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, Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Author:
Jesse Eisenberg and Patrick Blindauer
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
12/15/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65000
Jesse Eisenberg
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
667/21/20054/15/201922
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
14661317118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59262
Patrick Blindauer

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {KQX} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Eisenberg. This is puzzle # 63 for Mr. Blindauer. See all the celebrity crosswords. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: To mark the 75th anniversary of the New York Times crossword, which debuted on Feb. 15, 1942, we are beginning today a series of puzzles co-constructed by famous people who solve the Times crossword, working together with regular Times puzzle contributors. The first such collaboration, below, is by the actor Jesse Eisenberg "The Social Network," "Rio," "Now You See Me," "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice") and Patrick Blindauer (with his 55th Times contribution). The celebrity collaborations will continue throughout the year — at least one a month, and sometimes more often. More information about the making of today's puzzle, along with news on future puzzles in the series, appears on the Times's crossword blog (nytimes.com/columns/wordplay).
Constructor notes:
JESSE: Patrick Blindauer and I initially created this puzzle thinking that it would be released around Thanksgiving. As a nod to my ... read more

JESSE: Patrick Blindauer and I initially created this puzzle thinking that it would be released around Thanksgiving. As a nod to my family, vegetarians who celebrate ThanksLiving (yes, a vegan Thanksgiving), I thought we could create a puzzle for vegan dinner options. How did that morph into a food snowman? I don't remember.

I've never made a puzzle before, but I love solving them. Working with Patrick, who is a puzzlemaster, was thrilling; it was simultaneously an exercise in boundless, abstract creativity (a food snowman?) and rigid boundaries (we need exactly two 13-letter and two 10-letter foods that are also parts of the body!). It's a discipline that requires multiple parts of the mind: 1/2 Jackson Pollock, 1/2 Alan Turing.

It was also a good opportunity to express my love of African geography (SENEGAL), my family's heritage (POLE) and mention my playwright friend Will (ENO). And it was primarily exciting to use clues that have never appeared before (e.g. Christian with some intelligent designs? for DIOR; What revolting people do for RIOT).

PATRICK: I had a blast working on this with Jesse; big thanks to Will for putting us in touch.

We brainstormed at least a dozen ideas before settling on this, a wacky concept that we originally pitched for a Monday. I was in the middle of my Kickstarter campaign for "Piece of Cake Crosswords," and Jesse was eagerly anticipating the birth of his child. I had recently become a father myself so we chatted about that, as well as our mutual love of theatre. He was eager to learn about all aspects of construction and was an excellent collaborator. It was fascinating to watch his agile mind at work.

Congrats on your debut, Jesse, and happy birthday to the New York Times crossword!

Jeff Chen notes:
Such a cool idea to have celebs co-construct crosswords! Huge fan of Jesse's roles in 'The Social Network' and 'Now You See Me.' And ... read more

Such a cool idea to have celebs co-construct crosswords! Huge fan of Jesse's roles in "The Social Network" and "Now You See Me." And Patrick is a great partner for a debut collaboration — one of the top puzzlemakers out there.

This is one avant-garde snowman. I've seen HEAD OF LETTUCE and EARS OF CORN in food-like-body-parts crosswords before, maybe even BUTTERFINGERS too, but none of them related to snowmen. Points for … originality? Not sure I ever would have thought of sticking LETTUCE on this horror movie fiend. I can't decide if sticking CHERRY PITS under a snowman's arms is hilarious, or incredibly creepy.

No long bonus entries, but some nice mid-length fill in NFL TEAM, CUTOFFS (perhaps the snowman is a nevernude?) and DARWIN. And some rare letters worked in with care — in JAZZ / ZITI / ZAHN — spices things up.

Such a smooth grid, something Patrick excels at. It was so smooth that I would have liked some more bonus long fill in exchange for a little more crossword glue. Taking out the black square between AGOG and ELITE is one way to do that. Shifting the block above TACO to the right is another option. These changes would make filling harder of course, but as long as the final tally of gluey bits was still reasonable, I would have liked to see that trade-off.

I'd also like to have seen the body parts in more anatomical order, starting with HEAD, to EARS, to PITS, to FINGERS. That would be much tougher to do, since HEAD OF LETTUCE's length makes it unsuitable for row three, forcing all the themers to be shoved tighter together toward the center — and less spacing is almost always a constructor's bane. But I think it would still have been doable.

Some great clues spiced up the solve:

  • MACS are decidedly un-PC types — IBM-PC, that is.
  • Neat that STENO anagrams to NOTES!
  • The (hated, vile) Cowboys are an NFL TEAM, but the Indians are not. Neat use of "cowboys and Indians."
  • Absolutely love the DIOR and RIOT clues Jesse mentioned above.

Nice kick-off to what hopefully will be a long series of these celeb collabs!

