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

New York Times, Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Author: Timothy Polin
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4712/11/20119/11/20182
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74952002
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.626130
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQV} This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Timothy Polin notes: Out of nowhere, it popped into my head one day that [Holy cow] would make a suitable clue for ZOUNDS as well as ZEBU. Whether ... more
Timothy Polin notes: Out of nowhere, it popped into my head one day that [Holy cow] would make a suitable clue for ZOUNDS as well as ZEBU. Whether this kind of spontaneous realization is a sign of improving thematic awareness or an indication of deteriorating mental stability I'll leave for you readers to decide. The smart money's on the latter, since I'm not sure I was ever playing with a full deck to begin with. More like with a euchre deck, say.

Anyway, the hope that enough similar combos would constitute a decent theme led me to start searching for others. Discovering CURSES / BOWS was the crucial point of construction, as this puzzle, at least in its present form, might have proved impossible to build without it. In fact, if I hadn't found those symmetrical entries for the SE corner, I probably would have abandoned the effort altogether. ZOUNDS / ZEBU was just too nice of a combo, in my opinion, to contemplate making the puzzle without.

Will and Joel caught and fixed a subtle but dumb oversight of mine, replacing DARN with DAMN at 7a. DAMN *was* in that spot in earlier drafts, but I changed it to DARN for some unimportant reason, completely overlooking the resultant duplication. It was downright mortifying to think that I'd compromised the puzzle with something so easily corrected, all the more so considering that I'd noticed the mistake myself but hadn't yet submitted my own revision. But they did correct it, and relief washed over me in an awesome wave. So, GRAZIE MILLE, MERCI BEAUCOUP, MUCHAS GRACIAS.

Bonus points for identifying the movie paraphrased above. "Do you like Huey Lewis and the News?"

Jeff Chen notes: What an amusing theme idea, a word / phrase describing an outburst in the across direction and a normal word in the down. And each ... more
Jeff Chen notes: What an amusing theme idea, a word / phrase describing an outburst in the across direction and a normal word in the down. And each pair crosses at beginning or ending letters! I'm not totally sure I understand the concept — some sort of revealer would have been very helpful to clarify the idea — but I liked it enough that I was willing to go with the flow.

Amazing job of filling. In the past, I've gone on and on about the difficulties of peripheral theme answer layouts, and I've also warned about crossing themers causing distress. Here, Tim goes big by drawing a little from both — quite a challenge. I kept on expecting to see piles of glue glorped all around, especially in the NW and SE corners, but to my surprise, it never really came. Sure, there are some awkward spots like ONE EYE / AYR / ENOUNCE, but even that was fairly minor. ALGAL feels like an odd duck even though it's a perfectly cromulent word, and the ECU has long gone by the wayside, but a few of them here and there are well worth the crazy amount of interlocking goodness.

The Mandelbrot set

And check out the center, the piece de resistance. With two long slots to fill, plus BLAST and SHOOT already fixed into place, there's not a lot of freedom there. But Tim works in PAT BOONE and my favorite answer in the grid, FRACTALS. He even tosses in FAN BELT off of the F of FRACTALS. It's beautiful work.

I would have loved some sort of "does double duty" type of concept connecting everything together, but I'm not sure what that would be. Seeing as how I had to rewrite my first paragraph six times before really feeling like I got the explanation correct (am I still missing anything?), a revealer to give me a quick and description would have been ideal. But overall, I enjoyed the solve.

