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

New York Times, Friday, May 9, 2014

Author: James Mulhern
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2411/16/20096/23/20176
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
012001011
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60000
James Mulhern

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 35 Missing: {FQVX} This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Mulhern. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

Support XWord Info

Donation Amount

XWord Info is only possible when people like you choose to support it through donations.

Donate to get access to XWord Info for a year.

Benefits vary by donation level. Thank you!

James Mulhern notes: As an economist and graduate of the one of the institutions with which Prof. 7-Across is associated, I'm pleased to debut his ... more
James Mulhern notes: As an economist and graduate of the one of the institutions with which Prof. 7-Across is associated, I'm pleased to debut his name in the puzzle today.

I made this back in 2012, seeded by KRUGMAN and MOT JUSTE / MUMBO JUMBO. I think many other answers are strong, with entries such as SHEER AGONY and NO HARM DONE in particular making for nice fill in some of the longer spots.

Since I constructed this puzzle, my standards and taste have evolved, mostly in response to feedback from you all. Partials, in particular, are something I now avoid obsessively, so it's a bit tough to look at the pile-up in the top half of the grid. I also anticipate backlash against some of the "crosswordese" in here (OLEO and ANIL stand out). Although I don't personally have a problem with this type of entry, in crosswords, the solver is always right, so I'll keep striving to give the people what they want! Hopefully today's puzzle meets that goal.

Jeff Chen notes: What a cool grid pattern. Typically in most themeless constructions we see two triple-stacks of answers running horizontally, two ... more
Jeff Chen notes: What a cool grid pattern. Typically in most themeless constructions we see two triple-stacks of answers running horizontally, two vertically. One reason for this is that arrangement helps separate the four stacks, allowing a constructor to work on each one (more or less) at a time. So it was pretty cool to see this unusual arrangement — check out how many long across answers are basically on top of each other: KRUGMAN (really nice to see this influential economist finally get his due), DIET RITE, ABNORMAL, MUMBO JUMBO, UTILIZE, SHEER AGONY, UNBEATEN. Not everything overlaps completely of course, but it makes for quite a challenge. Neat to see something different.

A lot of great fill today, with MOT JUSTE / MUMBO JUMBO being a standout. I found it really neat that they both follow the M* J* pattern, and they mean essentially opposite things. AL PACINO in itself is a really nice entry, but I love getting an iconic image in my head from a puzzle, in this case of Pacino in "Scarface." This is a great example of getting the most out of an entry / clue pair: for me, something that evokes emotion like this is a real winner.

What with all the horizontal overlap, I was impressed that James filled the puzzle as cleanly as he did. The parts I was wondering about as I was solving were the west and east sections, as I worried stitching the two halves of the puzzle would be tricky. On the west side, the halves come together pretty nicely. It's a little tiny bit inelegant to have USMC right next to NCAA, but they're both fine entries, of course.

Where I had a little frowning, especially in contrast to the high quality of the rest of the puzzle, was in the east. It's quite possible that NON-U has common usage in England? But I tend to cringe at its sight, along with the usual ADIT and ETUI type suspects. Could just be a personal preference, as I know several constructors who don't blink an eye at random Roman numerals, while they make me shudder. And seeing it next to Ned YOST made it stick out a little further — I like seeing some sports references in puzzles, but unless an athlete is in the Hall of Fame or has achieved something huge in his/her field, it feels a bit unfair. Sort of like having to fish out GINO Torretta or RIK Smits (I have a soft sport for the Dunkin' Dutchman, but I doubt many others do).

Also interesting to me was that I thought the NW and SE should be the cleanest sections, given how separated they were from the rest of the puzzle. James did a great job with the SE, nice fill there (I know ANIL bothers some folks, but it's totally fine by me as I saw a lot of it traveling in South America). The NW however, with its two partials in close proximity, felt a little unfortunate. I can see where fixing the beautiful MOT JUSTE and MUMBO JUMBO in place would cause problems, though. Always the trade-offs.

Finally, two clues I really dug. The first, appropriately, was [Digs in the snow?]. Digs here refers to a crib, a joint, a place to live, and it's a great misdirection, making me think about shoveling snow in the Indiana winter. The second, [Fix as a pointer]. In computer science, it's quite easy to have problems with syntax, using pointers to memory locations, so this clue had me baffled for a long time, thinking about what coding lingo would be appropriate. I felt silly (and delighted) when it turned out to refer to pointer-type dog. Dog-nabit, that's some nice stuff!

