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, Saturday, February 14, 2015

Author:
David Steinberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
966/16/20118/18/201918
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
76681132242
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.645173
David Steinberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 30 Missing: {Z} This is puzzle # 36 for Mr. Steinberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Steinberg notes:
I submitted the original version of this puzzle in September 2012. Will liked the grid and fill but was concerned that CATAWBA ... read more

I submitted the original version of this puzzle in September 2012. Will liked the grid and fill but was concerned that CATAWBA crossing CABO and WHAP (as in the original) would be too hard. Undeterred, I replaced PIRATE SHIP with KARATE CHOP and sent the revision back to Will, who then accepted the puzzle.

Never had an ICEBOX CAKE, but now I want one!

I always enjoy looking back at my earlier constructions and contemplating whether I would have built them the same way nowadays; in this case, I still would have been happy to use all of the seed entries (JAVASCRIPT, ICEBOX CAKE, ANGRY BIRDS, etc.), with the exception of WHO DAT GIRL. As a constructor, I've come to prefer including distinctive entries that everyone is familiar with, as opposed to incorporating pieces of trivia that happen to resonate with me. That said, I'll always be a huge Flo Rida fan, and I'm glad Will gave me the opportunity to include one of his songs in a crossword. And yes, all you young whippersnappers, 2011 still feels like yesterday to me!

Also, if I were building the puzzle today, I might have been pickier with the short entries — I'm not a huge fan of ODIC, OPES, and especially ACI. Well, I'm sure I'll have criticisms to make about my current submissions in a few years — I find it fascinating how much my tastes change as a constructor!

For now, I hope you all enjoy the puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
72-worder from David today, the maximum number of words allowed in a themeless. Going up to the very max allows one to quasi-segment ... read more

72-worder from David today, the maximum number of words allowed in a themeless. Going up to the very max allows one to quasi-segment the grid, freeing the constructor to work on the grid quadrant by quadrant. It's SO much easier to fill a grid when you're able to work on small parts without having to worry about how they'll affect the rest of the puzzle.

Take the beautiful NW corner for instance. It's not like it's completely sectioned off from the rest of the grid, but only TAMPERED, SNEAKED, and CONTES connect it. One technique I sometimes use it to put (temporary) black squares in to help me isolate a section. Here, they would be at the E of ACHED and the P of PETRIE and the Q of ESQUIRE. In constructing the triple-stack, I'd just make sure I end up with flexible letter patterns in the places that would connect it to the rest of the grid, i.e. at 10-Down (TAM is nice in that it has so many possible endings).

Place: the parlor. Weapon: the waffle cone.

This does reduce grid flow, as there aren't many places to go from one mini-puzzle to the next. And that did make it awfully tough for me to solve the SW quadrant. I'm so bad with pop music – when you need every single crossing to piece together WHO DAT GIRL, and the section is isolated, it can create a solving logjam. I'm thankful for the helpful clue, as the "she" in the lyric eventually led me to figure it out.

Are SERIAL PORTs still in use? That feels like something an ubergeek would make fun of. (Along with my trusty Motorola Razr from 2002.)

A few clues took me a while to understand, even after the solve. Here they are, in case you were equally stumped:

  • CONTES is the French word for "tales," and generally means … well, tales.
  • [Intern] has nothing to do with that poor guy you send out to wash your car. Not that I ever did that. Ahem. Here, it's going for the "internment camp" type definition.
  • PIPEs often have traps, i.e. the P-trap in a bathroom sink.
  • The mysterious Rev. preceding Std.? Apparently it refers to Bible verses. Revised Standard, I believe.
  • The beautiful WAFFLE CONE. Not a product made in the parlor of one's home, but an ice cream parlor. Great misdirect there!

Finally, I love hearing about David's introspection, his never-ending quest for improvement toward perfcetion. Er, perfection. Great attitude.

