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

New York Times, Monday, December 12, 2016

Author:
Mark McClain
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
28/17/201612/12/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0101000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57010
Mark McClain

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. McClain. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Mark McClain notes:
Modern language study was my favorite academic pursuit in high school and college (though I ended up majoring in economics). I learned ... read more

Modern language study was my favorite academic pursuit in high school and college (though I ended up majoring in economics). I learned Spanish and French as a student, basic German when I was stationed in Heidelberg in the military, and even a bit of tourist Italian. When I started constructing crosswords, I made sure that the 100 or so most common words of several languages were in my word list (to the occasional dismay of some editors). I've used language gimmicks in several puzzles (recently-used answer/clue: TRE – "It's overdue in Italia"). I even did a novelty puzzle in which every single entry (or its clue) was in a language other than English or involved something outside the U.S.

This puzzle has six languages from five different language groups (all Eurasian), with Hindi and Urdu being forms of Hindustani differentiated only by their alphabets and regional/specialty vocabulary. A total of 13 answers are involved with the theme, which makes it undoubtedly the most theme-intensive puzzle I've done. This made for a challenging incidental fill, which was improved a bit with some prodding from Will. I suspect most solvers will figure out the theme early on, but since there's no clue which languages go where, there's still some puzzling to do.

Jeff Chen notes:
Six literal foreign LANGUAGE BARRIERs today, a black square breaking up HIN/DU, UR/DU, etc. It's a ton of theme material to work with, ... read more

Six literal foreign LANGUAGE BARRIERs today, a black square breaking up HIN/DU, UR/DU, etc. It's a ton of theme material to work with, and it was fun to see so many different languages. I especially liked the longer ones — POL/ISH and GER/MAN, since it's really easy to work in short chunks such as TH and AI.

Not a surprise that Mark went up to the max of 78 words, given the high theme density. He uses his black squares pretty well to separate his themers, but it does make for a fairly fractured grid. There's a big chunk of puzzle in the upper right, another one in the lower right, and a diagonal running from the NW to SE, with the three sections barely connected. This type of layout makes constructing much easier, since you can tackle each chunk one at a time, but it made for a pretty choppy solve for me.

Also a ton of tough vocabulary and names. I don't think there was anything unfair, but I wonder if TOPOL, LILLE, and MASUR might turn off some newer solvers.

Throw in some crossword glue of DO A, HUIT, I LAY, YELLO (only one way to clue it), RIAA, and it didn't feel as elegant as I like a Monday puzzle to be.

I did enjoy the bonuses of MERCUTIO and GIFT SHOP, though. Tough to work in long bonus entries with so much already going on, so that was appreciated.

It would have been really cool to employ very long languages, using more colorful entries — aMANDA / RINgtone, lifeSPAN / ISHmael, gentleBEN / GALIleo, etc. — but I did like seeing so many languages from around the globe worked in.

Now to figure out how to make AZERBAIJANI work with this theme ...

