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

HAVING NOTHING ON

New York Times, Sunday, April 9, 2017

Author: Byron Walden
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
9011/23/20017/15/201813
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1001192607
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59321
Byron Walden

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 134, Blocks: 68 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 84 for Mr. Walden. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Byron Walden notes: The genesis of this puzzle was seeing OON in some puzzle, laughably clued yet again as a legit suffix. (I would say that I've never put it in a puzzle, but I'm afraid to check.) The few dictionaries that list ... more
Byron Walden notes:

The genesis of this puzzle was seeing OON in some puzzle, laughably clued yet again as a legit suffix. (I would say that I've never put it in a puzzle, but I'm afraid to check.) The few dictionaries that list it don't actually say what it means. They just blame it on the French and leave it at that.

That said, it was pretty easy to come up with lots of options. For a long time, HORSE-DRAWN CARTOON was the only 17. That puts it in the center and segments the grid unpleasantly with Utahs (3 blacks next to 2 blacks) or Merlesque staircases on either side, unless you can do some fancy long crossings on the downs on the H and the opposite N. I couldn't make it work, but trying made me very familiar with the possible intersections.

I was just about to downgrade it to GROCERY CARTOON, when I realized STRIPED BASSOON could be upsized to the much funnier LARGE-MOUTH BASSOON. The rest came together pretty nicely. LARGE had to be swapped out for SMALL to make REFLEX TESTS possible on the other side, but aside from the nasty little section in the Southwest (RWY, I'LL DRY, ugh), it worked well enough to leave a lot of room for some interesting non-theme entries. With such a straightforward theme, it's a good idea to spice it up a bit elsewhere. Hope you enjoyed it.

Jeff Chen notes: Byron adds OON onto base phrases to form kooky themers. HORSE-DRAWN CART(OON) gave me a big laugh, reminscent of a million monkeys on a million typewriters, trying to write the great American novel. FLOOD ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Byron adds OON onto base phrases to form kooky themers. HORSE-DRAWN CART(OON) gave me a big laugh, reminscent of a million monkeys on a million typewriters, trying to write the great American novel. FLOOD LAMP(OON) also amused me, as Noah seems ripe for comedy potential. I can just imagine him on the ark for 40 days and nights ... staring at the two pigs and two cows ... drooling …

WAILING WALLOON was the only one that didn't hit for me. Apparently, it's a French-speaking person who lives in Belgium? It doesn't seem familiar enough to build a theme entry around, but I did like adding that funny-sounding word to my vocabulary.

Although I loved it, a huge surprise to get SAUSAGE FEST as a base phrase. If you don't know it, the term is slang for a meeting or gathering filled mostly with guys. You can figure it out from there. Take that, Gray Lady!

There were some really tough bits in the fill — the ACTA / VACUA crossing = oof. ACTA is a legit legal term, and VACUA is a plural form of VACUUMS. Crossing them seems like it could set up solvers to fail, though. I also had a hard time with LA LOIRE, which seemed like a long partial. Again, crossing it with LOCI … hmm. That does feel more fair to me since I hear LOCI much more than LOCUSES.

Along with longish gluey bits like AEREO, A CLEF, and some ugsome ULA RWY INDA sort of things, it felt a bit inelegant. I would have much rather Byron deploy some more black squares, going up to a 140-word grid (it's all the way down at 134 right now) in order to clean a few things up.

I think the title HAVING NOTHING ON implies "add O (nothing) + ON"? It didn't quite resonate with me, but I'm not sure what a better title would be.

I did wonder if this would have made a better 15x15 than a 21x21, since the idea is so straightforward. But Byron did a nice job of coming up with some funny themers. So glad he managed to save HORSE DRAWN CARTOON!

ADDED NOTE: Pete Collins pointed out that Byron ran eight(!!!) themers through the central MONSTERS BALLOON. Okay, that is impressive!