1
J
2
A
3
V
4
A
5
S
6
C
7
R
8
I
9
P
10
T
11
M
12
A
13
S
14
S
15
I
H
A
D
N
O
I
D
E
A
16
O
N
E
L
17
M
A
I
D
E
N
F
O
R
M
18
O
G
R
E
19
I
S
O
L
A
T
E
20
P
21
E
T
R
I
E
22
E
K
E
23
A
24
P
E
X
25
Y
A
P
26
W
27
S
28
W
29
E
S
30
Q
U
I
R
E
31
B
L
Y
32
A
C
H
33
E
D
34
U
R
G
E
35
P
I
P
E
36
F
R
O
M
37
M
O
O
E
D
38
T
R
O
Y
39
F
E
D
S
40
O
T
R
O
41
P
A
D
R
E
42
L
E
A
43
E
L
E
A
N
44
O
R
45
S
T
D
46
E
N
T
47
R
E
D
S
48
N
E
49
D
50
C
I
G
51
A
R
S
52
D
E
T
E
53
C
54
T
55
O
56
O
D
I
C
57
K
58
A
59
R
A
T
E
C
H
O
P
60
N
O
R
M
61
I
C
E
B
O
X
C
A
K
E
62
E
L
L
E
63
N
I
X
O
N
T
A
P
E
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0214 ( 23,839 )
Across
1
Language introduced in 1995 : JAVASCRIPT
11
Factor in force : MASS
15
"This is a surprise!" : IHADNOIDEA
16
Torts course taker, typically : ONEL
17
Brand that supports women? : MAIDENFORM
18
Major menace : OGRE
19
Intern : ISOLATE
20
Old sitcom family name : PETRIE
22
Scratch : EKE
23
Height : APEX
25
Be a motormouth : YAP
26
Bismarck-to-Billings dir. : WSW
29
It names an annual Sexiest Woman Alive : ESQUIRE
31
"Ten Days in a Mad-House" muckraker : BLY
32
Hankered : ACHED
34
Hankering : URGE
35
Trap locale : PIPE
36
Counterpart of "to" : FROM
37
Talked bull? : MOOED
38
2004 film featuring Paris : TROY
39
Gangsters' counterparts, informally : FEDS
40
Overseas alternative? : OTRO
41
Man on a mission, maybe : PADRE
42
Michele of "Glee" : LEA
43
Mother of Richard I : ELEANOR
45
Abbr. after "Rev." or before "dev." : STD
46
Head doc? : ENT
47
Cab and others : REDS
48
Sparks in old films : NED
50
Blunts, e.g. : CIGARS
52
Big name in scales : DETECTO
56
Like many works with "To" in their titles : ODIC
57
What's a big hit with the school board? : KARATECHOP
60
It's to be expected : NORM
61
Treat with pudding and graham crackers : ICEBOXCAKE
62
___ Style Awards : ELLE
63
They have an infamous gap : NIXONTAPES
Down
1
2010 New York Times best seller subtitled "Sounds Like a Rainbow" : JIMI
2
Sounds accompanying light bulbs? : AHAS
3
Big name in laptops : VAIO
4
Knock for a loop : ADDLE
5
Emulated a cat burglar : SNEAKED
6
Short, imaginative tales : CONTES
7
Chockablock : RIFE
8
Words before a major pronouncement : IDO
9
Rate word : PER
10
Fooled (with) : TAMPERED
11
Subject to dispute : MOOT
12
Top-selling app of 2010 : ANGRYBIRDS
13
Where a techie hooks up : SERIALPORT
14
About to crash, apparently : SLEEPYEYED
21
Application suffix : EXE
23
Free light shows : AURORAS
24
Con victim : PIGEON
26
Parlor product made with an iron : WAFFLECONE
27
Cary Grant or Betty Grable : SCREENIDOL
28
2011 Flo Rida hit with the lyric "She ain't no rock star, but she got groupies" : WHODATGIRL
30
Like Confucius, often : QUOTED
33
"Mamma Mia" quartet : EMS
35
Grp. with the slogan "Every child. One voice" : PTA
37
Fabric used in adhesive pads : MOLESKIN
41
Excuse : PRETEXT
43
Go too far, e.g. : ERR
44
Like some pickups : ONETON
49
Classic record label that rejected the Beatles with the comment "Groups with guitars are on the way out" : DECCA
51
Height : ACME
52
Olivia who won a Razzie for "Bolero" and "Conan the Destroyer" : DABO
53
Mate : CHAP
54
Blunt hit : TOKE
55
Exposes, old-style : OPES
58
Handel's "___, Galatea e Polifemo" : ACI
59
"Toy Story" dinosaur : REX

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?