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

New York Times, Thursday, December 11, 2014

Author: Joe DiPietro
Editor: Will Shortz
Joe DiPietro
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1308/26/19953/15/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
281072142283
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59326
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 121 for Mr. DiPietro. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: X through Y phrases, visually represented by two crossing answers. CUTS (through) THE CLUTTER, PULLS (through) IN THE CLUTCH, SLIP ... more
Jeff Chen notes: X through Y phrases, visually represented by two crossing answers. CUTS (through) THE CLUTTER, PULLS (through) IN THE CLUTCH, SLIP (through) ONES FINGERS, GOING (through) THE MOTIONS. Fun to get the a-ha moment of what was going on.

Having a good memory for crosswords sometimes interferes with my enjoyment of puzzles. Here, my initial thoughts turned back to an earlier puzzle as soon as I figured out the concept. It's no problem at all to have two puzzles with a similar (or the same) trick, but I would have liked to have more time separating the two; a year at least. Could also have been different if they hadn't both been Thursday puzzles. If one had been a Wednesday and one a Thursday, people who never attempt a Thursday puzzle wouldn't have even noticed.

Beethoven, looking slightly ... constipated?

Putting all that aside, it's very nicely executed. Joe does a great job of inserting strong long fill without much or a price to pay. I particularly liked the SE corner, with DINGBAT and CLUB SODA straddling the themers down there. And ODE TO JOY along with GROOVES (and a gold star clue!) in the opposite corner? Yes please! It's not easy to stick the landing like this when you're working with crossing themers (even if one of them is short), so Joe does well to keep it to really, really minor stuff like ANON, PEI, ISR.

I would have liked more symmetry (both the long answers and the shorts answers), but having the pairs intersect is really cool. Perhaps it's too much to ask that the short ones be paired in symmetry as well. I do remember sifting THROUGH the total solution space and noticing that it was smaller than I would have thought.

Finally, I love the extra touches. The clue echo of SMUT and SKY, both "blue" things but in very different ways — that's the kind of "clue echo" that works perfectly for me. IQ TEST and its [Measure of brightness]. HOE being something that could loosen up a lot (of land). Excellent stuff adding pleasure to my solve. I really enjoyed it, and likely would have absolutely loved it if it had run six months from now.

1
A
2
C
3
T
4
G
5
R
6
A
7
N
8
O
9
B
10
L
11
I
12
G
13
E
14
N
O
H
15
R
A
V
E
16
N
O
I
D
E
A
17
O
D
E
18
T
O
J
O
Y
19
E
X
P
E
L
S
20
N
A
C
H
O
21
W
O
22
R
S
T
23
S
T
Y
24
L
E
V
25
I
S
26
U
F
O
27
R
28
E
U
B
E
N
29
S
L
I
P
30
T
31
B
32
S
33
I
Q
T
E
S
T
34
P
E
N
S
35
H
O
E
36
C
U
T
S
37
H
38
A
R
D
G
39
T
E
R
N
40
C
U
E
41
R
E
N
E
42
E
43
D
A
M
E
S
44
I
S
R
45
A
C
N
E
46
R
I
B
O
S
E
47
P
L
U
48
I
S
N
O
T
49
C
50
P
51
A
52
P
U
L
53
L
S
54
G
O
I
55
N
56
G
57
H
O
T
58
P
O
T
59
C
L
60
U
B
S
O
D
A
61
E
S
T
E
R
C
62
D
A
N
A
63
N
A
M
64
Z
E
N
I
T
H
65
S
M
U
T
66
S
K
Y
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1211 ( 23,774 )
Across Down
1. Have a role to play : ACT
4. Part of GTO : GRAN
8. Make indebted : OBLIGE
14. Tokyo stage shows : NOH
15. Hoped-for review : RAVE
16. "Beats me" : NOIDEA
17. Highlight of Beethoven's Ninth : ODETOJOY
19. Throws out : EXPELS
20. Chip variety : NACHO
21. Defeat : WORST
23. Cleanup target : STY
24. Togs with red tags : LEVIS
26. Aerial anomaly : UFO
27. Lunch order with sauerkraut : REUBEN
29. Elude a person's grasp : SLIP
30. USA competitor : TBS
33. Measure of brightness : IQTEST
34. Digs for pigs : PENS
35. What could loosen up a lot? : HOE
36. Has an ad that really stands out : CUTS
37. What Germany's leader lacks? : HARDG
39. Arctic ___ : TERN
40. Stick on a table? : CUE
41. Lacoste of tennis : RENE
42. One of a group of singing brothers : EDAMES
44. Medit. country : ISR
45. Retin-A treats it : ACNE
46. Biochemical sugar : RIBOSE
47. Like arts and crafts: Abbr. : PLU
48. Ain't spelled out? : ISNOT
49. Expert with books, for short : CPA
52. Succeeds when it matters most : PULLS
54. Making a feeble effort : GOING
57. East Asian stew : HOTPOT
59. Gin fizz ingredient : CLUBSODA
61. Brand name in immunity boosting : ESTERC
62. Fox's partner on "The X-Files" : DANA
63. Old service site, informally : NAM
64. Top : ZENITH
65. It's blue : SMUT
66. It's blue : SKY
1. Before long, quaintly : ANON
2. Opus ending : CODA
3. See 36-Across : THECLUTTER
4. They're on the record : GROOVES
5. British rule in India : RAJ
6. Says for certain : AVOWS
7. R&B artist with the hits "So Sick" and "Because of You" : NEYO
8. See 29-Across : ONESFINGERS
9. Some proofs of purchase : BOXTOPS
10. Fat ___ : LIP
11. Each month has one : IDES
12. Loot : GELT
13. "Whoa now!" : EASY
18. Ancient site of the Luxor Temple : THEBES
22. Like notepaper and kingdoms : RULED
25. See 52-Across : INTHECLUTCH
27. Christina of "Sleepy Hollow" : RICCI
28. 1975 Tony-winning play with a Latin name : EQUUS
29. Bender : SPREE
30. See 54-Across : THEMOTIONS
31. Yawn inducers : BORES
32. Touch, for one : SENSE
38. Invalidate : ANNUL
39. Many of the Ten Commandments : TABOOS
41. Bond : RAPPORT
43. Ditz : DINGBAT
48. Cat Stevens's surname, now : ISLAM
49. Bistro name starter : CHEZ
50. It may be struck : POSE
51. Memo abbr. : ATTN
53. Some HDTV screens : LCDS
55. State bordering Can. : NDAK
56. Like wild boar : GAMY
58. Can. province not bordering the U.S. : PEI
60. Longtime Burmese P.M. : UNU

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?