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

FILL-IN-THE-BLANKS

New York Times, Sunday, December 28, 2014

Author: Joe Krozel
Editor: Will Shortz
Joe Krozel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
847/7/20061/12/201715
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4147222521
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48055
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 68 Missing: {JQXYZ} This is puzzle # 71 for Mr. Krozel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Joe Krozel notes: This theme originated with my observation that SUPERSONIC contains the word PERSON, so I checked the clue and puzzle databases and didn't see that any constructor had connected the two words ... at least in ... more
Joe Krozel notes: This theme originated with my observation that SUPERSONIC contains the word PERSON, so I checked the clue and puzzle databases and didn't see that any constructor had connected the two words ... at least in recent history. I was off to a good start. I explored fill-in-the-blanks, e.g., Su____ic, as one way to express this theme, but a theme entry like PERSON would be too short. Then for some reason, I was inspired to interpret Su____ic as a pictoral description. Aha! MISSING PERSON! All I needed was other examples (and, indeed, they would come to me over time).

Many months earlier, I had advocated that constructors cram less theme content into the daily puzzles, but rather expand the theme from, say, five entries to ten and produce a Sunday puzzle instead. Most editors have low Sunday inventory, so packed daily puzzles simply deprive it from growing. This is why I decided upon a Sunday puzzle after having produced just a single one — a collaboration, even — in 2008.

Sunday puzzles are a bear to fill. Duplicate words in the grid are a frustrating obstacle. But I fought hard against that, and I'm particularly happy with the outcome: the fill contains lively long entries cemented with clean short entries. There are no partials in the fill because clues with blanks are reserved solely for the theme entries today.

Overall, this is among my favorite puzzles on account of the success with both theme and fill. Though, I would have liked Will to keep my title "Blank expressions."

Jeff Chen notes: I really dug both the idea and the execution. Joe takes in-the-language phrases like MISSING PERSON and finds a word (or phrase) it could be missing from. SU______IC was baffling at first, but finally ... more
Jeff Chen notes: The REAL Oklahoma City Thunder I really dug both the idea and the execution. Joe takes in-the-language phrases like MISSING PERSON and finds a word (or phrase) it could be missing from. SU______IC was baffling at first, but finally uncovering MISSING PERSON gave me a great a-ha moment. WITT = Wish I'd Thought of This.

I appreciated Joe's selection of themers, all in-the-language. There were a few obvious ones like DELETED SCENE and ABANDONED SHIP, but I had to do some serious thinking to figure out what DROPPED ???? was. At first I tried DROPPED (the) BALL and felt outrage that Joe could let such an inexact phrase go through! Then I just felt silly when I realized it was DROPPED CALL. Great stuff (Joe's choices, not my idiocy).

The grid is so nice, too. I worried upon seeing the eighth theme entry running down the center of the grid. This sort of interlock is visually impressive but often produces compromises. Aside from BOP IN (which I think I actually like after an initial wince), the center is clean, just a CURST (I think I also like this too, upon further consideration) and an ETO. Strong work.

Joe does spend more black squares in that center section though, because of said interlock. Those two smooth curves help frame that difficult central area, making it easier to fill cleanly. Spending black squares like means that the rest of the puzzle must contain more white space, upping the level of filling difficulty (20 8-letter fill words = unheard of!). Check out the four themeless-esque corners. They're all pretty good, even featuring such nice entries as APP STORE and PANDEMIC, but each one does have a bit of THE TOP, LENOS, ERTES, INTL glue.

Not one of these globs is a NO NO NO! type infraction of course, but that all-important NW corner did set not the greatest tone for me. THE TOP feels partial-ish, with ETAS and HEMI making me worry what was to come. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded.

A neat concept + strong execution = a really enjoyable Sunday solve. Might have been one of my all-time favorites if each of the fill-in-the-blanks had been as mystifying and then hugely rewarding as SU(PERSON)IC.

