It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.
This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

ACTION STARS

New York Times, Sunday, December 4, 2016

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
511/3/20137/29/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
315149460
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59043
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 71 Missing: {VX} This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes:
My first Sunday NYT crossword- Woohoo!!! This has been my biggest goal in the crossbiz for some time now, so I'm really stoked to see this come out in print. Even if I never finish 'the ... read more

My first Sunday NYT crossword- Woohoo!!! This has been my biggest goal in the crossbiz for some time now, so I'm really stoked to see this come out in print. Even if I never finish "the cycle" with a Saturday puzzle I will feel like I reached the top of the mountain and basked in the sunshine for at least one magical Sunday.

My first attempt at this theme was not terribly well received — Will and Joel were not that impressed that GEOFFREY RUSHED off to a film shoot and TOM CRUISED to another Golden Globe award, and they really didn't like hearing that RAQUEL WELCHED on a film deal. I can see now that the Welch family could easily have been offended, and in fact, the entire Welsh nation might have taken umbrage — another batch of unpleasant Haight mail headed for Will's mailbox.

So this puzzle sat on my desk for months, until one day David Steinberg (who knows the inside scoop on pretty much everything) told me that the NYT was really short on Sunday puzzles. I combed thru the list of Hollywood stars and found some reasonable replacements, the puzzle was accepted a month after submission, and this publication date is just six weeks after acceptance. I really like the clue we came up with for AS ALL GET OUT ("Like you wouldn't believe"), but my favorite clue is the one for THUMB ("Something that turns up when you snap your fingers?") — I have this mental image of Will and Joel sitting around testing the idea, with Billy Joel's "The Longest Time" playing in the background ...

Jeff Chen notes:
Apt title, ACTION STARS hinting at TV/movie stars whose last names are a verb. I like how Bruce modified those verb tenses so the results could be a stand-alone sentence — ORLANDO, ... read more

Apt title, ACTION STARS hinting at TV/movie stars whose last names are a verb. I like how Bruce modified those verb tenses so the results could be a stand-alone sentence — ORLANDO, BLOOM! feels a bit stilted as a directive, but ORLANDO BLOOMED sounds much more natural. Good stuff.

Nice to get a mix of men and women, although SHELLEY LONG has been out of the spotlight for a while. Too bad Bruce didn't include any Asian actors … BECAUSE THEY'RE AREN'T ANY, THANKS A LOT, HOLLYWOOD. Well, many. Okay, fine, it's pretty tough to find a well-known Asian actor whose last name is a verb. Although CHENNED I'm pretty sure means "kicked ass and took names."

Well, it should.

Great gridwork! Wow, I was impressed, especially given that Bruce has had some rough patches in past puzzles, and Sunday 140-word puzzles are so tough to get smooth. Bruce told me that he was hesitant to help get the word out on our XWord Info Word List because it gives people who have it such a huge advantage over others (his words, not mine!). And because people who do are much better looking. And make more money. And are more humble.

Seriously, though, it's tough to work in great bonuses like BOOSTER SHOT, LSD TRIP (mind you, some editors are very anti-drug references), AS ALL GET OUT, while keeping the gluey bits to … to … heck, I can't find anything to point out. EATABLE (edible?) is a funny word, but it is in the dictionary and legit. It's been a long time since I couldn't find a single small gluey bit to point out in a Sunday 140-word puzzle.

I would have liked something more dynamic in this theme — something more flashy in the cluing, some story arc tying all the themers together into a narrative, something that screams ACTION! and makes you want to use a lot of exclamation points!!! — but overall, a nicely consistent if not super-exciting theme, and exceptional gridwork.

