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, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

New York Times, Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Author:
Damon J. Gulczynski
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3811/8/20047/1/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
15608810
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65330
Damon J. Gulczynski

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FQX} This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Gulczynski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Damon J. Gulczynski notes:
I wanted to make a pop culture-themed puzzle that spanned many generations. Without an exact theme idea in mind, I started browsing ... read more

I wanted to make a pop culture-themed puzzle that spanned many generations. Without an exact theme idea in mind, I started browsing lists of old actresses and actors hoping something would come to me. Because SID CAESAR and LEE J. COBB both have surnames that start with C, they were listed near each other, and I made the obvious salad connection. Next I came up with the revealer SALAD DAYS, and the idea that my puzzle would contain movie stars with salad names who reminded people of their salad days. It seemed clever enough.

It didn't work out quite like I wanted. (Does it ever?) There aren't a ton of well-known salad-named movie stars (nary a Waldorf or a House or a Tuna), and so I had to take what I could get: three actors who were at their peaks over fifty years ago and a guy who was better known for, um, "being intimate" with a dead moose on the side of the road on a silly TV show than he was for being in movies. (Unfortunately, I didn't think of Eva Green until well after the puzzle had been accepted.)

So if you were born in the ‘40s or the ‘80s, this puzzle might hearken you back to your SALAD DAYS. Otherwise it's a puzzle with a simple theme for all the people out there who really like vegetable-based word play.

Jeff Chen notes:
Damon plays on SALAD DAYS (a term from Shakespeare), using four men with last names doubling as types of salads. SID CAESAR I knew off ... read more

Damon plays on SALAD DAYS (a term from Shakespeare), using four men with last names doubling as types of salads. SID CAESAR I knew off the top. TOM GREEN vaguely stirred a memory (he's the guy that used to star in "The Tom Green Show," not surprisingly).

ORSON BEAN apparently has done a huge body of work both in film and TV.

I probably should know LEE J COBB, as he's had many major movie roles. More importantly, he comes up not infrequently in crosswords as LEE J — not a lot of options when you need a four-letter entry ending in J!

Interesting choice to cram the themers together toward the middle of the puzzle — usually the first and last themers go into rows 3 and 13 to maximize spacing. But sometimes, squeezing pairs together can make the construction easier. Today, it's like Damon only has to work with three (albeit long) themers.

It does allow for a novel grid layout, including a lot of 6-letter entries. DENALI, AW GEEZ, PAYPAL, I GUESS, PAELLA are not only great words/phrases but since most crosswords don't feature many 6-letter entries, these feel nice and fresh.

I wasn't so thrilled about some of the shorter fill, though. I probably wouldn't have minded that central RVER / SERE / ONT section if there hadn't been more AGT, ESAS, NEC, USD gluey bits elsewhere. Tough, working around a central 9-letter theme answer.

EWERS and EPEE don't bother me much, as they're real-life things, but I have heard grumbles about these. (My wife, who's much, much smarter than me, dislikes EWERS, as she knows the word only from crosswords.)

Puzzles featuring proper names — especially full names — can feel like a trivia contest. So to get some AMATI, BLY, DEY, MACAU, NGAIO in addition to the themers felt like a lot of names in one puzzle.

But all in all, some nice thematic finds, covering a range of salads. And quite a lot of great bonus fill — some great 7s in MANSMAN, MIC DROP, MOOCHER, HOLY ARK — albeit, with prices to pay for them.

1
M
2
O
3
M
4
D
5
A
6
T
7
A
8
M
9
A
10
C
11
A
12
U
13
A
N
I
14
E
W
E
R
15
S
16
O
B
O
E
S
17
N
E
C
18
N
G
A
I
O
19
T
B
I
R
D
20
S
I
D
21
C
A
E
S
A
R
22
A
N
O
23
M
O
R
A
L
E
24
L
E
25
E
26
J
C
O
B
27
B
28
A
T
O
M
I
Z
29
E
30
P
A
Y
P
A
L
31
N
A
P
E
32
C
33
O
34
O
E
D
35
S
T
Y
36
O
37
R
38
S
O
N
B
E
A
39
N
40
A
41
M
42
C
43
V
E
N
T
I
44
A
45
A
46
H
47
S
48
G
O
O
49
I
E
R
50
T
51
A
52
N
K
T
O
P
53
T
O
M
G
R
E
54
E
55
N
56
P
A
E
L
L
A
57
C
P
U
58
S
A
59
L
A
D
D
A
Y
S
60
S
H
O
E
61
D
62
A
M
A
T
I
63
N
A
T
64
P
E
R
S
E
65
S
E
N
O
R
66
T
R
I
67
A
R
T
S
Y
68
S
E
W
S
69
A
K
C
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0314 ( 24,598 )

