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TRIVIAL MATTERS

New York Times, Sunday, February 17, 2019

Author:
David Kwong
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
194/1/20062/17/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3234421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59332
David Kwong

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 77 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Kwong. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
David Kwong is a professional magician and crossword constructor. He was the head magic consultant for the hit 2013 film Now You See Me (see the sly nod at 96-Down.) He is currently ... read more

David Kwong is a professional magician and crossword constructor. He was the head magic consultant for the hit 2013 film Now You See Me (see the sly nod at 96-Down.) He is currently performing in a one-man magic-and-puzzles show, The Enigmatist, in New York City. Audience members must solve four puzzles in an anteroom to get into the show. (Hints are available if needed.)

This is Kwong's 19th puzzle for The Times.

David Kwong notes:
It's so nice to be back on glossy newsprint! Haven't had a Sunday puzzle for 9 years. Last one was Kevan Choset and my Mad Magazine Fold-In puzzle in 2010! This one has been cooking for ... read more

It's so nice to be back on glossy newsprint! Haven't had a Sunday puzzle for 9 years. Last one was Kevan Choset and my Mad Magazine Fold-In puzzle in 2010!

This one has been cooking for a number of years. I originally submitted it five years ago and Will took issue with a couple of entries. I had OTTO THE ORANGE (Syracuse mascot) for Sports, and BLUE DIAMONDS (rare South African gemstones) for Geography. He thought both of those were too obscure. I agree. And so, years later I pulled out the puzzle again and did a complete re-grid — started at square one. I think it works much better now and I'm proud of the theme intersections! So, this puzzle was five years in the making!

And the new constructor blurbs are so nice! I'm grateful for the Times for mentioning my show in New York City, The Enigmatist. If you're coming through, please come check it out! It's an "immersive evening of puzzles, cryptography and illusions." More info here.

And the trailer has quite a few hidden puzzles in it as well. Enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
David riffing on the common complaint, that you have to know trivia to do crosswords. Today, you do! A lot of elegant elements, starting with the six Trivial Pursuit wedge colors, ... read more

David riffing on the common complaint, that you have to know trivia to do crosswords. Today, you do!

A lot of elegant elements, starting with the six Trivial Pursuit wedge colors, placed in a perfect circle. Check out the colored-in grid below – so aesthetically pleasing.

I also liked that we got a trivia question from a certain category, using that category's color as an answer. Here's the list:

  • Geography = blue
  • Entertainment = pink
  • History = yellow
  • Art and Literature = Brown
  • Science and Nature = Green
  • Sports and Leisure = Orange

For example, note how the blue rebus square involved the DELAWARE BLUE HENS. Nice touch.

Also note how many elements David had to work in:

  1. Six rebus squares
  2. Those six rebus squares, placed regularly along a circle
  3. Six trivia questions (symmetrical in length)
  4. Six answers to those questions – placed to work with the rebus squares!

With so much going on, it's no surprise to get some crossword glue, and some oddballs like ULYANOV. But the bigger surprise was that it wasn't more.

(And it's kind of meta to get weird trivia like Lenin's real last name, inside a Trivial Pursuit puzzle!)

The trivia questions themselves weren't all that interesting or challenging, so this one didn't rise to POW! consideration. But overall, an interesting concept along with good craftsmanship on a tough set of constraints.

Jim Horne notes:
The Will Shortz era at the NYT started with a memorable color rebus crossword. We have a list of the other color rebus puzzles here. Mr. Kwong gave a popular TED Talk in 2014 that had ... read more

The Will Shortz era at the NYT started with a memorable color rebus crossword. We have a list of the other color rebus puzzles here.

Mr. Kwong gave a popular TED Talk in 2014 that had an amazing tie-in to this crossword. Does today's have some connection to his current NY show?

