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, Saturday, April 8, 2017

Author:
Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
957/5/20102/14/201957
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2468172398
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.636202
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 62, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JY} Grid has both 90- and 180-degree symmetry. This is puzzle # 68 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
WWIIVET was the seed for this one, a curious string of letters I saw in a D-Day article a year or two ago. Not only is it ... read more

WWIIVET was the seed for this one, a curious string of letters I saw in a D-Day article a year or two ago. Not only is it bizarrely fun to have a *WIIV* series of letters, but I have a feeling that there are plenty of WWIIVETs who are avid crossword solvers. I thought it would be awesome to give a shout-out to the greatest generation.

If you're not already a daily reader of XKCD, you're missing out. And Randall Munroe's book, "What If?" is amazing. If anyone out there is still trying to find me a birthday present ... (cough cough).

While I love puzzles featuring stuff that personally interests me — chemistry, basketball, bridge, books, physics, etc. — it does nag at me that such a narrowly-targeted puzzle will probably go over poorly with people that are much older than me, much younger, more cultured, more academic, etc. So when I build themeless puzzles, I try hard to sprinkle in at least a little for all types of people. Hopefully with ROB A BANK, ANTIGONE, ROOT BEER, FOLK ART, DEADHEAD, and the aforementioned, there's *something* that made you smile.

Jeff Chen notes:
I love a challenge, and another 62-worder seemed like it might occupy me for a while. After deciding on WWIIVET as the seed, it ... read more

I love a challenge, and another 62-worder seemed like it might occupy me for a while. After deciding on WWIIVET as the seed, it shouldn't be that hard — after all, I've used a similar wide-open pattern before. Heck, two times even! Surely I learned enough about this overall pattern that I'd be able to finish a solid grid in a week or so.

Fast forward to five months later ...

Huge props go to Will and Joel for the clue of the puzzle, [Head scratcher?]. I struggled mightily with that upper right corner, only settling on what I thought was a dull WOOL CAP because it allowed me to work in some fun stuff like ANTIHERO, TEASER AD, SWATCHES, and DUELIST. But I wasn't happy about letting a precious 7-letter slot go to waste. It's a good lesson for me to learn — I shouldn't have dismissed WOOL CAP so quickly as irredeemable. My (scratchy wool) cap is tipped to you both, good sirs.

I debated over the inclusion of XKCD for the longest time as well. As much as I love the strip — Randall Munroe, if you're reading this, YOU'RE MY HERO! — if a solver doesn't know it, he or she has no way of piecing it together. Ultimately, I figured inclusion might be a way to get even more people reading it, and I'd just have to make 100% certain that the crossing answers were easily gettable. Hope that worked out for people.

So glad Will kept my "Rabbit of Seville" clue!

'Nuff said.

Jim Horne notes:
If I told you how much I admired this puzzle, you'd probably accuse me of in-house bias, so I'll stick to factual observation. This is ... read more

If I told you how much I admired this puzzle, you'd probably accuse me of in-house bias, so I'll stick to factual observation. This is the third NYT puzzle using this grid pattern. The first two are also by Mr. Chen.

Jeff and I both admire XKCD. You may know that XWord Info has a Crossword Blogosphere page that pulls recent blog posts from RSS feeds on several well-known sites. About a year ago, for no reason other than our own amusement, XKCD was added to that mix.

1
A
2
N
3
T
4
I
5
G
6
O
7
N
8
E
9
W
10
A
11
T
12
T
13
H
O
U
S
E
P
E
T
14
D
O
N
E
E
15
E
T
C
E
T
E
R
A
16
Q
U
O
T
A
S
17
M
A
K
E
S
D
O
18
D
U
E
L
I
S
T
19
R
E
N
D
20
S
W
A
T
C
H
E
S
21
R
O
O
22
T
23
B
E
E
R
24
A
E
R
I
25
W
W
I
I
V
E
T
26
P
R
A
T
27
C
28
O
29
T
30
N
E
T
I
Z
E
31
N
32
O
D
E
33
A
N
I
34
L
35
S
P
L
I
T
U
36
P
37
N
E
M
O
38
C
A
L
L
S
F
O
39
R
40
T
H
E
O
41
D
O
R
E
42
F
O
E
43
S
44
F
O
L
K
A
R
T
45
C
46
A
S
H
B
O
47
X
48
A
R
E
O
L
E
49
R
O
B
A
B
A
N
K
50
I
S
S
U
E
51
A
D
R
I
A
T
I
C
52
L
E
S
T
53
D
E
A
D
H
E
A
D
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0408 ( 24,623 )
Across
1
Subject of plays by Sophocles, Euripides and Cocteau : ANTIGONE
9
Inventor with three steam engine patents : WATT
13
Sitter's charge, maybe : HOUSEPET
14
Philanthropy beneficiary : DONEE
15
"You get the idea" : ETCETERA
16
They're filled at factories : QUOTAS
17
Squeaks by : MAKESDO
18
One of a pair of drawers facing each other? : DUELIST
19
Tear : REND
20
Fabric shop collection : SWATCHES
21
Hires for a float? : ROOTBEER
24
Gas: Prefix : AERI
25
One who might recall action on Iwo : WWIIVET
26
Bonehead, to Brits : PRAT
27
Hotel offering for an extra charge : COT
30
YouTuber or eBayer : NETIZEN
32
It was often accompanied by a lyre in ancient Greece : ODE
33
Component of the pigment Maya blue : ANIL
35
Divorced : SPLITUP
37
Fictional mariner also known as Prince Dakkar : NEMO
38
Necessitates : CALLSFOR
40
President between two Williams : THEODORE
42
G.I. Joe and Cobra Commander, e.g. : FOES
44
Grandma Moses' output : FOLKART
45
Tender spot? : CASHBOX
48
Round bump on a cactus : AREOLE
49
Emulate Bonnie and Clyde : ROBABANK
50
Problem to address : ISSUE
51
Croatia is on it : ADRIATIC
52
To avoid the risk that : LEST
53
Ineffective pill : DEADHEAD
Down
1
"Hello ... I'm right here" : AHEM
2
Like herbal cigarettes : NOTAR
3
Wear (out) : TUCKER
4
Words accompanying a head slap : ISEENOW
5
Tears up the dance floor : GETSDOWN
6
Slanted paper lines? : OPED
7
First-century megalomaniac : NERO
8
Adding a "z" to its front forms its preceder : ETA
9
Head scratcher? : WOOLCAP
10
Gordon Gekko or Rooster Cogburn : ANTIHERO
11
Entertainment enticement : TEASERAD
12
Bikini, notably : TESTSITE
14
Soprano + tenor, maybe : DUET
16
68 works of Haydn : QUARTETS
18
Guitarist Zappa : DWEEZIL
20
"Rabbit of ___" (Bugs Bunny short) : SEVILLE
22
50-50, say : TIESCORE
23
It's just a line or two : BITPART
27
Guaranteed-to-fly : CANTFAIL
28
Jerkwater : ONEHORSE
29
Suitable for all ages? : TIMELESS
31
"I'll shut up now" : NUFFSAID
34
Member of a heist crew : LOOKOUT
36
Muckety-muck : POOHBAH
39
Commercial enticement : REBATE
41
Counterpart of a rise : DALE
43
Court colleague of Ruth and Elena : SONIA
45
What's often debugged : CODE
46
"East of Eden" girlfriend : ABRA
47
Award-winning webcomic about "romance, sarcasm, math and language" : XKCD
49
Def : RAD

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?