1
F
2
E
3
L
4
T
5
T
6
I
7
P
8
Z
9
I
10
P
11
C
12
A
13
R
14
S
15
T
16
A
17
B
18
L
19
E
20
L
A
Y
I
N
T
O
21
A
G
L
A
R
E
22
H
E
R
O
I
C
23
O
R
L
A
N
D
O
24
B
L
O
O
M
E
D
25
U
N
C
O
L
A
26
G
L
E
N
27
L
E
E
R
28
E
29
O
S
30
S
L
R
31
A
32
W
33
R
A
T
S
34
H
35
E
36
L
E
N
H
37
U
38
N
T
E
D
39
M
40
B
41
A
42
H
I
R
E
43
D
A
R
E
M
E
44
N
E
E
45
A
R
M
46
B
O
N
E
47
A
U
G
I
E
48
L
49
S
D
T
R
50
I
51
P
52
J
A
M
E
S
G
A
53
R
N
E
R
E
D
54
C
E
S
S
N
A
55
A
G
O
G
56
U
G
L
I
S
57
S
58
C
A
R
59
H
U
G
60
A
61
S
62
S
63
A
I
L
E
D
64
T
H
U
M
B
65
O
R
E
66
S
67
E
68
A
N
P
E
N
N
E
D
69
B
R
A
D
P
I
70
T
T
E
D
71
A
R
S
72
R
A
T
E
D
73
Q
U
A
Y
S
I
D
E
74
N
R
A
75
A
W
E
D
76
P
U
T
I
N
77
E
78
L
79
B
80
A
81
T
O
L
82
D
Y
A
83
S
H
E
L
L
E
84
Y
85
L
86
O
N
G
E
D
87
A
L
L
E
G
R
88
O
89
R
O
U
E
S
90
E
A
T
A
B
L
E
91
G
R
U
92
S
93
H
I
N
E
R
94
W
A
C
O
95
T
A
N
96
G
97
L
E
N
N
98
C
L
O
S
E
D
99
T
E
H
E
E
100
D
101
O
A
T
102
R
O
O
103
B
A
L
I
104
A
105
P
106
S
107
E
108
T
R
O
109
P
110
P
O
111
R
112
U
113
S
114
S
E
L
L
B
115
R
116
A
N
D
E
D
117
I
G
U
E
S
S
118
A
S
P
I
R
E
119
E
C
O
T
A
G
E
120
T
E
T
R
I
S
121
Y
E
A
R
N
S
122
T
A
K
E
S
O
N
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1204 ( 24,498 )
Across
1
Kind of marker : FELTTIP
8
Auto-sharing company : ZIPCAR
14
Solid : STABLE
20
Attack : LAYINTO
21
Harshly bright : AGLARE
22
Earning a Purple Heart, say : HEROIC
23
___ into a major film star : ORLANDOBLOOMED
25
7Up, in old ads, with "the" : UNCOLA
26
Vale : GLEN
27
Salacious look : LEER
28
Sibling of Helios and Selene, in myth : EOS
30
Something to shoot with, briefly : SLR
31
"Phooey!" : AWRATS
34
___ for just the right film role : HELENHUNTED
39
Many a suit has one, for short : MBA
42
New employee : HIRE
43
"You think I won't!" : DAREME
44
Bio word : NEE
45
Radius, for one : ARMBONE
47
___ Doggie of old cartoons : AUGIE
48
Psychedelic experience : LSDTRIP
52
___ several filmmaking awards : JAMESGARNERED
54
Maker of business jets : CESSNA
55
Spellbound : AGOG
56
Hybrid citrus fruits : UGLIS
57
"The Lion King" villain : SCAR
59
Stick close to : HUG
60
Went after : ASSAILED
64
Something that turns up when you snap your fingers? : THUMB
65
Pay dirt : ORE
66
___ a new film adaptation : SEANPENNED
69
___ two film studios against each other : BRADPITTED
71
___ nova (musical style of the late Middle Ages) : ARS
72
Like businesses on Yelp : RATED
73
Land near a wharf : QUAYSIDE
74
Org. with the magazine America's 1st Freedom : NRA
75
Spellbound : AWED
76
Leader who was Time's 2007 Person of the Year : PUTIN
77
Italy's Isola d'___ : ELBA
81
"Ha! I was right!" : TOLDYA
83
___ for meatier film roles : SHELLEYLONGED
87
Brisk tempo : ALLEGRO
89
Cads : ROUES
90
Like food : EATABLE
91
"Despicable Me" supervillain : GRU
92
Evidence of a brawl : SHINER
94
Baylor's home : WACO
95
Salon offering : TAN
96
___ the film deal : GLENNCLOSED
99
