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 30, 2015

Author:
Ian Livengood
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
554/12/20109/15/20164
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
617667112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64371
Ian Livengood

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 51 for Mr. Livengood. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ian Livengood notes:
I almost submitted this puzzle with stacked themed 10s in the 2/3 and 13/14 rows. I actually got pretty good fill with 'em, but ... read more

I almost submitted this puzzle with stacked themed 10s in the 2/3 and 13/14 rows. I actually got pretty good fill with 'em, but thought it'd be too intimidating for Monday solvers. I tried to avoid entries that had a ?AA? pattern like SAAB, PAAR, or MAAM (not that difficult) and keep things bouncy.

I don't care for ARAL and maybe CCCP, but I'm pleased with the rest of the fill. Hope solvers like it!

Jeff Chen notes:
MIDAS TOUCH interpreted as 'mid As touch.' Seeing all the *AA* phrases made it pretty obvious that those letters were integral to the ... read more

MIDAS TOUCH interpreted as "mid As touch." Seeing all the *AA* phrases made it pretty obvious that those letters were integral to the theme, but the revealer gave me a very nice and unexpected a-ha moment.

King Midas

It's awfully surprising to see an OLIO in an Livengood puzzle (although there is a case to be made for "aglio y olio"), given how impressively free of gluey words his puzzles usually are. So what's going on? It's not that Ian was careless regarding his fill — it's the trade-off of having six themers vs. the usual four or five. Stuffing six themers into a 15x grid is something only a handful of people can pull off well, because so much theme density gives you fits in having to fill around all of them. Stacking themers does help space things out, but the ??IO pattern at 7-Down does take away flexibility.

As much as I like looking at the construction feat, I'm not sure the sixth themer was worth it. Having just four *AA* phrases would have set up the revealer just as well for me. I might have even preferred it, as it got a little repetitive to see that *AA* pattern over and over.

That said, this is a tiny nit to pick. It's much better constructed than an average Monday puzzle, what with just that OLIO and an ARG, and CLIPBOARD and LAKE GENEVA are nice bonus fill. BOB DOLE was especially pleasing to me, since my (13-month old) daughter has taken to carrying around a pen like Dole. It's ridiculously endearing.

Very nice idea, accessible to Monday solvers but still interesting what with that hard-to-predict revealer. I wouldn't have made the same trade-off to work in a sixth themer, but that's just personal preference.

1
S
2
P
3
I
4
K
5
E
6
T
7
O
8
G
9
A
10
C
11
C
12
C
13
P
14
H
I
K
E
R
15
E
L
M
S
16
A
L
O
E
17
O
P
E
R
A
18
A
R
I
A
S
19
R
I
O
T
20
W
E
A
N
21
F
I
O
N
A
22
A
P
P
L
E
23
E
24
A
T
25
D
R
A
B
26
B
27
O
28
L
L
S
29
S
30
I
31
P
32
G
R
O
33
O
34
M
35
L
H
A
S
A
36
A
P
S
O
37
S
38
K
A
N
E
39
O
A
K
40
P
R
E
S
L
E
41
Y
42
R
C
A
43
O
R
E
44
S
45
P
A
U
L
A
A
46
B
D
U
L
47
M
A
G
I
48
C
49
K
E
Y
50
L
O
S
E
S
51
E
X
I
52
T
53
W
E
B
54
S
55
A
N
T
A
A
56
N
57
I
58
T
A
59
D
60
R
61
A
62
T
63
T
R
E
E
64
M
I
D
A
S
65
T
O
U
C
H
66
E
A
V
E
67
E
K
E
S
68
O
L
D
I
E
69
P
L
A
N
70
D
E
S
K
71
N
E
E
D
Y
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1130 ( 24,128 )
Across
1
Add alcohol to, as punch : SPIKE
6
Caesar dressing? : TOGA
10
Letters on a Soviet rocket : CCCP
14
One traveling with a backpack : HIKER
15
Stately hardwoods : ELMS
16
___ vera : ALOE
17
Songs for divas : OPERAARIAS
19
Read the ___ act : RIOT
20
Withdraw gradually from a mother's milk : WEAN
21
1997 Grammy-winning artist whose last name is a fruit : FIONAAPPLE
23
Dine : EAT
25
Dull-colored : DRAB
26
Pods of cotton : BOLLS
29
Nurse, as a drink : SIP
32
Union man? : GROOM
35
Tibetan watchdogs : LHASAAPSOS
38
Orson Welles's "Citizen ___" : KANE
39
Acorn producer : OAK
40
Elvis who was "all shook up" : PRESLEY
42
40-Across's record label : RCA
43
Bauxite and magnetite : ORES
45
Former "American Idol" judge : PAULAABDUL
47
Pulling a rabbit out of a hat, e.g. : MAGIC
49
C minor, for Beethoven's Fifth : KEY
50
Gets the booby prize : LOSES
51
Lit sign in a theater : EXIT
53
Writer ___ Du Bois : WEB
54
Noted California horse-racing venue : SANTAANITA
59
"Fiddlesticks!" : DRAT
63
39-Across, e.g. : TREE
64
Moneymaking skill ... or, when read as three words, what happens in 17-, 21-, 35-, 45- and 54-Across : MIDASTOUCH
66
Icicle's place : EAVE
67
___ out a living (gets by) : EKES
68
Song from way back : OLDIE
69
Strategize : PLAN
70
Library carrel, basically : DESK
71
Impoverished : NEEDY
Down
1
"24" or "48 Hours" : SHOW
2
Accessory for a snowman : PIPE
3
Furniture giant with a blue and yellow logo : IKEA
4
Corn seeds : KERNELS
5
Period in history : ERA
6
Actress Hatcher : TERI
7
Mishmash : OLIO
8
Gangster catcher, informally : GMAN
9
Longtime Syrian strongman : ASSAD
10
Place to leave an auto, in Britain : CARPARK
11
Ones providing backing for writers? : CLIPBOARDS
12
Air-condition : COOL
13
Tennis's Sampras : PETE
18
Toward a ship's rear : AFT
22
Buenos Aires's land: Abbr. : ARG
24
"Now!" : ASAP
26
Begin to flower : BLOOM
27
Scarlett of Tara : OHARA
28
Body of water between France and Switzerland : LAKEGENEVA
29
Order to a dog to bark : SPEAK
30
Immigration or the economy, in a presidential election : ISSUE
31
Stereotypical parrot's name : POLLY
33
With perfect timing : ONCUE
34
Breakfast and lunch : MEALS
36
Dadaist Jean : ARP
37
See 55-Down : SEA
41
Harvard rival : YALE
44
"Sweet" age : SIXTEEN
46
War-hero candidate of 1996 : BOBDOLE
48
Hush-hush org. : CIA
52
Domesticated : TAMED
53
"Now where ___ I?" : WAS
54
Stairs unit : STEP
55
With 37-Down, shrunken body of water in Asia : ARAL
56
Company with a swoosh logo : NIKE
57
___ of March : IDES
58
Something on a to-do list : TASK
60
Like cutting in line : RUDE
61
Low-pH substance : ACID
62
Rock's ___ Might Be Giants : THEY
65
2,000 pounds : TON

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?