It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.
This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

New York Times, Monday, December 19, 2016

Author:
Jason Mueller
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
69/20/20157/21/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2400000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55111
Jason Mueller

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Mueller. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jason Mueller notes:
This puzzle's theme is actors who have played Santa Claus in movies. I looked through the entire IMDB list of actors who have played ... read more

This puzzle's theme is actors who have played Santa Claus in movies. I looked through the entire IMDB list of actors who have played Santa Claus and picked an iconic group that's varied in time periods. Tom Hanks was somewhat forced in order to give Tim Allen a symmetrical partner, but it's quite interesting that Santa was one of several characters Hanks portrayed in "The Polar Express."

I also tried to incorporate some colorful longer fill, such as SHOWMANCE, FACSIMILE, FRESH AIR, and TRICKSTER. I am a little disappointed my original clue for ETATS didn't make the cut; it was "French word that when reversed becomes its English singular." My original grid was a more ambitious 72-word design, but it was revised as Will wanted Ed Asner instead of Edward Asner and Monday-friendly fill.

Anyway, Merry Christmas!

Jeff Chen notes:
Who knew so many famous people played Santa? (Don't all raise your hands at once.) ED ASNER is my go-to — I adore 'Elf' (people ... read more

Who knew so many famous people played Santa? (Don't all raise your hands at once.) ED ASNER is my go-to — I adore "Elf" (people look at me funny when I randomly say "So, good news, I saw a dog today!"). ED ASNER is such a great straight man in this Santa role.

I haven't seen any of the other films, but some nice trivia to learn — curious that FRED ASTAIRE played Santa. And TOM HANKS, too (in a voice role, at least)? Huh. I wasn't sure who this EDMUND GWENN fella was, so it was much appreciated that Jason made all his crossings very easy. Whew!

Nice Monday construction, such a smooth solving experience (aside from GWENN for me, at least). Jason does so well to keep his crossword glue to minor stuff like MMI, RIN, ETATS, MIN. And I don't mind MMI quite as much as Completely Random Roman Numerals such as DCXI, since MMI has actually been seen in recentish movie title screens.

And what nice bonus material, NPR's FRESH AIR, SHOWMANCE (didn't know the term, but it sounds so fun), FACSIMILE, TRICKSTER, INSINUATE, even WALL-E — that's a ton of extras. It was much appreciated, since very few of the Santa-players elicited much of a reaction in me.

Minor nit, it would have been great to not include PESCI, since he's an actor who sort of muddies the theme. I paused briefly, wondering if he played Santa in "Home Alone."

I love the holiday spirit, how it tends to bring out the best in people, how it inspires me to express my appreciation for those that have made my life better (thank you all for reading my random musings!). So I feel embarrassed that I haven't seen many of these movies! I'll have to get on that — I bet people who have seen all of them will have a much more poignant reaction to this puzzle, which felt a bit too much like a listicle to me. It might have been to have something extra, like just using the movie titles in the clues, with SANTA as a revealer.

1
A
2
B
3
B
4
O
5
T
6
S
7
T
8
A
9
F
10
F
11
I
12
T
13
T
14
W
A
L
L
E
15
C
O
L
O
R
16
N
R
A
17
F
R
E
D
A
18
S
T
A
I
R
E
19
S
I
X
20
U
G
A
21
S
U
V
S
22
S
23
P
I
C
E
24
L
E
T
25
T
E
R
26
T
27
O
28
M
H
A
N
K
S
29
O
R
E
30
S
31
H
I
A
T
U
S
32
I
33
F
34
S
O
35
P
36
E
S
C
I
37
A
T
38
M
39
R
A
H
40
E
41
D
A
S
N
E
R
42
T
E
A
43
E
C
O
44
A
O
R
T
A
45
M
E
R
E
46
S
W
47
I
R
L
S
48
P
49
R
50
O
M
51
T
I
M
A
L
L
E
52
N
53
E
X
I
54
S
55
T
56
S
57
O
M
A
N
I
58
O
59
K
A
Y
60
P
I
E
61
R
I
N
62
E
63
D
64
M
U
N
D
G
65
W
E
N
N
66
T
L
C
67
S
E
I
N
E
68
E
T
A
T
S
69
S
E
E
70
T
E
N
S
E
71
N
O
R
S
E
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1219 ( 24,513 )

Support XWord Info today

Pay now and get access for a year.

