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, Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Author:
Bryant White
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
406/1/19915/2/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
500151118
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.5451211
Bryant White

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 42 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 40 for Mr. White. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bryant White notes:
After hurrying downstairs one day, I stubbed my toe — the resulting pain soared up my leg, roller-coastered around my innards ... read more

After hurrying downstairs one day, I stubbed my toe — the resulting pain soared up my leg, roller-coastered around my innards and finally skyrocketed through my head where it exploded like fireworks into the idea for this puzzle's theme. From pain to eventual pleasure in one not-so-easy step. Normally, I remain stationary and try to think outside the box when considering most themes.

It's been a couple of decades since the NYT published my last puzzle — I was a semi-regular contributor for both the NYT and Simon & Schuster throughout the 1990s and late ‘80s (back, it seems, when dirt was just invented) before stopping to pursue other hobbies. Recently, I've taken up both writing and cartooning, and have published two e-books apiece in both genres. The lure of crafting crosswords, however, still sings to me with its siren-sweet voice, so I've been making puzzles in bunches as of late between other projects. Unfortunately, I've been amassing numerous rejections. I might have to try the ‘hurry-down-the-stairs' trick again.

Jeff Chen notes:
I loved this concept. There's something so evocative about the HIDDEN STAIRCASE wending its way down from the TROPHY ROOM to the WINE ... read more

I loved this concept. There's something so evocative about the HIDDEN STAIRCASE wending its way down from the TROPHY ROOM to the WINE CELLAR. Secret entrances and passageways, opened by pulling a WALL SCONCE or pushing a FALSE PANEL – fodder for many a fantastic novel!

Usually, I find it problematic when a grid gets segmented up, messing with my solving feng shui. But in this case, I didn't mind that the center is so choked off. In fact, it's a bonus, considering the theme of narrow, twisty passageways! Bravo, sir.

I wasn't sure why a TROPHY ROOM would be the start point, or the WINE CELLAR the end. But I enjoyed the Masonic cabal feel that I overlooked this.

What I couldn't overlook though, was issues with the execution. I enjoyed the Poe-esque conceit so much that I so badly wanted to give it the POW! Couldn't do it, though.

First, HIDEAWAY / HIDDEN STAIRCASE is duplicative. Then CASE / BOOKCASE too? I could see it if the BOOKCASE was the thing that was pushed back to open up the HIDDEN STAIRCASE! How awesome would that have been? So much more apt than a FALSE PANEL.

Sadly, that wouldn't have worked, since the BOOKCASE wants to be on top, but the CASE part of the HIDDEN STAIRCASE wants to be on the bottom. So in that CASE, I'd have much preferred the CASE of BOOKCASE to be more well-hidden.

CASE closed?

Nope. Bryant had to close off his middle so much, that the rest of the puzzle was forced to contain huge wide-open spaces. In the NE alone, see DRAYS, LDS, and the Maleskan ONER. That last one is nearly a puzzle-killer to me.

I think changing to shorter theme bonuses — from BOOKCASE to BOOK, e.g., would have helped.

Overall, fantastic idea. Stupendous. Too many execution problems, though.

