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, Safari, Firefox, or Edge for best results.

New York Times, Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Author:
Peter Gordon
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1119/5/198912/4/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
839231411619
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.5891611
Peter Gordon

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 40 Missing: {FJQW} This is puzzle # 111 for Mr. Gordon. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I've heard anecdotes that the average crossword solver doesn't even notice themes, just mindlessly filling in squares until it's done, ... read more

I've heard anecdotes that the average crossword solver doesn't even notice themes, just mindlessly filling in squares until it's done, then wiping their butt with it.

I kid!

At least for the e-solvers. That'd be messy.

While I do give the NYT solving population much more credit than the average crossworder, I wonder how many people will miss some of what's going on today. It might be too easy to shrug at what seems like a S* S* phrase theme, which we've seen many times before.

I've missed parts of themes enough times that I'm hyper-aware of it these days. Not that I needed it today! Of course, there's more! I didn't miss another part of a theme yet again!

Okay fine, I did.

Peter takes this tried and true "initialism" theme type a little further, mixing it with the also tried and true "vowel progression" – using A E I O U (and sometimes Y), in that order. It's a creative blendification, although I wouldn't say it was exciting.

I *think* I liked that Peter went the extra mile by including the sixth themer. It's not easy to find phrases starting with SY* SY*, so kudos for taking on the challenge.

Although, I'm a big jazz fan, and SYLVIA SYMS was only on the periphery of my knowledge base (admittedly, I'm not nearly as good with jazz singers as with instrumentalists). I wonder if SYMBOLIC SYSTEMS would have catered to a wider audience? Not sure.

Also, six themers nearly always strains a grid in all sorts of places. I'm not a fan of using entries like ENERO, LTYRS, ERLE, that seem like they could stymie newer solvers. I'd much rather stick to lesser glueys like ASSN, PPS, PRES, SSE, UNI, which seem much more gettable.

I liked some of the bonuses, SARTRE, AU REVOIR helping keep up my interest. And I don't quite remember this particular mixture of theme types, so bonus points for novelty.

ADDED NOTE: Gerry Wildenberg says, "I pioneered the same theme that Peter used today."

Jim Horne notes:

Fun puzzle. I like this one.

1
A
2
N
3
K
4
L
5
E
6
P
7
A
8
P
9
A
10
A
11
A
12
H
13
S
14
B
R
I
A
N
15
A
P
O
P
16
U
T
A
H
17
S
A
M
P
L
18
E
S
A
L
E
19
R
A
V
I
20
S
A
R
T
R
E
21
P
E
R
O
N
22
S
E
C
R
E
T
S
23
E
R
V
I
C
E
24
A
25
B
I
D
E
26
N
E
O
27
B
O
X
28
S
29
I
30
M
31
P
32
L
E
S
I
33
M
34
O
35
N
36
C
Z
A
37
R
38
C
A
P
E
R
39
R
A
R
E
40
S
O
M
E
41
D
A
Y
S
O
O
42
N
43
S
E
X
44
D
O
H
45
I
46
L
O
S
T
47
S
48
U
49
D
D
E
N
50
L
51
Y
52
S
53
U
S
A
N
54
C
H
E
E
R
55
T
E
E
N
S
Y
56
R
U
I
N
57
S
Y
L
V
I
A
S
58
Y
59
M
60
S
61
U
R
G
E
62
E
R
L
E
63
N
O
E
L
S
64
B
A
N
D
65
A
S
S
N
66
S
N
A
K
E
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1204 ( 25,228 )
Across
1
Commonly sprained joint : ANKLE
6
Smurf with a white beard : PAPA
10
Sounds when settling into a hot bath : AAHS
14
Good name for a dyslexic neurosurgeon? : BRIAN
15
Each : APOP
16
Four Corners state : UTAH
17
Clothing store event to get rid of excess merchandise : SAMPLESALE
19
Sitarist Shankar : RAVI
20
French writer who refused the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature : SARTRE
21
Evita of "Evita" : PERON
22
Government agency charged with protecting the first family : SECRETSERVICE
24
Tolerate : ABIDE
26
Prefix with -phyte : NEO
27
Participate in a prizefight : BOX
28
Nursery rhyme character who met a pieman : SIMPLESIMON
36
Old Russian autocrat : CZAR
38
Prank : CAPER
39
Steakhouse specification : RARE
40
In the near future : SOMEDAYSOON
43
Word before sells or cells : SEX
44
Exclamation on "The Simpsons" : DOH
45
Admission of defeat : ILOST
47
Brooke Shields sitcom set at a trendy magazine : SUDDENLYSUSAN
54
"Hurray!" or "Olé!" : CHEER
55
Really small, informally : TEENSY
56
Destruction : RUIN
57
Nightclub singer who was given the nickname "Buddha" by Frank Sinatra : SYLVIASYMS
61
Strong desire : URGE
62
___ Stanley Gardner of detective fiction : ERLE
63
Christmas carols : NOELS
64
Hot Chocolate or Vanilla Fudge : BAND
65
Professional org. : ASSN
66
Plumber's device : SNAKE
Down
1
"Washboard" muscles : ABS
2
Org. opposed by Everytown for Gun Safety : NRA
3
North Korean leader : KIM
4
Expired, as a membership : LAPSED
5
Intertwines : ENLACES
6
Cut's partner in word processing : PASTE
7
Separately : APART
8
Firehouse fixtures : POLES
9
Orangutan, for one : APE
10
Bye at the French Open? : AUREVOIR
11
Company that created Pong : ATARI
12
Destruction : HAVOC
13
Bootblack's job : SHINE
18
Drop the ball : ERR
21
Air Force One passenger: Abbr. : PRES
22
Schoolteacher's wake-up time, perhaps : SIXAM
23
First month of el año : ENERO
24
Basic facts : ABCS
25
Nincompoop : BOZO
29
Billionaire Carl : ICAHN
30
Last full month of spring : MAY
31
Second addendum to a letter, for short : PPS
32
Summer zodiac sign : LEO
33
One who works with bricks : MASON
34
Bonanza discoveries : ORES
35
Barbershop call : NEXT
37
Blushed or flushed : REDDENED
41
Active person : DOER
42
Popular Japanese cars : NISSANS
46
Applies, as a thick coat of paint : LAYSON
47
Second-stringer : SCRUB
48
Communications officer on the Enterprise : UHURA
49
Condescend (to) : DEIGN
50
Distance units in astron. : LTYRS
51
Shouts : YELLS
52
Commonest craps roll : SEVEN
53
Prefix with cellular : UNI
57
Where the buoys are : SEA
58
Affirmative vote : YEA
59
Jan. honoree : MLK
60
NNW's opposite : SSE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?