It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.

FULL-BODY CAST

New York Times, Sunday, December 10, 2017

Author:
Erik Agard and Laura Braunstein
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3111/6/20121/19/201913
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
73335361
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61140
Erik Agard
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
212/10/20173/21/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.82100
Laura Braunstein

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 136, Blocks: 88 Missing: {FQ} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Agard. This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Braunstein. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
LAURA: I've been solving crosswords all my life, it seems — my grandfather, who was an immigrant, would solve puzzles to practice English, and he used to ask for my help when I was a ... read more

LAURA: I've been solving crosswords all my life, it seems — my grandfather, who was an immigrant, would solve puzzles to practice English, and he used to ask for my help when I was a kid. I've only been constructing for about a year. I'm a librarian at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and Andrew Kingsley (an NYT constructor), who recently graduated, used to work on his grids in the reference room. We would chat about puzzles, and one day I decided that if puzzles were things that people made, I could make them too.

I've been so fortunate to have friends and mentors who have supported me through the process of learning to construct. Recently, one of my favorite speculative fiction authors, Charlie Jane Anders, tweeted that a definition of success that makes her happy is "getting to be associated with people I admire, who keep surprising me." That is also my definition of success in crosswords. Last winter when I started trying to make puzzles, I never imagined that within a year my first NYT byline would be shared with Erik Agard, whom I admire so much as a constructor and a person.

Erik and I had been looking for ideas for co-constructing, and one day he emailed with this idea about names of body parts hidden in phrases, and thus ensued a 67-message email chain where the idea evolved, first to something with book titles, then to a meta idea, then finally to where it ended up with actor names. Some entries rejected from our final list included JIM [BACK]US, RED [BUTT]ONS, the non-specific M[ORGAN] FREEMAN, and someone with the awesome name of JACK [NOSE]WORTHY, who had a bit part in "Event Horizon."

ERIK: Laura is a true umptuple threat: solver (finished top-100 at Lollapuzzoola in her tournament debut), constructor (wrote a great puzzle for this year's Boswords tournament), blogger (her reviews at Crossword Fiend and Rex Parker usually get a laugh out of me), community pillar (consistently an outspoken advocate for women and other underrepresented groups in crossword construction)... and she's a kickass librarian and probably some other stuff I don't even know about. She's one of those people who can take your one pretty good idea and turn it into three great ideas; it was as much a pleasure to write this puzzle with her as it is a privilege to share her first NYT byline.

Jeff Chen notes:
Great theme around actors, BIT PARTS hinting at 'rebusized body parts.' I never noticed this property about DENZEL WA(SHIN)GTON and DON C(HEAD)LE, even though they're some of my favorite ... read more

Great theme around actors, BIT PARTS hinting at "rebusized body parts." I never noticed this property about DENZEL WA(SHIN)GTON and DON C(HEAD)LE, even though they're some of my favorite actors. And what an apt title, FULL-BODY CAST!

I've become very picky about rebuses over the years. They used to be so novel; even rebusizing IN or ER was ground-breaking. These days, it takes a lot for me to consider a rebus worth solving:

  1. Great rationale as to why letters are squished into one square.
  2. Colorful theme answers containing those rebus squares — not just in the across direction, but down too!
  3. Variety in the rebus squares (or some other way of avoiding a repetitive feel).

I think Erik and Laura did all three very well. Where many constructors fall down is the second part of criterion #2. For example, it's not so interesting to have SHIN worked into PU(SH IN), but shorter down entries do make the grid much easier to construct. Thankfully, PU(SH IN) was more the exception than the rule today, as the down entries containing the body parts were so snazzy.

I mean, T(HE AD)VOCATE! I H(EAR) YOU! HE(LI P)ORTS! And my favorite, ROOKI(E YE)AR! Check out how much real estate those long down "themers" take up. That presents all sorts of gridding challenges, reducing flexibility a ton.

Now, the puzzle wasn't perfect. Considering the high strain put on the grid by all those long across AND down themers, it wasn't a surprise to get a good amount of crossword glue. Most of it was ignorable, but one thing that stood out for me was the abundance of partials — A WALK, T AIME, I ATE. Better to spread out your crossword glue — having so many of a single type makes them more noticeable.

But overall, such an entertaining theme, well executed with just a few issues here and there. Plus, a ton of bonus fill, including some stuff you don't usually see in the NYT: NARUTO and PORK ADOBO. I like that kind of diversity. It might not play well to mass audiences, but I like it when constructors (and editors!) take chances like this.

