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, April 30, 2019

Author:
Erik Agard
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4711/6/201210/13/201921
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1056663101
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62170
Erik Agard

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {X} This is puzzle # 37 for Mr. Agard. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
GROUP / SHOTS … Okay, what's the theme, you ask? I know it. But I'm not going to tell you. Why? BECAUSE REASONS. ... read more

GROUP / SHOTS …

Okay, what's the theme, you ask? I know it. But I'm not going to tell you. Why? BECAUSE REASONS.

Fine, I admit that it took me a (long) while to figure out that it's a "both words can precede X" theme. Usually, revealers for these themes are something like DOUBLE ___ or TWO ___, bluntly pounding you over the head with the idea. I'm not a fan of that approach, especially since this theme genre has been done a lot over the years.

I mostly like Erik's take, forcing solvers to think a little to earn their a-ha. I wonder how many early-week solvers won't bother to spend extra time to grok the idea, though.

Curious layout. I wondered how TEEN VOGUE and MAY I CUT IN fit into the theme – it's unusual for a crossword to have zero themage in big regions of a puzzle. That entire SW and NE, devoid of themers … hmm.

It's snazzy that CHEAP TRICK and HEAD SLAP just happen to interlock – at the same symmetrical location as BODY DOUBLE and LONG JUMP! But I don't think it was worth the confusion. I'd have preferred a more standard "windmill" layout, perhaps moving HEAD SLAP to roughly where MAY I CUT IN resides.

A tough call. The themer interlock does provide a point of distinction from other "both words can precede X" puzzles. Distinction can be good, as long as it doesn't turn into distraction.

Erik is way hipper than me (Exhibit A: my usage of the word "hipper"). FAKE DEEP is … what? Part of the theme somehow, i.e., FAKE SHOT and DEEP SHOT? Those are hockey terms? No, I kid! (Maybe.) FAKE DEEP turns out to be modern lingo for oh who am I kidding; if I try to learn and use it, the kids will laugh at me and then stop using it. Lose-lose situation.

My qualms about grid layout aside, I appreciated Erik's newb-friendly grid, such a smooth product. Even if a solver doesn't get what's going on, at least he/she can enjoy filling in each square to earn a Mr. Happy Pencil success.

1
A
2
L
3
O
4
H
5
A
6
S
7
E
8
R
9
F
10
S
11
M
12
O
13
G
14
C
O
N
E
S
15
I
D
E
A
16
P
A
P
I
17
C
H
E
A
P
18
T
R
I
C
K
19
L
Y
E
S
20
R
A
N
D
21
R
E
E
S
E
22
A
I
N
T
23
A
N
D
S
24
O
O
N
25
D
26
I
S
C
27
L
A
Y
28
S
29
Z
E
C
H
U
30
A
31
N
32
G
33
O
34
T
A
T
35
C
H
E
E
K
36
T
M
I
37
U
T
E
P
38
G
R
O
U
P
39
L
I
O
N
40
A
T
E
41
Q
U
I
T
S
42
W
O
N
K
A
43
C
O
N
44
S
U
L
T
S
45
F
A
N
46
V
I
A
L
47
R
O
Y
G
48
B
49
I
50
V
51
L
52
O
O
M
53
I
54
M
55
E
A
N
56
J
U
D
E
57
I
A
G
O
58
B
O
D
Y
D
59
O
U
B
L
E
60
S
T
U
N
61
L
O
G
O
62
U
M
B
E
R
63
T
H
E
E
64
E
D
E
N
65
I
P
A
D
S
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0430 ( 25,375 )
Across
1
Luau greeting : ALOHA
6
Feudal worker : SERF
10
City choker : SMOG
14
Sights along lane closures : CONES
15
"The very ___!" : IDEA
16
Nickname for Dad : PAPI
17
*Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band with the hits "The Flame" and "I Want You to Want Me" : CHEAPTRICK
19
Caustic solutions : LYES
20
South African money : RAND
21
Actress Witherspoon : REESE
22
"___ No Sunshine" (1971 hit for Bill Withers) : AINT
23
Et cetera : ANDSOON
25
Hockey puck, e.g. : DISC
27
Install, as carpet : LAY
28
Spicy Chinese cuisine : SZECHUAN
32
Intimated : GOTAT
35
Where chewing tobacco is placed : CHEEK
36
"Eww, you've said quite enough!" : TMI
37
Lone Star State sch. : UTEP
38
With 28-Down, multisubject photos ... or a hint to the answers to the four starred clues : GROUP
39
Den denizen : LION
40
Had a little lamb, say? : ATE
41
What to call it when it's over : QUITS
42
"Willy ___ & the Chocolate Factory" : WONKA
43
Seeks the opinion of : CONSULTS
45
Adorer : FAN
46
Lab container : VIAL
47
Rainbow mnemonic : ROYGBIV
51
Weaver's device : LOOM
53
"That is to say ..." : IMEAN
56
Patron saint of lost causes : JUDE
57
"Othello" villain : IAGO
58
*Actor's stand-in : BODYDOUBLE
60
Amaze : STUN
61
A panda, for the World Wildlife Fund : LOGO
62
"Raw" or "burnt" hue : UMBER
63
"America the Beautiful" pronoun : THEE
64
Bible garden : EDEN
65
Tablets with Retina display : IPADS
Down
1
Ghana's capital : ACCRA
2
Lindsay of "Mean Girls" : LOHAN
3
Upright : ONEND
4
*Relative of a facepalm : HEADSLAP
5
Egyptian cobra : ASP
6
Ambulance sound : SIREN
7
Falco of TV and film : EDIE
8
Letters accompanying college applications, for short : RECS
9
Pretentious, in modern lingo : FAKEDEEP
10
Cannonball dive effect : SPLASH
11
Dance floor request : MAYICUTIN
12
Store window sign : OPEN
13
Basic point : GIST
18
Setting for the "Iliad" : TROY
24
Cereal morsel : OAT
26
"Gross!" : ICK
28
See 38-Across : SHOTS
29
Greek counterpart of Jupiter : ZEUS
30
With frenzy : AMOK
31
With 44-Down, jazz great who sang "I Put a Spell on You" : NINA
32
Green chip dip, informally : GUAC
33
Palindromic boy's name : OTTO
34
Youth-oriented Condé Nast publication : TEENVOGUE
35
Reviews of books and such: Abbr. : CRIT
38
Fall-for-anything : GULLIBLE
39
*Track-and-field event : LONGJUMP
41
Sine ___ non : QUA
42
"Believe it," as a retort : WAY
44
See 31-Down : SIMONE
45
Enamored (of) : FOND
47
Synthetic fabric that feels like silk : RAYON
48
Two-time Masters champion Watson : BUBBA
49
Did a whole lot of nothing : IDLED
50
Swerves : VEERS
51
Lean, as a ship : LIST
52
Solemn vow : OATH
54
What an emoji might reveal : MOOD
55
Narrow advantage : EDGE
59
"Most assuredly, monsieur!" : OUI

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?