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.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE

New York Times, Sunday, May 12, 2019

Author:
Victor Barocas
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
122/9/20116/23/20197
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6012300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62032
Victor Barocas

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 76 Missing: {JZ} This is puzzle # 11 for Mr. Barocas. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Victor Barocas is a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota. He is married with two teenage children. He says that crossword constructing 'reminds me of the ... read more

Victor Barocas is a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota. He is married with two teenage children. He says that crossword constructing "reminds me of the research I do for my day job because I'm trying to do something that I don't know is possible. The constraints that my idea places on the puzzle may be too much. That uncertainty is somehow gratifying."

This puzzle, whose many circled letters appear in words across, down and diagonally (not easy to do!), must have been especially satisfying to create.

Victor Barocas notes:
The triple-checked letters make for a fair amount of work to get everything to fit, especially with fairly long words as in here. That resulted in some sacrifices (TELIC next to ERENOW, ... read more

The triple-checked letters make for a fair amount of work to get everything to fit, especially with fairly long words as in here. That resulted in some sacrifices (TELIC next to ERENOW, for example), but, on the whole, I thought that it came out reasonably well.

The northeast section (around and including CELSIUS) was the worst part, with several failed attempts. The original version that I submitted had DESECRATE at 12-Down and RADIO DIAL / EVACUATES at 40- and 41-Down, but that led to too much bad fill around it.

After Will and company sent it back, I also explored versions with NO SECRETS / ANTIDOTAL / THE TUDORS and CASH CROPS / ARTISANAL / THE TUDORS, but the MOSS CRABS / ANTIPAPAL / THE TUDORS version won out in the end because it gave the best fill around it and both MOSS CRABS and ANTIPAPAL, although not in most people's normal vocabulary, are guessable with some crosses.

THE TUDORS was critical - it had the right structure, used the forced U and put a T before it, so there was lots of maneuvering room with ????IT at 57-A, and was a nice entry.

Harold and Maude is among my favorite movies, so a chance to get Bud CORT into the puzzle at 71-D was a plus; Harold and Maude is not for everyone, but there's a lot to like about it.

Finally, I hope that people enjoyed solving the puzzle as much as I enjoyed making it.

Jeff Chen notes:
Four measurements, literally ON A SLIDING SCALE. Reminded me of a recent puzzle playing on OBLIQUE REFERENCEs. It's nice that the scale intersects the measurement, i.e., MOHS coming ... read more

Four measurements, literally ON A SLIDING SCALE. Reminded me of a recent puzzle playing on OBLIQUE REFERENCEs.

It's nice that the scale intersects the measurement, i.e., MOHS coming off the M of MINERAL HARDNESS. That's much better than if there had simply been a bunch of diagonal scale names.

While the idea of intersecting a diagonal scale with its measurement is decent, it's not Sunday material. A 21x21 grid is so big that a theme needs to hold a solver's interest for an extended time. Here, once you discover one pair, what's left?

Sometimes I wonder if it's possible to perform a rescue by making the rest of the puzzle essentially a themeless, injecting so much color and snazz that a solver can't help but be wowed. I heard some kudos about Patrick Berry's Sunday themeless, after all.

Today, we get SAN SIMEON, THE TUDORS, POTLUCKS, SPOILERS, SUNKIST, that's all pretty good. Not nearly enough to qualify as a themeless-grade solving experience, though.

And oh, the crossword glue. That's going to happen when diagonal entries come off themers; so hard to work around. I was impressed through the top half – TELESTO and OTIOSE are tough, and ESS isn't good — but that's solid work around a diagonal themer.

Everything was copacetic … until I hit the west region. RSTU ought to be a puzzle-killer, and to leave that region with ENOL CORT RTE and RETHREW? It's a sad result of two tough factors smashing into each other: the inherent difficulty of a 140-word grid, and the inflexibility of diagonal theme answers.

Victor did an admirable construction job, considering the crazy constraints. But bending at least one of the limitations — maybe going up to 144 words — would have resulted in a better overall solving experience.

I hope Will and Joel listen to my pleas to turn around the flagship of the NYT crossword. I was first attracted to the NYT crossword because of so many brilliant Sunday puzzles. My 10+ years of solving experience has probably jaded me, but I think many factors came together to create a shortage of great 21x21s.

