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 3, 2016

Author:
Tom McCoy
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3211/14/201310/7/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
17815100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61362
Tom McCoy

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 42 Missing: {JQWXZ} This is puzzle # 17 for Mr. McCoy. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes:
My worst fear as a constructor was realized when, as I was putting the completed grid into an envelope to submit it, I noticed that I ... read more

My worst fear as a constructor was realized when, as I was putting the completed grid into an envelope to submit it, I noticed that I had misspelled UMA THURMAN as UMA THERMAN. To fix this, the crossing answer would've had to become ERMINU. There was no good way to turn ERMINU into something that was actually a thing, so I redid the grid from scratch.

If Ms. Thurman is offended by the misspelling, I hope she will be mollified to hear that the song named after her is currently the most frequently played item on my iPod.

Jeff Chen notes:
Great puzzle. How often do you see two symmetrical revealers — both totally apt? Occasionally you'll see that double-revealer ... read more

Great puzzle. How often do you see two symmetrical revealers — both totally apt? Occasionally you'll see that double-revealer sort of thing in a Sunday puzzle, but it'll be with a revealer in the grid and a perfect title (one of Tom's previous puzzles did this really well — I've appreciated that one more and more with time). Today we get MIDDLE CLASS and CENTER FIELD, which both describe the concept so well: school majors hidden within themers.

Bellatrix LeStrange, Voldemort, and Lucius Malfoy, some of the DEATH EATERS

As if that weren't enough, Tom made some beautiful discoveries. THEATER in DEATH EATERS is brilliant and contemporary. MATH in UMA THURMAN is also fun, and it kind of hints at efforts to get girls more interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). (Okay, maybe that's just me.)

But wait, there's more! Fitting six themers into a 15x puzzle is hard enough that I expect to see some crossword glue and little to no long bonus fill. Tom works in SKYDIVER and EAST ASIA with a great "1984" clue, and manages to do so with really no price to pay. Some may balk at LOCI, but it's a common enough term in both MATH and ECON. Ha!

I had to scan through the grid a few times just to pick out MSS and … that's it for crossword glue. It's amazing that Tom crammed in so much theme and bonus fill with virtually no trade-offs. It seems to break the laws of physics, but it's a testament to the hours Tom clearly put in, working and reworking the grid to make it great.

A clinic on crossword-making. Neat theme with two perfect revealers, high theme density, long bonus fill, virtually no glue required. A standout puzzle, one that I appreciated even more as I studied its architechure.

1
S
2
P
3
I
4
E
5
L
6
P
7
U
8
N
9
T
10
S
11
S
12
K
13
I
14
G
E
C
K
O
15
A
L
O
H
A
16
T
O
M
17
T
A
K
E
C
18
O
N
T
R
O
L
19
O
R
E
20
S
K
Y
D
I
V
E
R
21
A
R
E
A
22
U
M
A
23
T
24
H
25
U
R
M
A
N
26
R
27
E
28
P
29
E
L
30
R
A
N
T
31
M
I
D
D
L
E
32
C
33
L
A
S
S
34
A
35
R
36
F
37
S
C
I
F
I
38
A
I
D
39
A
40
G
R
E
E
41
S
E
T
42
C
43
E
N
T
E
44
R
F
I
E
L
D
45
S
I
L
O
46
E
E
N
S
Y
47
A
48
L
49
L
A
T
I
N
50
G
51
L
E
52
R
A
I
D
53
E
A
S
54
T
55
A
56
S
57
I
58
A
59
U
S
E
60
D
61
E
62
A
T
H
E
A
T
E
R
S
63
B
E
G
64
O
R
B
I
T
65
S
T
E
A
K
66
A
R
E
67
C
A
C
T
I
68
E
A
R
N
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0203 ( 24,193 )
Across
1
Infomercial presentation, e.g. : SPIEL
6
Many fourth-down plays : PUNTS
11
Take to the hills? : SKI
14
Scaly wall-scaler : GECKO
15
HI hi : ALOHA
16
QB Brady : TOM
17
Seize the reins : TAKECONTROL
19
Bauxite or galena : ORE
20
Fall guy? : SKYDIVER
21
What pi may be used to find : AREA
22
Female lead in "Gattaca" and "Kill Bill" : UMATHURMAN
26
Drive away : REPEL
30
Tirade : RANT
31
Bourgeoisie ... or a description of each group of circled letters? : MIDDLECLASS
34
Sound from a terrier : ARF
37
Genre of Isaac Asimov's "Foundation" : SCIFI
38
Avail : AID
39
Concur : AGREE
41
Adjust, as a watch : SET
42
Baseball position ... or a description of each group of circled letters? : CENTERFIELD
45
Barn neighbor : SILO
46
Itty-bitty : EENSY
47
In eager anticipation : ALLATINGLE
52
F.B.I. action : RAID
53
Superstate in "1984" : EASTASIA
59
Avail oneself of : USE
60
Followers of Lord Voldemort : DEATHEATERS
63
Beseech : BEG
64
Go around in circles : ORBIT
65
What might get an A1 application? : STEAK
66
"What ___ the odds?!" : ARE
67
Some Arizona flora : CACTI
68
Grosses : EARNS
Down
1
Pepper and others: Abbr. : SGTS
2
Maximum : PEAK
3
Gross : ICKY
4
Barely obtained, with "out" : EKED
5
Focal points : LOCI
6
"The Hunger Games" nation : PANEM
7
Very, very : ULTRA
8
"Neither snow ___ rain ..." : NOR
9
However, in brief : THO
10
"My Gal ___" (song classic) : SAL
11
Hurricane, e.g. : STORM
12
Land partitioned in 1945 : KOREA
13
"That is to say ..." : IMEAN
18
Future seed : OVULE
21
"___ washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life": Picasso : ART
23
Commerce : TRADE
24
Owns : HAS
25
Hazardous : UNSAFE
26
Source of about 20% of the calories consumed by humanity : RICE
27
Work with 31-Down : EDIT
28
File name ending in Adobe Acrobat : PDF
29
Draw out : ELICIT
31
Some submissions: Abbr. : MSS
32
Group of established works : CANON
33
Put a match to : LIT
34
God whose name is a homophone of a zodiac sign : ARES
35
Count (on) : RELY
36
Made dinner for : FED
40
Cotton ___ : GIN
43
___ Whitney : ELI
44
Witherspoon of "Legally Blonde" : REESE
45
Down : SAD
47
Dutch Caribbean island : ARUBA
48
Surgical beam : LASER
49
Feudal lord : LIEGE
50
Question sometimes accompanied by an elbow jab : GETIT
51
Christine of "Chicago Hope" : LAHTI
54
Shock, in a way : TASE
55
The U.N.'s Kofi ___ Annan : ATTA
56
Forward-looking person? : SEER
57
Persia, nowadays : IRAN
58
Requests, with "for" : ASKS
60
File name ending in Word : DOC
61
Long time : ERA
62
Epitome of simplicity : ABC

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?