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

SURROUND SOUND

New York Times, Sunday, November 23, 2014

Author: Patrick Berry
Editor: Will Shortz
Patrick Berry
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2237/11/19997/14/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
711241676512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 76 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 191 for Mr. Berry. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Another rock-solid piece of work from Patrick today. I told myself I was going to up my standards for certain constructors, as I like the idea of spreading POW!s around. And honestly, I wasn't wowed by the puzzle ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Another rock-solid piece of work from Patrick today. I told myself I was going to up my standards for certain constructors, as I like the idea of spreading POW!s around. And honestly, I wasn't wowed by the puzzle at first glance — it's just a homophone type of puzzle, yeah?

No! After speeding through the ultra-smooth solve, I began to realize how neat it was. Homophone pair puzzles have been done over and over again, so I think it's important to do something different, or add another layer. Perhaps jam three homonyms together? Or in this case, take a final syllable and find an unexpected homophone for it. ROTC PAPARAZZI was brilliant — the sheer craziness of RAZZI and ROTC sounding the same is really cool. (Note: regular reader Evan Kalish asked about the ROTC rhyme, so I'll clarify that ROTC is indeed commonly pronounced "rot-see.") Same goes for PEWTER and PUTER, LUNAR and LOONER, and COLLIE and CHOLY.

Pomegranate

I asked Patrick how he did it — these themers aren't really something you can find through brute force database searching. He said he came up with the idea while eating a pomegranate, and found theme candidates the old fashioned way: paper, a rhyming dictionary, and a whole lot of brainstorming. Very cool.

What's most impressive though, is Patrick's ability to create a Sunday-size puzzle which falls more into the Monday-ish level of difficulty that's accessible to newer solvers. Will generally pegs Sunday puzzles to be pretty difficult (roughly as hard as a Thursday), but I've noticed that there's a fairly wide range over the course of a year. That's a brilliant move, as the Sunday NYT xw has so much more exposure than other days of the week that it's good to put a gradient of difficulty within Sundays. Makes it more accessible to a wider range of solvers; a good strategy to continually increase readership.

But coming up with a super-smooth, relatively easy Sunday puzzle is incredibly difficult. If creating a super-smooth Monday puzzle is like getting a man into space, doing a similar task with a 21x, 140-word grid is starting a colony of lunar ballooners. The much more difficult specs mean that you have to use longer words on average (can't lean as heavily on 3, 4, 5-letter words), and knitting together a grid with roughly twice as much area without duplicating the usual ATE / EAT, ONE, IRE suspects that are so easy to miss … that's a monster of a task.

As usual, Patrick sticks the landing, even giving us a bevy of ALI BABA, EVIL EYE, RIB CAGE, SANDLOT (what great use of seven-letter entries!), while keeping the glue to an … ERNO? That's about it, for an entire Sunday puzzle? (Actually, ERNO Rubik is a bit of a hero of mine.) Patrick is one of the best when it comes to navigating the trade-offs between sparkly fill vs. clean smoothness.

So this puzzle might not look like eye-popping, but it's pretty close to the epitome of a perfect easy-level Sunday puzzle inviting in newer solvers. Really well done.

