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ZAP!

New York Times, Sunday, November 30, 2014

Author:
Matt Ginsberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
481/17/200811/1/20187
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1603015464
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57330
Matt Ginsberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 68 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 41 for Mr. Ginsberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Matt Ginsberg notes:
My last puzzle in the Times came with a very brief interval between submission and publication of 74 days. This one was nearer the other end of the spectrum, with the interval being 833 ... read more

My last puzzle in the Times came with a very brief interval between submission and publication of 74 days. This one was nearer the other end of the spectrum, with the interval being 833 days, a bit over two years. (Still, not really so bad!) I'm not sure if it's related, but many more of the clues were changed on this one than on most of my efforts. Some of the clues I included but which never made it into print: [Deserted?] for SERE, [Crime recommended by the Doors in 1967?] for ARSON, [Gabriel Macht and Patrick Adams, as seen on TV] for SUITS, [Pigpen-esque] for MESSY, and [They're in knots] for TOADS. I used Maximum Decimus Meridius instead of Spartacus in 101-A (SLAVE), because I'm a Gladiator fan, and included the bit of trivia [Teddy Roosevelt's was the smallest when he assumed office] for AGE. I used [Burning it doesn't change the name] for ASH and had [Gathers, as Timothy] for HAYS because my wife is an equestrian. Will also saved me by removing a bunch of clunkers.

Cluing is interesting. I've remarked elsewhere that Dr.Fill does better on the NY Times puzzles than it does on those in the ACPT, and I suspect that the cluing is a lot of the reason. Dr.Fill is pretty well dialed in on the cluing style in the Times, but Will edits the ACPT clues much more lightly, and that's why I suspect it has trouble. Speaking of which, you can find a video of Dr.Fill solving today's puzzle below:

This was an interesting one. DF does terribly on its initial pass, but then checks to see if this is a rebus puzzle and concludes that it is (right!) with the rebus AD (also right!). It resolves the puzzle, and does much better. The only mistake is that it thinks that TEENY is better than WEENY for [Itsy-bitsy] and can't figure out what's going on with the existing clue for 103-D. My clue for WEENY was [Diminutive], about the same as Will's; my clue for WINE was [Red or white, but not blue]. DF would probably have liked that clue much better (it knows all about red and white wines), so I'll view this as another of Will's unending and gleeful efforts to cause Dr.Fill fits.

Jeff Chen notes:
A Tale of Two Puzzles today. Interesting twist to a rebus theme, ADs getting zapped in the across direction to form wacky phrases. And it was fun to search for those little AD squares, ... read more

A Tale of Two Puzzles today. Interesting twist to a rebus theme, ADs getting zapped in the across direction to form wacky phrases. And it was fun to search for those little AD squares, each one a miniature a-ha moment when I uncovered it.

I'm not totally sure I got it, though. Why was the AD zapped in one direction only? And am I using that "ad zapping" term correctly? I did a search for "ad zapping" and got quite a mixture of results. It also felt awkward to have an extra AD that wasn't zapped in the across direction … at 1-Across, right at the very front. I wondered for the longest time if that was supposed to be a hint to the entire puzzle somehow.

Strong choices for themers, both getting snappy base phrases like FIVE O CLOCK SHADOW (something we rarely see because at 16 letters, it doesn't fit into most weekday grids) as well as resulting answers. BRO MINDED gave me a chuckle, exactly the way a kooky-themed puzzle should kick off.

But other longish fill includes ARISTOS, BARDED, EDESSA. Perhaps a case can be made for EDESSA, I suppose, as it has historical significance. I'm curious who uses the words ARISTOS and BARDED. Bueller?

Some brilliant clues to make the short fill really stand out. I kept a running list because there were so many ones that brought a smile to my face. I think it's worth going back through these entries to appreciate how fun their clues were: FIN, PINS, PAROLE, IDOL, COCAS, RNA, MEAL. And the clue for TASS might confuse some, but once you realize it's referring to ITAR-TASS, the old Russian news agency, it sings. I'm usually satisfied if I get three or four of these playful clues in an entire Sunday puzzle, so to get eight blows me away. Very well done.

Yet other short answers were tough, of the type that potentially turns non-addicts away from crosswords. SERE is ranked so low on my word list that I only can access it when I'm in truly desperate measures. OSO is near that level, as is the extended BRRR. It's funny how strongly just a couple of those types of entries can affect a person's experience (subjective, of course). Will recently mentioned SLA and SDI are entries he's very strongly discouraging as near "puzzle-killers," and I feel like there are a few more that could be added to that list.

