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, Friday, November 9, 2018

Author:
Robyn Weintraub
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
223/28/20116/21/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
02320123
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Robyn Weintraub

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 32 Missing: {BJQVXZ} This is puzzle # 18 for Ms. Weintraub. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Robyn Weintraub notes:
Recently I was asked about using seed entries in my themeless puzzles. I replied that I don't do seed entries — instead, I focus ... read more

Recently I was asked about using seed entries in my themeless puzzles. I replied that I don't do seed entries — instead, I focus on crafting the best stacks and go wherever my word list takes me. It never works well for me to fall in love with an entry and force the rest of the grid around it. I've gotten pretty inured to "killing my darlings"; good entries resurface when the time is right. I've tried to include both WHO GOES THERE and GLASS CEILING in previous grids, but they never survived to the final cut. Today those two great entries finally get their debut.

Jeff Chen notes:
At my favorite cookie place, Hello Robin, their bags have the tagline 'You had me at Hello (Robin).' Hello, Robyn, you had me at CLOWN ... read more

At my favorite cookie place, Hello Robin, their bags have the tagline "You had me at Hello (Robin)." Hello, Robyn, you had me at CLOWN CARS! What a brilliant clue – high-occupancy vehicles indeed. I was stuck on the notion of carpools, vans, etc. for the longest time. Made an already great entry even better.

Jim sometimes quotes a single entry in a themeless as the reason he loves the entire puzzle. It often seems like such is his level of delight, that he can overlook anything else in the puzzle. I rarely have that experience, but today, Robyn could have thrown in about ten dabs of crossword glue and three asymmetrical blocks and a two-letter word, and I doubt I would have stopped smiling.

But it didn't end there! Like with all her themeless, Robyn had so much color elsewhere – WHO GOES THERE, FUNNEL CAKES, GLASS CEILING, CANDY CANE, among others – and all of it felt so relatable to a broad audience.

I don't mind when a themeless constructor starts with some person or phrase I'm too uncool to know about – just as long as the crosses are fair. But it's hard to get excited about something that feels unfamiliar (or makes you just plain feel old).

Not the case for something like CLOWN CAR, a term which I'd guess that most everyone knows. And even if you don't know it, it's not hard to figure out. Who doesn't love clowns endlessly streaming out of a tiny VW Bug?

Okay, people who are scared of clowns. Right.

There were a couple of blips in the fill, but they were minor (all short and easy to figure out): SIE SEE TIAS YDS. And CREEL may cause consternation for some – I remember when I first learned the term ... in a hard crossword! But it no doubt is a real thing, and I can't see any of the crosses possibly seeming right any other way. CREAL / THALMA perhaps?

Nah.

Another Weintraub themeless, another POW! Robyn's voice comes through loud and clear in her themelesses, and it's such a joy to experience. When I find a (book) author I like, I go off in search of everything that person has written and devour it. Here's hoping that Robyn continues to be prolific.

Jim Horne notes:
If, like Jeff, you like to track down puzzles by a constructor you love, this page is full of Across Lite links organized by the ... read more

If, like Jeff, you like to track down puzzles by a constructor you love, this page is full of Across Lite links organized by the people who made them. Print out your own book of great crosswords for on your next trip. An NYT Crossword subscription is required.

1
C
2
L
3
O
4
W
5
N
6
C
7
A
8
R
9
S
10
T
11
I
12
A
13
S
14
T
R
E
E
H
O
U
S
E
S
15
O
N
M
E
16
R
E
T
R
O
G
R
A
D
E
17
U
D
O
N
18
Y
D
S
19
G
O
A
P
E
20
G
R
I
N
S
21
F
O
O
D
22
F
23
O
L
I
A
G
E
24
A
25
R
26
G
U
E
D
27
M
I
D
A
S
28
S
E
A
N
S
29
C
O
N
E
S
T
30
O
31
G
32
A
33
T
A
U
N
T
34
A
L
E
35
S
T
R
A
W
36
I
D
L
E
H
37
A
N
D
S
38
C
R
E
P
E
39
L
E
N
D
S
40
T
E
A
S
E
S
41
A
42
M
43
S
C
R
A
Y
44
S
H
I
P
45
P
U
P
A
E
46
C
47
R
E
E
L
48
S
49
P
50
A
51
P
R
E
K
52
W
A
I
T
L
I
53
S
T
E
D
54
L
A
C
E
55
I
N
S
O
M
N
I
A
C
S
56
E
L
K
S
57
T
E
E
N
A
G
E
R
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1109 ( 25,203 )
Across
1
High-occupancy vehicles? : CLOWNCARS
10
Madres' kin : TIAS
14
Some high-rise constructions : TREEHOUSES
15
"This one's ___" : ONME
16
Backward : RETROGRADE
17
Soup noodle : UDON
18
Drapers' units: Abbr. : YDS
19
Wig out : GOAPE
20
Friendly greetings : GRINS
21
"Fish are friends, not ___" (line from "Finding Nemo") : FOOD
22
Leaves : FOLIAGE
24
Made a case : ARGUED
27
Touchy sort? : MIDAS
28
___ Bar, Ireland's oldest pub, dating to A.D. 900 : SEANS
29
Pioneer mover : CONESTOGA
33
Call mean names, say : TAUNT
34
Old Speckled Hen, for one : ALE
35
Dispenser item : STRAW
36
"The Devil's playthings" : IDLEHANDS
38
Crinkly fabric : CREPE
39
Provides, as aid : LENDS
40
Calls funny names, say : TEASES
41
"Vamoose!" : AMSCRAY
44
Liner, e.g. : SHIP
45
Butterfly chrysalises, e.g. : PUPAE
46
Fishing basket : CREEL
48
Eponymous Belgian resort town : SPA
51
Like some early learning, for short : PREK
52
Like some college applicants : WAITLISTED
54
Something found near the tongue? : LACE
55
Ones who find it difficult to go out? : INSOMNIACS
56
Group whose past members have included six U.S. presidents : ELKS
57
Much of Generation Z, today : TEENAGERS
Down
1
Rep : CRED
2
Agreeable answer to an invitation : LETS
3
"Jingle Bells" contraction : OER
4
Sentry's query : WHOGOESTHERE
5
Reprobate : NOGOOD
6
First-aid brand : CURAD
7
Urgent letters : ASAP
8
Adjusts the parameters of : REDEFINES
9
General direction of I-77: Abbr. : SSE
10
Times Square, you might say : TOURISTTRAP
11
Setting for "Siddhartha" : INDIA
12
___ friends : AMONG
13
Impression : SENSE
14
Take a sip of : TRY
20
Breaking it might be cause for celebration : GLASSCEILING
21
Fair fare : FUNNELCAKES
23
Complimentary composition : ODE
24
Wine town in Piedmont : ASTI
25
Follow the script : READ
26
Caesar's conquest of 58-50 B.C. : GAUL
27
Gets into shape? : MOLDS
29
Common Christmas decoration : CANDYCANE
30
Raw materials : ORES
31
Look of astonishment : GAPE
32
Astonishes : AWES
37
Largest carrier in Japan : ANA
40
J. J.'s sister on "Good Times" : THELMA
41
First U.S. company to be valued at $1 trillion : APPLE
42
Certain street art : MURAL
43
Dot : SPECK
44
Determined about : SETON
47
Stop lying : RISE
48
Competitor of Us Weekly : STAR
49
Bodybuilder's pride : PECS
50
Trailers, e.g. : ADS
52
Romeo's was "a most sharp sauce," per Shakespeare : WIT
53
You: Ger. : SIE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?