1
A
2
L
3
P
4
O
5
D
6
A
7
R
8
R
9
E
10
N
11
S
12
K
13
I
14
W
15
A
16
N
17
E
18
F
O
U
L
19
S
20
E
X
P
I
R
E
21
I
R
S
22
O
L
A
V
23
R
A
N
D
O
24
M
M
E
M
O
R
A
25
N
D
U
M
26
M
I
M
I
27
O
N
T
A
R
I
O
28
T
A
L
E
29
B
A
B
E
L
30
G
R
A
N
31
I
32
T
33
E
34
P
O
M
E
G
35
R
A
N
A
T
E
36
M
37
A
38
T
E
Y
S
39
M
O
R
E
40
S
E
A
M
41
B
A
Y
42
U
S
E
43
S
P
O
N
S
44
O
45
R
46
R
I
B
47
C
A
G
E
48
L
U
N
49
A
50
R
51
B
A
L
L
O
O
N
E
52
R
53
S
I
R
54
E
N
T
R
E
A
T
Y
55
S
C
A
56
P
E
57
E
58
S
59
P
60
N
61
C
A
C
T
I
62
M
63
A
T
U
R
E
64
M
E
T
R
O
65
M
I
C
66
R
O
67
T
68
C
69
P
A
P
A
R
A
Z
70
Z
I
71
R
E
D
72
L
O
L
73
L
Y
74
W
H
A
L
E
R
75
O
X
76
F
A
M
77
K
N
E
E
78
K
O
A
L
A
79
A
80
C
O
U
S
T
I
81
C
82
A
83
R
E
84
P
E
W
85
T
86
E
87
R
C
O
M
P
U
T
E
R
88
H
89
A
90
S
K
E
L
91
L
92
D
I
E
T
A
R
Y
93
O
R
E
94
U
M
A
95
A
S
I
96
A
97
E
R
I
E
98
M
99
O
100
A
N
E
D
101
M
E
N
102
T
I
O
N
S
103
D
104
I
M
E
N
S
105
I
O
N
S
106
O
R
D
E
R
107
C
H
E
R
108
T
W
I
T
109
T
110
E
111
R
112
R
I
L
E
113
C
O
L
L
I
114
E
115
M
116
E
117
L
A
N
C
H
O
L
Y
118
E
C
O
N
119
O
L
E
120
S
W
I
V
E
L
121
E
M
I
L
E
122
D
A
T
A
123
O
N
E
124
H
E
R
E
S
Y
125
A
L
A
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1123 ( 23,756 )
Across Down
1. Canned food you don't eat : ALPO
5. "Black Swan" director Aronofsky : DARREN
11. Compete in the Winter Games, say : SKI
14. Lose strength : WANE
18. Whistle prompters : FOULS
20. Become invalid : EXPIRE
21. Org. that prepares tables : IRS
22. Norway's patron saint : OLAV
23. Office missive sent out arbitrarily? : RANDOMMEMORANDUM
26. "Rent" character ___ Marquez : MIMI
27. It borders five U.S. states : ONTARIO
28. Yarn : TALE
29. What Gustave Doré's "The Confusion of Tongues" depicts : BABEL
30. Stone fruit? : GRANITEPOMEGRANATE
36. Fellow sailors : MATEYS
39. Gourmand's want : MORE
40. Tailor's sideline? : SEAM
41. Dark horse : BAY
42. Applicability : USE
43. Back : SPONSOR
46. Expander during inhalation : RIBCAGE
48. Aeronaut who's headed for the moon? : LUNARBALLOONER
53. Headmaster honorific : SIR
54. Earnest request : ENTREATY
55. Suffix with land or sea : SCAPE
57. "Outside the Lines" broadcaster : ESPN
61. Stickers? : CACTI
62. Like audiences for R-rated films : MATURE
64. D.C. transport : METRO
65. It may be open at a bar : MIC
66. Photographers who stalk future lieutenants? : ROTCPAPARAZZI
71. Sunset shade : RED
72. One getting a licking, informally? : LOLLY
74. The Pequod, e.g. : WHALER
75. Poverty relief organization : OXFAM
77. Support for a proposal? : KNEE
78. Animal that may carry its baby on its back : KOALA
79. Wireless? : ACOUSTIC
82. Subsist : ARE
84. Desktop machine made of malleable metal? : PEWTERCOMPUTER
88. Eddie ___, "Leave It to Beaver" boy : HASKELL
92. Like some restrictions : DIETARY
93. Blast furnace input : ORE
94. Thurman of "The Producers" : UMA
95. Turkey's place, in large part : ASIA
97. Snowbelt city : ERIE
98. Groused : MOANED
101. Provides some idea of an object's size? : MENTIONSDIMENSIONS
106. Communicate with the server, perhaps : ORDER
107. Oscar nominee for "Silkwood" : CHER
