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New York Times, Friday, May 8, 2015

Author:
Ian Livengood
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
554/12/20109/15/20164
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617667112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64371
Ian Livengood

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 29 Missing: {BJQX} This is puzzle # 47 for Mr. Livengood. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ian Livengood notes:
A few random thoughts: 1A was the seed answer and got scooped in other puzzles before publication. Eh, that'll happen. With ... read more

A few random thoughts:

  • 1A was the seed answer and got scooped in other puzzles before publication. Eh, that'll happen.
  • With the pattern $c$v$c$vN $cOWELL (where "$c" stands for a consonant and "$v" stands for a vowel), 12D could have been Colin Powell. Love when grid flexibility pops up like that.
  • I've used this basic shell for other themeless puzzles, and I highly recommend it for new themeless constructors. No themeless construction is "easy," but this 72/29 is pretty doable.

Hope solvers like this one!

Jeff Chen notes:
Another clinic from Ian today. At 72 words (the max for a themeless), the grid is nothing fancy or envelope-pushing, but Ian makes ... read more

Another clinic from Ian today. At 72 words (the max for a themeless), the grid is nothing fancy or envelope-pushing, but Ian makes such great use of his long entries. A puzzle's sizzle often comes from its 8+ letter entries, and with only 14 of those slots available today, it's so critical to convert nearly all of them into snappy entries.

That's a tough task, but look at all the great material Ian strews about the grid. Starting with a SNAPCHAT / KETEL ONE / ICE RINKS and ending with IRON CHEF / NEWSHOLE (vaguely and amusingly lewd-sounding) / GREEK GOD — what a way to bookend the puzzle. Spreading NOISEMAKERS and ANKLE MONITOR and STONEMASONS around made the solve so pleasing all over, from top to bottom and left to right.

Fox hunt leader of old

A note on ROGER FEDERER and SIMON COWELL. Both gridworthy, no doubt, but I value SIMON COWELL so much more than ROGER FEDERER in a crossword. It's really fun to get your favorite sports (or movie, or whatever) figure into a grid, but celebs can be awfully polarizing. You elate the people that are also fans, but alienate those that don't know (or don't wish to know) the person. So unless there's great cluing potential, I find reliance on names a bit unsatisfying.

ROGER FEDERER probably has clever cluing potential, but [Five-in-a-row U.S. Open winner] sounds like a Wikipedia entry, while [Fox hunt leader of old] is a gold-medal play on SIMON COWELL's former role on the Fox talent search show, "American Idol."

Finally, Ian's short fill. Because a 72-word puzzle is relatively easy to fill compared to a 68 or or a 66, it's important to distinguish it by keeping the glue to a minimum. Ian's always good about this, and today is no different. I have to be pretty nit-picky to point out ANON, which has a bit of a fusty feel to it, but is also common in poetry. And NEC will draw some complaints as three randomish letters stuck together, but I find it hard to argue that a company with a market cap of roughly $10B isn't gridworthy. It's not something I'd strive to use, but I personally find it to be a minor blip.

Very entertaining, smooth solve.

Jim Horne notes:

This puzzle by Ian Livengood was published on his 32nd birthday.

1
S
2
N
3
A
4
P
5
C
6
H
7
A
8
T
9
C
10
L
11
A
12
S
13
S
14
Y
15
K
E
T
E
L
O
N
E
16
H
A
L
I
T
E
17
I
C
E
R
I
N
K
S
18
A
N
I
M
A
L
19
S
M
E
L
T
20
R
O
E
21
O
I
L
22
C
23
A
24
N
O
E
25
E
R
O
S
26
E
N
D
S
27
A
N
O
N
28
S
M
U
G
29
M
A
C
30
C
G
I
31
S
T
O
N
E
32
M
A
S
O
33
N
34
S
35
H
E
S
36
S
I
A
N
37
R
E
N
E
W
A
L
38
E
L
E
C
T
R
I
39
C
F
A
N
40
E
V
E
41
M
A
Z
42
T
H
E
N
43
C
L
A
W
44
H
45
E
A
T
46
V
O
I
D
47
R
O
L
L
S
48
E
L
K
49
C
O
R
D
E
50
L
I
A
51
L
I
E
52
L
O
W
53
I
R
O
N
C
54
H
55
E
56
F
57
E
T
R
A
D
E
58
N
E
W
S
H
O
L
E
59
N
E
S
T
E
D
60
G
R
E
E
K
G
O
D
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0508 ( 23,922 )
Across
1
Instagram alternative : SNAPCHAT
9
Smart : CLASSY
15
"Gentlemen, this is vodka" sloganeer : KETELONE
16
Melter on winter sidewalks : HALITE
17
Checking locales : ICERINKS
18
See 48-Across : ANIMAL
19
Masago, at a sushi bar : SMELTROE
21
Something well-kept? : OIL
22
Camp vehicle : CANOE
25
Winged figure of myth : EROS
26
Bounds : ENDS
27
Any day now : ANON
28
Thinking one is pretty hot stuff, say : SMUG
29
Guy : MAC
30
Tech field, briefly : CGI
31
Blockheads? : STONEMASONS
35
Participant in the Battle of Saratoga, 1777 : HESSIAN
37
Subscription prescription : RENEWAL
38
Hummer in the summer : ELECTRICFAN
40
All Saints' Day vis-à-vis All Souls' Day : EVE
41
1960 Pirates World Series hero, familiarly : MAZ
42
"That was ___ ..." : THEN
43
Hammer part : CLAW
44
Pressure, informally : HEAT
46
Whole lot of nothing : VOID
47
Takes turns in a casino : ROLLS
48
Official 18-Across of Utah : ELK
49
Shakespearean sister : CORDELIA
51
Keep off the grid, say : LIELOW
53
Japanese import set in a kitchen : IRONCHEF
57
Charles Schwab alternative : ETRADE
58
Space in a paper available for journalism instead of ads : NEWSHOLE
59
Stored (within) : NESTED
60
25-Across, for one : GREEKGOD
Down
1
"___ Utah!" (state license plate slogan) : SKI
2
Big inits. in computing : NEC
3
Had dinner : ATE
4
Individual : PERSON
5
Iceland has a cold one : CLIME
6
Get an edge on : HONE
7
Flight preventer : ANKLEMONITOR
8
Tryout : TESTRUN
9
Total zoo : CHAOS
10
Driving range? : LANE
11
"The Greatest: My Own Story" author : ALI
12
Fox hunt leader of old : SIMONCOWELL
13
Conservative : STAID
14
RESPONDS LIKE THIS! : YELLS
20
Five-in-a-row U.S. Open winner : ROGERFEDERER
22
Private stock : CACHE
23
Sweetie : ANGEL
24
Detritus on New Year's morning : NOISEMAKERS
26
Maneuver carefully : EASE
28
Headline : STAR
29
"Buddenbrooks" novelist : MANN
31
___ bath : SITZ
32
Statistics class figure : MEAN
33
Like the historic Battle of Lepanto, 1571 : NAVAL
34
Mountains : SLEWS
36
"Beat it!" : SCAT
39
Dressing down : CHIDING
43
Leader of five N.C.A.A. basketball championships for Duke, informally : COACHK
44
Hunt for a film? : HELEN
45
1%, say : ELITE
46
Gave one's parole : VOWED
47
Final step in cleaning : RINSE
49
Up to ___ : CODE
50
Lucius S. ___, hardware chain store eponym : LOWE
52
Muscle used in pull-ups, briefly : LAT
54
Chopper : HOG
55
"A New World Record" grp., 1976 : ELO
56
Had dinner : FED

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?