Overall, I enjoyed the experience, a hunting expedition for those AD squares lurking in the grid (in the down direction, at least), and making the leap that the ADs had to be zapped in the across. As with most Sunday puzzles, some compromises in the eternal quest to bring out the best of times. Dickensian, indeed. (Although Will says he's not purposefully trying to fool Dr. Fill at the ACPT, I love the image Matt paints of Will twirling his Snidely Whiplash mustache as he plots a la Uriah Heep.)

Jim Horne notes:

NYT puzzles often reference Apple products so it's nice to see two Microsoft Office clues today — 76A and 99A.

1
A
2
D
3
D
4
S
5
F
6
O
7
I
8
S
9
T
10
C
11
L
12
A
13
R
14
A
15
I
16
B
17
M
18
S
19
B
R
O
AD
20
M
I
N
D
E
D
21
H
O
R
U
S
22
M
E
A
L
23
A
N
N
O
U
N
C
E
R
S
24
I
R
I
S
H
25
B
A
L
L
AD
26
R
O
O
27
S
A
U
D
I
28
H
A
R
S
H
29
A
G
I
L
E
30
T
31
I
T
L
E
32
C
A
N
I
T
33
P
R
E
K
34
T
35
S
E
T
S
E
36
C
37
H
A
N
G
E
O
38
F
AD
D
R
E
39
S
40
S
41
W
I
N
C
E
42
C
H
A
R
O
43
S
E
R
E
44
T
N
T
45
O
N
T
H
E
46
S
H
AD
Y
S
I
47
D
48
E
49
R
E
D
50
S
H
O
E
51
A
G
E
52
T
A
S
S
53
I
W
54
I
N
55
H
A
W
N
56
M
E
R
57
I
58
N
O
S
59
A
60
R
S
O
N
61
Z
62
L
O
T
Y
S
63
F
I
V
E
64
O
65
C
L
O
C
K
S
66
H
AD
O
W
67
P
68
A
69
R
O
L
E
70
S
U
I
T
S
71
O
O
C
Y
72
T
73
E
74
S
75
I
D
O
L
76
S
O
R
T
77
B
78
R
R
R
79
O
P
A
80
L
A
Y
D
81
O
82
W
N
83
AD
O
84
P
85
T
I
O
N
A
86
G
87
E
N
C
Y
88
A
N
A
89
Z
O
I
90
C
91
I
O
T
A
S
92
R
A
Y
O
N
93
F
O
L
94
L
O
W
T
H
95
E
96
L
E
AD
E
R
97
W
A
R
M
T
O
98
P
I
N
S
99
E
D
I
T
S
100
C
A
N
N
A
101
S
102
L
A
V
E
103
W
E
E
N
Y
104
F
105
J
O
R
D
106
R
107
N
108
A
109
L
AD
I
E
S
110
F
I
R
S
T
111
E
L
U
C
I
D
112
A
T
E
S
113
U
L
N
A
114
I
N
U
S
E
115
L
E
G
A
L
AD
V
I
C
E
116
R
E
S
T
117
N
E
P
A
L
118
M
E
S
S
Y
119
A
N
K
A
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1130 ( 23,763 )
Across
1
Interjects : ADDS
5
Pass off : FOIST
10
Pianist Schumann, early champion of Brahms : CLARA
15
Certain servers : IBMS
19
Focused on one's fellow fraternity members? : BROMINDED
21
Egyptian war god : HORUS
22
Fast break? : MEAL
23
Workers in booths : ANNOUNCERS
24
Dublin dance? : IRISHBALL
26
Pooh's baby friend : ROO
27
King Abdullah, e.g. : SAUDI
28
Like a desert climate : HARSH
29
Like circus tumblers : AGILE
30
What may come with a trophy : TITLE
32
"Shut up!" : CANIT
33
Like the Head Start program, for short : PREK
34
African flier : TSETSE
36
What Clark Kent needs to become Superman? : CHANGEOFDRESS
41
Response to a gotcha : WINCE
42
One-named chanteuse : CHARO
43
Dry : SERE
44
Julius Wilbrand invention of 1863, for short : TNT
45
Somewhat bashful? : ONTHESHYSIDE
49
Article of papal attire : REDSHOE
51
___ spot : AGE
52
Red alert source? : TASS
53
Uncommon cry after a lottery drawing : IWIN
55
Oscar winner who was formerly a regular on TV's "Laugh-In" : HAWN
56
Fine wool sources : MERINOS
59
Firing offense? : ARSON
61
Polish capital : ZLOTYS
63
Local afternoon newscast? : FIVEOCLOCKSHOW
67
Sentence ender, maybe : PAROLE
70
Execs : SUITS
71
Eggs-to-be : OOCYTES
75
Subject of a Fox hunt : IDOL
76
Excel function : SORT
77
"I'm f-f-freezing!" : BRRR
79
___-Locka, Fla. : OPA
80
Show, as cards in gin rummy : LAYDOWN
83
