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, Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6511/13/20129/2/201919
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
621187472
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 63 for Ms. Burnikel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes:
I originally had J-ROD for 55-Down slot. Will felt it was too ephemeral, so I re-did the lower right corner. Lots of clue changes ... read more

I originally had J-ROD for 55-Down slot. Will felt it was too ephemeral, so I re-did the lower right corner.

Lots of clue changes for this puzzle. I guess I had Monday in mind when cluing this grid, totally forgetting to consider the word count. The central crossing dictated the 72-word grid and created a few tough spots.

Jeff Chen notes:
I'm envious. It takes a great constructor to transform a stale theme – I've seen dozens of 'salad dressing' concepts over the ... read more

I'm envious. It takes a great constructor to transform a stale theme – I've seen dozens of "salad dressing" concepts over the years – into something incredible. Who would have ever thought to riff on CROSS DRESSING, interpreting it as "a revealer literally crossing dressings"? And to attempt the impossible, crossing CROSS DRESSING through FIVE symmetrical dressings, incorporated into great phrases?

It should be impossible. There's no way that Crucivera, the crossword goddess, is benevolent enough to allow such a fortuitous happenstance.

You'd have to come up with a way to intersect five salad dressings through CROSS DRESSING, at symmetrical rows. That's hard, but doable.

But add in the constraint of having the five phrases also be symmetrical in length? And have those lengths match up in position, so the dressings still fit properly?

Nah. I wouldn't have even tried.

Sure glad C.C. did! Wow. I uncovered the revealer and figured out the theme early on. But I kept stopping to admire the feat. It didn't seem humanly feasible. I mean, getting CAESAR and RUSSIAN to intersect in rows 6 and 10, that's pretty cool. But to have HAIL CAESAR and RUSSIAN MOB just happen to fit into total, absolute, mystifying crossword symmetry?

Screw HAIL CAESAR. HAIL Crucivera is more like it.

Fantastic clue in RECESS, too, reimagining "trial separation" in a funny way.

A couple of blips in the fill: a little more crossword glue than I like, and a ton of 3-letter words that broke up solving flow. Not the most elegant of finishes. But:

  1. Much of that is expected with six interlocked themers. After looking carefully at the grid design, I don't think I could have done better.
  2. Who cares? When a theme is this eye-popping, such trivialities matter not.
1
R
2
E
3
C
4
E
5
S
6
S
7
F
8
T
9
C
10
H
11
E
12
R
13
E
R
O
T
I
C
14
C
R
E
A
15
T
U
R
E
16
T
A
N
T
R
A
17
R
A
N
S
O
M
E
D
18
J
A
I
L
19
H
O
U
S
E
R
O
C
K
20
E
21
M
O
22
I
O
S
23
E
R
T
E
24
H
A
I
25
L
26
C
A
E
S
27
A
28
R
29
M
E
N
30
S
O
N
A
R
31
D
A
U
32
N
33
T
E
D
34
D
U
35
D
36
E
R
A
N
C
H
37
S
38
K
Y
D
O
M
E
39
A
E
40
T
41
N
42
A
43
S
A
N
44
R
U
S
45
S
46
I
A
N
M
O
B
47
U
S
E
48
D
49
S
E
N
50
O
W
E
51
T
H
E
I
52
T
53
A
54
L
I
A
N
55
J
56
O
B
57
R
I
P
S
O
P
E
N
58
I
O
D
I
59
N
60
E
61
A
M
A
S
S
I
N
G
62
E
V
I
L
E
R
63
S
I
D
64
S
A
T
65
S
I
N
E
W
S
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0515 ( 25,390 )
Across
1
Trial separation? : RECESS
7
National Do Not Call Registry org. : FTC
10
___ Majesty : HER
13
Blue : EROTIC
14
Beast : CREATURE
16
Form of yoga : TANTRA
17
Freed, but not for free : RANSOMED
18
Elvis Presley hit inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame : JAILHOUSEROCK
20
Angst-ridden music genre : EMO
22
Platform for 5-Down : IOS
23
Art Deco icon : ERTE
24
Forum greeting : HAILCAESAR
29
All chief justices of the United States, so far : MEN
30
Sub system : SONAR
31
Disheartened : DAUNTED
34
Vacation spot for city slickers : DUDERANCH
37
Canadian stadium renamed Rogers Centre in 2005 : SKYDOME
39
Humana competitor : AETNA
43
___ Joaquin Valley : SAN
44
Gangster group in "Eastern Promises" : RUSSIANMOB
47
Handled : USED
49
Booker, for one: Abbr. : SEN
50
Have obligations : OWE
51
2003 film starring Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron : THEITALIANJOB
57
Unwraps impatiently : RIPSOPEN
58
First-aid antiseptic : IODINE
61
Building up : AMASSING
62
More malevolent : EVILER
63
Vicious of punk rock : SID
64
Avoided elimination in musical chairs : SAT
65
Bone/muscle connectors : SINEWS
Down
1
Like a professor emerita: Abbr. : RET
2
Slice of history : ERA
3
Link : CONJOIN
4
Blues singer James : ETTA
5
Voice-activated assistant : SIRI
6
Rehnquist's successor on the bench : SCALIA
7
Mrs., in Münster : FRAU
8
Sawbucks : TENS
9
Violin holder : CASE
10
"Just play along, please" : HUMORME
11
Put up, as a building : ERECTED
12
L'Oréal hair care brand : REDKEN
14
"Mrs. Doubtfire" plot device - or what the letters in this clue's answer do five times? : CROSSDRESSING
15
Went very fast : TORE
19
Something a gardener might lean on : HOE
20
Sounds of puzzlement : EHS
21
Who said "A revolution is not a dinner party" : MAO
25
___ Luck : LADY
26
"Phooey!" : CRUD
27
Small battery : AAA
28
Publish : RUN
32
Final Four inits. : NCAA
33
At that point : THEN
35
Palme ___ (film award) : DOR
36
Cousin of a cassowary : EMU
37
Dish often served with wasabi : SASHIMI
38
Skateboarder's accessory : KNEEPAD
40
Big name in cell service : TMOBILE
41
"Right away!" : NOW
42
Half a sawbuck : ABE
43
Hindu aphorisms : SUTRAS
45
Beachside view : SEA
46
Certain navels : INNIES
48
Ph.D. hurdle: Abbr. : DISS
52
Deep-six : TOSS
53
Where Samoa Airways is based : APIA
54
It begins on Ash Wednesday : LENT
55
Rocker Jon Bon ___ : JOVI
56
One-eyed Norse god : ODIN
59
Never-before-seen : NEW
60
Triage centers, for short : ERS

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?