JimH notes: I liked this one even more than Jeff did. Each of the theme entries was fun.
1
T
2
H
3
E
4
T
5
O
6
P
7
C
8
A
9
B
10
S
11
K
12
E
13
G
14
P
15
U
16
P
17
I
18
L
19
R
E
T
E
L
L
20
A
L
O
E
21
V
E
R
A
22
O
K
A
P
I
23
A
M
A
N
D
A
24
M
E
A
N
I
N
G
S
25
L
E
N
O
S
26
M
I
S
S
I
N
27
G
P
E
R
S
O
N
28
P
29
E
E
30
D
D
T
31
P
E
E
L
32
D
E
L
E
33
T
E
D
S
34
C
E
N
E
35
H
36
B
O
37
R
O
38
A
39
R
40
L
I
D
O
41
O
M
A
N
42
P
A
R
T
43
V
I
44
C
U
45
R
46
S
47
T
48
L
A
N
49
D
M
I
N
E
50
U
N
U
S
E
D
51
M
I
N
U
T
E
52
S
53
L
E
O
54
C
O
D
55
M
G
S
56
N
E
E
D
57
B
O
P
I
58
N
59
I
D
60
S
61
I
M
H
62
O
T
63
I
R
64
S
65
L
I
N
E
66
L
O
A
67
D
68
U
69
P
70
C
A
E
N
71
D
R
O
P
72
P
E
D
C
A
73
L
L
74
V
I
N
O
75
E
N
D
U
76
R
E
77
C
O
O
N
78
E
T
O
79
T
E
E
N
S
80
S
U
M
81
K
O
L
A
82
S
83
N
O
84
H
O
85
C
A
T
86
A
87
F
88
T
89
D
O
90
C
91
F
O
R
F
92
E
I
T
E
D
93
G
A
M
E
94
P
R
I
95
C
E
T
A
96
G
97
S
T
O
R
K
98
L
O
U
S
E
D
99
P
E
P
S
100
A
R
E
101
A
102
R
S
103
V
P
104
E
T
D
105
S
T
R
I
106
P
P
E
D
B
107
A
108
R
109
E
110
A
M
111
A
S
112
T
O
O
113
E
E
L
114
A
B
A
N
115
D
116
O
N
E
D
S
117
H
118
I
119
P
120
O
V
A
121
L
S
122
E
123
A
T
E
N
R
A
W
124
N
O
N
O
N
O
125
R
E
S
E
T
126
S
H
E
S
G
O
N
E
127
U
B
O
L
T
S
128
E
R
T
E
S
129
S
A
D
130
E
N
O
S
131
S
E
T
T
L
E
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1228 ( 23,791 )
Across Down
1. Where it's lonely at, it's said : THETOP
7. Semi parts : CABS
11. Powder holder : KEG
14. It shrinks in the light : PUPIL
19. Pass on, as stories : RETELL
20. Modern juice ingredient : ALOEVERA
22. Striped beast : OKAPI
23. Mrs. King on TV's "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" : AMANDA
24. Imports : MEANINGS
25. Host Jay and family : LENOS
26. Su____ic : MISSINGPERSON
28. Political capital? : PEE
30. Antimalarial agent : DDT
31. Result of a burn : PEEL
32. Ob____ly : DELETEDSCENE
35. "Game of Thrones" airer : HBO
37. Din : ROAR
40. Italian tourist destination : LIDO
41. Sultanate next to an emirate : OMAN
42. "Friday the 13th" sequel subtitled "Jason Lives" : PARTVI
44. Bad-tempered, in Shakespeare : CURST
48. Something banned by international treaty : LANDMINE
50. ____t : UNUSEDMINUTES
53. Sign of summer : LEO
54. Fish-and-chips fish : COD
55. Bygone sports cars : MGS
56. Call for : NEED
57. Arrive casually, informally : BOPIN
59. They may be checked for checks : IDS
61. Opposite of "Brr!" : IMHOT
63. Grp. with auditors : IRS
65. Checkout headache : LINE
66. Pack, as a car : LOADUP
70. D-Day locale : CAEN
71. Lo____y : DROPPEDCALL
74. Soave, e.g. : VINO
75. Last : ENDURE
77. Masked "bandit" : COON
78. W.W. II domain: Abbr. : ETO
79. They start in middle school : TEENS
80. Ransom specification : SUM
81. Soda nuts : KOLAS
83. Manhattan neighborhood east of N.Y.U. : NOHO
85. Anne Hathaway's persona in 2012's "The Dark Knight Rises" : CAT
86. Sternward : AFT
89. "I've got good news and bad news" speaker : DOC
91. Li____nt : FORFEITEDGAME
94. It's often face-down in a jewelry store : PRICETAG
