It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.

New York Times, Friday, April 8, 2016

Author: Patrick Berry
Editor: Will Shortz
Patrick Berry
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2277/11/199911/10/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
721241679512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQVZ} Grid has both 90- and 180-degree symmetry. This is puzzle # 210 for Mr. Berry. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

Support XWord Info

Donation Amount

XWord Info is only possible when people like you choose to support it through donations.

Donate to get access to XWord Info for a year.

Benefits vary by donation level. Thank you!

Jeff Chen notes: Hey, PB's first foray into the '4x black square stairsteps' pattern since 2008! As Damon Gulzynski so accurately described, these ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Hey, PB's first foray into the "4x black square stairsteps" pattern since 2008! As Damon Gulzynski so accurately described, these stairsteps are like training wheels for themeless constructors — they make grids exponentially easier to fill, especially when it's a grid with wide-open spaces.

Who knew, DUNCAN HINES was a real person!

PB uses them moderately and wisely, achieving a stunning middle region. Check out that triplet of DUNCAN HINES / TALKING HEAD / GOES ON A DIET with SPANISH MAIN / FAITH NO MORE / TURN SIGNALS running through it — all in a giant swath of white space!

I typically "score" a themeless by starting with a count of assets, subtracting a count of liabilities, and adding in a vague number of points for "coolness factor." If the final score is above 10, I generally find the puzzle to be very strong.

I've never been able to quantify that last aspect very well, but today's puzzle helped me think about it. I was wowed by the puzzle as a whole, but when I went back to count the assets minus liabilities, I ended up with a score of roughly 10. PB puzzles are usually much higher than that — usually around 13 or even higher. So my "coolness factor" addition for this puzzle must be at least 3 points.

Thanks for indulging the annoying engineer in me. Ahem.

As always, PB excels at his cluing. I like how he selects entries not just for their innate color, but for how conducive they are to taking a clever clue. [Lightens up, say] makes GO ON A DIET absolutely sing. Same with [Side lights?] for TURN SIGNALS. Great stuff.

SHIRR is unusual to see in a PB puzzle, but it does appear to be a real word. The dictionary defines it as "gather by means of drawn or elasticized threads in parallel rows." Huh. But it does make that big SE corner work, and the benefits of FIRE UP, ARCANA, X RATED, DEADBEAT well worth it.

As usual, I could give most every PB the POW! But there's one I liked even more this week.

1
B
2
A
3
D
4
D
5
A
6
Y
7
L
8
A
9
P
10
C
11
A
12
T
13
O
T
O
O
L
E
14
T
E
A
R
O
S
E
15
N
A
U
S
E
A
16
F
U
N
H
O
U
S
E
17
A
N
G
E
R
18
S
A
R
A
19
B
R
U
T
20
M
E
H
21
T
22
A
P
I
N
23
K
E
T
C
H
24
I
N
N
25
S
26
W
A
T
S
27
O
N
28
S
H
E
29
D
U
N
30
C
A
N
H
I
N
E
31
S
32
T
A
L
K
I
N
G
H
E
A
33
D
34
G
O
E
S
O
N
A
D
I
E
35
T
36
A
37
I
38
R
39
A
S
H
M
A
N
40
D
A
R
41
K
42
S
P
E
43
A
K
44
M
O
L
D
45
S
46
D
I
E
47
K
H
A
N
48
P
A
R
S
49
H
50
O
B
B
Y
51
F
O
R
T
52
E
R
I
E
53
F
I
R
E
U
P
54
O
N
E
I
R
O
N
55
A
R
C
A
N
A
56
R
E
D
C
A
P
57
X
R
A
T
E
D
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0408 ( 24,258 )
Across Down
1. Blue period? : BADDAY
7. Pet that needs a sitter? : LAPCAT
13. Best Actor Oscar nominee for "The Lion in Winter" : OTOOLE
14. Oriental blossom : TEAROSE
15. Sartre's first novel : NAUSEA
16. What you might get a distorted picture from? : FUNHOUSE
17. Tee off : ANGER
18. Detective fiction author Paretsky : SARA
19. Fragrance created by Fabergé : BRUT
20. Scoring low on the excite-o-meter : MEH
21. Rarely missed stroke : TAPIN
23. Fore-and-aft-rigged vessel : KETCH
24. Country ___ & Suites : INNS
26. Fictional biographer : WATSON
28. "___ Will Be Loved" (Maroon 5 hit) : SHE
29. Restaurant critic who lent his name to a brand at the supermarket : DUNCANHINES
32. Show authority? : TALKINGHEAD
34. Lightens up, say : GOESONADIET
36. Service station offering : AIR
39. "Beauty and the Beast" lyricist Howard : ASHMAN
40. Macabre : DARK
42. Obedience school command : SPEAK
44. Foundry supply : MOLDS
46. Rolled item : DIE
47. Tribal title : KHAN
48. Scorecard figures : PARS
49. Unpaid interest? : HOBBY
51. Ontario town across from Buffalo : FORTERIE
53. Electrify : FIREUP
54. Club that "even God can't hit," according to Lee Trevino : ONEIRON
55. It's not common knowledge : ARCANA
56. Worker at a station : REDCAP
57. Dirty : XRATED
1. "Hasn't scratched yet!" product : BONAMI
2. Concluded : ATANEND
3. Ring for dessert : DOUGHNUT
4. Pharmacological amount : DOSE
5. Bright-eyed : ALERT
6. Parliamentary vote : YEA
7. Horne of "The Lady and Her Music" : LENA
8. "I can finally relax!" : AAH
9. Nonhuman explorer : PROBE
10. Woos : COURTS
11. "This being the case ..." : ASSUCH
12. Get a mouthful? : TEETHE
14. Side lights? : TURNSIGNALS
16. Grammy-nominated rock band for "Epic" : FAITHNOMORE
18. Setting of many pirate stories : SPANISHMAIN
22. Stirs : AWAKES
23. Gave a leg up to? : KNEED
25. Fly in the ointment : SNAG
27. At one's disposal : ONHAND
30. Renaissance Faire garment : CLOAK
31. Reputed : SAID
33. One who gets no credit? : DEADBEAT
35. Salt Lake City daily : TRIBUNE
36. Demand : ASKFOR
37. FaceTime device : IPHONE
38. Raised : REARED
41. Security system component : KEYPAD
43. Shenanigan : ANTIC
45. Gather together for stitching : SHIRR
48. Kind of plane : PROP
50. 1977 horror film set in Newfoundland : ORCA
52. Timeline segment : ERA
53. Listing on a Rolodex : FAX

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?