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.

THE INSIDE STORY

New York Times, Sunday, April 21, 2019

Author:
Grant Thackray
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
43/19/20174/21/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2000101
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.51010
Grant Thackray

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 22 Words: 145, Blocks: 70 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Thackray. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Grant Thackray (rhymes with 'daiquiri') is 25 and lives in Portland, Ore. He lists his day jobs as writing pub trivia, designing T-shirts and house-managing live theater. To create this puzzle's ... read more

Grant Thackray (rhymes with "daiquiri") is 25 and lives in Portland, Ore. He lists his day jobs as writing pub trivia, designing T-shirts and house-managing live theater. To create this puzzle's theme, he spent countless hours poring over lists of (well, you'll see) to find combinations that worked.

This is Grant's fourth crossword for The Times.

Grant Thackray notes:
In making this puzzle, I was astounded to find that there are no popular, universally-known movies with 'SPORT' in the title — despite how many there are about that particular subject! I ... read more

In making this puzzle, I was astounded to find that there are no popular, universally-known movies with "SPORT" in the title — despite how many there are about that particular subject! I thought it would be a cinch to turn "SPORT" into "sUPport," but in the end I had to give up on that dream. I considered the Jean-Claude Van Damme cult classic "Bloodsport" for a little bit, but I figured that was too niche. I also dearly wanted to fit "ALIEN" into "cALIENte" somehow, but that "CTE" string proved too uncommon, and the universe did not see fit to grant me that gift. That's what comes with making a puzzle with such a specific gimmick--your options are surprisingly limited. In the end, though, thanks to hours sifting through "Top 100 Movies" lists, I'm pretty happy with what I was able to find.

Will had me remake the lower-left corner, which resulted in me including my favorite longer answer at 94-Down. Hasn't everyone shared a hotel room with someone that sounded like a lumberjack going to work at 2:00 am? And while I didn't clue it as such, every time I look at 57-Down, my mind immediately follows it with "Rock you like a hurricane!"

Jeff Chen notes:
MINICARSONS is genius. Not only is it funny to think of Johnny's progeny as mini-me's, but what a discovery, that CARS inserted into MINIONS forms an amusing result. Perfect example of how PICTURE ... read more

MINICARSONS is genius. Not only is it funny to think of Johnny's progeny as mini-me's, but what a discovery, that CARS inserted into MINIONS forms an amusing result. Perfect example of how PICTURE IN PICTURE can work beautifully.

I enjoyed C(RAY)ON TACT, too. It's a big issue at my house, where crayons are often bartered between my two kids. They seem to use them in the same way prisoners use cigarettes. And again, a delightful wordplay find.

PETITER PAN was good too — I liked the artsy sound of PETITER. Although, it's too easy to insert IT into another word to form a new word.

The rest didn't do much for me. DOCTORS WALLET RANGE is an interesting wordplay find. But what a bizarre phrase.

GET SCREAM OUT, too easy to insert SCREAM into a two-word movie title. Similarly, putting TED into another picture must have dozens of possibilities.

Grant's grid was decent – not too much crossword glue. Just some IF AT / I EVER / ACU / API / ESE etc. isn't bad.

I would have liked more color, though. It confused me – there should have been more long slots that could be mined for pizzazz. FRONT LINES, CITY PLAN, that kind of thing.

A-ha! At 145, this one clocks in with many more words than average for a Sunday NYT (140 words is the usual maximum). I don't mind at all if a constructor bends the rules to 142, as long as he/she produces a colorful, clean grid. But the difference between 142 and 145 is noticeable when it comes to color.

I'd have much preferred for Grant to pare down his themers to a smaller set that had more bang for the buck. I'm sure he didn't have a lot of choices, but IT, TED, ET all should have allowed for some flexibility.

All too often, I think Sunday puzzles should have been shrunk down into a 15x15 weekday grid because the theme isn't strong enough to hold solvers' attention. Today, I liked how PICTURE IN PICTURE and some of the long titles demanded a Sunday grid. Could have been a standout puzzle if more of the themers had been as strong as MINICARSONS.