108. Feed supplier : TWITTER
112. Wind up : RILE
113. Lassie's affliction after failing to rescue Timmy? : COLLIEMELANCHOLY
118. C.P.A.'s study : ECON
119. 1965 Johnny Mathis album of Latin American music : OLE
120. Turn while seated : SWIVEL
121. "Into the Wild" star Hirsch : EMILE
122. ___ mining : DATA
123. Gender-neutral pronoun : ONE
124. Excommunication provocation : HERESY
125. "It's a pity" : ALAS
1. Age of Aquarius hairstyle : AFRO
2. Student's burden : LOAN
3. Bad choice on first down : PUNT
4. Retirement period : OLDAGE
5. Possessor? : DEMON
6. Medieval battle weapon : AXE
7. Dashboard abbr. : RPM
8. Kia model : RIO
9. Go astray : ERR
10. "That's amazing!" : NEATO
11. Moves obliquely : SIDLES
12. Last name in horror : KRUEGER
13. Doctrine : ISM
14. George Eliot, but not Marilyn Manson : WOMAN
15. Chinese company whose 2014 I.P.O. was the world's largest in history : ALIBABA
16. Retail clerk's accessory : NAMETAG
17. Glare : EVILEYE
19. "You'll be ___!" : SORRY
24. Some Veterans Day honorees, for short : MIAS
25. Pentagon Papers subject, for short : NAM
29. Babe in the woods : BAMBI
31. Lead one to believe : IMPLY
32. Plane, e.g. : TOOL
33. "Cubist" Rubik : ERNO
34. Dinero unit : PESO
35. Not just see : RAISE
36. Hybrid animal : MULE
37. South American capital : ASUNCION
38. Arm of the sea : TENTACLE
43. Was in session : SAT
44. Amenity in a G.M. vehicle : ONSTAR
45. What some dreams and themes do : RECUR
47. First Nations tribe : CREE
49. What doesn't come full circle? : ARC
50. Hear again : RETRY
51. "Bugsy Malone" star Scott : BAIO
52. ___ avis : RARA
56. Candy from Austria : PEZ
58. Briggs & ___ (engine maker) : STRATTON
59. Tinseltown event : PREMIERE
60. Drift off : NOD
62. Nyasaland, today : MALAWI
63. Parody : APE
64. Problem of mistaken identity : MIXUP
65. Reformer from the time of D.D.E. to L.B.J. : MLK
67. Tommy Lasorda's jersey number : TWO
68. Require balm, say : CHAP
69. Reacted to a shock, maybe : PALED
70. Streak : ZOOM
73. Boon for an investigative journalist : LEAK
76. A.C.C. school : FSU
78. Five-time Jockey Club Gold Cup winner : KELSO
79. Farm name ender : ACRES
80. Unforthcoming : COY
81. Reputation, informally : CRED
83. Have an encore presentation of : REAIR
85. Abound : TEEM
86. To be, to Balzac : ETRE
87. Drops out of the sky : RAIN
88. Played along with : HUMORED
89. "A poem in our eyes," per Emerson : AMERICA
90. Little pitcher's place : SANDLOT
91. $5 picture : LINCOLN
96. Jessica Simpson's sister : ASHLEE
98. No longer standing tall? : MOWN
99. In readiness : ONICE
100. Bronchial woe : ASTHMA
102. Singer ___ Marie : TEENA
103. First of 50: Abbr. : DEL
104. Source of the word "galore" : IRISH
105. 2006 World Cup winner : ITALY
109. Work hard : TOIL
110. "___ and Basie!" (1963 jazz album) : ELLA
111. Jim Beam and Wild Turkey : RYES
113. Gentle bird call : COO
114. Palindromic animal : EWE
115. Once-high station? : MIR
116. "Paradise Lost" figure : EVE
117. Media exec Moonves : LES

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

|