1
S
2
H
3
I
4
N
5
D
6
I
7
E
8
U
9
B
10
O
11
N
12
O
13
E
I
R
E
14
A
L
P
H
15
A
16
A
V
O
N
17
C
R
E
W
18
M
A
S
U
R
19
D
U
T
Y
20
T
E
N
A
21
M
22
Y
O
R
E
23
A
M
E
X
24
S
E
E
G
E
25
R
26
M
A
N
27
I
C
28
E
R
I
29
C
30
A
N
T
31
H
32
E
33
M
34
A
35
C
36
E
37
C
A
I
38
R
39
O
40
C
O
U
P
E
41
L
A
N
42
G
U
A
G
E
B
43
A
R
R
I
E
R
44
T
R
Y
I
T
45
S
C
O
N
E
46
T
E
E
47
O
L
A
F
I
48
I
49
E
T
A
50
S
51
T
O
P
52
O
53
L
54
I
S
H
55
A
56
L
57
L
58
O
59
D
60
E
S
61
R
B
I
62
S
63
E
R
I
E
S
64
K
I
T
H
65
A
I
L
E
66
D
67
I
O
T
A
68
R
E
N
O
69
Y
E
L
L
O
70
F
L
I
T
71
A
S
A
P
72
S
E
L
A
73
T
I
N
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1212 ( 24,506 )
Across
1. Lower part of the leg : SHIN
5. "Mon ___!" (French cry) : DIEU
9. Noted rocker/humanitarian : BONO
13. Homeland of 9-Across : EIRE
14. Omega's opposite, alphabetically : ALPHA
16. Stratford-upon-___ : AVON
17. Ones taking captain's orders : CREW
18. Maestro Kurt ___ : MASUR
19. Responsibility : DUTY
20. Coffee break hour : TENAM
22. Knight time? : YORE
23. Visa alternative : AMEX
24. Folk singer Pete : SEEGER
26. Frenzied : MANIC
28. Brother of Donald Trump Jr. : ERIC
30. "The Star-Spangled Banner," e.g. : ANTHEM
34. High/low card : ACE
37. Egypt's capital : CAIRO
40. Two-door auto : COUPE
41. Communication problem ... illustrated literally by the black squares before 5-, 19-, 26-, 54-, 65- and 73-Across : LANGUAGEBARRIER
44. "Have a taste!" : TRYIT
45. Biscuit with English tea : SCONE
46. Item in a golfer's bag : TEE
47. Norway's patron saint : OLAFII
49. Landing approximations, for short : ETAS
51. Chaim who played Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" : TOPOL
54. Formal-sounding commitment : ISHALL
58. Works of Keats : ODES
61. Sluggers' stats : RBIS
63. Great Lakes natives : ERIES
64. Friends and neighbors : KITH
65. Wasn't up to par : AILED
67. Slightest bit : IOTA
68. Late attorney general Janet : RENO
69. Mello ___ (soft drink) : YELLO
70. Dart (around) : FLIT
71. "Make it snappy!" : ASAP
72. Actress Ward : SELA
73. Cookie holders : TINS
Down
1. Religious offshoots : SECTS
2. Successful job applicant : HIREE
3. "Me, Myself & ___" (Jim Carrey movie) : IRENE
4. Music genre for 36-Down : NEWAGE
5. Reservoir creator : DAM
6. "Now ___ me down to sleep" : ILAY
7. English racing venue : EPSOM
8. "Star Trek" officer with an earpiece : UHURA
9. Troublemaker : BADACTOR
10. It goes down a fallopian tube : OVUM
11. A sixteenth is a short one : NOTE
12. Black gemstone : ONYX
15. Bull-riding venue : ARENA
21. Friend of Romeo : MERCUTIO
25. Lobbying org. that fights music piracy : RIAA
27. Augment : INCREASE
29. "Smokes" : CIGS
31. Eight, in France : HUIT
32. Weapon in fencing : EPEE
33. A ___ pittance : MERE
34. Choir voice : ALTO
35. Sagan who hosted "Cosmos" : CARL
36. One-named singer from County Donegal : ENYA
38. ___ center (place for a Ping-Pong table) : REC
39. Orchestra reed : OBOE
42. Moneymaking part of a museum : GIFTSHOP
43. 2016 #1 album by Rihanna : ANTI
48. "___ the Lord my soul to keep" : IPRAY
50. Short ___ (quick work) : SHRIFT
52. Theater awards : OBIES
53. City NNE of Paris : LILLE
55. Garlicky mayo : AIOLI
56. Admit at the door : LETIN
57. Exams for future J.D.s : LSATS
58. Vegetable that becomes gooey when cooked : OKRA
59. Conks out : DIES
60. Sicilian volcano : ETNA
62. Go along with a bear market : SELL
66. ___ good deed : DOA

Answer summary:

Found bugs or have suggestions?