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

New York Times, Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Author: Steve Savoy
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
212/30/201212/11/20130
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53000
Steve Savoy

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QVXZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Savoy. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Steve Savoy notes: Thanks for the blog invite Jeff and Jim! First off, in case you didn't know, this site is awesome. I've used it to construct every ... more
Steve Savoy notes: Thanks for the blog invite Jeff and Jim! First off, in case you didn't know, this site is awesome. I've used it to construct every one of my published puzzles ... er, that would be 2 now. Funny aside, this one was actually the first of the two that Will accepted. My debut puzzle took only 2 months to publish at the end of last year. This quote-style theme sat in the hopper for 16 months!

When I read this quote in a trade journal early last year, it was the first time I'd seen it. As the co-owner of a small nanotech firm, I related instantly. Einstein probably never encountered the modern day phrase we use for his "absurdity": brainstorming meeting! I'm sure he participated in many, though. Picture Einstein and colleagues pontificating around the chalkboard, "NEIN, ALBERT, that's just ABSURD!" Amazing to think of the volume of absurd figments that must have crossed his mind, yet didn't stick as well as special relativity and E=mc2.

Construction of this puzzle happened quick — just 3 hours to finish. I was even able to nestle both first and last name nicely into the southeast without the fierce battle that usually accompanies stuffing more theme into an already high density (RHO) grid. It took great INSIGHT to work in a constructor's dream Scrabble score name like EINSTEIN! Also, glad to usher BORDELLO back into the Shortzian puzzle era.

Hope you enjoyed the solve, and for the record, your next ABSURD thought today, well, ITSONME!

Will Shortz notes: I don't run puzzles with quote or quip themes very often, as in my experience they're not terribly popular. Once in a while, ... more
Will Shortz notes: I don't run puzzles with quote or quip themes very often, as in my experience they're not terribly popular. Once in a while, though, I think they're nice, for variety's sake, and the quote here by Albert Einstein (58A/39D) I thought was pretty amusing.
Jeff Chen notes: As Will mentioned, the state of the art has evolved so much that a quote puzzle must have something extra to make it worth the ... more
Jeff Chen notes: As Will mentioned, the state of the art has evolved so much that a quote puzzle must have something extra to make it worth the variety factor. This quote is pretty good, plus it's something I hadn't heard before. Nice to get that mental image of EINSTEIN with his awesomely goofy hair quipping this to eyebrow-raising listeners.

Although ALBERT and EINSTEIN are a bit oddly placed (no themers in the symmetrical locations), it is pretty neat that EINSTEIN intersects two chunks of the quote. Interlock is usually hard to achieve, and to be able to place EINSTEIN like this impressed me. Having ALBERT connect to EINSTEIN was pretty cool too. And to top it off, that section of the grid, with so many crossing and overlapping constraints, is awfully clean, with even DEEJAY and YENTL making appearances. That's some nice very nice fill work. Still though, I think from an elegance standpoint, I would have preferred to see just EINSTEIN as the last entry in the grid, or ALBERT EINSTEIN as the last theme entry.

It was as if time itself was relativistic, slowing like molasses, when I hit H TEN. "Coordinate in the game Battleship" I thought meant "coordinate" as in "work together". I was outraged that the NYT suggested that people should cheat by coordinating in a two-player game! (not really) Luckily I realized what was going on before emailing my smarmy note to Will: coordinate is used in its location meaning. Oops. Nice misdirection, almost making up for the arbitrary nature of the entry. That area is tough to fill (the best alternate I could come up with is HYMN which forces DELI to become something like MMLI (but I personally dislike random Roman numerals, especially ones longer than three digits). Does having BORDELLO in the grid make up for HTEN? Hard to say. No right, no wrong, more a matter of opinion.

One aspect I really appreciate to quote puzzles is if they're parsed naturally. Just like good poetry, it's elegant if the meter flows and the breaks come naturally. This is often very hard to accomplish because crossword symmetry dictates heavy limitations on how quotes can be broken. Specifically, I would have loved to see it parsed IF AT FIRST / THE IDEA IS NOT ABSURD / THEN THERE IS NO HOPE FOR IT. But of course that's 9 / 18 / 22, which works about as well as my perpetual motion machine. Dang thing keeps stopping; can't figure out why.

