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, Saturday, November 5, 2016

Author:
David Phillips
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
207/24/20148/5/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1021277
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57000
David Phillips

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 64, Blocks: 28 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Phillips. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Phillips notes:
From a constructing standpoint, I like this puzzle quite a bit. Even with its chunky corners and low word count, the puzzle (by my ... read more

From a constructing standpoint, I like this puzzle quite a bit. Even with its chunky corners and low word count, the puzzle (by my count) only has 3 objectively "bad" entries: ANTA (a relatively obscure org. at best), AHS (plural sounds/utterances = blech), and TIRO (second banana to Cicero = not famous enough IMO). I'm sure the more pessimistic among us might argue for COHERER's or TYNE's inclusion in that list, but those entries strike me as more neutral.

...which brings me to the aspect I dislike most about this puzzle: all of the neutral answers. As a solver, I'm not certain that I would like struggling with a Saturday NYT only to uncover swaths of ho-hum. Does the challenge of the wide-open grid make up for this? Will the few interesting long entries (as always, your mileage may vary, but I'm including STREET SMART [probably my fave clue in the whole puzzle...an-n-nd...my original clue stayed...hooray!], SHOPLIFT, SCABBARD, SHALL WE, and MEGATRON in this category) and some tough, (hopefully) entertaining clues be enough to provide a satisfying solve? I have a feeling the answer is "for some solvers, this challenge will do just fine; others (speed solvers maybe...?) will likely be bored."

At any rate, the grid pattern/filling challenges/puzzle solving experience will be new, which is something I strive for. Like Jeff, I also admire Patrick Berry's/others constructors' continued efforts to produce puzzles that do not fit the typical themeless cookie-cutter mold, and, thus, I make it a priority to attempt the same.

Hope you enjoyed the puzzle and notes. I'm anxious to gauge solvers' reactions to this one. Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Jeff Chen notes:
I usually get nervous when I see a puzzle this wide open, wondering how many bizarre entries I'll have to figure out, including but ... read more

I usually get nervous when I see a puzzle this wide open, wondering how many bizarre entries I'll have to figure out, including but not limited to esoterica, words made up by adding RE- or -ER, and standard short crossword glue. What a huge relief to sail through this puzzle with not much of the aforementioned at all!

My favorite was the upper right, what with MEGATRON (leader of the evil Decepticons in "Transformers," and also the awesome nickname for former Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson) featured, plus STEPSONS and ICE CAP pretty good too.

And really just one gluey entry up there! SPINET is a perfectly legit musical instrument (a small piano, basically), but like David mentioned, TIRO is a toughie. I'm on the fence whether or not Cicero's longtime servant is crossworthy, but the other, much more common definition of TIRO [Newbie: Var.] makes for a clearly gluey answer.

The bottom right is a good example of the struggle to achieve both snazziness and cleanliness in these type of big corners. I really like how careful David was in avoiding any sort of glue — it's so hard to do in space like this. And STREET SMART was really nice. But nothing else was very notable — STRESSED, PRESERVE, PLANES, etc. are more neutral space-fillers to me than assets.

I did like that COHERER turned out to be all right. At first I wondered if it was one of those odd -ER words, but it does appear to be a real, albeit outdated, piece of radio technology. AMEN AMEN … I'm not a churchgoer, but do people really repeat the word in this fashion? Something more like AAA-MEN! feels more spot-on to me.

But overall, there were more good entries than I expected out of an ultra-low-word-count puzzle like this — the ones David mentioned, plus STARDATE and even FLAT RATE BOX — and very few of the ANTA (American National Theater and Academy) gluey bits. Pleasantly surprised.

