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

New York Times, Saturday, December 28, 2013

Author:
Frederick J. Healy
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
145/24/20042/11/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
01000310
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59000
Frederick J. Healy

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 30 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 11 for Mr. Healy. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Years ago Will Weng wrote that in his opinion a crossword was a good one if 10% of the entries were fresh and lively. By this ... read more

Years ago Will Weng wrote that in his opinion a crossword was a good one if 10% of the entries were fresh and lively. By this standard, Frederick's puzzle is a wild success. Some of the entries I like in it are JUMBO FRIES, ONION RINGS, BORN TO RUN, LET'S PARTY, SMILEY FACE, ANYONE ELSE, SUGAR-COATED, RIP-SNORTER, JUST PEACHY, and SILLY ME — and not too much GUNK! That's handsome work.

Jeff Chen notes:
What an incredibly tough solve today. It's great to have a variety of difficulty within Saturday puzzles, but this one kicked my butt ... read more

What an incredibly tough solve today. It's great to have a variety of difficulty within Saturday puzzles, but this one kicked my butt down the street, stuffed grass in my mouth, and asked me why I was hitting myself. Looking at the finished grid (I had to reveal some answers to finish), there's a lot of entries to love here, RIP-SNORTER and GUNSLINGER being my favorites. Talk about awesome in-the-language phrases! LETS PARTY crossing JUST PEACHY was another highlight.

The snakiness of the grid makes it a bit like the serpentine brownie pans where each brownie has some edges to it (I'm an edge man). It's visually attractive, but it does cause some segmentation which happened to interfere with my solving experience. I punched through the middle section, but that left me with the NW and SE as separate blank spaces, two mini-puzzles that didn't have many ways to get in. That's totally fine and within crossword rules, but I personally tend to prefer puzzles with a lot of interconnect; multiple ways of getting into each area.

Oh, the NW corner, stumper of stumpers. It certainly contains some great entries. That stack of JUMBO FRIES, ONION RINGS, and GUNSLINGER is a great triplet. But it does come at the price of SMA, MINA, INGE, EGER, SSR, which feels like a heavy price to pay, especially considering they're all composed of mostly high-frequency letters (RSTLN E). And when you throw in the tough cluing, it was all but unsolvable for me. Had to throw in the towel for the first time in ages.

In comparison, I really enjoyed the middle (diagonal) section. Even though it didn't have quite the quantity of marquee answers, I found the experience much smoother (only BARI and SRTA as hiccups) and more pleasurable. I'm sure there will be solvers who prefer the crunchiness of the NW though.

Been a while since I've been stumped so badly. Good lesson in humility; a reminder that I still have a long ways to go to become a top-notch solver. I look forward to the ride ahead.

1
J
2
U
3
M
4
B
5
O
6
F
7
R
8
I
9
E
10
S
11
S
12
R
13
T
14
A
15
O
N
I
O
N
R
I
N
G
S
16
U
I
E
S
17
G
U
N
S
L
I
N
G
E
R
18
G
P
A
S
19
S
M
A
20
E
D
G
E
R
21
P
A
S
S
E
22
P
A
G
O
23
G
A
R
N
E
T
24
M
25
O
26
J
A
V
E
27
S
28
T
U
C
C
O
29
E
D
U
C
E
30
B
O
R
N
T
O
R
31
U
32
N
33
W
I
S
E
34
B
A
R
A
K
35
A
T
N
O
36
L
E
T
S
37
P
A
R
T
Y
38
S
T
E
P
S
39
P
E
O
R
I
A
40
P
I
E
R
C
E
41
O
42
D
E
T
T
E
43
M
I
L
D
44
F
I
A
T
S
45
A
46
T
O
L
L
47
D
48
A
49
D
50
O
N
C
E
51
S
M
I
L
E
Y
52
F
A
C
E
53
L
A
H
R
54
S
E
N
T
I
M
E
N
T
S
55
D
R
Y
S
56
A
N
Y
O
N
E
E
L
S
E
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1228 ( 23,426 )
Across
1. Gut-busting side : JUMBOFRIES
11. Port. title : SRTA
15. Alternative to 1-Across : ONIONRINGS
16. Some GPS suggestions, informally : UIES
17. Shooting star? : GUNSLINGER
18. College figs. : GPAS
19. It means little in the Lowlands : SMA
20. Trimming gizmo : EDGER
21. Like floppy disks, e.g. : PASSE
22. Vino de ___ (Spanish wine designation) : PAGO
23. Red shade : GARNET
24. Santa Ana wind source : MOJAVE
27. It may be up against the wall : STUCCO
29. Bring out : EDUCE
30. 1975 hit song about "tramps like us" : BORNTORUN
33. Like Athena : WISE
34. Sharon's predecessor : BARAK
35. Fig. for I, O or U, but not A or E : ATNO
36. It may be said while wearing a toga : LETSPARTY
38. Manual series : STEPS
39. Phoenix suburb larger than the Midwest city it's named for : PEORIA
40. Break through : PIERCE
41. Princess of ballet : ODETTE
43. Like red bell peppers : MILD
44. Orders : FIATS
45. Key ring? : ATOLL
47. Scoutmaster, often : DAD
50. The moment that : ONCE
51. It's not drawn due to gravity : SMILEYFACE
53. Co-star in the U.S. premiere of "Waiting for Godot," 1956 : LAHR
54. Pride and joy : SENTIMENTS
55. Abstainers : DRYS
56. Question from a bully : ANYONEELSE
Down
1. Slight pushes : JOGS
2. One at the U.S. Mint? : UNUM
3. Jonathan's wife in "Dracula" : MINA
4. A.L. East team, on sports tickers : BOS
5. Like many pregnant women : ONLEAVE
6. Where to get a cold comfort? : FRIDGE
7. #1 spoken-word hit of 1964 : RINGO
8. "My Son Is a Splendid Driver" novelist, 1971 : INGE
9. Castle of ___ (Hungarian tourist draw) : EGER
10. Old map abbr. : SSR
11. Like some pills and lies : SUGARCOATED
12. Dilly : RIPSNORTER
13. Bait : TEASE
14. Listing on I.R.S. Form 8949 : ASSET
21. Summit success : PACT
22. Front runners : PACESETTERS
23. Engine buildup : GUNK
24. Sound like a baby : MEWL
25. Cartoon pooch : ODIE
26. Hunky-dory : JUSTPEACHY
27. Rather informal? : SORTA
28. Printer part : TRAY
30. Port on the Adriatic : BARI
31. Like Bill Maher, notably : UNPC
32. Supporter of shades : NOSE
34. Unembellished : BARE
37. Stock to put stock in : POTS
38. Verbal alternative to a head slap : SILLYME
40. Go for a car-cramming record, say : PILEIN
41. Anciently : OFOLD
42. Tunisian money : DINAR
43. ___ presto : MOLTO
45. Devotional period? : AMEN
46. Insignificant : TINY
47. Twain's "celebrated jumping frog" : DANL
48. Talent show lineup : ACTS
49. "___ Bones G'wine Rise Again" (spiritual) : DESE
51. Important card source: Abbr. : SSA
52. Deterrent to lateness or cancellation : FEE

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?