Giggled : TEHEED
101
Honey ___ Clusters (breakfast cereal) : OAT
102
Milne character : ROO
103
Java neighbor : BALI
104
Church recess : APSE
108
Too much, in music : TROPPO
111
___ himself as a big-screen film star : RUSSELLBRANDED
117
"If you say so" : IGUESS
118
Strive : ASPIRE
119
Actions of environmental extremists : ECOTAGE
120
Stacking game : TETRIS
121
Pines : YEARNS
122
Confronts : TAKESON
Down
1
Lash : FLOG
2
Lady's man : EARL
3
Country singer Lovett : LYLE
4
First African-American Disney princess : TIANA
5
Spike TV's former name : TNN
6
"___ be my honor" : ITD
7
Sunbathing locale : POOLAREA
8
Jewelry chain : ZALES
9
Borodin's prince : IGOR
10
1993 accord grp. : PLO
11
Surveillance device : CAM
12
Middle word in a mall map phrase : ARE
13
Cash in : REDEEM
14
"Quiet down!" : SHUSH
15
Half a score : TEN
16
Story ___ : ARC
17
Immunity enhancer : BOOSTERSHOT
18
French city near the Belgian border : LILLE
19
Modern greeting : ECARD
24
___ noire : BETE
29
Student taking Contracts, maybe : ONEL
32
Villagers the Grinch stole from in Dr. Seuss : WHOS
33
Surround : RING
34
Hogwarts groundskeeper : HAGRID
35
Native New Yorkers : ERIES
36
Eco-friendly building certification, for short : LEED
37
Runner-up's amount in an auction : UNDERBID
38
New York team : NETS
39
Goya subject : MAJA
40
Speak for oneself? : BRAG
41
Some rounds : AMMO
43
Settled a score old-style : DUELED
46
Got going : BEGAN
47
Aslant : ANGLED
49
Seafood order : SCAMPI
50
Temper : INURE
51
Summoned, in a way : PAGED
53
In bankruptcy : RUINED
57
Michael ___, Brett Halliday detective : SHAYNE
58
Things to chew on : CUDS
61
Aid for a big painting project : SPRAYGUN
62
Naval conflict : SEAWAR
63
Put up : ANTE
64
Straggles : TRAILS
66
December temp : SANTA
67
Morris who directed "The Fog of War" : ERROL
68
Like you wouldn't believe : ASALLGETOUT
69
Gable part : BUTLER
70
Singer Marie : TEENA
73
In line : QUEUED
76
Buzz, so to speak : PHONE
78
Pride parade letters : LGBT
79
Actor Lugosi : BELA
80
Yemen seaport : ADEN
82
Laura of "Blue Velvet" : DERN
83
Hindu honorifics : SRIS
84
"A likely story!" : YEAHIBET
85
Tie (up) : LACE
86
Western tribe : OTOE
88
1993 accord city : OSLO
93
"Yippee!" : HOORAY
94
"I'm waiting ...?" : WELL
96
"Roger that" : GOTIT
97
Vast : LARGE
98
Betray : CROSS
99
"The Twilight Zone" episodes, e.g. : TALES
100
Poet who wrote "In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost" : DANTE
103
Capital NW of Jungfrau : BERN
105
Some info holders : PDAS
106
___ lily : SEGO
107
Depiction in Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights" : EDEN
109
___ se : PER
110
Tire measure: Abbr. : PSI
112
Benefit : USE
113
Unwinding spot : SPA
114
Word before and after "yes," in the Army : SIR
115
Home appliance giant : RCA
116
Swell : AOK

Answer summary: 16 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?