1
S
2
H
3
O
4
P
5
L
6
I
7
F
8
T
9
S
10
L
11
I
12
M
13
S
14
M
A
N
U
A
L
L
Y
15
S
P
I
N
E
T
16
O
V
E
R
P
L
A
N
17
M
E
N
A
G
E
18
C
A
S
S
E
T
T
E
19
I
C
E
C
A
P
20
K
N
E
E
L
E
R
21
S
T
K
I
T
T
S
22
S
A
C
S
23
L
A
24
T
T
E
25
T
I
R
O
26
A
L
T
A
R
27
D
E
V
O
N
28
S
29
M
30
U
31
S
H
32
E
K
E
33
O
M
E
N
S
34
C
O
L
T
S
35
B
E
E
36
C
H
37
A
N
T
A
38
T
O
N
T
O
39
P
40
E
41
S
42
T
43
B
R
E
R
44
F
O
X
45
S
H
46
A
L
L
W
E
47
B
O
R
D
E
N
48
A
M
E
N
A
M
E
N
49
A
V
I
A
T
E
50
M
A
R
I
N
E
R
S
51
R
I
O
T
E
D
52
P
R
E
S
E
R
V
E
53
D
A
R
E
S
54
S
T
R
E
S
S
E
D
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1105 ( 24,469 )

Support XWord Info today

Access this site for a full year:

  1. Select your level
  2. Choose how to pay

Learn about support levels.

$50 — Angel

Full access + download

$20 — Regular User

Full access, limited Finder

$10 — Casual User

Students & seniors
Across
1
Take stock? : SHOPLIFT
9
Undergoes downsizing : SLIMS
14
By hand : MANUALLY
15
Small parlor piece : SPINET
16
Leave basically nothing to chance : OVERPLAN
17
Household : MENAGE
18
Walkman insert : CASSETTE
19
Martian feature : ICECAP
20
Support in a confessional : KNEELER
21
Caribbean island that Columbus visited in 1493 : STKITTS
22
Pollen repositories : SACS
23
Foamy drink : LATTE
25
Cicero's longtime servant and scribe : TIRO
26
___ boy : ALTAR
27
English county whose seat is Exeter : DEVON
28
Flatten : SMUSH
32
Just make (out) : EKE
33
Breaking of a mirror and others : OMENS
34
Young studs? : COLTS
35
Slow-burning firewood : BEECH
37
Nonprofit Broadway production grp. : ANTA
38
TV character who said "Help always come when people fight for right" : TONTO
39
Raid target : PEST
43
Character in Uncle Remus tales : BRERFOX
45
Comment often preceding "Let's" : SHALLWE
47
Gail ___, inventor of condensed milk : BORDEN
48
Emphatic agreement : AMENAMEN
49
Start a bank, say : AVIATE
50
Other than the Nationals, only current Major League Baseball team never to have played in a World Series : MARINERS
51
Turned to anarchy : RIOTED
52
Conservationist's field? : PRESERVE
53
Has the gall : DARES
54
Under the gun : STRESSED
Down
1
Lab wear : SMOCKS
2
Premium cigar : HAVANA
3
"Hold it!" : ONESEC
4
Compact containers : PURSES
5
Big flap in the fashion industry : LAPEL
6
Threat from a rat : ILLTELL
7
U.S.P.S. option advertised with the slogan "If it fits, it ships" : FLATRATEBOX
8
Northumberland river : TYNE
9
Jot : SPECK
10
Entry in a legislative appropriations bill : LINEITEM
11
Idle : INACTIVE
12
Archenemy of Optimus Prime in "Transformers" movies : MEGATRON
13
Members of blended families : STEPSONS
15
Hit hard : SMITE
21
Not going by the book? : STREETSMART
24
Occupied : TAKEN
26
Sighs of relief : AHS
27
"Why did I do that?!" : DOH
28
Blade holder : SCABBARD
29
Only African capital named after a U.S. president : MONROVIA
30
Intentionally hidden : ULTERIOR
31
Enterprise standard : STARDATE
36
Device used to detect radio waves : COHERER
38
Not flabby : TONED
39
2013 "Cars" spinoff : PLANES
40
Popular arts-and-crafts brand : ELMERS
41
Take a sudden turn : SWERVE
42
Prepared for impact : TENSED
44
Grand affairs : FETES
46
Black jellybean flavorer : ANISE
48
Hookups at a gig : AMPS

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?