To better draw in more creative ideas, changes must happen. More money is great, don't get me wrong! I'm grateful to Will for increasing rates — astronomically, at that. But I'd be actively reaching out to specific constructors, asking for theme queries. Otherwise, it'll be more of the same, passively sifting through a (very) limited pool of Sunday submissions.

1
T
2
O
3
N
4
I
5
W
6
O
7
N
8
T
9
B
10
A
11
U
12
M
13
S
14
T
15
O
16
L
17
E
18
A
T
I
19
T
20
M
A
C
R
O
21
A
L
S
O
22
H
A
D
A
T
23
M
I
N
E
24
R
A
L
H
A
R
25
D
N
E
S
S
26
A
V
E
R
S
27
P
O
T
L
U
C
K
S
28
C
O
A
X
29
S
30
O
M
E
D
A
Y
31
A
S
H
E
N
32
S
H
U
N
33
O
C
C
U
R
34
E
S
S
35
T
36
E
37
M
P
E
R
A
38
T
U
R
E
39
N
40
A
41
T
42
S
43
T
44
H
E
R
O
A
D
45
A
T
A
L
46
L
47
N
H
L
48
S
49
P
O
I
L
E
R
S
50
I
51
S
M
52
B
O
O
53
S
T
E
R
54
T
A
R
55
P
I
N
A
56
A
L
U
M
57
S
T
O
P
I
T
58
E
N
O
59
L
60
C
O
N
61
N
O
B
I
62
S
63
S
N
A
P
U
64
P
65
R
S
T
U
66
W
I
67
N
D
S
P
E
E
68
D
69
D
A
D
S
70
P
I
E
R
71
C
72
E
73
S
E
R
T
A
74
A
A
75
H
76
E
P
O
S
77
M
C
C
O
Y
78
S
79
W
E
I
R
80
S
U
I
81
T
82
A
R
T
83
R
E
T
H
R
E
W
84
E
A
T
85
T
I
N
F
O
86
I
L
S
87
T
O
E
88
T
R
E
89
E
S
90
S
E
C
T
I
O
N
91
E
N
D
92
S
93
E
A
R
T
94
H
95
Q
U
A
K
E
S
96
R
97
A
98
G
99
B
100
A
S
R
A
101
A
U
N
T
102
G
E
T
U
103
P
104
I
105
M
106
P
A
R
T
S
107
F
L
A
K
108
T
109
I
110
A
M
A
R
I
A
111
B
I
E
R
S
112
O
113
N
A
S
L
I
114
D
I
N
G
S
C
A
L
E
115
E
N
E
R
O
116
F
I
V
E
117
S
E
R
G
E
118
H
I
T
S
119
X
E
N
O
N
120
F
L
A
Y
121
T
W
E
E
D
122
N
Y
E
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0512 ( 25,387 )
Across
1
Whole lot : TON
4
Recalcitrant child's cry : IWONT
9
Early 20th-century author who foresaw TV and wireless telephones : BAUM
13
Moved surreptitiously : STOLE
18
Squabbling : ATIT
20
Multitask command : MACRO
21
As well : ALSO
22
Assailed : HADAT
23
What's measured by [circled letters] : MINERALHARDNESS
26
States as fact : AVERS
27
Some group dinners : POTLUCKS
28
Employ cajolery on : COAX
29
In the indeterminate future : SOMEDAY
31
Wan : ASHEN
32
Have nothing to do with : SHUN
33
Take place : OCCUR
34
Coveted Scrabble tile : ESS
35
What's measured by [circled letters] : TEMPERATURE
39
D.C. nine : NATS
43
2006 novel for which Cormac McCarthy won a Pulitzer Prize : THEROAD
45
In the least : ATALL
47
Org. with Sharks and Penguins : NHL
48
Parts of reviews you might not want to read : SPOILERS
50
Philosophy : ISM
52
Follow-up shot : BOOSTER
54
Besmirch : TAR
55
___ colada : PINA
56
Grad : ALUM
57
"I said enough!" : STOPIT
58
Chemical compound : ENOL
60
One side of an argument : CON
61
"Ora pro ___" : NOBIS
63
Grab quickly : SNAPUP
65
Q-V link : RSTU
66
What's measured by [circled letters] : WINDSPEED
69
Nascar ___ (demographic group) : DADS
70
Puncture : PIERCE
73
Brand pitched as "Always Comfortable" : SERTA
74
Contented sound : AAH
76
Heroic poetry : EPOS
77
Hatfield haters : MCCOYS
79
Small dam : WEIR
80
Clubs, e.g. ... or entry requirement for some clubs : SUIT
82
Work on a wall, maybe : ART
83
Pitched over : RETHREW
84
Not fast : EAT
85
Kitchen wraps : TINFOILS
87
Ballerina's support : TOE
88
Tundra's lack : TREES
90
Ticket information : SECTION
91
They may be bitter or defensive : ENDS
93
