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, Safari, Firefox, or Edge for best results.

New York Times, Monday, November 26, 2018

Author:
Evan Kalish
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
47/2/20185/21/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0210010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58020
Evan Kalish

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 41 Missing: {FJQXZ} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Kalish. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Evan Kalish notes:
Astute observers will note that this is very similar to my debut offering from July. I have other ideas, I swear! My future offerings ... read more

Astute observers will note that this is very similar to my debut offering from July. I have other ideas, I swear! My future offerings differ in core concept and thematic density. That said, I've had this idea for some time… Everyone's got an inner nerd! I've got, like, six of them.

You know how they say starlight is a glimpse into the past? Sunlight takes eight minutes to travel the 93 million miles from the Sun to Earth, so sunlight we witness at 10:00 AM is a look at stellar reactions that occurred at 9:52. Telescopes help us witness the universe as it evolved millions — even billions — of years ago. Since I submitted this puzzle, I've been gaining experience and evolving as a constructor. It's been only a year, but it feels like a lifetime ago. You, dear solver, are looking at cruciverbal starlight.

Were I to write the puzzle today I would do things a bit differently. I would likely remove two of the entries: DESIGNER DRUG, which I first heard about as a promising potential cancer treatment (but which also has an unfortunate meaning); and SCREENER DVDS, which is a bit of an outlier in terms of familiarity. I'd look to replace those two entries with just one in the middle row, leaving more opportunity for "bonus fill" and cleaning up suboptimal entries like SSN, TOV, and PLO in the process.

It took me a minute to realize, but that lower-right corner isn't mine! My submission had:

- P P P
N E R D
P R O F
R U M S

I suspect it was the PPP/PDFS crossing that was deemed unfriendly for Monday solvers. I dig classical music, but if you don't then PPP could prove difficult. There is a myriad of fill possibilities for the corner... GDAY is fun, but I would not opt for NAS/ALIA myself. It's interesting to see what happens behind the crossword scenes!

Props to the NYT crew for the fresh clue for (Idris) ELBA!

Jeff Chen notes:
Just like products, insects, and styles, theme types have a life cycle. The very first time a theme is published, it's often ... read more

Just like products, insects, and styles, theme types have a life cycle. The very first time a theme is published, it's often groundbreaking. Amazing. Eye-opening. Memorable. Constructors and editors pile on to get in on the new hot thing, and we see more and more examples of it — sometimes as a near copy, sometimes with a little twist. Then, the crest of the wave; fatigue starts to set in. And like all good things, it eventually falls to the wayside as an entry in the history books.

Hidden word themes are in their last stages of the cycle, especially with the same word repeated over and over. However, as with all established theme types, there's usually room for something a little fresh to keep the genre breathing for a little longer.

Today, I appreciated both the juiciness of the revealer – proud to say that I have both an INNER NERD and an outer nerd – and the quality of the themer finds. All of them were good to fantastic, WIENER DOG my favorite. (At my climbing gym, the manager sometimes brings in his little WIENER DOG – it's so dang cute!)

Neat that Evan used a nearly-complete set, too. I couldn't figure out any others besides ZENER DIODE. I imagine all the other electromechanical gearheads out there are screaming in protest along with me, but I think it's a safe bet that this component wouldn't have been Monday-friendly to newer solvers.

Strong execution on the grid, too. Six themers (I think Evan's hindsight is unwarranted; I like every themer a lot), with ACTIVE PLAY, ESCHER, HIDE ME, Nina SIMONE crossing CROON? The puzzle is up … AND IT'S GOOD! Evan's construction skills have taken a quantum leap in the last year or so. Very impressive.

(One minor point: as much as I love D WADE as a player, I'm not sure his nickname is fair game for newer solvers.)

It's tough for me to get excited about a theme type far into decline – the NYT team recently mentioned that they have too many hidden word themes on file already – but it's a rock-solid Monday.

