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

New York Times, Monday, December 21, 2015

Author: Bruce Haight
Editor: Will Shortz
Bruce Haight
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
311/3/201311/24/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2995330
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56022

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {FKQVXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

Support XWord Info

Donation Amount

XWord Info is only possible when people like you choose to support it through donations.

Donate to get access to XWord Info for a year.

Benefits vary by donation level. Thank you!

Bruce Haight notes: I was not very optimistic about this puzzle when I was constructing it, because I could not find a way to work DOOHICKEY or GIZMO ... more
Bruce Haight notes:

I was not very optimistic about this puzzle when I was constructing it, because I could not find a way to work DOOHICKEY or GIZMO into it. However, Will and Joel liked the seven theme entries and said they liked the way the words are "fun to say." I had this mental image of the two of them saying these theme entries back and forth to each other as part of the decision process, and that pretty much made my day!

I had options to get rid of some of the crosswordese (ALOE, EMU, IDA, etc.) but I wanted to stick to solid Monday vocab. It was not long ago that I was a Monday solver myself, and I was not at ALL irritated to run across the occasional overused entry or clue. My first grandson (Nolan) was born as I'm writing this — December 9 — the first thing they did when he popped out is clip a thingamajig on his whatchamacallit!

If you are a constructor and you feel like you are not getting enough of your clues accepted I have a suggestion for you: list more than one clue for the entries you really care about! The editors I have discussed that with like the idea, and I can't see any downside to it. Just put a slash/mark between them and try to pick options of varying difficulty. In this puzzle, I listed more than one clue for about half of the entries, and my "success" rate was higher on those than on the ones I only submitted one clue for. I listed two clues for MONA LISA — "Da Vinci masterpiece" and "Art subject with a famous smile" — the actual clue used was an "intriguing" blend of both those options!

By the way, those two odd clumps of blocks in the middle of the puzzle might look like cheater squares but they are actually subtle (Easter egg) grid art! The top one is a standard DOOHICKEY, and the bottom one is, of course, your classic GIZMO..... ;)

Hope you liked the puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes: List of terms people use to mean 'thingie' = fun for me, as we mechanical engineers love our specific terms for doohickeys — ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

List of terms people use to mean "thingie" = fun for me, as we mechanical engineers love our specific terms for doohickeys — ratchets, pawls, involute spline gear teeth, four-bar mechanisms, you've already nodded off. (We Mechanical Engineers are delights at parties.)

Chevron's chevrons

Glad that Bruce mentioned the lack of DOOHICKEY, which I was searching for as I solved. But I was impressed to see such a wide variety of terms — getting seven of them was pretty cool. THINGAMAJIGGY and THINGAMABOB are more highly scientific terms than THINGAMAJIG, but we'll let that one slide. I wasn't sure what a DINGUS was, but it checks out fine as a synonym for "thingie." Just don't look it up on Urban Dictionary. Ahem.

Impressive execution given so many themers. Yes, many of the themers are short, which makes this task easier, but seven themers of any length is a challenge. Bruce did a good job of keeping his fill clean. The places that would typically be the hardest — around MONA LISA and CREDITOR, which pass through three themers — are pretty darn good. IN RED usually sticks out like a sore thumb as a partial, but given the Santa clue, I give it a holiday pass.

Since some themers are very short, just six letters, it would have been nice to lay out the grid so that the longest across answers (including fill) are only six letters. DEADEYE and STUDIOS make for nice bonus material, but they do make it harder to pick out where the theme answers are. (I highlighted them below in blue, to make them easier to see.)

Great clue for LOGOS! I had to read [Shell's shell and Chevron's chevron] a few times before getting that. I forgot that Chevron's logo is a set of "chevrons"!

So, a good grid execution with just a ONE (A) - TWO (EGG) punch of gluey bits. (And TWO EGG is (mostly) fine; I just couldn't resist the joke.)

