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

New York Times, Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Author:
Jonathan Schmalzbach and Bill Albright
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
312/15/19945/16/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
131512000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.52001
Jonathan Schmalzbach
TotalDebutCollabs
15/16/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61000
Bill Albright

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 31 for Mr. Schmalzbach. This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Albright. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
BILL: This theme came from the observation that much of French culture is widely known in the United States and thus the personages ... read more

BILL: This theme came from the observation that much of French culture is widely known in the United States and thus the personages that were riffed off of were familiar names. When you think of French history — the Bastille, Marie Antoinette, Joan of Arc, De Gaulle — or French sites — Cannes, Versailles, Napoleon's tomb — or French artists or food, the infiltration into American consciousness goes way beyond the size of the French population in the U.S., relative to other countries.

This puzzle could not be done on four German cultural figures, or four Spanish cultural figures, or even four British ones (That's a challenge, constructors!). Especially with the coverage in our group — a painter, an author, a philosopher/mathematician, and a musician, all born more than 150 years ago.

Jeff Chen notes:
Pretty good homophones for Frenchmen, Jules = JEWELS, Claude = CLOD, Toulouse = TOO LOOSE, Blaise = BLAZE. I've seen TOO LOOSE before ... read more

Pretty good homophones for Frenchmen, Jules = JEWELS, Claude = CLOD, Toulouse = TOO LOOSE, Blaise = BLAZE. I've seen TOO LOOSE before – he's an artist in the comics strip "Mutts" – but the others were fun and novel.

TOO LOOSE was the lone homophone resulting in a word split, making him feel like the odd man out. Also, he was the only one whose full name didn't make it in. (Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, why must you be so long and crossword unfriendly?!)

Maybe to replace him for better consistency … CHARLES DE GALL? Or COCOA CHANEL? Feels like there could be others.

For name-driven themes, I prefer to keep the fill largely free of names, especially ones that aren't seen very often. Otherwise, you run the risk of ending up with a trivia exam. For those that might not have known PASCAL's first name, I wonder if EAMES, AUDRA, ARLEN might have exacerbated the problem.

The more common names (or ones you really should know) like MEL, REGIS, AMOS, EDIE, OTIS, NEHRU, are fine. But given the excess of tougher ones already ... that's a ton of names.

A constructor's life is never easy. Some strong gridwork, building around five long themers, ending up with just ACS and ESS as minor crossword glue. For as much as I despise inelegant crossword glue, though, I would have accepted a little more of it, to reduce the pile-up of esoteric names.

Always the trade-offs.

Great clue for NYC. MSG isn't monosodium glutamate, but Madison Square Garden. Beautiful misdirect!

FRENCH TWIST didn't feel like a perfectly apt hint for homophonization — to me, it more implies anagramming — but it works. And I did like most of the themers. Entertaining overall.

Jim Horne notes:

This is Mr. Schmalzbach's 31st NYT crossword, but his first in 20 years. Here's his previous one from 1998.

1
T
2
O
3
P
4
I
5
C
6
S
7
T
8
A
9
T
10
S
11
L
12
A
13
Y
14
A
N
O
D
E
15
U
R
I
A
H
16
A
B
U
17
J
E
W
E
L
18
S
V
E
R
N
E
19
N
Y
C
20
E
D
I
E
21
N
E
D
22
D
E
S
K
23
G
24
R
R
25
C
L
26
O
D
D
E
27
B
U
S
S
Y
28
R
U
T
29
A
L
T
30
M
E
L
31
A
M
O
32
S
33
T
I
34
P
35
A
U
36
D
37
R
38
A
39
T
O
O
L
40
O
O
S
E
41
L
42
A
U
T
R
E
C
43
A
R
L
E
N
44
G
A
T
45
H
I
G
H
46
A
C
47
S
48
I
T
49
S
50
V
I
E
51
B
52
L
53
A
Z
E
P
54
A
55
S
C
A
L
56
E
S
S
57
R
I
L
E
58
A
L
A
59
C
A
60
S
T
61
A
T
L
62
F
R
E
N
63
C
H
T
W
I
64
S
65
T
66
N
E
O
67
A
S
P
E
R
68
E
A
M
E
S
69
D
R
Y
70
N
E
H
R
U
71
S
P
E
A
K
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0516 ( 25,026 )

Support XWord Info today

Access this site for a full year:

  1. Select your level
  2. Choose how to pay

Learn about support levels.