1
S
2
N
3
O
4
R
5
T
6
P
7
B
8
A
9
N
10
D
11
J
12
P
13
R
14
A
15
D
16
O
17
C
18
D
19
S
20
I
E
V
E
R
21
V
O
L
A
R
E
22
H
O
N
O
R
23
R
E
P
24
T
H
E
L
I
25
T
T
L
E
M
E
T
26
E
R
M
A
I
D
27
A
L
I
28
A
R
R
I
B
A
29
T
S
E
30
S
L
A
P
31
D
E
32
N
Y
I
T
33
R
U
S
S
34
M
35
A
D
36
S
37
I
K
E
S
38
M
A
R
C
O
39
T
H
40
E
P
R
O
41
S
42
M
I
N
I
43
C
A
R
S
O
N
44
S
45
A
46
H
A
47
W
E
T
W
I
48
P
E
49
A
N
I
S
E
50
T
E
51
T
52
B
O
T
53
H
E
R
I
N
G
R
A
54
T
55
G
A
T
56
S
57
H
A
G
S
58
C
L
E
A
N
S
E
59
N
O
N
E
60
T
61
S
62
A
K
E
C
U
P
63
S
A
D
R
64
S
65
P
O
T
66
R
O
67
M
68
E
69
C
O
R
T
E
S
70
P
71
I
72
C
T
U
R
E
73
I
N
P
I
C
74
T
U
R
E
75
A
76
S
77
P
I
S
H
78
P
A
I
D
79
H
M
O
S
80
I
81
F
82
A
83
T
84
C
H
E
S
T
E
85
R
86
N
I
87
H
A
O
88
A
89
T
90
L
A
R
G
E
91
M
O
T
T
O
92
U
93
P
94
S
95
G
E
T
S
96
C
R
E
A
M
O
U
T
97
E
P
I
98
I
B
E
A
99
M
100
I
S
A
I
D
N
O
101
N
A
E
102
S
T
103
A
104
R
T
E
D
W
A
105
R
S
106
S
T
O
P
S
107
A
T
108
E
P
E
E
S
109
S
N
I
T
110
S
111
Y
M
A
112
B
L
113
A
114
B
115
M
116
I
R
I
A
M
117
S
L
O
P
118
M
119
A
P
120
S
121
T
R
I
N
E
122
E
S
P
123
D
O
124
C
T
O
R
S
125
W
A
L
L
126
E
T
R
A
N
G
E
127
A
L
A
128
U
N
P
E
G
129
A
O
R
T
A
S
130
I
D
E
S
T
131
D
E
N
132
P
E
R
P
S
133
W
E
T
O
N
E
134
P
E
S
T
S
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0421 ( 25,366 )
Across
1
[Hah!] : SNORT
6
Something that might be packed with juice, informally : PBANDJ
12
Home of Velázquez's "Las Meninas" : PRADO
17
Forerunners of MP3s : CDS
20
"Do ___!" (emphatic agreement) : IEVER
21
1958 #1 hit in a foreign language : VOLARE
22
Concern for a samurai : HONOR
23
One situp, e.g. : REP
24
Who has trouble reaching a windshield to place a ticket? [1989, 1982] : THELITTLEMETERMAID
27
Who once boasted "I'm so mean, I make medicine sick!" : ALI
28
Enthusiastic Spanish cry : ARRIBA
29
Lao-___ : TSE
30
Smack : SLAP
31
Protest any involvement : DENYIT
33
Former Wisconsin senator Feingold : RUSS
34
Sore : MAD
36
Bill ___, "Oliver Twist" thief : SIKES
38
Shout at a pool : MARCO
39
Major leagues : THEPROS
42
Talk show host Johnny's children? [2015, 2006] : MINICARSONS
45
"There's the catch!" : AHA
47
Moist towelette : WETWIPE
49
Flavorer of much black candy : ANISE
50
Vietnamese New Year : TET
52
Traitor who gets on one's nerves? [2006, 2002] : BOTHERINGRAT
55
Noir weapon : GAT
56
Catches flies : SHAGS
58
Detox : CLEANSE
59
The planets, before 2006 : NONET
61
Item that may accompany chopsticks and a ramen bowl : SAKECUP
63
Baghdad's ___ City : SADR
64
TV ad : SPOT
66
Long building project, in a cliché : ROME
69
Montezuma's foe : CORTES
70
Small screen superimposed on a large screen ... or a hint to this puzzle's shaded squares : PICTUREINPICTURE
75
Venomously biting : ASPISH
78
Forked over : PAID
79
Med. plans : HMOS
80
"___ first you don't succeed ..." : IFAT
84
Cheetah mascot of Cheetos : CHESTER
86
Chinese greeting : NIHAO
88
Still not caught : ATLARGE
91
Line often in Latin : MOTTO
92
Big ___ (praise, slangily) : UPS
95
Prepares for guests who don't like their coffee black? [2017, 1996] : GETSCREAMOUT
97
Lead-in to Pen : EPI
98
Seat in the classic photograph "Lunch Atop a Skyscraper" : IBEAM
100
Preceder of "And that's final!" : ISAIDNO
101
Laddie's refusal : NAE
102