1
L
2
C
3
H
4
A
5
I
6
M
7
K
8
R
9
U
10
G
11
M
12
A
13
N
14
L
E
A
D
T
O
15
D
I
E
T
R
I
T
E
16
A
T
M
O
S
T
17
A
B
N
O
R
M
A
L
18
M
U
M
B
O
J
19
U
M
B
O
20
E
N
L
21
A
S
Y
E
22
U
T
I
L
I
23
Z
24
E
25
S
H
E
E
R
A
G
26
O
27
N
28
Y
29
U
30
N
31
B
32
E
33
A
T
E
N
34
I
G
L
O
O
35
S
C
U
L
L
E
R
36
C
37
A
R
E
E
N
S
38
M
A
N
E
T
39
T
U
N
E
D
O
U
T
40
C
A
T
C
H
41
A
42
C
O
L
D
43
T
O
W
R
O
P
E
44
A
45
N
46
I
47
L
48
H
49
E
50
S
51
N
O
H
A
R
52
M
D
O
N
E
53
A
L
P
54
A
55
C
I
N
O
56
S
I
Z
E
U
P
57
C
L
A
R
I
N
E
T
58
O
R
E
L
S
E
59
K
E
Y
T
A
G
S
60
N
A
S
S
E
R
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0509 ( 23,558 )
Across Down
1. Toast often given with Manischewitz : LCHAIM
7. Nobel-winning economist who wrote "Fuzzy Math" : KRUGMAN
14. Precipitate : LEADTO
15. Longtime Tab competitor : DIETRITE
16. In the best- or worst-case scenario : ATMOST
17. Like things in "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" : ABNORMAL
18. Psychobabble, say : MUMBOJUMBO
20. In the 29-Down, e.g.: Abbr. : ENL
21. "___ do, so he shall do": Numbers 15:14 : ASYE
22. Put to work : UTILIZE
25. Hell : SHEERAGONY
29. Like players who sweep things : UNBEATEN
34. Digs in the snow? : IGLOO
35. Olympian in a shell : SCULLER
36. Pitches : CAREENS
38. "Luncheon on the Grass" painter : MANET
39. Like much unheeded advice : TUNEDOUT
40. Pick up something common? : CATCHACOLD
43. Line of tugboats? : TOWROPE
44. Dye containing indigotin : ANIL
48. Jackasses, e.g. : HES
51. "It's all good" : NOHARMDONE
53. Actor with the line "Say hello to my little friend!" : ALPACINO
56. Take stock of : SIZEUP
57. Feature of a Shaw show : CLARINET
58. Ominous final words : ORELSE
59. Accessories purchased just for openers? : KEYTAGS
60. Big player in the Suez Crisis : NASSER
1. Source of very soft wool : LLAMA
2. Whale constellation : CETUS
3. Oh-so-dramatic : HAMMY
4. Acrobat producer : ADOBE
5. "___ happens ..." : ITSO
6. Perfect expression : MOTJUSTE
7. Pet food in the form of pellets : KIBBLE
8. "Luncheon of the Boating Party" painter : RENOIR
9. ___-Aztecan : UTO
10. [This is so frustrating!] : GRR
11. Storyteller who needs no words : MIME
12. ___ impasse : ATAN
13. Dickens protagonist surnamed Trent : NELL
15. Horror film antagonist surnamed Thorn : DAMIEN
19. King Arthur's father : UTHER
23. 1971-97 nation name : ZAIRE
24. Drove (on) : EGGED
26. Pat material, maybe : OLEO
27. Low-class, in Leeds : NONU
28. Royals manager Ned : YOST
29. Devil dog's outfit: Abbr. : USMC
30. Org. affected by Title IX : NCAA
31. It may be a sacrifice : BUNT
32. Approve for office installation : ELECT
33. E'en if : ALTHO
36. Fault, in law : CULPA
37. "Father Knows Best" family name : ANDERSON
39. Like some things you can't handle : TOOHOT
41. Shop shelter : AWNING
42. The Furies, e.g. : CRONES
44. Timber dressers : ADZES
45. Nativity numbers : NOELS
46. Not free : INUSE
47. Shunned one : LEPER
48. Be a high-tech criminal : HACK
49. Allure or Essence alternative : ELLE
50. Fix, as a pointer : SPAY
52. Major star of 2-Down : MIRA
54. Domain of 38-Across and 8-Down : ART
55. Grp. with many operations : CIA

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?