1
A
2
W
3
A
4
L
5
K
6
S
7
H
8
E
9
L
10
I
11
N
12
N
13
O
14
T
15
I
16
M
17
E
18
T
O
M
E
I
19
T
A
L
I
20
B
21
H
O
T
L
I
N
E
S
22
O
W
I
E
S
23
E
V
O
K
E
24
S
25
EAR
T
H
A
K
I
T
T
26
M
E
G
A
S
27
T
A
R
28
E
L
W
29
A
Y
30
V
I
T
A
E
31
D
O
N
C
HEAD
L
E
32
S
L
A
L
O
33
M
34
I
L
E
35
N
A
V
36
J
O
H
N
LEG
U
I
37
Z
38
A
39
M
O
40
Z
41
A
42
P
43
M
O
44
I
45
R
A
46
O
N
E
47
N
O
L
O
48
E
T
O
49
N
50
C
O
I
N
51
O
P
52
B
A
N
G
O
53
R
54
E
L
S
A
55
L
A
N
CHEST
E
R
56
P
O
R
K
A
D
O
57
B
58
O
59
A
T
B
A
T
60
A
61
T
62
T
U
N
E
63
S
O
I
R
64
I
N
D
65
D
E
66
N
67
Z
68
E
L
W
A
SHIN
G
T
69
O
70
N
71
K
G
B
72
S
T
O
73
P
74
B
O
N
S
A
I
75
V
I
76
S
I
T
77
T
A
C
O
78
S
79
T
A
N
D
80
M
81
I
82
C
83
H
E
L
L
EYE
O
84
H
85
S
C
H
E
M
E
86
H
E
A
L
E
R
87
Y
A
D
A
88
K
I
E
V
89
T
90
E
E
91
T
E
X
T
92
S
93
R
O
T
94
R
Y
A
N
P
95
H
I
L
LIP
96
P
E
97
I
A
98
N
99
U
100
S
E
101
S
A
V
I
O
R
102
O
103
LIVER
P
L
A
104
T
105
T
106
R
E
N
107
A
108
L
109
N
O
T
R
E
110
P
A
S
T
R
I
E
111
S
112
B
I
T
P
A
113
R
114
T
S
115
E
T
C
116
H
E
D
117
C
U
L
P
A
118
A
N
T
I
G
O
N
E
119
S
U
T
R
A
120
O
T
T
E
R
121
N
E
O
N
S
I
G
N
122
T
S
A
R
123
D
O
S
E
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1210 ( 24,869 )
Across
1. Take ___ on the wild side : AWALK
6. Cartoonist Silverstein : SHEL
10. Before you can say Jack Robinson : INNOTIME
18. Academy Award-winning Marisa : TOMEI
19. Hip-hop's ___ Kweli : TALIB
21. Crisis connections : HOTLINES
22. Boo-boos : OWIES
23. Brings up : EVOKES
25. "Batman" actress, 1967-68 : EARTHAKITT
26. A-list topper : MEGASTAR
28. Nine-time Pro Bowler John : ELWAY
30. Curriculum ___ : VITAE
31. "Traffic" actor, 2000 : DONCHEADLE
32. Winter Olympics event : SLALOM
34. ___-de-France : ILE
35. Sat ___ (GPS, to a Brit) : NAV
36. "Super Mario Bros." actor, 1993 : JOHNLEGUIZAMO
40. Comic book onomatopoeia : ZAP
43. Irish form of Mary : MOIRA
46. Figure on a foam finger : ONE
47. ___ contendere : NOLO
48. School that lent its name to a collar : ETON
50. Like many laundromats : COINOP
52. Seat of Penobscot County : BANGOR
54. "Bride of Frankenstein" actress, 1935 : ELSALANCHESTER
56. Traditional Filipino dish marinated in vinegar and soy sauce : PORKADOBO
59. Turn up : ATBAT
60. Bring into harmony : ATTUNE
63. Yves's evening : SOIR
64. Like many write-in candidates: Abbr. : IND
65. "Training Day" actor, 2001 : DENZELWASHINGTON
71. Old C.I.A. foe : KGB
72. Where people get off : STOP
74. Growing art form? : BONSAI
75. "A ___ From St. Nicholas" : VISIT
77. Roadside establishment much seen in the Southwest : TACOSTAND
80. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" actress, 2000 : MICHELLEYEOH
85. Connive : SCHEME
86. Shaman, e.g. : HEALER
87. When tripled, a "Seinfeld" catchphrase : YADA
88. Eastern European capital : KIEV
89. Simple top : TEE
91. Cell exchanges : TEXTS
93. Deteriorate : ROT
94. "Crash" actor, 2004 : RYANPHILLIPPE
97. Scottish form of John : IAN
99. Operate : USE
101. Deliverance person : SAVIOR
102. "Frost/Nixon" actor, 2008 : OLIVERPLATT
106. Kidney-related : RENAL
109. Dame modifier : NOTRE