1
A
2
B
3
B
4
O
5
T
6
S
7
C
8
A
9
T
10
C
11
R
12
I
13
P
14
R
15
O
16
O
17
S
18
C
L
O
T
H
19
A
R
C
H
20
R
E
N
E
21
K
E
N
D
O
22
H
O
B
B
I
23
T
H
O
L
E
24
A
I
D
E
25
O
F
T
E
N
26
T
O
R
27
S
W
I
N
E
28
M
Y
G
A
L
29
S
A
L
O
O
N
30
M
O
31
V
I
E
B
U
F
32
F
O
O
N
33
S
P
L
E
E
N
Y
34
B
A
S
E
S
T
35
E
N
L
36
L
O
R
A
X
37
P
38
R
E
C
U
T
39
S
40
A
U
S
A
41
G
E
F
E
S
T
42
O
43
O
44
N
45
L
A
R
U
S
S
46
A
47
C
D
T
48
L
I
F
E
49
E
C
R
U
50
A
C
T
A
51
T
E
52
E
N
53
E
54
G
O
55
A
S
H
E
N
56
Y
E
S
57
H
O
R
S
E
58
D
R
A
W
59
N
60
C
61
A
R
T
O
O
N
62
B
E
R
E
A
63
A
S
L
64
A
R
G
O
S
65
S
66
M
67
A
L
L
M
O
U
68
T
H
B
A
69
S
S
O
O
N
70
T
71
U
72
B
73
P
I
N
U
P
74
U
L
A
75
O
H
N
O
76
S
U
P
E
77
E
R
T
E
78
S
79
E
80
R
B
81
L
82
P
S
83
E
D
84
W
A
R
D
S
85
W
A
I
L
86
I
N
G
W
A
87
L
L
O
O
88
N
89
W
H
Y
N
O
T
90
E
L
E
G
Y
91
A
O
L
92
O
93
B
O
I
S
T
94
I
95
M
96
P
A
L
E
S
97
F
L
O
O
98
D
L
A
M
P
O
O
99
N
100
M
A
I
N
D
R
A
101
G
O
O
N
102
R
I
V
A
L
103
G
O
104
P
105
A
D
A
I
R
106
L
O
C
I
107
D
O
M
I
N
A
108
T
O
R
S
109
M
A
N
N
Y
110
A
G
A
R
111
O
P
I
E
112
S
E
L
M
A
113
S
M
O
G
114
D
O
L
E
115
A
S
T
R
116
H
A
D
A
T
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0409 ( 24,624 )
Across Down
1. Ecclesiastical leader : ABBOT
6. "Get out!" : SCAT
10. Blood enemy : CRIP
14. Aussie critters : ROOS
18. Diaper option : CLOTH
19. Bridge shape : ARCH
20. French director Clément : RENE
21. Martial art whose name means "sword way" : KENDO
22. Home for Bilbo Baggins : HOBBITHOLE
24. West Wing worker : AIDE
25. A lot : OFTEN
26. A.L. East team: Abbr. : TOR
27. Contemptible sorts : SWINE
28. The ladies-only Western-themed bar I own? : MYGALSALOON
30. Inspector Clouseau or Borat? : MOVIEBUFFOON
33. Peevish : SPLEENY
34. Most contemptible : BASEST
35. Blowup: Abbr. : ENL
36. See 9-Down : LORAX
37. Like some quilt blocks : PRECUT
39. Decoration in a deli case? : SAUSAGEFESTOON
45. Tony who managed two World Series championships for the Cardinals : LARUSSA
47. Setting for Cardinals home games, briefly : CDT
48. Vivacity : LIFE
49. Neutral tone : ECRU
50. Parliamentary proceedings, e.g. : ACTA
51. Romeo or Juliet : TEEN
53. ___ booster : EGO
55. Drained of color : ASHEN
56. "Indubitably" : YES
57. Product of a stable of comic strip artists? : HORSEDRAWNCARTOON
62. Kentucky college : BEREA
63. Communication system pioneered by Thomas Gallaudet, for short : ASL
64. Greek city where Perseus was born : ARGOS
65. Scaled-down woodwind? : SMALLMOUTHBASSOON
70. Ice cream container : TUB
73. Calendar model : PINUP
74. Suffix with blast- : ULA
75. Eight-time Olympic medalist Apolo Anton ___ : OHNO
76. Condo V.I.P. : SUPE
77. Art Deco artist : ERTE
78. Belgradian, e.g. : SERB
81. Audiophile's collection : LPS
83. Elizabeth with the memoir "Saving Graces" : EDWARDS
85. Audibly upset Belgian francophone? : WAILINGWALLOON
89. Words after "Sure!" : WHYNOT
90. Mournful work : ELEGY
91. MSN alternative : AOL
92. Musician in the woodwind section : OBOIST
94. Runs through : IMPALES
97. Satirical depiction of the story of Noah? : FLOODLAMPOON
