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ON WHEELS

New York Times, Sunday, April 20, 2014

Author:
Elizabeth C. Gorski
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2197/31/19952/23/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6716363439243
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5430225
Elizabeth C. Gorski

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 78 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 211 for Ms. Gorski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Elizabeth C. Gorski notes:
Frantic question overheard in my building lobby more than a few times: 'Where'd I park the car?' This puzzle was inspired by and dedicated to Alternate Side Parking — the NYC ... read more

Frantic question overheard in my building lobby more than a few times: "Where'd I park the car?"

This puzzle was inspired by and dedicated to Alternate Side Parking — the NYC tradition that drives semi-clothed New Yorkers to their cars at strange hours in search of a parking space.

What do these folks do while wait? They drink coffee, talk on the phone and solve crosswords. I am sure that these folks will swing into high gear and crack the thematic code in no time flat: names of car models sit atop circles that contain the letter O. That's where the rubber hits the road — the solver is asked to inflate each circle with an O and imagine a tire.

Yeah, that's right. I'm making puzzles with tires. For car owners, this should be right in their wheelhouse. For those who don't own cars, I hope the gimmick doesn't fall flat.

But just to be fair, I (someone who doesn't own a car but who makes puzzles while listening to "Car Talk") made sure that the puzzle rolled off the assembly line with something for everyone. The cars are made by different manufacturers and parked in themed entries that have nothing to do with cars. If you're like me (someone who knows nothing about cars) you can still solve the puzzle!

One last question: Did you find your car in the puzzle?

I hope you enjoy the solve today. And if the puzzle drove you up a wall ... you know that's music to my ears.

Jeff Chen notes:
I absolutely loved the concept behind this puzzle. It's a rare person that can come up with something I've never seen before, and when it comes to a visual element, it's the amazing Liz ... read more

I absolutely loved the concept behind this puzzle. It's a rare person that can come up with something I've never seen before, and when it comes to a visual element, it's the amazing Liz Gorski more often than not. Each of the themers today are cars hidden in longer phrases, and each car is resting beautifully on two "wheels" (check out the grid below if you missed this)! How cool is that? And as if that weren't enough, all the letters inside the wheels are O's. Loved, loved, loved it.

Liz does such a nice job of choosing themers and hiding the cars within. CIVIC PRIDE, what a nice phrase, and without a hint that it's camouflaging the Honda CIVIC. Even down to the Subaru FORESTER within CS FORESTER, that's beautiful stuff.

And some of the clever clues, dynamite. [De-file?] for ERASE was so nice. [Ones who are the talk of the town?] for CRIERS? A puzzle chock full of these would put me in heaven.

Jim and I had a good conversation this week, and I mentioned that I almost gave my POW to Liz for this beauty, but I had a hard time with OPTIMA CARD, which stuck out as not nearly as good as the others. Plus, even given the constraints, there was a bit too much of the BAAL, SLYE, ME ON, YEO, OTIC, TOPOL, TO YOU, etc. for me. I realize that much of that kind of crossword glue was largely all due to the wheel O's, but I had a hard time with the sheer quantity of it. Jim's reply struck me as so elegant that I asked him if I could repeat it here:

"Here's an analogy I haven't yet mentioned in public writing but I keep thinking about. When I look at a painting in an art gallery, the fineness of the brushstrokes and the correctness of the proportions are interesting, but I when I think, wow, that's beautiful or strange or insightful or compelling or I have some other strong emotional reaction, those technical details never affect my appreciation (or not) of the painting. The nude in La Grande Odalisque by Ingres is anatomically unlikely but few would argue that she doesn't belong in the Louvre."

I have a hard time disconnecting my constructor/solver's brain, unable to avoid looking at the little flaws and tics. I wish I were able to forget about it all and just look at the big picture. I would imagine it's an incredibly beautiful way to look at life in general, one generating a abundance of happiness. Something I will aspire to.

So overall, it really was a beautiful puzzle. Jim sums it up best: "Liz has a visual sense of the possibilities of a crossword puzzle that nobody else seems to have. She sees pictures." Hear hear!

