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New York Times, Friday, December 13, 2013

Author:
Gary Cee
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
385/28/20095/20/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
112108421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56021
Gary Cee

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 27 Missing: {KXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. Cee. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Gary Cee is a radio program director and on-air host for two New York/New Jersey rock stations. One of them is Rock 93.3, billed as ... read more

Gary Cee is a radio program director and on-air host for two New York/New Jersey rock stations. One of them is Rock 93.3, billed as the Hudson Valley's Next Generation of Classic Rock — in my neck of the woods. Maybe I should tune in! This puzzle has a lot of great vocabulary. I especially like SNOW JOB, MAN-HOUR, BEN HUR, ONE-OFF, IT'S DONE, MA AND PA, FOUR-COLOR, NOSE-TO-NOSE, BLUETOOTH, and the two 15s. That's a lot of great stuff.

Jeff Chen notes:
Lots of snazzy entries today, headlined by AN ACQUIRED TASTE and HERES HOW TO ORDER. So many great entries all over the grid, my ... read more

Lots of snazzy entries today, headlined by AN ACQUIRED TASTE and HERES HOW TO ORDER. So many great entries all over the grid, my favorite one was one Will didn't highlight: LIQUORED UP. Those types of colloquial in-the-language phrases get me schnookered every time.

I love the wordplay type of clues which has become the hallmark of a great NYT themeless. VCHIP clued as "Blocker working with a receiver" is pure gold. I went through END, FULLBACK, even QB before realizing I had too much football on the mind (go Seahawks!). Perfect misdirection to go with an already nice answer. Same goes for ITS DONE, with the in-the-language "finish line" being repurposed.

Gary told me that his original clue for ITS DONE was "Hit man's confirmation". I like that a lot too; nice and colorful.

So sad that FOUR COLOR wasn't clued to the four-color map theorem (google it if you're interested). It's pretty esoteric but reading about this some 25 years ago helped trigger my interest in math and puzzles. I'd love to see a crossword about it, but perhaps that's best for a different venue like the Chronicle of Higher Education. If only the four-color theorem, Fermat's last theorem, and Euler's identity (linking e, i, pi, 1 and 0) were part of everyone's standard education. (dreamy sigh)

Tyler Hinman, constructor extraordinaire and former ACPT champ, wrote last week that "'an awesome themeless with a few crappy entries' is simply a contradiction. The fill is all there is in a themeless, so it really has to shine for me to consider it 'awesome.'" Astute commentary. I think it's reasonable that themeless puzzles should undergo extra fill scrutiny compared to a themed puzzle, because so much of a themeless is all about the fill. I wasn't a fan of ENSE, A SAD, OLIO, ANGE, CIEN, but those types of entries almost always are required to make a themeless work. So very, very hard to create an awesome themeless; to make all the snazzy pieces lock together without any gluey short fill.

Nice work today; a very good themeless from Gary.

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1213 ( 23,411 )

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Across
1
Kid in shorts with a cowlick : ALFALFA
8
Soft soap relative : SNOWJOB
15
Twisting : TORSION
16
Industrial production unit : MANHOUR
17
What black licorice or blue cheese is, for many : ANACQUIREDTASTE
19
What a parade may necessitate : DETOUR
20
Goulash : OLIO
21
Give the ax : HEW
22
Organ showpiece : TOCCATA
24
Things that are put on ... or don't go off : DUDS
25
Sound of a belt : BAM
28
Agitates : ROILS
29
"Stand and fight" grp. : NRA
30
Like agateware and graniteware : ENAMELED
32
One might be made for the shower : BOOTEE
35
Goosed : EGGEDON
36
Consolation prize recipient : ALSORAN
37
Novel followed up by "The Boyhood of Christ" : BENHUR
38
Out to lunch : CLUELESS
39
Need for muscle contraction, briefly : ATP
40
Person who may work a lot : VALET
41
One having a ball? : EYE
42
Like a Madrilenian millionairess : RICA
44
Apex : VERYTOP
46
Geology topic : ERA
47
Plot element? : ACRE
48
Singular publication : ONEOFF
52
Line near the end of an infomercial : HERESHOWTOORDER
55
Get limited access? : ENTRAIN
56
Finish line? : ITSDONE
57
Rural parents : MAANDPA
58
Sexual desire, euphemistically : THEURGE
Down
1
Not much : ATAD
2
Singular : LONE
3
Rushing home? : FRAT
4
Bit of chichi wear : ASCOT
5
Smashed : LIQUOREDUP
6
Like a common printing process : FOURCOLOR
7
The Skywalker boy, for short : ANI
8
Processes, as ore : SMELTS
9
Tennis star Petrova : NADIA
10
Not suckered by : ONTO
11
Inquiry made while half awake, maybe : WHA
12
Mojave Desert sight : JOSHUATREE
13
Like some celebrities blogged about by Perez Hilton : OUTED
14
Inn inventory : BREWS
18
Chemistry Nobelist Hoffmann : ROALD
23
Hernando's hundred : CIEN
24
Go gaga (over) : DROOL
25
English channel's nickname, with "the" : BEEB
26
Being with une auréole : ANGE
27
King John sealed it : MAGNACARTA
29
Direct, as a confrontation : NOSETONOSE
31
Israel Philharmonic maestro : MEHTA
32
Technology standard named for a Danish king : BLUETOOTH
33
"Calm down now ..." : EASY
34
Massachusetts motto opener : ENSE
36
Hitch horses : ALLY
38
All-Star 18 consecutive times from 1967 to 1984 : CAREW
40
"Where we lay our scene," in Shakespeare : VERONA
42
Take up one more time, say : REHEM
43
___ Sendler, heroine of W.W. II's Polish Underground : IRENA
44
Blocker working with a receiver : VCHIP
45
Out of sight : PERDU
47
"Like ___ Song" (John Denver hit) : ASAD
49
With 51-Down, unscented : ODOR
50
Wind, in Chinese : FENG
51
See 49-Down : FREE
53
Midwest attachment? : ERN
54
Bearded ___ (reedling) : TIT

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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