1
J
2
A
3
V
4
A
5
S
6
A
7
T
8
S
9
F
10
E
11
D
12
O
V
I
D
13
T
U
R
N
14
S
15
F
A
I
R
16
L
E
N
A
17
A
E
I
O
U
18
A
L
G
A
19
T
R
O
P
20
H
Y
R
O
O
M
21
A
S
H
Y
22
T
I
E
23
S
T
A
24
B
25
E
T
S
26
P
27
A
28
W
29
D
D
30
E
31
C
O
32
O
P
S
33
A
D
A
34
T
E
35
N
36
A
37
P
38
O
N
A
I
39
R
40
P
O
L
K
A
41
S
T
A
42
K
E
N
D
O
43
A
L
L
O
W
44
E
L
I
45
C
R
E
E
D
46
E
S
S
A
47
Y
48
R
49
C
A
50
L
D
S
51
E
S
C
52
Y
O
53
G
54
A
55
A
S
56
P
57
E
C
O
58
N
59
W
I
N
60
E
C
E
L
61
L
62
A
63
R
64
R
E
N
O
65
L
A
T
C
H
66
A
I
D
E
67
I
N
C
H
68
S
N
O
R
E
69
N
A
Z
I
70
E
T
E
71
T
N
U
T
72
T
M
E
N
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0502 ( 25,012 )
Across
1
Christmas Island's closest neighbor : JAVA
5
Rites of passage for college-bound students : SATS
9
"The X-Files" extra : FED
12
"Metamorphoses" poet : OVID
13
Throws of the dice, maybe : TURNS
15
Within bounds : FAIR
16
___ the Hyena of old comics : LENA
17
Key parts of a so-called supervocalic word : AEIOU
18
Seaweed, e.g. : ALGA
19
Where gold and silver cups may be displayed : TROPHYROOM
21
Like a hearth : ASHY
22
Word with twist and neck : TIE
23
Impale : STAB
25
"The X-Files" extras, for short : ETS
26
Foot with claws : PAW
29
W.W. II inits. : DDE
31
Fowl places : COOPS
33
"... ___ which will live in infamy" : ADATE
35
Snooze : NAP
38
Broadcasting live : ONAIR
40
Dance often accompanied by an accordion : POLKA
41
Railroad terminus: Abbr. : STA
42
Martial art with bamboo swords : KENDO
43
Green-light : ALLOW
44
Automotive pioneer Ransom ___ Olds : ELI
45
Guiding set of principles : CREED
46
Try : ESSAY
48
Nipper's co. : RCA
50
Mormon grp. : LDS
51
Corner keyboard key : ESC
52
Meditative practice : YOGA
55
Hieroglyphic figure : ASP
57
Nobel Prize subj. : ECON
59
Temperature- and humidity-controlled place : WINECELLAR
64
City near the California/Nevada border : RENO
65
Gate feature : LATCH
66
Number two : AIDE
67
Creep (along) : INCH
68
Elicit a slug with a pillow, maybe : SNORE
69
Extra in "The Producers" : NAZI
70
Good time for un pique-nique : ETE
71
Fastener with a flange : TNUT
72
Tax evasion investigators, quaintly : TMEN
Down
1
What a double shot of caffeine provides : JOLT
2
State : AVER
3
Chianti or Asti Spumante : VINO
4
Not be a dinosaur : ADAPT
5
Didn't leave : STAYED
6
Violinist Leopold : AUER
7
Quartets after some infighting? : TRIOS
8
High-and-mighty sort : SNOOT
9
Something you might secretly push in a 24-Down : FALSEPANEL
10
Octagonal : EIGHTSIDED
11
Heavy carts : DRAYS
14
Poison ___ : SUMAC
15
Branch of the Dept. of Transportation : FAA
20
Secret spot : HIDEAWAY
24
Where you might adjust the volume? : BOOKCASE
26
Family nickname : PAPA
27
Teen, e.g. : ADOLESCENT
28
Something you might secretly push in a 19-Across : WALLSCONCE
30
Start of Massachusetts' state motto : ENSE
32
Extraordinary thing, in slang : ONER
34
Some ring decisions : TKOS
36
CNN's home: Abbr. : ATL
37
Glove purchase : PAIR
39
Subjects of meltdowns : RODS
47
Some caterwauling : YOWLS
49
Prestige : CACHET
51
Spooky : EERIE
53
"Fee, fi, fo, fum" speaker in a fairy tale : GIANT
54
Author Chekhov : ANTON
56
Purposely placed evidence : PLANT
58
Japanese drama : NOH
60
Khaki-like color : ECRU
61
One of Hollywood's Hemsworths : LIAM
62
Shaping tool : ADZE
63
Control, with "in" : REIN

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?