97. Ibis relative : STORK
98. Messed (up) : LOUSED
99. Spices (up) : PEPS
100. Part of town : AREA
102. Get back (to) : RSVP
104. Flight board abbr. : ETD
105. Ca____t : STRIPPEDBARE
110. One of a Latin trio : AMAS
112. It may follow you or me : TOO
113. It may be smoked in England : EEL
114. Wor____er : ABANDONEDSHIP
120. Eggs, e.g. : OVALS
122. Like oysters as an appetizer, often : EATENRAW
124. "That's completely wrong, you idiot!" : NONONO
125. Change, as a password : RESET
126. 1976 hit for Hall & Oates : SHESGONE
127. Curved fasteners : UBOLTS
128. Some Deco works : ERTES
129. "How pathetic" : SAD
130. Book of Mormon book : ENOS
131. Not marry Mr. Right, say : SETTLE
1. Ride around some parking lots : TRAM
2. Half- : HEMI
3. H's : ETAS
4. Sawbucks : TENSPOTS
5. Song on a reunion tour, maybe : OLDIE
6. Virgin offering : PLANERIDE
7. Group of like-minded thinkers : CAMP
8. Boat direction : ALEE
9. Executive group : BOARD
10. Pick up on : SENSE
11. Relative of a pound : KENNEL
12. Energy unit : ERG
13. It's on the right when you're driving : GASPEDAL
14. Ends of the world : POLES
15. Luau staple : UKE
16. Plague, e.g. : PANDEMIC
17. Apple picker's pick? : IPODNANO
18. Didn't just talk : LISTENED
21. Instrument in Vermeer's "The Music Lesson" : VIOL
27. Shine, in product names : GLO
29. "Modern Family" co-star : EDONEILL
33. Preposition between two times : TIL
34. .biz alternative : COM
35. Fill-in-the-blanks activity : HANGMAN
36. Like some cotton : BRUSHED
38. Jefferson Airplane genre : ACIDROCK
39. Operate : RUN
42. Exfoliation tool : PUMICE
43. Let it all out : VENT
45. Chafe : RUB
46. E____hen : STOLENART
47. Unenthusiastic : TEPID
49. Birdbrain : DODO
51. Yom Kippur War politician : MEIR
52. Partial translation of "Auld Lang Syne" : SINCE
58. Ones who are never out of order? : NEATNIKS
60. Except : SAVE
62. Duty : ONUS
64. "Scary Movie," e.g. : SPOOF
67. Like many toy trucks : DIECAST
68. Anonymous : UNNAMED
69. Up on things : POSTED
71. Mailing to a record exec, once : DEMOTAPE
72. Preppy wear : POLOS
73. Hot goods : LOOT
76. Like talking in a theater, e.g. : RUDE
79. Flap : TODO
82. Destination between LAX and Sea-Tac : SFO
84. Some computer aids : HELPMENUS
86. Modern place to buy games : APPSTORE
87. Stew about : FRETOVER
88. Sirloin cut : TIPROAST
90. Negligent : CARELESS
92. Drop the ball : ERR
93. "So much for that" : GUESSNOT
95. Hit TV series set in Las Vegas : CSI
96. High school makeup test, for short? : GED
101. Tapered off : ABATED
103. Airport shuttle, maybe : VAN
106. Rats and gnats : PESTS
107. What you might get by breaking 4-Down : ABES
108. 0-100, e.g. : RANGE
109. Classic example of corporate malfeasance : ENRON
111. Building block : ADOBE
115. "Hawaii Five-O" crime-fighter, informally : DANO
116. Isn't square, say : OWES
117. News anchor Lester : HOLT
118. I.M.F. part: Abbr. : INTL
119. Ask : POSE
121. Rebel leader : LEE
123. "I knew it!" : AHA

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

|