1. Select account level
2. Choose how to pay
Across
1
Monastery leader : ABBOT
6
Everyone working in an office : STAFF
11
Cousin ___ (Addams Family member) : ITT
14
Pixar robot : WALLE
15
Opposite of black-and-white : COLOR
16
Gun rights org. : NRA
17
Santa player in "The Man in the Santa Claus Suit" : FREDASTAIRE
19
Highest roll of a die : SIX
20
S.E.C. school near Atlanta, for short : UGA
21
Explorer and Escalade, in brief : SUVS
22
Nutmeg, for one : SPICE
24
Something sent to Santa : LETTER
26
Santa player in "The Polar Express" : TOMHANKS
29
Magnetite and bauxite : ORES
31
Temporary break : HIATUS
32
"In that case ..." : IFSO
35
Joe of "GoodFellas" : PESCI
37
Bread box, for short? : ATM
39
Cheerleader's cry : RAH
40
Santa player in "Elf" : EDASNER
42
Boston ___ Party : TEA
43
Environmentalist's prefix : ECO
44
Main artery : AORTA
45
Not more than : MERE
46
Moves like water around a drain : SWIRLS
48
Big school dance : PROM
51
Santa player in "The Santa Clause" : TIMALLEN
53
Is : EXISTS
57
Resident of Muscat : OMANI
58
"Yeah, why not!" : OKAY
60
Mincemeat ___ (Christmas staple) : PIE
61
___ Tin Tin : RIN
62
Santa player in "Miracle on 34th Street" : EDMUNDGWENN
66
R.N.'s special touch : TLC
67
River through Paris : SEINE
68
Les ___-Unis : ETATS
69
Match, as a bet : SEE
70
Past or present : TENSE
71
Like the settlers of Iceland : NORSE
Down
1
Horrific : AWFUL
2
Flat-bottomed boat : BARGE
3
Sheep sound : BLEAT
4
Right jolly ___ elf (Santa) : OLD
5
Little puzzle : TEASER
6
Show on which John Candy and Eugene Levy got their starts : SCTV
7
One of a series at a wedding reception : TOAST
8
Boxer known as "The Greatest" : ALI
9
Gift tag word : FOR
10
Terry Gross's NPR program : FRESHAIR
11
Imply : INSINUATE
12
April fool player : TRICKSTER
13
One of Benjamin Franklin's certainties : TAXES
18
"Yeah, why not!" : SURE
23
Boston footballer, for short : PAT
25
Overly : TOO
27
Zinger response : OHSNAP
28
"Of ___ and Men" : MICE
30
Like the population of Wyoming : SPARSE
32
Fury : IRE
33
Exact copy : FACSIMILE
34
Neologism for an on-screen/off-screen relationship : SHOWMANCE
36
Winter hrs. in New York : EST
38
West who said "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted" : MAE
40
At one's ___ convenience : EARLIEST
41
Barbie or Ken : DOLL
45
The year 2001 : MMI
47
Fleming who created James Bond : IAN
49
Peruse : READ
50
Astronaut's tankful : OXYGEN
51
Legal wrongs : TORTS
52
Some of them are proper : NOUNS
54
Javelin : SPEAR
55
Some windshields have them : TINTS
56
Taste or touch : SENSE
59
Sitting spot for a child visiting Santa : KNEE
63
"Look at Me, I'm Sandra ___" : DEE
64
Max's opposite : MIN
65
Intl. group that's the object of many mass protests : WTO

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?