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, Saturday, May 9, 2015

Author:
Kristian House
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
172/17/200911/28/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0153323
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65023
Kristian House

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 28 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. House. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kristian House notes:
The seed entries for this one were 1-, 17-, and 58-Across along with 12- and 31-Down. I wasn't sure if 31-Down would pass muster, but ... read more

The seed entries for this one were 1-, 17-, and 58-Across along with 12- and 31-Down. I wasn't sure if 31-Down would pass muster, but I gave it a shot, and Will was okay with it. I wanted to get 58-Across into a puzzle for a little while since my boys are big fans of the show, and they begged me to try to work it into a grid, so I was pleased when I was able to get it into this puzzle.

I really like the mini-theme in the upper right side of the puzzle as well; 11-Down crossing 29-Across was a happy accident, so when I moved to the center, I decided to take it a step further by getting 42-Across in there, too.

I had a lot of fun making this puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
Some really strong entries featured today, MUFFIN TOP bringing me back to my days of obsessively watching 'Seinfeld.' And that ... read more

Some really strong entries featured today, MUFFIN TOP bringing me back to my days of obsessively watching "Seinfeld." And that upper-right corner is an absolute beauty, anchored by EVOLUTION running through both MUTATE and DARWIN, along with a BATARANG and a SPYGLASS tucked in. Not to mention, what a great clue for KING TUT — [Royal who toured the U.S. in the late 1970s] said nothing about the royal being alive!

A while back, I wrote a Saturday Stumper for Stan Newman, and he mentioned that one or two short entries were iffy in that they were "un-Stumperable." I didn't quite get what he meant, but today's puzzle made it click into place. In order to make a puzzle tough, it's important to have multiple ways of cluing an entry. Bits like AGHA, AMAH, and OGEE fall into that bucket. To regular solvers, [Eastern nurse] or [Asian au pair] is a dead giveaway for AMAH. And cluing it in some arcane manner would just be unfair. So I can understand how Stan would see it as critical to avoid these usual suspects in a puzzle meant to be extra-challenging.

Doctor Who's TARDIS was a source of awesome MIT-Caltech prankery

On that note of difficulty, I would have loved something harder for ONE IN FOUR. Those numbers felt arbitrary to me, and the clue was so easy that it felt like cheating to fill in the answer. Perhaps something more crunchy, more satisfying to suss out, like [Chance of heterozygous parents imparting a recessive gene]? Or [Chance of rolling a 5 or 6 in craps]? The latter is too arbitrary, but figuring it out entertained me.

Finally, a note on DOCTOR WHO. Although I've dedicated way too many brain cells to Star Wars and Star Trek esoterica, I've never seen DOCTOR WHO. I still find it a perfectly fine entry though, as it's popular (albeit niche) in sci-fi. "Time lord" would be too much as an entry for me, but that term makes for a perfectly good clue. Nice to learn more vocab I can use in metaphors to baffle my wife (who once thought "Live long and prosper" was a quote from Benjamin Franklin).

Jim Horne notes:

Jane Krakowski singing Muffin Top.

1
M
2
U
3
F
4
F
5
I
6
N
7
T
8
O
9
P
10
K
11
E
12
B
13
A
14
B
15
O
N
E
I
N
F
O
U
R
16
I
V
A
N
A
17
A
S
I
F
I
C
A
R
E
18
N
O
T
I
N
19
T
E
N
E
T
20
S
P
21
Y
G
L
A
S
S
22
E
A
T
D
I
23
R
24
T
25
S
U
T
U
R
E
26
D
T
S
27
A
E
O
28
N
29
M
U
T
A
T
30
E
31
P
L
A
Y
A
32
T
33
T
I
N
T
S
34
A
35
G
36
H
A
37
M
E
T
O
38
O
39
O
G
E
E
40
N
O
U
N
41
S
42
D
A
R
W
43
I
N
44
Y
E
N
T
A
45
S
46
L
U
I
S
47
F
48
A
49
R
50
S
K
Y
L
A
51
B
52
S
E
A
53
H
A
R
E
54
A
G
E
L
I
M
I
55
T
56
D
U
T
C
H
57
M
A
R
I
N
58
D
O
59
C
60
T
O
R
W
H
O
61
A
G
E
N
A
62
E
N
T
E
R
T
A
I
N
63
H
A
D
E
S
64
T
E
N
N
E
S
S
E
E
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0509 ( 23,923 )
Across
1
Effect of tightening an extra-tight belt, maybe : MUFFINTOP
10
Grilled dish : KEBAB
15
Chance of getting heads on two consecutive coin flips : ONEINFOUR
16
First name among 1991 divorcées : IVANA
17
"Whatever" : ASIFICARE
18
Vacationing, say : NOTIN
19
You might live by one : TENET
20
Tool for Capt. Jack Sparrow : SPYGLASS
22
Put up with put-downs : EATDIRT
25
Surgeon's closing line? : SUTURE
26
Shakes : DTS
27
Division of geology : AEON
29
Undergo change : MUTATE
31
Do halfheartedly : PLAYAT
33
Photoshop range : TINTS
34
Ottoman commander : AGHA
37
Common cry from a younger sibling : METOO
39
S-shaped line : OGEE
40
Trial and error, e.g. : NOUNS
42
Champion of 11-Down : DARWIN
44
Dish providers : YENTAS
46
First human character on "Sesame Street" : LUIS
47
Considerably : FAR
50
It burned and crashed in 1979 : SKYLAB
52
Marine mollusk named for its earlike tentacles : SEAHARE
54
17-24, for Miss America : AGELIMIT
56
Reagan nickname : DUTCH
57
San Rafael is its seat : MARIN
58
Long-running show about a Time Lord : DOCTORWHO
61
It was boosted by Titan : AGENA
62
Opposite of bore : ENTERTAIN
63
Main antagonist in Disney's "Hercules" : HADES
64
Monopoly property : TENNESSEE
Down
1
Like some castles and zoo exhibits : MOATED
2
Disposition? : UNSEAT
3
Diversionary tactics : FEINTS
4
Tootled, in a way : FIFED
5
Bit of product personalization : INITIAL
6
Org. for Cardinals and Saints : NFC
7
___ turn (perfectly) : TOA
8
Partnership indicator : OURS
9
Sets up, informally : PREPS
10
Royal who toured the U.S. in the late 1970s : KINGTUT
11
Change of life : EVOLUTION
12
Weapon for the Caped Crusader : BATARANG
13
Flavorer for an espresso shot : ANISETTE
14
Blacks out : BANS
21
Indication of a pleased palate : YUM
23
Staples staple : REAM
24
Flirted (with) : TOYED
28
Port whose name means "Christmas" : NATAL
30
Legal suffix : ESE
31
Female fashion faux pas : PANTYLINE
32
Hula hoop, for one : TORUS
34
Even a single : ANY
35
Flips : GOESGAGA
36
Refused to yield, with "down" : HUNKERED
38
Boo-boo : OWIE
41
Home of California's National Steinbeck Center : SALINAS
43
Rosenfeld who wrote the best seller "Live Now, Age Later" : ISADORE
45
McCloud of 1970s TV's "McCloud" : SAM
47
Rulings from muftis : FATWAS
48
Griffin who's the only two-time Heisman winner : ARCHIE
49
Sharpen anew : REHONE
51
John's accompanier : BIDET
53
Hamstrings or kneecaps : HURTS
54
Asian au pair : AMAH
55
Mood : TONE
59
FedEx unit: Abbr. : CTN
60
The U.S. Treasury is on its back : TEN

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?