110. Bear claws and such : PASTRIES
112. What eight actors took on for this puzzle? : BITPARTS
115. Written deeply : ETCHED
117. "Mea ___" : CULPA
118. Daughter of Oedipus : ANTIGONE
119. Kama ___ : SUTRA
120. Hermione's Patronus, in the Harry Potter books : OTTER
121. Lure in Vegas : NEONSIGN
122. Leader wearing the Great Imperial Crown : TSAR
123. 10 cc's and others : DOSES
Down
1. Thing whose size is measured in picometers : ATOM
2. Floored : WOWED
3. Pal : AMIGO
4. Country singer Womack : LEEANN
5. What might show participants going neck and neck? : KISSCAM
6. Cop : STEAL
7. Le ___ (French port) : HAVRE
8. "Mr. Blue Sky" band, for short : ELO
9. This way : LIKESO
10. "Gotcha" : IHEARYOU
11. Word implied on Opposite Day : NOT
12. Ultimate degree : NTH
13. Name of five Norwegian kings : OLAV
14. Word with torch or bar : TIKI
15. Ab ___ (from the beginning) : INITIO
16. Genre for Black Sabbath : METAL
17. Lauder of cosmetics : ESTEE
20. Hotel attendant : BELLHOP
24. Proust protagonist : SWANN
27. L.G.B.T. magazine since 1967 : THEADVOCATE
29. State as fact : ALLEGE
33. Mosque tower : MINARET
36. Primatologist Goodall : JANE
37. Crash, with "out" : ZONK
38. Pond growth : ALGA
39. Emotional states : MOODS
40. N, seen from the side : ZEE
41. Where I-20, I-65 and I-85 all meet : ATLANTA
42. Some advanced researchers, for short : POSTDOCS
44. Particle named by Faraday : ION
45. Most caloric : RICHEST
49. Catch : NAB
51. Face-to-face challenges : ORALS
52. Pot holder : BONG
53. 1947, for Jackie Robinson : ROOKIEYEAR
55. Stripling : LAD
56. Depress : PUSHIN
57. Ruckus : BIGTODO
58. Sphere : ORB
61. J.F.K.'s former ___ Terminal : TWA
62. "Je ___" (French words of affection) : TAIME
64. Suffix with novel or Nobel : IST
66. Standout hoopsters : NBAMVPS
67. City planners' designation : ZONE
68. Undoing : END
69. Leaves a lot on the table? : OVERTIPS
70. Nothing : NIL
73. Chocolate-coated snack stick : POCKY
76. Like some winks : SLY
78. Branch of Islam : SHIA
79. Any of the Ninja Turtles : TEEN
81. "Must've been something ___" : IATE
82. The Browns, on a scoreboard : CLE
83. Bad spell : HEX
84. See 102-Down : HAT
86. Vertical landing spots : HELIPORTS
89. Program saver : TIVO
90. Like SEALs : ELITE
92. Cured and dried fish : SALTCOD
94. Have as a tenant : RENTTO
95. "Dear Evan ___," Best Musical of 2017 : HANSEN
96. Like florists' flowers that are already in vases : PRECUT
98. Best-selling Japanese manga series : NARUTO
99. ___ Outfitters (retailer) : URBAN
100. Where Javert drowned in "Les Misérables" : SEINE
102. With 84-Down, bit of black attire : OPERA
103. Real-time tool for meteorologists : LIVERADAR
104. Isn't level : TILTS
105. Where one might raise a flap about a reservation? : TEPEE
107. So quiet you can hear ___ drop : APIN
108. Isn't up to date : LAGS
111. Early 2000s outbreak, for short : SARS
113. Old résident at Versailles : ROI
114. "Star Trek" spinoff, to fans : TNG
116. Elevs. : HTS

Answer summary: 13 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?