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, Thursday, February 21, 2019

Author:
Sam Trabucco
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2010/29/20156/19/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3102356
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.68150
Sam Trabucco

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 42 Missing: {FQYZ} This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Trabucco. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Trabucco notes:
Oof, this was a doozy to construct. There are so few themer options (beyond the flexibility that Bond and 'Men in Black' provide), ... read more

Oof, this was a doozy to construct. There are so few themer options (beyond the flexibility that Bond and "Men in Black" provide), leading to me needing to use 14-letter CHARACTER ACTOR instead of much friendlier CHARACTER ACTORS. Combined with my desire to use HUGO WEAVING (for whom I had no matching 11) meant I could not use a 14x16 grid, which forced the rectangles in the corners. It did give me the chance to make the grid pretty open, and I like how it's different from what's typically seen (even if that is because it's ugly and what's typically seen is not ugly :P).

I'm thrilled to debut THE BEAN today. I've only been to Chicago once, but while there I developed a weird fascination with THE BEAN. It's become quite a real part of my personality — many of my friends won't visit Chicago without sending me a selfie with THE BEAN. I'll always look back upon this puzzle as my tribute to it.

Jeff Chen notes:
Spot-on revealer, CHARACTER ACTORs describing people who played a person whose name was a single letter. I didn't buy it 100%, as no ... read more

Spot-on revealer, CHARACTER ACTORs describing people who played a person whose name was a single letter. I didn't buy it 100%, as no one faithful to the comic books calls Professor X just "X" – blasphemy! – but for crosswording sake, I let it slide.

Note the chunks of three black squares in the SW / NE; interesting choice. It makes construction easier, allowing for more space between themers, but I'm not a fan of the resulting visual. So many black squares!

It would have been very tough to construct around themers in rows 4 6 8 10 12 – just a single row of space separating them. And it would likely have meant that there wouldn't have been as much bonus fill. Just getting the darn thing to work would have been hard enough.

I like much of Sam's bonuses — yay for THE BEAN! — but I'm not sold on it all as a whole. As a Harry Potter fanatic, I love the PENSIEVE, a great play on words. (It's a big bowl you dunk your head into, to see memories.) But ...

  • GAMER TAG. Okay. Two words that make sense of the clue when joined.
  • TECHBRO. BRO is a swaggery dude. TECHBRO, a BRO in TECH. Similar to the concept of a BROGRAMMER?
  • DUDETTE. I've heard this thrown around, but I'm not sure if it's always a compliment?

Freshness in crosswords is good. But too much all at once can feel overwhelming; even turning solvers off. I've gotten the hate mail to prove it!

Overall, I appreciated the solidity of the theme concept. But the execution, while fine in most objective regards, didn't personally speak to me.

Jim Horne notes:

Sam Trabucco is right. Chicago's Cloud Gate, commonly called The Bean, is oddly compelling. It's fun to watch people walk around and stare at it.

1
R
2
A
3
G
4
S
5
W
6
W
7
I
8
H
9
E
10
H
11
E
12
A
L
E
U
13
T
I
A
N
14
P
O
R
E
S
15
P
A
T
R
I
C
K
S
16
T
E
W
A
R
T
17
I
M
S
18
E
K
E
19
O
N
E
S
E
E
20
D
21
D
E
W
22
A
R
S
23
D
A
S
24
I
R
A
25
O
D
I
C
26
J
U
D
I
27
D
28
E
N
C
H
29
A
T
T
30
U
31
N
E
D
32
E
R
R
33
H
U
G
O
W
E
34
A
V
I
N
35
G
36
A
G
R
37
T
H
E
B
E
A
38
N
39
W
40
I
41
L
L
S
M
42
I
T
H
43
S
M
O
44
G
45
E
C
O
46
A
R
E
47
H
48
A
T
E
T
O
49
T
E
C
50
H
51
B
R
O
52
J
O
N
53
R
A
P
54
C
H
A
R
A
C
55
T
E
R
A
56
C
T
O
R
57
A
T
R
E
E
58
I
T
A
L
I
A
N
O
59
P
E
E
R
60
X
E
S
61
A
G
E
S
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0221 ( 25,307 )
Across
1
Precursor to riches, it's said : RAGS
5
"A Farewell to Arms" subj. : WWI
8
Snide chuckle : HEHE
12
Unalaskan, e.g. : ALEUTIAN
14
Hide-y holes? : PORES
15
Player of X in "X-Men" : PATRICKSTEWART
17
Alternatives to texts : IMS
18
Squeeze (out) : EKE
19
Frequent favorite : ONESEED
21
Scotch brand : DEWARS
23
Courtroom V.I.P.s : DAS
24
Part of some future planning, for short : IRA
25
Like many of Pindar's works : ODIC
26
Player of M in "GoldenEye" : JUDIDENCH
29
Carefully listening (to) : ATTUNED
32
Screw up : ERR
33
Player of V in "V for Vendetta" : HUGOWEAVING
36
Cabinet dept. concerned with farming : AGR
37
Chicago landmark nicknamed for its resemblance to a legume : THEBEAN
39
Player of J in "Men in Black" : WILLSMITH
43
Urban portmanteau : SMOG
45
Lead-in to -cide : ECO
46
Equal : ARE
47
Would really rather not : HATETO
49
Member of a fratlike Silicon Valley work environment : TECHBRO
52
"Game of Thrones" role ___ Snow : JON
53
Cardi B's genre : RAP
54
15-, 26-, 33- or 39-Across, punnily? : CHARACTERACTOR
57
Answer to the old riddle "What wears more clothing in summer than in winter?" : ATREE
58
What Dante wrote in : ITALIANO
59
Try to get a good look : PEER
60
Crosses out : XES
61
A really long time : AGES
Down
1
Spanish fleet? : RAPIDO
2
San Francisco Bay city : ALAMEDA
3
Becomes involved in : GETSWITH
4
Big ___ : SUR
5
Ones going down in flames? : WICKS
6
Shake, maybe : WAKE
7
Walk-___ : INS
8
Julia Ward ___, writer of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" : HOWE
9
Really long times : ERAS
10
Contained by this text : HEREIN
11
Ph-neutral vitamin brand : ESTERC
13
Mezzanine, e.g. : TIER
14
Magical basin used to view one's memories in the Harry Potter books : PENSIEVE
16
Disgusting sort : TOAD
20
"Lah-di-___!" : DAH
22
Honest-to-goodness : ACTUAL
23
Cool woman, jocularly : DUDETTE
26
Typical Seder attendee : JEW
27
Tiny amount : DRIB
28
Rutherford known as "The Father of Nuclear Physics" : ERNEST
30
Popular boots from Australia : UGGS
31
Title role for Sally Field : NORMARAE
34
"How relaxing!" : AHH
35
Online handle for an Xbox player : GAMERTAG
38
Zero : NOTAONE
39
Drippy, say : WET
40
Geographical feature of Mars : ICECAP
41
12-time Olympic swimming medalist Ryan : LOCHTE
42
Classic Camaro, informally : IROC
44
Action-documenting cameras : GOPROS
47
Some circle dances : HORAS
48
Super-uptight : ANAL
50
Title creature in an Aesop fable : HARE
51
Title in Uncle Remus stories : BRER
52
"Black Swan" jump : JETE
55
Two for the show, informally? : TIX
56
Org. concerned with bugs and plants : CIA

Answer summary: 13 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?