1
G
2
O
3
B
4
A
5
D
6
A
7
M
8
A
9
S
10
S
11
M
12
A
13
W
14
P
R
O
T
O
15
N
U
B
I
A
16
A
M
A
17
S
T
R
A
T
18
I
F
A
T
F
19
I
R
S
T
20
D
R
E
21
A
M
T
22
S
E
N
A
T
E
23
T
24
H
E
I
D
E
A
I
25
S
26
S
U
E
R
27
A
T
L
28
U
R
L
29
T
30
I
31
M
I
D
L
Y
32
D
E
L
33
I
34
R
E
T
A
G
35
N
O
T
36
A
37
B
38
S
U
R
D
T
H
39
E
40
N
41
S
L
A
K
E
42
T
I
E
43
R
44
M
45
I
46
N
O
L
T
A
47
C
48
O
49
D
50
N
I
H
51
A
M
E
N
52
T
53
H
E
R
E
54
I
S
N
O
55
S
G
T
M
56
A
57
J
58
A
L
B
E
R
T
59
H
O
P
E
F
O
60
R
I
T
61
J
E
E
62
R
63
S
64
E
N
A
65
T
H
A
T
I
66
A
N
I
O
N
67
D
E
Y
68
A
N
T
I
C
69
Y
E
N
T
L
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1211 ( 23,409 )
Across Down
1. Become inedible : GOBAD
6. Pull together : AMASS
11. Big mouth : MAW
14. Start to type? : PROTO
15. Nile Valley region : NUBIA
16. Org. with a noted journal : AMA
17. Classic Fender guitar, for short : STRAT
18. Start of a quote about creativity by 58-Across/39-Down : IFATFIRST
20. Did some woolgathering : DREAMT
22. Body of 100 : SENATE
23. Quote, part 2 : THEIDEAIS
26. One on "Judge Judy" : SUER
27. Home of the Brave?: Abbr. : ATL
28. Cyberaddress: Abbr. : URL
29. In the manner of a milquetoast : TIMIDLY
32. Bagel and lox purveyor : DELI
34. Mark down, perhaps : RETAG
35. Quote, part 3 : NOTABSURDTHEN
41. Quench : SLAKE
42. Level : TIER
44. Bygone Japanese camera brand : MINOLTA
47. Shipping letters : COD
50. Biomedical research org. : NIH
51. "Agreed!" : AMEN
52. Quote, part 4 : THEREISNO
55. High-ranking noncom: Abbr. : SGTMAJ
58. With 39-Down, speaker of this puzzle's quote : ALBERT
59. End of the quote : HOPEFORIT
61. Boos : JEERS
64. "Bambi" deer : ENA
65. "Not ___ know of" : THATI
66. OH- or Cl-, chemically : ANION
67. Susan of "L.A. Law" : DEY
68. Shenanigan : ANTIC
69. Cross-dressing role for Streisand : YENTL
1. Many 16-Across members : GPS
2. Food scrap : ORT
3. Red light locale : BORDELLO
4. Asteroids game maker : ATARI
5. End of an academic 28-Across : DOTEDU
6. Kid's cracker shape : ANIMAL
7. G.I.'s civvies : MUFTI
8. Org. for D.A.'s : ABA
9. Serves on a panel : SITS
10. Opposite of out : SAFE
11. Pillage : MARAUD
12. Dutch brew : AMSTEL
13. Weak, as a brew : WATERY
19. Deep perception : INSIGHT
21. Gaseous prefix : AER
23. Smidgen : TAD
24. Coordinate in the game Battleship : HTEN
25. Suffix with hip or hoop : STER
30. "___ be an honor" : ITD
31. Doorstep item : MAT
33. "Got it covered!" : ITSONME
34. Wish undone : RUE
36. "___ done!" : ALL
37. Be up : BAT
38. Trick-taking game : SKAT
39. See 58-Across : EINSTEIN
40. Deutsch denial : NEIN
43. Plato's P : RHO
44. Like the potatoes in shepherd's pie : MASHED
45. "See ya!" : IMGONE
46. What's taken home : NETPAY
47. Larry Bird, during his playing days : CELTIC
48. Object in the right hand of the king of clubs : ORB
49. Wedding hiree : DEEJAY
53. Port-au-Prince's land : HAITI
54. Pax's Greek counterpart : IRENE
56. Aqua Velva competitor : AFTA
57. Lav : JOHN
60. Turncoat : RAT
62. Become inedible : ROT
63. NBC show since '75 : SNL

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?