Business offering the right to buy and sell securities? : OPTIONAGENCY
88
Carrier to Tokyo : ANA
89
End of an era? : ZOIC
91
III : IOTAS
92
Textile patented in 1894 : RAYON
93
How to find what a creep is looking at? : FOLLOWTHELEER
97
Become fond of : WARMTO
98
Ones bowled over? : PINS
99
What Microsoft Word's Track Changes shows : EDITS
100
Flowering tropical plant : CANNA
101
Spartacus, at one time : SLAVE
103
Itsy-bitsy : WEENY
104
Northern passage : FJORD
106
Chain letters? : RNA
109
Says "I didn't do it!" before fessing up? : LIESFIRST
111
Clarifies : ELUCIDATES
113
Fibula : leg :: ___ : arm : ULNA
114
Taken : INUSE
115
Cigarettes or booze? : LEGALVICE
116
Conclude in court : REST
117
Where Indiana Jones reunites with Marion : NEPAL
118
Overly involved : MESSY
119
Paul who composed the "Tonight Show" theme : ANKA
Down
1
"This guy walks into ___ ..." : ABAR
2
Fictional villain whose given name is Julius : DRNO
3
"Wrong way" : DONOTENTER
4
Prefix with masochistic : SADO
5
One may be grand : FINALE
6
Perfectly timed : ONCUE
7
Fingered : IDED
8
Golfer ___ Pak : SERI
9
Some OT enders : TDS
10
Mao adversary : CHIANG
11
Country singer Morgan : LORRIE
12
Blue bloods, informally : ARISTOS
13
"A.S.A.P.!" : RUSH
14
Bit of air pollution : ASH
15
Digicam component : IMAGER
16
"Well, fine" : BELIKETHAT
17
Washington attraction : MALL
18
English glam-rock band with six #1 hits : SLADE
20
Essential, in a way : MUSTSEE
25
Armored, as a horse : BARDED
28
Asian capital known as the City of Lakes : HANOI
31
Astronaut's woe, perhaps : ITCH
32
Sleeper and others : CARS
33
Father : PADRE
34
When D.S.T. starts or ends : TWOAM
35
Burn a little : SINGE
36
Refuse at the polling station : CHADS
37
Old Hollywood's ___ Code : HAYS
38
Leaves in a waiting room? : FERN
39
Flaky? : SNOWY
40
British guns : STENS
42
Climax of many an action film : CHASE
46
Hot pot spot : STOVE
47
Pieces in the game Othello : DISCS
48
Certain Endorian : EWOK
50
Flamboyant : SHOWY
54
Connections : INS
57
Poker resignation : IFOLD
58
Bubkes : NIL
59
O'Connor successor : ALITO
60
Bilge : ROT
61
"Butterfly" actress, 1982 : ZADORA
62
___ cit. (footnote abbr.) : LOC
64
Mexican bear : OSO
65
Band-Aid competitor : CURAD
66
Orchestra section : HORNS
67
Rice ___ : PILAF
68
Hersey novel locale : ADANO
69
Major annoyances : ROYALPAINS
72
Singer whose "I Get Ideas" was on the charts for 30 weeks : TONYMARTIN
73
Its icon is Spaceship Earth : EPCOT
74
Decline : SAYNO
76
Pique activity? : SNIT
77
Quick snack : BITE
78
Sound of approval : ROAR
81
Some oxygen molecules : OZONES
82
Bowls over : WOWS
84
High fidelity? : PIETY
85
Ugly ones : TOADS
86
Pop's pop : GRANDDAD
87
Make : EARN
90
"Things aren't so bad" : CHEERUP
94
Occupy : LIVEAT
95
Ancient Macedonian capital : EDESSA
96
Stonehenge feature : LINTEL
97
With caution : WARILY
100
Chewed stimulants : COCAS
101
Potential libel : SLUR
102
Scoop (out) : LADLE
103
With 105-Down, some amphorae : WINE
104
Scoot : FLEE
105
See 103-Down : JUGS
107
Head turner : NECK
108
Between ports : ASEA
110
Cod piece : FIN
111
West ___ (upscale furniture store) : ELM
112
Actress Gardner : AVA

Answer summary: 15 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?