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0420 ( 23,539 )
Across
1
Healing cover : SCAB
5
Instants : SECS
9
Ancient symbols of royalty : ASPS
13
Checks : STEMS
18
"___ and Louis," 1956 jazz album : ELLA
19
The Sun, The Moon or The Star : TAROT
21
Best-selling novelist whom Time called "Bard of the Litigious Age" : SCOTTTUROW
23
Attribute of Elks or Lions Club members : CIVICPRIDE
25
Recital piece for a wind player : HORNSONATA
26
Toast words after "Here's" : TOYOU
27
Relative of turquoise : TEALBLUE
29
Proceeds : GOESON
30
Within earshot : NEAR
32
Anthem preposition : OER
33
Mobile home seeker? : CALDER
34
1966 Wilson Pickett R&B hit : MUSTANGSALLY
40
Abbr. on sale garment tags : IRR
41
Short open jackets : BOLEROS
42
Commandment word : NOT
43
Pipe valves : STOPCOCKS
49
"I've got half ___ to ..." : AMIND
50
'50s political inits. : DDE
51
Year, to Casals : ANO
52
Greeting that includes a Spanish greeting in reverse? : ALOHA
53
Andean tuber : OCA
54
Opera based on a play by Pierre Beaumarchais, with "The" : BARBEROFSEVILLE
58
Complete shutout? : EMBARGO
61
Post letters : VFW
62
Hammer : POUNDON
63
Stockholm-bound carrier : SAS
65
Yale Bowl fan : ELI
66
Roisterous : NOISY
68
Bond yield: Abbr. : INT
69
These, to Thierry : CES
70
Ruler known as "Big Daddy" : IDIAMIN
72
TV's Cousin ___ : ITT
73
Urban renewal target : EYESORE
76
Qualcomm Stadium athlete : SANDIEGOCHARGER
79
Paris's ___ du Carrousel : ARC
81
Writer Chekhov : ANTON
82
Pet Shop Boys, e.g. : DUO
83
Stella D'___ (cookie brand) : ORO
84
Jermaine of the N.B.A. : ONEAL
86
They're steeped in strainers : LOOSETEAS
89
Mrs. abroad : MME
90
Vocabulary : WORDAGE
92
Reversal, of sorts : UEY
93
Walker's strip : BEETLEBAILEY
95
Govt. promissory notes : TBILLS
99
Former Chevrolet division : GEO
100
Suffix with narc- : OTIC
101
Dirty rats : LOUSES
102
Like equinoxes : BIANNUAL
105
Fine hosiery material : LISLE
110
Visa alternative : OPTIMACARD
112
"The African Queen" novelist : CSFORESTER
114
Makeup removal item : COTTONBALL
115
Classic theater name : ODEON
116
Stain : BLOT
117
Designer Anne : KLEIN
118
Leonard ___ a.k.a. Roy Rogers : SLYE
119
Covenant keepers : ARKS
120
All alternative : NONE
Down
1
Breakaway group : SECT
2
Renault model with a mythological name : CLIO
3
Woody's "Annie Hall" role : ALVY
4
"Joanie Loves Chachi" co-star : BAIO
5
___ 500, annual race in Ridgeway, Va. : STP
6
Wildlife IDs : EARTAGS
7
Ones who are the talk of the town? : CRIERS
8
Baking ___ : SODA
9
Actress Judd : ASHLEY
10
Use elbow grease on : SCOUR
11
Opening for a dermatologist : PORE
12
Common newsstand locale: Abbr. : STN
13
Seat at the counter : STOOL
14
Ready to be played, say : TUNED
15
De-file? : ERASE
16
___ Trend : MOTOR
17
Graceful trumpeter : SWAN
20
___ Aviv : TEL
22
John Irving character : TSGARP
24
QE2's operator : CUNARD
28
Leave in a hurry : BOLT
31
Music producer Brian : ENO
33
___-Magnon man : CRO
34
New corp. hire, often : MBA
35
Man, in Milano : UOMO
36
Cuts, as a cake : SLICESINTO
37
Coffee break time, perhaps : TENAM
38
Shakespeare's "Titus ___" : ANDRONICUS
39
Financial writer Marshall : LOEB
40
"What business is ___ yours?" : ITOF
43
Bird whose feathers were once prized by milliners : SNOWYEGRET
44
Neil of Fox News : CAVUTO
45
Ken of "Brothers & Sisters" : OLIN
46
Quaker production : COLDCEREAL
47
One of the Kardashians : KHLOE
48
Composer Camille Saint-___ : SAENS
50
The U.N.'s ___ Hammarskjöld : DAG
51
Pounds' sounds : ARFS
54
Give rise to : BRING
55
"You Must Love Me" musical : EVITA
56
Nosy one : SPIER
57
Millennia on end : EONS
59
Candy heart message : BEMINE
60
"That's ___!" ("Not true!") : ALIE
63
Rug fiber : SISAL
64
Hersey's Italian town : ADANO
67
Roman emperor : OTHO
71
Flaps : ADOS
74
Naval petty officer: Abbr. : YEO
75
"Amazing" debunker : RANDI
77
Anita of jazz : ODAY
78
"La Dolce Vita" setting : ROME
80
Slugger's practice area : CAGE
84
Futurist : ORACLE
85
ESPN broadcaster Bob : LEY
87
Certain Sooner : TULSAN
88
Some M.I.T. grads: Abbr. : EES
89
"Are you putting ___?" : MEON
90
Slick hairstyle : WETLOOK
91
Fancy tie : OBI
93
English church official : BEADLE
94
Kick-around shoe : LOAFER
95
Chaim ___, 1971 Best Actor nominee : TOPOL
96
City that sounds like a humdinger? : BUTTE
97
Query from Judas : ISITI
98
Life Saver flavor : LEMON
99
Like bachelorette parties, typically : GIRLY
101
Product of Yale : LOCK
102
Jezebel's idol : BAAL
103
Many a PX patron : NCO
104
Prime letters? : USDA
106
Amazon fig. : ISBN
107
D-Day invasion town : STLO
108
Former C.I.A. chief Panetta : LEON
109
Artist's alias with an accent : ERTE
111
"The Price Is Right" broadcaster : CBS
113
I.C.U. pros : RNS

Answer summary: 12 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?