100. Most important mounted cavalryman? : MAINDRAGOON
102. Opposite corner in a romantic triangle : RIVAL
103. Bush league, for short? : GOP
105. Jean who played Aunt Martha in "Arsenic and Old Lace" : ADAIR
106. Important positions : LOCI
107. Alphas : DOMINATORS
109. Son of Gloria on "Modern Family" : MANNY
110. Food thickener : AGAR
111. Big name among radio shock jocks : OPIE
112. So-called "Butterfly Capital of Alabama" : SELMA
113. Environmental bane : SMOG
114. Hand (out) : DOLE
115. Study of the heavens: Abbr. : ASTR
116. Attacked : HADAT
1. Drei + fünf : ACHT
2. Sign of spring : BLOOM
3. 1992 Tim Robbins mockumentary : BOBROBERTS
4. Horse picker's hangout, for short : OTB
5. Melodramatic NBC hit starting in 2016 : THISISUS
6. Indian "masters" : SAHIBS
7. Hybrid bakery treats : CRONUTS
8. Roman ___ : ACLEF
9. With 36-Across, a Dr. Seuss book : THE
10. Marker maker : CRAYOLA
11. Time on the throne : REIGN
12. "___ Club" (#1 hit for 50 Cent) : INDA
13. Removes, as a sticker : PEELSOFF
14. They can provoke knee-jerk reactions : REFLEXTESTS
15. Reaching new heights in ballet? : ONTOE
16. Ancient theater : ODEON
17. Little lad : SONNY
21. Aussie critters : KOALAS
23. Quick series of social media posts : TWEETSTORM
28. Something seen at Frankenstein's birthday party? : MONSTERSBALLOON
29. Shopping ___ : SPREE
31. Empty spaces : VACUA
32. Rhubarb with deep roots? : FEUD
36. Welcoming necklace : LEI
37. DVD remote button : PLAY
38. Go a mile a minute : RACE
40. Woe for some 51-Acrosses : ACNE
41. Shine : GLOW
42. Tres + cinco : OCHO
43. Two-tone treat : OREO
44. Georgia senator who helped establish "don't ask, don't tell" : NUNN
46. Correo ___ (words on foreign correspondence) : AEREO
52. Hairy hunter of Genesis : ESAU
54. Big do : GALA
55. Elvis ___ Presley : ARON
57. Pitch in : HELP
58. "The BFG" author : DAHL
59. Automaker that introduced the Rambler : NASH
60. Witch : CRONE
61. 2004 Scarlett Johansson film adapted from "Lady Windermere's Fan" : AGOODWOMAN
62. Apt to go Democratic : BLUELEANING
65. Spit out : SPEW
66. Actress Sorvino : MIRA
67. One opposed : ANTI
68. Big brass : TUBA
69. Middling : SOSO
70. Work out spectacularly : TURNTOGOLD
71. Beehive, for one : UPDO
72. Overcome : BEST
76. Authority : SAYSO
78. Villainous visage : SNEER
79. Vegetarian sandwich filling : EGGSALAD
80. Train syst. : RWY
82. Quarters : basketball :: chukkers : ___ : POLO
84. Abrupt, disconcerting reaction : WHIPLASH
86. After-dinner volunteer's words : ILLDRY
87. Pays de ___ (Nantes's region) : LALOIRE
88. Variety of hold 'em : NOLIMIT
93. Frances who played TV's Aunt Bee : BAVIER
94. Religious leaders : IMAMS
95. ___ President : MADAM
96. Baldwin offering : PIANO
97. Central : FOCAL
98. Gets ready to do push-ups, say : DROPS
99. Title opera heroine who is a Druidic high priestess : NORMA
101. Kind of boots : GOGO
104. ETS offering : PSAT
107. Going nowhere, metaphorically : DOA
108. Women's club event : TEA

Answer summary: 21 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?