$50 — Angel

Full access + download

$20 — Regular User

Full access, limited Finder

$10 — Casual User

Students & seniors
Across
1. Issue : TOPIC
6. Fodder for sports analytics : STATS
11. Place, as a bet : LAY
14. What a current flows through : ANODE
15. Dickens's ___ Heep : URIAH
16. "Aladdin" monkey : ABU
17. Nickname for a glitzy author? : JEWELSVERNE
19. It contains M.S.G. : NYC
20. Emmy-winning Falco : EDIE
21. Stark of "Game of Thrones" : NED
22. A cluttered one is a sign of a cluttered mind, it's said : DESK
23. [Don't touch my bone!] : GRR
25. Nickname for a clumsy composer? : CLODDEBUSSY
28. Sunken track : RUT
29. Key below Z, on a Mac : ALT
30. Country singer Tillis : MEL
31. John who played an older Kunta Kinte on "Roots" : AMOS
33. "The bay in the fifth," for one : TIP
35. Actress McDonald : AUDRA
39. Nickname for a sloppy painter? : TOOLOOSELAUTREC
43. "Get Happy" composer : ARLEN
44. Gangster's gun : GAT
45. Setting for 46-Across on a very hot day : HIGH
46. See 45-Across : ACS
48. "___ official ..." : ITS
50. Compete : VIE
51. Nickname for a fiery philosopher? : BLAZEPASCAL
56. Shape of a swan's neck : ESS
57. Get under the skin of : RILE
58. ___ grecque (served with olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings) : ALA
59. Names in film credits : CAST
61. City where trap music originated: Abbr. : ATL
62. Classic hairstyle ... or a hint to the puns in 17-, 25-, 39- and 51-Across : FRENCHTWIST
66. Prefix with colonialism : NEO
67. According to : ASPER
68. Chair designer Charles : EAMES
69. Parched : DRY
70. Prime minister called "Pandit" : NEHRU
71. Address, with "to" : SPEAK
Down
1. ___ Mahal : TAJ
2. Start of every ZIP code in Pennsylvania : ONE
3. Jigsaw, e.g. : POWERTOOL
4. Named, for short : IDED
5. Toyota coupe sold from 1970 to 2006 : CELICA
6. Hyundai Santa Fe or Tucson, briefly : SUV
7. Focus of a Facebook sidebar : TREND
8. Put on TV : AIRED
9. Kind of bike or kayak : TANDEM
10. Miss identification? : SHE
11. Freeway divisions : LANES
12. Deep, deep pit : ABYSS
13. Eliciting an "ugh," maybe : YUCKY
18. Have as a customer : SELLTO
22. Port at the west end of Lake Superior : DULUTH
23. Persona non ___ : GRATA
24. It might begin "Did you hear ...?" : RUMOR
26. Old blues singer Johnny : OTIS
27. Fellow bringing roses, perhaps : BEAU
32. Sordid sort : SLEAZE
34. Hard throw, in baseball : PEG
36. Rush-hour : DRIVETIME
37. TV host Philbin : REGIS
38. Bodily complaints : ACHES
40. First word of "The Raven" : ONCE
41. Secular : LAIC
42. Hook up (to) : ATTACH
47. Few and far between : SPARSE
49. Schedules : SLATES
51. ___ X : BRAND
52. Soda bottle unit : LITER
53. Bronze, but not silver or gold : ALLOY
54. Beth's preceder : ALEPH
55. More rational : SANER
60. Give and take : SWAP
62. Item above a kitchen stove : FAN
63. Grand finale? : CRU
64. "The vasty deep," in Shakespeare : SEA
65. "What a shame!" : TSK

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?