1
U
2
P
3
D
4
O
5
S
6
A
7
T
8
E
9
A
10
M
11
T
12
H
13
O
14
S
L
E
P
T
15
M
E
N
L
O
16
W
E
B
17
C
O
N
T
R
18
A
P
T
I
O
N
19
O
Y
S
20
E
E
L
S
21
D
E
A
22
D
E
Y
E
23
D
24
O
25
O
D
A
D
26
L
O
G
O
S
27
R
U
N
28
M
A
29
S
30
S
31
D
I
N
G
U
S
32
A
C
E
33
S
34
T
E
35
R
E
S
A
36
W
H
A
T
37
C
38
H
A
M
A
C
A
L
39
L
40
I
41
T
42
A
R
A
B
I
C
43
D
O
S
E
44
W
45
I
46
D
G
E
T
47
S
E
48
A
49
M
50
N
E
S
51
I
N
R
E
D
52
G
A
53
D
G
E
T
54
S
T
U
D
I
55
O
56
S
57
A
U
D
I
58
H
I
M
59
T
H
I
60
N
G
A
M
A
61
J
62
I
63
G
64
E
M
U
65
O
N
R
Y
E
66
A
N
O
D
E
67
S
E
P
68
R
O
S
E
S
69
N
A
G
A
T
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1221 ( 24,149 )
Across Down
1. Raised hairstyles : UPDOS
6. TV group featuring Mr. T, with "the" : ATEAM
11. However, informally : THO
14. Caught some Z's : SLEPT
15. ___ Park (Thomas Edison's home) : MENLO
16. Arachnid's snare : WEB
17. Unnamed object #1 : CONTRAPTION
19. Yiddish laments : OYS
20. Slithery fishes : EELS
21. Sharpshooter : DEADEYE
23. ... #2 : DOODAD
26. Shell's shell and Chevron's chevron : LOGOS
27. Declare one's candidacy : RUN
28. The "m" of E = mc^2 : MASS
31. ... #3 : DINGUS
32. Cards that top kings : ACES
34. Mother ___ (nun who won a Nobel Peace Prize) : TERESA
36. ... #4 : WHATCHAMACALLIT
42. Language of Egypt : ARABIC
43. Amount of medicine : DOSE
44. ... #5 : WIDGET
47. Stitched line on a baseball : SEAM
50. Nintendo's Super ___ : NES
51. How Santa dresses, mostly : INRED
52. ... #6 : GADGET
54. Paramount and Universal : STUDIOS
57. BMW rival : AUDI
58. "THAT guy!" : HIM
59. ... #7 : THINGAMAJIG
64. Big bird of Australia : EMU
65. How pastrami might be served : ONRYE
66. One end of a battery : ANODE
67. Aug. follower : SEP
68. Romantic dozen : ROSES
69. Henpeck : NAGAT
1. The Trojans of the N.C.A.A. : USC
2. Gaza grp. : PLO
3. Locale for bears or thieves : DEN
4. Chose (to) : OPTED
5. Transmit continuously, as video : STREAM
6. Rock band boosters : AMPS
7. Asian New Year : TET
8. Woman's name that means "eat" backward : ENID
9. Succulent healer : ALOE
10. Da Vinci masterpiece with an intriguing smile : MONALISA
11. Like a medium-size omelet : TWOEGG
12. "Psst!" : HEYYOU
13. Worry compulsively : OBSESS
18. He played Hawkeye on "M*A*S*H" : ALDA
22. Ivana's ex, with "the" : DONALD
23. Make a cartoon, e.g. : DRAW
24. "That hurt!" : OUCH
25. Prime draft status : ONEA
29. Wild guess : STAB
30. Matches before the finals : SEMIS
31. Christmas mo. : DEC
33. Presented, as a play : STAGED
35. Marathon, e.g. : RACE
37. Debtor's opposite : CREDITOR
38. Panama or bowler : HAT
39. New York's ___ Island : LONG
40. "Aha!" : ISEE
41. Big quiz : TEST
44. Trio from a genie : WISHES
45. By the deadline : INTIME
46. Work to increase, as business : DRUMUP
48. Water, to Juanita : AGUA
49. Lunatic : MADMAN
53. Prince William's mother : DIANA
55. "Horrors!" : OHNO
56. "Dear ___" (letter starter) : SIRS
57. ___ 8 and up (game specification) : AGES
60. "Science Guy" Bill : NYE
61. Nudge, as one's memory : JOG
62. Boise's state: Abbr. : IDA
63. Understand, as a joke : GET

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?