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

New York Times, Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Author:
Paula Gamache
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1085/21/20021/14/20184
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
81318151217619
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58431
Paula Gamache

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 37 Missing: {FJQXZ} This is puzzle # 92 for Ms. Gamache. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Some people seem to judge puzzles by the 'worst' answers in the grid. For me these would be SAT I (which isn't used anymore), KNT, ... read more

Some people seem to judge puzzles by the "worst" answers in the grid. For me these would be SAT I (which isn't used anymore), KNT, GE'S, ENT, and NONNA. But to me a puzzle should be judged as a whole. This one has, amazingly, eight theme answers, interlocking no less, plus an "explainer" at 54A. That's pretty fancy constructing. RAIN HAT, SUNBATH, BIG IDEA, and IT'LL DO are pretty nice, too.

Jeff Chen notes:
Impressive to have so much theme density (phrases containing NBA across words), with each themer crossing another. Fancy work from ... read more

Impressive to have so much theme density (phrases containing NBA across words), with each themer crossing another. Fancy work from Paula, who incorporated some very snazzy phrases. Checking onelook.com, there seem to be a lot of options available for the *N BA* pattern, so Paula did well to select what she did. It almost felt like a themeless, uncovering such goodness as KEVIN BACON and PINBALL and SUNBATH all throughout the grid.

It may not be apparent how tough this construction is, but it's a real challenge. Any time you have crossing themers, filling around those entries becomes tricky. Yes, Paula had the flexibility to switch out themers if the surrounding fill got too gritty, but she still had to fill cleanly around four separate sets of crossing themers ... and then make sure they all connected. Very hard to execute on, and she even managed to throw in entries like BIG IDEA and DESPOT as she linked her subsections.

I would have loved to see NBA as the last answer. It usually feels inelegant to me when the revealer is in a strange location, but there are no hard and fast rules about this. I can see how difficult NBA would have been to incorporate into the very SE, considering the crossing themers in that section. As always, there are so many trade-offs in puzzle construction.

Will brings up a good point about the trend to judge a puzzle by its worst answers. I enjoyed all the theme density, but understand how people could find the trade-off not favorable. I don't think any of the entries are terrible, but hitting SAT I right off the bat felt clunky to me. Was it worth the theme interlock up there? I think so, but I could see how people would see otherwise. Anyway, these are subjective calls.

Nice change of pace Tuesday, enjoyable four minutes.

1
A
2
R
3
S
4
A
5
P
6
B
7
S
8
S
9
U
10
B
11
W
12
A
13
Y
14
T
A
U
15
C
H
I
C
16
E
L
A
I
N
E
17
T
I
N
18
B
A
D
G
E
19
E
A
R
N
I
T
20
I
N
B
U
D
21
I
N
22
O
N
23
B
B
S
24
C
H
A
R
S
25
D
E
M
26
O
R
A
T
27
E
28
S
A
T
I
29
K
E
V
I
30
N
B
A
C
O
N
31
T
H
E
32
S
E
A
33
T
I
O
34
K
N
T
35
S
O
B
36
G
E
37
S
38
O
39
O
40
P
41
N
A
42
H
43
D
E
S
P
44
O
45
T
46
O
N
I
47
O
N
B
A
48
G
E
L
49
I
P
O
50
S
51
H
E
N
R
Y
52
H
O
S
53
S
T
E
N
T
54
N
B
A
55
A
A
R
E
56
N
O
N
N
A
57
K
O
A
L
58
A
S
59
G
R
60
E
E
N
B
A
Y
61
I
T
L
L
D
O
62
E
V
E
R
63
A
G
E
64
R
E
L
Y
O
N
65
D
E
L
T
66
R
E
D
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1217 ( 23,415 )

Support XWord Info today

Access this site for a full year:

  1. Select your level
  2. Choose how to pay

Learn about support levels.

$50 — Angel

Full access + download

$20 — Regular User

Full access, limited Finder

$10 — Casual User

Students & seniors
Across
1. "___ Poetica" : ARS
4. Alerts to cruisers, for short : APBS
8. Footlong sandwich maker : SUBWAY
14. Fraternity T : TAU
15. In fashion : CHIC
16. "Seinfeld" ex-girlfriend : ELAINE
17. *Sheriff's insignia, in old westerns : TINBADGE
19. How to make money "the old-fashioned way" : EARNIT
20. Like trees during the spring : INBUD
21. Privy to : INON
23. Shot from an air gun : BBS
24. Burns black : CHARS
25. L.B.J. or J.F.K., but not D.D.E. : DEM
26. Speak on the stump : ORATE
28. Old coll. entrance hurdle : SATI
29. *Actor named in a "Six Degrees" game : KEVINBACON
31. Hemingway novel title location : THESEA
33. Oaxaca uncle : TIO
34. Piece next to a bishop: Abbr. : KNT
35. Word with sister and story : SOB
36. Some appliances, for short : GES
38. Alley-___ (hoops play) : OOP
41. "Nope, not interested" : NAH
43. Ironfisted ruler : DESPOT
46. *Tangy breakfast item : ONIONBAGEL
49. Stock exchange debuts, briefly : IPOS
51. Author James : HENRY
52. Sounds from Santa : HOS
53. Surgically implanted tube : STENT
54. Org. found in the answer to each asterisked clue : NBA
55. Swiss river : AARE
56. Italian granny : NONNA
57. Supercute marsupials : KOALAS
59. *Packers' hometown : GREENBAY
61. "Good enough for me" : ITLLDO
62. "... happily ___ after" : EVER
63. Carbon-dating estimation : AGE
64. Have faith in : RELYON
65. Shoulder muscle, for short : DELT
66. The "R" of Roy G. Biv : RED
Down
1. Where webs may accumulate : ATTICS
2. Galoshes go-with : RAINHAT
3. *Tanning method : SUNBATH
4. Prep schools: Abbr. : ACADS
5. M.A. follow-up, maybe : PHD
6. Grandiose proposal : BIGIDEA
7. Part of many a Shakespearean act : SCENEV
8. Observed : SEEN
9. Suffix meaning "little one" : ULA
10. Singer Streisand : BARBRA
11. *Recover, as lost love : WINBACK
12. Jennifer of "Friends" : ANISTON
13. "Not ___" ("Be patient") : YET
18. Puts underground : BURIES
22. Neglect to mention : OMIT
26. Wind instruments : OBOES
27. "The Lord of the Rings" creature : ENT
29. Serving on a skewer : KEBAB
30. Bruce who played Dr. Watson : NIGEL
32. Bub : SONNY
37. Show disdain for, in a way : SPITON
38. "___-la-la!" : OOH
39. Lacking in variety : ONENOTE
40. *Tommy's game in the Who's rock opera "Tommy" : PINBALL
42. Response to a wisecrack : HAHA
43. Merit : DESERVE
44. *Feature of many a charity gala : OPENBAR
45. Ship's carrying capacity : TONNAGE
47. How some temperatures - and tests - are taken : ORALLY
48. Stuffed : GORGED
50. Didn't go : STAYED
53. "Hägar the Horrible" dog : SNERT
55. "He's like ___ to me" : ASON
57. ___ Royale (cocktail) : KIR
58. Hubbub : ADO
60. Sinuous fish : EEL

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?