Support XWord Info today

Pay now and get access for a year.

1. Select account level
2. Choose how to pay
Across
1
Pop fan? : MOM
4
Numbers to crunch : DATA
8
Asian gambling mecca : MACAU
13
Singer DiFranco : ANI
14
Water pitchers : EWERS
16
Slender woodwinds : OBOES
17
Asian electronics giant : NEC
18
Mystery writer Marsh : NGAIO
19
Sporty car in a Beach Boys song : TBIRD
20
*"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" actor, 1963 : SIDCAESAR
22
Year, south of the border : ANO
23
A pep talk might boost it : MORALE
24
*"12 Angry Men" actor, 1957 : LEEJCOBB
28
Reduce to particles : ATOMIZE
30
Online money transfer facilitator : PAYPAL
31
Scruff of the neck : NAPE
32
Made bird noises : COOED
35
Pig's digs : STY
36
*"Anatomy of a Murder" actor, 1959 : ORSONBEAN
40
"Breaking Bad" network : AMC
43
It's a size larger than grande at Starbucks : VENTI
44
Sounds of satisfaction : AAHS
48
Like a toasted marshmallow vis-à-vis a non-toasted one : GOOIER
50
Shirt with straps instead of sleeves : TANKTOP
53
*"Road Trip" actor, 2000 : TOMGREEN
56
Rice-based Spanish dish : PAELLA
57
PC "brain" : CPU
58
Youthful time in one's life ... which this puzzle might harken solvers back to? : SALADDAYS
60
Did a smith's job on : SHOED
62
Prized violin : AMATI
63
D.C. ballplayer : NAT
64
In and of itself : PERSE
65
Mister, south of the border : SENOR
66
Prefix with borough : TRI
67
Bohemian : ARTSY
68
Puts in stitches : SEWS
69
Dog breeder's org. : AKC
Down
1
One admired for his masculinity : MANSMAN
2
The tiniest bit : ONEIOTA
3
Gesture to punctuate a great performance : MICDROP
4
Highest mountain in North America : DENALI
5
"What a bummer!" : AWGEEZ
6
Oolong and Earl Grey : TEAS
7
Popular typeface : ARIAL
8
Bon ___ (witticism) : MOT
9
Monastic realm : ABBACY
10
Many washers and dryers in apartment buildings : COINOPS
11
Stunt pilot : AEROBAT
12
Amer. money : USD
15
Peeved : SORE
21
Hitchcock role in almost every Hitchcock film : CAMEO
25
Sporting sword : EPEE
26
Actress ___ Pinkett Smith : JADA
27
Journalist Nellie : BLY
29
"Micro" and "macro" subject, for short : ECON
33
Province west of Que. : ONT
34
Passing mention? : OBIT
37
Winnebago owner, briefly : RVER
38
Bone-dry : SERE
39
In the buff : NAKED
40
F.B.I. employee: Abbr. : AGT
41
Sponge : MOOCHER
42
Behave : COMPORT
45
1996 Olympics site : ATLANTA
46
It stores a synagogue's Torah scrolls : HOLYARK
47
Moving jerkily : SPASTIC
49
"Um ... O.K." : IGUESS
51
"Superbad" producer Judd : APATOW
52
Low points : NADIRS
54
Those, to José : ESAS
55
April, May and June, for example : NAMES
59
Swimmer's assignment : LANE
60
Where you might hear 44-Across : SPA
61
Susan of "L.A. Law" : DEY

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?