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

New York Times, Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Author: Tom McCoy
Editor: Will Shortz
Tom McCoy
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3011/14/201311/19/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
15815100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61351

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 79, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FQVXZ} This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. McCoy. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes: This puzzle was created roughly a year ago. Therefore, the message hidden in the twelfth row (highlighted below in green) is as seasonally appropriate now as it was during the puzzle's creation.
Jeff Chen notes: There's a lot I appreciate about Jim (Horne), and one aspect that continues to amaze me is how differently we see puzzles. I missed some ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

There's a lot I appreciate about Jim (Horne), and one aspect that continues to amaze me is how differently we see puzzles. I missed some aspects of this puzzle the first time around, and it wasn't until Jim and I talked shop that I started to really appreciate it. Tom uses a great revealer — SINGULAR — to mean "a term used in the SINGULAR." But he also uses the second definition of SINGULAR — atypical — to describe four words rarely used in their singular form.

A scissor lift

PAJAMA PARTY is the perfect example. This is a widely used phrase, and when else are you going to say "pajama" in the singular (besides PAJAMA TOP or BOTTOM)? Same goes for SCISSOR KICK. (Well, there's SCISSOR LIFT (mechanical engineering) the SCISSOR COUP (bridge, or course!), the SCISSOR GRIP (wrestling), but none of these pop quite as much as SCISSOR KICK.)

Jim and I still disagree on TROUSER PRESS. I admit my knowledge of clothing is poor, but PANTS PRESS sounded like the more common term. Google sides with Jim, with many more hits for TROUSER PRESS, and on Amazon.com, they have a "trouser press" section … but most of the products are listed as "pants presses." Hmm.

I would say I need a new "lens for my sunglasses," not a new "sunglass lens," but I can see people saying both. Anyway, fun to discuss these issues.

I usually really admire Tom's math/sci bent. The clue for SUM looked too confusing, though, and I skipped it. Thankfully I went back to it to decipher its meaning! What the clue is trying to say is that if you want to SUM the numbers from 1 to n, you can use a formula: n*(n+1)/2. For example, the SUM of the numbers from 1 to 100 = (100*101)/2 = 5050.

There's a famous myth about the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss — one of his teachers wanted to keep him occupied and gave him the task of adding the numbers from 1 to 100. Gauss supposedly finished in minutes, using mathematical reasoning. Pretty darn cool.

So, a lot of interesting aspects to this puzzle, with some nice bonus fill in LEAP SECOND, I THINK I CAN, etc.

JimH notes: Since Jeff called me out, let me try to defend myself and this theme. English is full of amusing curiosities, and one of the curiouser is that some ... more
JimH notes:

Since Jeff called me out, let me try to defend myself and this theme. English is full of amusing curiosities, and one of the curiouser is that some nouns exist only in plural form (you can't use a scissor or wear a pajama, a sunglass, or a trouser) yet when they're used as adjectives, they are singular. Why? It's a mystery. And like most amusing curiosities of English, it makes for a fine word puzzle theme.

If math puzzles are more your thing, proving that integers from 1 to n sum to n(n+1)/2 is a fun challenge. Try drawing pictures. You'll get a nice Aha moment when you realize why it works.