1
W
2
O
3
K
4
E
5
E
6
L
7
B
8
A
9
C
10
H
11
A
12
S
13
M
14
O
H
N
O
15
R
A
I
N
16
L
O
C
K
E
17
W
I
E
N
18
E
R
D
O
G
19
E
A
T
I
T
20
S
O
W
21
S
O
L
22
S
A
R
I
23
S
C
R
E
24
E
25
N
E
R
D
V
26
D
27
S
28
H
29
A
S
H
30
T
O
V
31
S
E
E
N
32
D
I
N
N
E
33
R
34
D
A
T
E
35
P
L
O
36
O
D
D
37
R
O
W
38
I
R
39
A
40
L
A
W
41
L
E
I
42
B
A
43
N
N
E
R
44
D
A
Y
S
45
E
M
T
46
S
47
I
D
O
48
G
U
Y
S
49
D
E
S
I
50
G
N
E
R
51
D
52
R
U
G
53
G
M
O
S
54
E
V
E
55
B
56
A
57
G
58
C
59
R
O
O
N
60
I
61
N
N
E
R
62
N
E
R
D
63
B
O
O
N
E
64
P
A
I
R
65
A
L
I
A
66
S
E
D
E
R
67
A
T
M
S
68
S
T
A
Y
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1126 ( 25,220 )

Support XWord Info today

Pay now and get access for a year.

1. Select account level
2. Choose how to pay
Across
1
Aware, in a modern way : WOKE
5
Idris ___, People's 2018 Sexiest Man Alive : ELBA
9
Abyss : CHASM
14
"Man, I'm sorry to hear!" : OHNO
15
Nursery rhyme word repeated before "go away" : RAIN
16
"Social contract" philosopher John : LOCKE
17
Dachshund : WIENERDOG
19
Totally wipe out : EATIT
20
Plant, as seeds : SOW
21
Our sun : SOL
22
Dress in Delhi : SARI
23
Copies of movies submitted to critics prior to release : SCREENERDVDS
28
___ mark (#) : HASH
30
"Mazel ___!" : TOV
31
Witnessed : SEEN
32
Partner at a table for two : DINNERDATE
35
Mideast grp. once headed by Yasir Arafat : PLO
36
Otherworldly : ODD
37
Big argument : ROW
38
Levin or Gershwin : IRA
40
The "L" of LSAT : LAW
41
Hawaiian necklace : LEI
42
Times when everything goes perfectly : BANNERDAYS
45
Ambulance crew, for short : EMTS
47
Words exchanged at an altar : IDO
48
Fellas : GUYS
49
Genetically engineered, highly selective medical treatment : DESIGNERDRUG
53
Modern food concerns, for short : GMOS
54
Night before a holiday : EVE
55
Sack : BAG
58
Sing like Dean Martin : CROON
60
The secret geeky part of you ... or a hint to 17-, 23-, 32-, 42- and 49-Across : INNERNERD
63
Trailblazing Daniel : BOONE
64
Modest poker holding : PAIR
65
Et ___ (and others) : ALIA
66
Jewish observance : SEDER
67
Conveniences at many cash-only businesses : ATMS
68
"Don't go!" : STAY
Down
1
Really impresses : WOWS
2
Columbus's home : OHIO
3
Was in the loop : KNEW
4
Really, really long time : EON
5
One might lead to an unearned run : ERROR
6
Soup scoop : LADLE
7
Book jacket bit : BIO
8
Director Lee of "Life of Pi" : ANG
9
Cloudless : CLEAR
10
Stockpiles : HOARDS
11
Running around during recess, e.g. : ACTIVEPLAY
12
Bit of Winter Olympics equipment : SKI
13
Opera presenter, with "the" : MET
18
Artist M. C. ___ : ESCHER
22
Extreme : SEVERE
23
Nine-digit ID : SSN
24
When you'll likely reach your destination, for short : ETA
25
Away : NOTIN
26
Transportation problems caused by 27-Down, say : DELAYS
27
Winter precipitations : SNOWS
28
Plea from a fugitive : HIDEME
29
Announcer's cry after a successful field goal attempt : ANDITSGOOD
32
Handed (out) : DOLED
33
Spring birds : ROBINS
34
Nickname for a 12-time N.B.A. All-Star : DWADE
39
Attorney in court, e.g. : ARGUER
43
Neither's partner : NOR
44
Was really into : DUG
46
Olympic gold-medal gymnast Biles : SIMONE
50
Dead duck : GONER
51
Jean material : DENIM
52
Camper enthusiasts, informally : RVERS
55
Alternative to suspenders : BELT
56
Tune from "Turandot" : ARIA
57
Greeting Down Under : GDAY
58
"___ Evening News" : CBS
59
Fish eggs : ROE
60
Brewery output, for short : IPA
61
D.C. ballplayer : NAT
62
"Illmatic" rapper : NAS

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?