Jim Horne notes:
We count this as Mr. Blindauer's 63rd puzzle because we include his eight Variety puzzles. (Click his photo to see thumbnails of all ... read more

We count this as Mr. Blindauer's 63rd puzzle because we include his eight Variety puzzles. (Click his photo to see thumbnails of all his work.) Seven of his Varieties are Diagramless, but the eighth, called Out of Order, is clever and original and highly recommended. Try it before you jump to the answers.

Across Lite (Be sure to read the Notepad!) and Solution.

1
M
2
E
3
D
4
I
5
C
6
A
7
H
8
A
9
B
10
R
11
A
12
T
13
S
14
A
C
U
R
A
15
S
A
R
A
16
A
G
U
A
17
C
H
E
R
R
18
Y
P
I
T
S
19
T
O
N
I
20
S
O
L
21
P
E
I
22
S
E
23
N
E
G
A
L
24
H
E
A
R
25
D
26
H
A
D
27
B
U
T
T
E
R
28
F
I
N
G
29
E
30
R
31
S
32
C
33
A
R
E
S
S
34
A
L
T
O
35
L
I
P
36
A
M
I
D
37
P
G
A
38
D
I
O
R
39
S
I
T
40
S
41
N
A
G
42
S
43
C
O
T
T
Y
44
H
E
A
45
D
O
F
L
E
46
T
T
U
C
E
47
A
L
L
48
D
I
E
T
S
49
J
50
A
51
R
R
E
T
52
T
53
E
N
O
54
P
55
T
56
A
57
A
V
O
W
58
E
A
59
R
S
O
F
60
C
O
R
N
61
Z
I
T
I
62
A
C
A
I
63
F
E
L
O
N
64
Z
A
H
N
65
M
O
W
N
66
S
E
E
Y
A
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0215 ( 24,571 )
Across
1
Doc on a battlefield : MEDIC
6
Captain of literature : AHAB
10
Unwanted subway sights : RATS
14
Honda division : ACURA
15
Singer Bareilles : SARA
16
Water, south of the border : AGUA
17
"We used some food to make a snowman. Under his arms we put ___" : CHERRYPITS
19
Writer Morrison : TONI
20
The sun : SOL
21
Prov. north of Northumberland Strait : PEI
22
Dakar's land : SENEGAL
24
Picked up via gossip : HEARD
26
Used to own : HAD
27
"Then we gave him ___" : BUTTERFINGERS
32
Touch of love : CARESS
34
Kind of clef : ALTO
35
Half a kisser : LIP
36
During : AMID
37
Org. for drivers : PGA
38
Christian with some intelligent designs? : DIOR
39
Plop down : SIT
40
Tiny problem : SNAG
42
Crewmate of Sulu and Bones : SCOTTY
44
"On top we put a ___" : HEADOFLETTUCE
47
Last word of the Pledge of Allegiance : ALL
48
South Beach plan and others : DIETS
49
Obama adviser Valerie : JARRETT
53
Playwright Will who wrote "The Realistic Joneses" : ENO
54
Mom-and-pop org. : PTA
57
Admit frankly : AVOW
58
"Finally, we stuck in two ___. Yum!" : EARSOFCORN
61
Rigatoni's cousin : ZITI
62
Berry imported from Brazil : ACAI
63
Counterfeiter, e.g. : FELON
64
Newswoman Paula : ZAHN
65
Neat, as a lawn : MOWN
66
"Ciao!" : SEEYA
Down
1
Decidedly non-PC types? : MACS
2
Comeback in a cave : ECHO
3
Burr/Hamilton showdown : DUEL
4
Abbr. on some sale goods : IRR
5
Completely covers : CARPETS
6
Dream : ASPIRE
7
"Bali ___" : HAI
8
Newspaper section : ARTS
9
Single, say : BASEHIT
10
Like "Pocahontas" or "Mulan" : RATEDG
11
Like a kid in a candy store : AGOG
12
StarKist product : TUNA
13
Something that's frequently trimmed : SAIL
18
Poet who wrote "In dreams begins responsibility" : YEATS
23
Small iPod : NANO
24
Toned : HUED
25
Was boring, as a meeting : DRAGGED
27
Water filter brand : BRITA
28
State with 1,350 miles of coastline: Abbr. : FLA
29
Type of type : ELITE
30
What revolting people do? : RIOT
31
Not showing one's age, say : SPRY
32
Check alternative : CASH
33
Gallic girlfriend : AMIE
37
"___ Joey" (Rodgers and Hart musical) : PAL
38
Word files, briefly : DOCS
40
Palm : hand :: ___ : foot : SOLE
41
Cowboys, but not Indians : NFLTEAM
42
Worker whose name is, appropriately, an anagram of NOTES : STENO
43
Jeans style : CUTOFFS
45
Champion of evolution : DARWIN
46
Makes a connection : TIESIN
49
Grammy category : JAZZ
50
New Balance competitor : AVIA
51
Philip who said "goodbye" to Columbus : ROTH
52
___ Bell : TACO
54
Szczecin resident : POLE
55
Weight classification : TROY
56
"___ Karenina" : ANNA
59
Lacking refinement : RAW
60
Capital of Colombia? : CEE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?