1
A
2
R
3
D
4
E
5
N
6
T
7
B
8
L
9
A
10
H
11
N
12
I
13
L
14
E
15
L
I
E
L
O
W
16
R
O
P
E
17
I
T
E
M
18
P
A
J
A
M
A
19
P
A
R
T
Y
20
C
H
A
T
21
S
L
A
P
22
S
E
W
N
23
C
H
I
P
S
24
S
25
U
N
G
L
A
26
S
27
S
L
E
N
S
28
D
29
I
30
G
E
S
T
31
W
H
I
S
K
E
32
Y
33
E
T
U
D
E
34
S
35
I
36
N
A
I
37
I
C
E
38
P
S
I
39
S
40
I
N
G
U
L
A
41
R
42
C
O
T
43
T
U
T
44
D
O
O
N
E
45
O
46
M
A
N
I
47
S
P
A
48
R
49
S
E
R
50
A
M
E
N
D
S
51
T
R
O
U
S
E
52
R
53
P
54
R
E
S
S
55
H
O
H
U
M
56
H
O
E
S
57
S
58
H
59
O
60
E
61
E
Y
E
S
62
S
63
C
I
S
S
O
64
R
K
I
C
K
65
L
O
R
E
66
P
A
N
S
67
P
O
I
N
T
E
68
D
U
O
S
69
A
L
O
E
70
S
E
T
T
O
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1222 ( 24,150 )
Across Down
1. Zealous : ARDENT
7. Meh : BLAH
11. River near the Valley of the Kings : NILE
15. Avoid attention : LIELOW
16. Weapon in Clue : ROPE
17. One of 10, say, in a supermarket's express checkout lane : ITEM
18. Kids' event that goes into the wee hours : PAJAMAPARTY
20. Convo : CHAT
21. Throw (together) : SLAP
22. In stitches : SEWN
23. Lay's product : CHIPS
24. Something in a movie star's frame? : SUNGLASSLENS
28. Condensed periodical : DIGEST
31. ___ sour (drink) : WHISKEY
33. Pianist's practice piece : ETUDE
34. Mount of the Bible : SINAI
37. Water, potentially : ICE
38. Symbol for water potential : PSI
39. Atypical ... or like the first word in the answer to 18-, 24-, 51- or 62-Across : SINGULAR
42. Spare bed, often : COT
43. One of the kings in the Valley of the Kings, informally : TUT
44. See 8-Down : DOONE
45. Dweller on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula : OMANI
47. Like the population of Alaska vis-à-vis New Jersey : SPARSER
50. What the remorseful might make : AMENDS
51. Certain wrinkle remover : TROUSERPRESS
55. Meh : HOHUM
56. Weeding tools : HOES
57. Clog or pump : SHOE
61. Word with googly or goo-goo : EYES
62. Sidestroke component : SCISSORKICK
65. Mythos : LORE
66. Gives two big thumbs down : PANS
67. Ballet position on tiptoe : POINTE
68. The Black Keys and the White Stripes : DUOS
69. Relief provider for a burn : ALOE
70. Altercations : SETTOS
1. Mont Blanc and Matterhorn : ALPS
2. Iranian currency : RIAL
3. ___ vu : DEJA
4. Slipped by : ELAPSED
5. ___ de plume : NOM
6. Quaint three-word contraction : TWASNT
7. Melee : BRAWL
8. With 44-Across, 1869 romance by R. D. Blackmore : LORNA
9. Fitting : APT
10. "Whoa there!" : HEY
11. Recesses : NICHES
12. Mantra of the Little Engine That Could : ITHINKICAN
13. Tiny time adjustment : LEAPSECOND
14. Ambulance workers, for short : EMTS
19. Identify (as) : PEG
23. Roman 151 : CLI
25. Employs : USES
26. Marshy valley : SWALE
27. LaBeouf of "Transformers" : SHIA
28. University divs. : DEPTS
29. Line of latitude : ITSUPTOYOU
30. Popular musical game beginning in 2005 : GUITARHERO
32. Fabled mountain dwellers : YETIS
34. A little night noise : SNORE
35. "Where did ___ wrong?" : IGO
36. Wimple wearer : NUN
40. Midmonth date : IDES
41. CD-___ (storage objects) : ROMS
46. Collection that, despite its name, is orderly and compact : MESSKIT
48. Awakens : ROUSES
49. n(n+1)/2, for all integers from 1 to n : SUM
50. "___ Fables" : AESOPS
52. African animal you might get a charge out of? : RHINO
53. Gang : POSSE
54. Hi-___ monitor : RES
55. Had in hand : HELD
58. When repeated, a subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) comment : HINT
59. Eight: Prefix : OCTO
60. Squeaks (by) : EKES
62. Where you might wear only a towel : SPA
63. Silent ___ (presidential nickname) : CAL
64. Caviar, e.g. : ROE

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?