What's measured by [circled letters] : EARTHQUAKES
96
Lousy newspaper : RAG
99
Home of Sinbad Island : BASRA
101
Bee or Em : AUNT
102
Outfit : GETUP
104
Communicates : IMPARTS
107
Pushback : FLAK
108
Coffee-flavored liqueur : TIAMARIA
111
Coffin supports : BIERS
112
Adjusted to some index - or how 23-, 35-, 66- and 93-Across are measured per this puzzle? : ONASLIDINGSCALE
115
El primer mes : ENERO
116
Time to knock off work, maybe : FIVE
117
Twilled fabric : SERGE
118
Online search metric : HITS
119
Gas whose name comes from the Greek for "strange" : XENON
120
Whip : FLAY
121
Overcoat material : TWEED
122
Nevada's largest county by area : NYE
Down
1
City famous for its Cuban sandwiches : TAMPA
2
Serving no practical purpose : OTIOSE
3
Individual tic-tac-toe squares : NINTHS
4
Desktop item since 1998 : IMAC
5
Beat the rap : WALK
6
Phil who sang "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" : OCHS
7
Packers' org.? : NRA
8
Set aflame : TORCHED
9
One of a bunch? : BANANA
10
Women's soccer star ___ Morgan : ALEX
11
Letters at sea : USS
12
Crustaceans that carry their own camouflage : MOSSCRABS
13
Performing whale, once : SHAMU
14
Establishment frequented by Falstaff : TAVERN
15
Really binged, briefly : ODED
16
Yuri Zhivago's love : LARA
17
Competitor of Amazon Handmade : ETSY
19
Moon of Saturn named after a Greek Oceanid : TELESTO
24
Hightail it : RUN
25
Gloomy : DOUR
30
Predators of armadillos and rabbits : OCELOTS
32
Places where cucumber slices are not for salad : SPAS
33
Openly gay : OUT
35
Tending toward an outcome : TELIC
36
Before, old-style : ERENOW
37
Rick of "Ghostbusters" : MORANIS
38
Nickname for Thomasina : TAMMIE
40
Like Henry VIII, religiously : ANTIPAPAL
41
Former Showtime series about Henry VIII : THETUDORS
42
Camera inits. : SLR
44
Cool : HIP
46
Symbol of craziness : LOON
48
Home of Hearst Castle : SANSIMEON
49
Alee, at sea : PROTECTED
50
Dubious excuse for not turning in homework : ILOSTIT
51
Poor : SUBPAR
53
Powerful queen, in hearts : SPADE
54
Maryland athlete, for short : TERP
56
Singer Bocelli : ANDREA
59
Bad thing to be left in, with "the" : LURCH
62
Feeling unsettled, in a way : SEASICK
64
"Hey, over here!" : PSST
67
Like Indiana Dunes among the U.S.'s 61 national parks : NEWEST
68
Three-time Pro Bowler Culpepper : DAUNTE
71
Actor Bud of "Harold and Maude" : CORT
72
Break from screen viewing : EYEREST
75
45 things : HIFIS
78
Gives up for good : SWEARSOFF
81
Excessively : TOO
83
Line on a map: Abbr. : RTE
85
Nipple : TEAT
86
Attainable : INREACH
89
Great time : ERA
90
Big brand in soft drinks : SUNKIST
92
Pizza chain since 1956 : SBARRO
94
W.W. II admiral nicknamed "Bull" : HALSEY
95
Preliminary exam: Abbr. : QUAL
97
Transport to Sugar Hill, in a classic song : ATRAIN
98
Unlike most of Perry Mason's clients : GUILTY
100
Setting for fraud, maybe : ARSON
102
Roster builders, briefly : GMS
103
Bel ___ cheese : PAESE
104
Wild goat : IBEX
105
Word before and after "all" : MINE
106
Round part of a tool : PEEN
107
___ bean : FAVA
108
Lose steam : TIRE
109
"Bus Stop" playwright : INGE
110
Like bourbon : AGED
113
Zip : NIL
114
Morning coat : DEW

Answer summary: 13 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?