Initiated global conflicts? [1977, 2012] : STARTEDWARS
106
Visits during a vacation : STOPSAT
108
Bendy blades : EPEES
109
Huffs : SNITS
111
Singer Sumac : YMA
112
Spill something : BLAB
115
Sister of Moses : MIRIAM
117
School cafeteria food, pejoratively : SLOP
118
Chart : MAP
120
Broad Australian accent, informally : STRINE
122
Unexplained ability : ESP
123
Selection of billfolds for medical professionals? [2016, 2008] : DOCTORSWALLETRANGE
127
Chicken ___ king : ALA
128
Let float, as a currency : UNPEG
129
Ticker lines? : AORTAS
130
That is : IDEST
131
"Dragons' ___" (British equivalent to "Shark Tank") : DEN
132
Ones picked out of lineups : PERPS
133
Slobbery kiss : WETONE
134
Flies in the face of someone? : PESTS
Down
1
Its name means "three strings," but it can have up to 21 : SITAR
2
___ jacket : NEHRU
3
Blew out of proportion : OVERSTATED
4
Enjoy : RELISH
5
Chicago paper, informally : TRIB
6
Beetle Bailey's rank: Abbr. : PVT
7
Eat quickly : BOLTDOWN
8
Draft picks : ALES
9
Demand from a police interrogator : NAMES
10
"Black-ish" father : DRE
11
"Boatercycle" : JETSKI
12
That of this clue is awkward : PHRASING
13
Blowout : ROMP
14
Santa ___ winds : ANA
15
"Is the risk worth it?" : DOIDARE
16
Carnivora and Rodentia : ORDERS
17
Good manners in kindergarten drawing? [1997, 2004] : CRAYONTACT
18
Supermarket section : DELI
19
Command from a dentist : SPIT
25
Meddles (with) : TAMPERS
26
Justice Kagan : ELENA
32
Superior to a 6-Down : NCO
35
Most bohemian : ARTIEST
37
"Uh, that is to say ..." : IMEAN
38
A brigantine has two : MASTS
40
Actor Bremner of "Wonder Woman" : EWEN
41
Mona Lisa, for one : SIGNORA
43
Org. based in Langley, Va. : CIA
44
"That reminds me ..." is one : SEGUE
45
Fundamentals : ABCS
46
Spanish greeting : HOLA
48
Muscle builder : PROTEIN
51
Recipe amts. : TSPS
53
Plucky sort? : HARPIST
54
"Leave no ___ unstoned" (jocular phrase) : TERN
56
Hershey toffee bar : SKOR
57
"Yoo-hoo!" : HEREIAM
60
Accompaniers of canes : TOPHATS
62
Prefix with puncture : ACU
65
Young seal : PUP
67
Popular brunch options : MIMOSAS
68
Prefix with terrorism : ECO
71
: : ISTO
72
"Weekend Update" co-anchor beginning in 2014 : CHE
73
"Sounds good!" : IDIG
74
Russia, once : TSARDOM
75
Fictional company behind earthquake pills and dehydrated boulders : ACME
76
Outlets, of a sort : SHOPS
77
Smaller piece of cookware? [1953, 2017] : PETITERPAN
81
Where the action is : FRONTLINES
82
Contents of the Rio Grande : AGUA
83
Head to France? : TETE
85
Unsophisticated sorts : RUBES
87
Bank job : HEIST
89
50 before : TENPAST
90
Where to be among Hmong : LAOS
93
___ Xing : PED
94
Snores : SAWSLOGS
96
Urban layout : CITYPLAN
98
Agenda topper : ITEMONE
99
Stately residence : MANOR
103
Bee: Prefix : API
104
Do research (on) : READUP
105
It cuts along the grain : RIPSAW
107
Wear down : ABRADE
110
"Good thinking!" : SMART
113
Bad feeling : ANGST
114
Borscht base : BEETS
115
Drink at Valhalla : MEAD
116
Catalina, e.g. : ISLE
117
Flight part before a landing : STEP
119
Lead-in to stratus or cumulus : ALTO
121
Take a fall : TRIP
124
Nurse's training, for short : CPR
125
"___ is me!" : WOE
126
Suffix with legal : ESE

Answer summary: 15 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?