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, Monday, April 15, 2019

Author:
Patrick Blindauer and Samuel A. Donaldson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
667/21/20054/15/201922
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
14661317118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59262
Patrick Blindauer
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3310/2/20088/21/20199
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
7257516
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63130
Samuel A. Donaldson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {FJQUW} This is puzzle # 66 for Mr. Blindauer. This is puzzle # 31 for Mr. Donaldson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
PATRICK: Sam is a great constructor and a delightful human being, so I'm very happy to have collaborated with him on this puzzle. We ... read more

PATRICK: Sam is a great constructor and a delightful human being, so I'm very happy to have collaborated with him on this puzzle. We tossed around a few ideas before landing on this, which seemed particularly apt considering Sam's day job.

Getting all six variations of TAX into the grid was no easy feat, and I remember the SW corner being especially tricky to fill.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go finish filing my extension.

Jeff Chen notes:
This puzzle belongs in the NYT's celeb series, and given a high ranking within it. No wait, hear me out! Jill and I recently ... read more

This puzzle belongs in the NYT's celeb series, and given a high ranking within it.

No wait, hear me out! Jill and I recently worked with an estate planner recommended to us by Sam. Everything was going normally until the planner asked us how we got his name.

"SAM DONALDSON?!" he said in a fanboy squee. "THE SAM DONALDSON?"

Then he got up and did a little happy dance. And screamed, "THAT GUY'S A ROCK STAR!"

He proceeded to tell us all about how Sam commands rooms, turning dull material like tax codes and legal loopholes into Vegas-like performances.

When he finished, Jill and I looked to each other in awe. It was like finding out your friend is secretly King of some not-so-small Polynesian island.

The celeb series works best when the featured person does a puzzle related to their profession or something they're well-known for. This one was perfect for a tax professor, the letters IRS reformed into the five other possible configurations. Solid wordplay.

Patrick and Sam did a great job selecting colorful themers, too, with all six possible combinations breaking the I R S sequence across at least two words. Perfect.

Not so perfect was some of the fill. Not a surprise, given the theme density. Stacking two themers in a theme-dense puzzle often makes the layout easier, but in today's case, I think it wasn't the right choice. Check out how GANGES RIVER sits atop TENNIS RACKET, for instance. With the black squares in the middle forcing a big NE corner, we get ERE and the audit-worthy SSR, just to start the puzzle.

Toss in SSTS EINE SRTA LBO (leveraged buyout), and I couldn't give it POW! consideration, no matter how fun the theme or its connection to Sam. Especially on a Monday – newb solvers shouldn't be forced to stare at both SSR and SSTS, wondering why crosswords hate normal people so much.

What a shame. Loved the concept, the themers, and the perfect timing / perfect person to pull it off. A bit more finesse and it woulda been a POW! contender.

1
C
2
A
3
M
4
M
5
A
6
G
7
A
8
D
9
H
10
E
11
R
12
E
13
S
14
O
R
E
15
A
G
E
16
L
E
A
D
E
R
S
17
N
R
A
18
G
A
N
19
G
E
S
R
I
V
E
R
20
T
E
N
21
N
I
S
R
A
C
K
E
T
22
R
A
T
E
23
S
E
P
24
E
25
A
26
S
27
E
28
A
R
T
E
29
M
I
S
30
M
31
I
32
D
D
L
E
C
33
S
O
D
A
34
H
I
R
E
35
L
E
O
36
A
S
37
I
38
R
E
C
A
L
39
L
40
Z
41
I
42
P
43
O
N
Y
X
44
T
A
45
C
46
K
47
A
L
D
48
E
N
T
E
49
G
50
R
A
P
H
I
51
C
52
P
L
A
Y
53
R
A
E
54
E
I
N
E
55
E
56
A
57
S
58
T
E
R
I
59
S
L
A
N
D
60
D
61
O
62
L
L
A
R
S
I
G
N
S
63
N
E
A
64
R
O
B
E
R
T
A
65
L
E
T
66
T
A
R
67
S
H
O
T
P
A
R
68
E
R
S
69
I
R
S
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0415 ( 25,360 )
Across
1
Filming device, for short : CAM
4
Men's Health or Women's Health, for short : MAG
7
Sticks (to) : ADHERES
14
Mined rocks : ORE
15
Years that one has lived : AGE
16
Presidents and prime ministers : LEADERS
17
Gun advocacy grp. : NRA
18
It flows from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal : GANGESRIVER
20
Piece of sports equipment with strings : TENNISRACKET
22
First-___ (best) : RATE
23
Back-to-school mo. : SEP
24
Relaxation : EASE
28
Greek goddess of the hunt : ARTEMIS
30
Reference point during a piano lesson : MIDDLEC
33
Coke or 7Up : SODA
34
Bring into the company : HIRE
35
Summer zodiac sign : LEO
36
"If memory serves ..." : ASIRECALL
40
Nada : ZIP
43
Black gemstone : ONYX
44
Bulletin board fastener : TACK
47
Firm, as pasta : ALDENTE
49
Fully illustrated, as a novel : GRAPHIC
52
Work of Shakespeare : PLAY
53
"Norma ___" (1979 film) : RAE
54
German article : EINE
55
Where heads of the Pacific are found? : EASTERISLAND
60
$ $ $ : DOLLARSIGNS
63
PBS-funding org. : NEA
64
Singer Flack with the 1973 hit "Killing Me Softly With His Song" : ROBERTA
65
Serve that nicks the net : LET
66
Paving goo : TAR
67
Reached the golf course standard : SHOTPAR
68
CPR sites : ERS
69
Tax org. undergoing some "reform" in this puzzle's circled squares : IRS
Down
1
Iran-___ (1980s scandal) : CONTRA
2
Behind in payments, after "in" : ARREARS
3
Did intentionally : MEANTTO
4
O. Henry's "The Gift of the ___" : MAGI
5
Court great Andre : AGASSI
6
Blues and rock, for two : GENRES
7
Actor Guinness : ALEC
8
Schoolroom assignment : DESK
9
Relative of a rabbit : HARE
10
Revised, as copy : EDITED
11
Gun, as an engine : REV
12
"But I heard him exclaim, ___ he drove out of sight ..." : ERE
13
Byelorussia, e.g.: Abbr. : SSR
19
Cumberland ___ : GAP
21
"Boy, do I ___ drink!" : NEEDA
25
Nothing's opposite : ALL
26
"Didn't I tell you?" : SEE
27
Green: Prefix : ECO
29
Worker with a trowel : MASON
30
Prop you might drop : MIC
31
Savings for the golden years, for short : IRA
32
Airline whose name is a Greek letter : DELTA
34
Evil spell : HEX
37
QB miscue: Abbr. : INT
38
Loaf that might have seeds : RYE
39
Place to pin a pink ribbon : LAPEL
40
Stick in the microwave : ZAP
41
Sick : ILL
42
Holding hands or kissing on the street, for short : PDA
45
Italian red wine : CHIANTI
46
Actor Greg of "Little Miss Sunshine" : KINNEAR
48
Hole for a lace : EYELET
49
Use mouthwash : GARGLE
50
Rob who directed "The Princess Bride" : REINER
51
Evergreens with fragrant wood : CEDARS
53
Big outdoor gear retailer : REI
56
Senior party? : AARP
57
Mex. title that's an anagram of 58-Down : SRTA
58
Old Russian title that's an anagram of 57-Down : TSAR
59
Old Concordes, in brief : SSTS
60
Hosp. V.I.P.s : DRS
61
Awed reaction : OOH
62
Certain Wall St. acquisition, for short : LBO

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?