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0217 ( 25,303 )
Across
1
Not rumpled, as a bed : MADE
5
Slice, for example : SODA
9
Veal topper, informally : PARM
13
Cookie containers : JARS
17
"Yeah, right!" : IBET
18
Certain body of believers : CHRISTENDOM
21
Part of a Latin 101 conjugation : AMAT
22
What kind of tree ___? : ALWAYSHASFOLIAGE
24
High-grade cotton : PIMA
25
Capital that was home to the world's tallest building before the Burj Khalifa : TAIPEI
26
Pears and apples : POMES
27
Vladimir Lenin's real last name : ULYANOV
29
Nahuatl speaker : AZTEC
30
Answer to 22-Across [Science & Nature] : EVERGREEN
32
Multipurpose : ALLINONE
33
Fixed : SET
34
Polite : CIVIL
36
Moving vehicle : VAN
38
"Carmen" and "Elektra" : OPERAS
39
"Jeez!" : OHMAN
40
Mimicking : APING
42
Director Anderson : WES
43
Simulated : MOCK
46
Answer to 113-Across [Geography] : BLUEHENSTATE
48
Answer to 13-Down [History] : YELLOWSEA
50
First name on a famous plane : ENOLA
52
Farm females : SOWS
53
Host for a destructive beetle : ELM
55
Abbr. on a label of brandy : VSOP
58
Class skippers : TRUANTS
61
Princess seduced by Zeus : LEDA
63
Cartesian conclusion : IAM
65
Word said before "do" : ITLL
66
What 1986 ___ romantic comedy got its title from a song by the Psychedelic Furs? : HIGHSCHOOL
68
Who wrote a 2003 best seller about a ___? : SECRETCODE
71
Tres + cinco : OCHO
72
"Little ol' me?" : MOI
73
Fine fabric : LACE
75
Asmara is its capital : ERITREA
76
Regard : DEEM
77
World Cup cry : OLE
79
Newspaper units: Abbr. : COLS
81
Clammy : MOIST
82
Answer to 68-Across [Art & Literature] : DANBROWN
85
Answer to 66-Across [Entertainment] : PRETTYINPINK
89
"Phooey!" : RATS
90
Have a bawl : SOB
91
Amherst campus, for short : UMASS
92
Cacophonous : NOISY
94
Knight's wear, in England : ARMOUR
97
Pad : MAT
98
Find a new tenant for : RELET
99
Calendar units: Abbr. : WKS
102
Select, as sides for a game : CHOOSEUP
104
Answer to 39-Down [Sports & Leisure] : ORANGEBOWL
106
"To repeat ..." : AGAIN
108
Lens covers : CORNEAS
109
Meerkat in "The Lion King" : TIMON
111
Living, to Livy : INESSE
112
Nose out : EDGE
113
What ___ comes from a farm bird? : DELAWARENICKNAME
117
Blacken : SEAR
118
Song heard at the start of "Saturday Night Fever" : STAYINALIVE
119
Ride provider : UBER
120
Some I.R.S. data, for short : SSNS
121
Not hush-hush : OPEN
122
Kind : TYPE
123
What a judge does for much of the day : SITS
Down
1
Some roadsters : MIATAS
2
Brightly lit : ABLAZE
3
Clinton who once ran for president : DEWITT
4
Tour de France stage : ETAPE
5
"Pipe down!" : SHH
6
60 minuti : ORA
7
Get rid of : DISPEL
8
"When it comes to ..." : ASFOR
9
Scorer of 12 World Cup goals : PELE
10
Spanish ouzo flavoring : ANIS
11
Nutritional std. : RDA
12
Bump on a slope : MOGUL
13
Where were battleships sunk in an 1894 ___? : JAPANESEVICTORY
14
Key of Beethoven's "Für Elise" : AMINOR
15
Quimby of children's books : RAMONA
16
Lines on sheet music : STAVES
18
CBS debut of 2000 : CSI
19
Comic actor known for his shock humor : TOMGREEN
20
1966 Donovan hit with a rhyming title : MELLOWYELLOW
23
"That tastes bleah!" : YECCH
28
"Holy cow!" : YIPES
30
Cole Porter's "Well, Did You ___?" : EVAH
31
Jungle tangle : VINES
32
Sweet and kind : ANGELIC
35
1962 hit for the Ikettes : IMBLUE
36
Part of an itinerary : VIA
37
Cost to get a hand : ANTE
39
What annual game have the ___ won more than any other team? : OKLAHOMASOONERS
40
Too : ASWELL
41
Condition once called "shell shock," for short : PTSD
43
Process : METHOD
44
How chicken teriyaki is usually served : ONRICE
45
Gave reluctantly, with "up" : COUGHED
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Court plea, in brief : NOLO
49
Oregon city that was the first permanent U.S. settlement west of the Rockies : ASTORIA
51
A, B, C or D, in multiple choice: Abbr. : ANS
54
Foal's mother : MARE
56
Like Fenway among all major-league ballparks : OLDEST
57
Folds : PLEATS
59
Cinephile's channel : TCM
60
"Buzz off!" : SHOO
62
Natty neckwear : ASCOTS
64
Locale for Jacques Cousteau : MER
67
Crankcase device : OILPUMP
69
Like a moray : EELY
70
Director Burton : TIM
74
Follower of the Gospels : ACTS
78
Wry Bombeck : ERMA
80
Resilience : SINEW
83
"It's a waste of time" : NOUSE
84
Loaves from whole-grain flour : BROWNBREADS
86
Put away, in a way : EAT
87
Longtime Steelers coach Chuck : NOLL
88
Small digit : PINKIE
93
Reeked : STANK
94
Gain entry to : ACCESS
95
Kind of scholar : RHODES
96
Freeman of "Now You See Me" : MORGAN
98
TV Tarzan player : RONELY
99
Hot stuff : WASABI
100
Fate : KISMET
101
Unwelcome looks : SNEERS
103
Be of ___ (aid) : USETO
104
Syracuse player, once : ORANGEMAN
105
Sacha Baron Cohen character : BORAT
107
Original edition of this puzzle's theme : GENUS
109
Actor Diggs : TAYE
110
Words of triumph : IWIN
111
Whack : ICE
114
Length of a pool and back : LAP
115
Partner of tuck : NIP
116
Suffix with elect : IVE

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?