVE
4
Gas sold by the litre : PETROL
5
Right-angled joint : ELL
6
Seattle ___ (1977 Triple Crown horse) : SLEW
7
Domesticated : TAME
8
___ Park, N.J. : MENLO
9
Indian character on "The Big Bang Theory" : RAJ
10
Midori who lit the torch at the Nagano Olympics : ITO
11
Blood drive participant : DONOR
12
Actress Kirsten : DUNST
13
Eye woes : STYES
16
Henry ___, British Army officer who invented the exploding shell : SHRAPNEL
18
What 17-, 33-, 47- and 66-Across exhibit, despite appearances to the contrary : ALLITERATION
23
"How's it goin'?" : SUP
25
Letters before a number on a beach bottle : SPF
26
Work like a dog : TOIL
28
Unit of conductance : MHO
29
Suddenly bright stars : NOVAS
31
Electrically flexible : ACDC
32
___ Pet (kitschy gift) : CHIA
34
Frère of un père : ONCLE
35
Place sheltered from worldly realities : IVORYTOWER
36
Game company that created Sonic the Hedgehog : SEGA
37
Dickens's Uriah ___ : HEEP
39
Part of A.S.A.P. : POSSIBLE
43
"Gone With the Wind" plantation : TARA
45
Sombrero, e.g. : HAT
48
Ocasek of the Cars : RIC
49
605, in ancient Rome : DCV
53
Keister : HEINIE
54
Powerful sharks : MAKOS
55
Ice show setting : ARENA
56
Political campaign event : RALLY
57
Bees' production : HONEY
59
Small drum : SNARE
62
Clothes lines? : HEMS
63
Edinburgh native : SCOT
65
Observed closely : EYED
67
Tibetan ox : YAK
68
N.Y.C.'s Madison ___ : AVE
69
Bullring cheer : OLE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?