1
Z
2
O
3
U
4
N
5
D
6
S
7
D
8
A
9
M
10
N
11
W
12
O
13
W
14
E
X
P
E
R
T
15
A
L
A
I
16
A
N
A
17
B
E
R
A
T
E
18
F
L
I
X
19
L
E
N
20
U
N
I
T
21
A
22
P
T
23
T
O
24
M
T
I
T
25
S
I
26
T
K
A
27
F
A
N
B
E
L
T
28
C
29
H
I
D
E
30
T
31
E
R
I
32
A
R
L
O
33
P
A
N
E
L
34
B
L
A
S
35
T
36
A
L
G
A
L
37
O
R
C
38
R
39
E
40
F
41
E
42
R
43
S
44
H
O
O
T
45
E
M
O
T
E
46
D
47
O
48
H
49
S
50
E
N
Y
A
51
A
B
R
A
M
52
E
N
O
U
53
N
C
E
54
L
55
E
T
I
T
56
F
E
M
B
O
T
57
S
S
T
58
T
R
59
I
60
B
61
R
E
B
62
T
A
63
R
O
64
H
65
E
T
E
R
O
66
A
Y
R
67
C
R
O
C
68
I
C
E
S
A
W
69
G
E
E
70
H
E
C
K
71
C
U
R
S
E
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1202 ( 23,765 )
Across Down
1. "Holy cow!" : ZOUNDS
7. "Nuts!" : DAMN
11. "Great Scott!" : WOW
14. Old hand : EXPERT
15. Jai ___ : ALAI
16. Santa ___ winds : ANA
17. Rake over the coals : BERATE
18. Movies, informally : FLIX
19. Football Hall-of-Famer Ford : LEN
20. Textbook segment : UNIT
21. Likely : APT
23. Small songbird : TOMTIT
25. Alaska city that's larger in area than Rhode Island or Delaware : SITKA
27. Auto part driven by the crankshaft : FANBELT
28. Admonish : CHIDE
30. Hatcher of "Desperate Housewives" : TERI
32. Guthrie who sang at Woodstock : ARLO
33. Sunday morning talk show assemblage : PANEL
34. "Fudge!" : BLAST
36. Harmful ___ bloom (aquatic growth) : ALGAL
37. Fabled monster in English literature : ORC
38. Send someplace else : REFER
43. "Rats!" : SHOOT
45. Theatricalize : EMOTE
46. Exclamations often made with head-slaps : DOHS
50. One-named singer with four Grammys : ENYA
51. James ___ Garfield : ABRAM
52. Declare : ENOUNCE
54. Words before go or ride : LETIT
56. Seductive "Austin Powers" android : FEMBOT
57. Jet for the jet set : SST
58. Common newspaper nickname : TRIB
61. Stars and Bars soldier, informally : REB
62. Polynesian dietary staple : TARO
64. Straight : HETERO
66. Port on the Firth of Clyde : AYR
67. Cold-blooded killer, for short : CROC
68. Tool for fishing a frozen river : ICESAW
69. "Man!" : GEE
70. "Darn it!" : HECK
71. "Fiddlesticks!" : CURSES
1. Holy cow : ZEBU
2. Wagon pullers : OXEN
3. It's a riot : UPRISING
4. Bit of cleverness : NEATIDEA
5. 2000 Richard Gere title role : DRT
6. T-bone, e.g. : STEAK
7. Nuts : DAFT
8. Entirely : ALL
9. Drinks at Trader Vic's : MAITAIS
10. Landslide winner of 1972 : NIXON
11. Great Scott : WALTER
12. "Ah, Wilderness!" playwright : ONEILL
13. "Are you game?" : WANTTO
22. "April Love" singer, 1957 : PATBOONE
24. Wall St. credential : MBA
26. Rats : TELLS
27. Infinitely repeating geometric patterns : FRACTALS
28. Ernst & Young employee, for short : CPA
29. Drinking buddy for Falstaff : HAL
31. Boy's name that means "the king" : ELROY
35. Fudge : TREAT
39. Alienate : EMBITTER
40. Citadel : FORTRESS
41. H as in Heracles : ETA
42. Radiation dosage : REM
44. 100 meters x 100 meters : HECTARE
46. Reorganize computer data to improve performance, informally : DEFRAG
47. What the wary keep open while sleeping : ONEEYE
48. Man : HOMBRE
49. Benchwarmer : SUB
53. V-shaped cut : NOTCH
55. Moral tenet : ETHIC
57. Darn it : SOCK
59. "Dies ___" : IRAE
60. Fiddlesticks : BOWS
63. Fabled monster in Arabic literature : ROC
65. Old French coin : ECU

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?