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, Thursday, May 9, 2019

Author:
Lewis Rothlein
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
56/11/20155/9/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0000500
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59100
Lewis Rothlein

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQVWXZ} This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Rothlein. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Lewis Rothlein notes:
Will/Sam rejected my first iteration of this puzzle. They said the idea was creative, but they balked at the reveal (which was ... read more

Will/Sam rejected my first iteration of this puzzle. They said the idea was creative, but they balked at the reveal (which was SIDESWIPE), rightfully calling it "stretchy." They also said it would be too tough for solvers because the theme answers were asymmetrical. I replied with a counter-proposal: What if, in addition to bringing the theme answers to symmetry, I changed the reveal to OFFSIDES? They said it sounds much better in theory, give it a shot, but no guarantees.

Thus this puzzle was born and tempered, and after a bit of further burnishing under excellent care, may it bring to many a lovely solving experience.

I made the first iteration a year and a half ago, yet just last week I woke up with the thought that SPLIT ENDS might also have worked as a reveal. Or maybe that's stretchy too.

Jeff Chen notes:
Thursday tricksiness, OFFSIDES indicating that six answers are to be interpreted without their first and last letters: BALONEY ... read more

Thursday tricksiness, OFFSIDES indicating that six answers are to be interpreted without their first and last letters:

BALONEY

SKETCHY

I FORGET

TANGELO

UP EARLY

SO THERE

Some good findings, SO THERE -> OTHER my favorite. SO THERE is a fun phrase in itself, and the reparsing required to make O THER into OTHER made it even more interesting. UP EARLY was good too, although UP EARLY isn't as snazzy as a saucy SO THERE.

Two stuck out to me as not as good: KETCH in SKETCHY and ANGEL in TANGELO. Neither KETCH nor TANGELO registered in my head as real words, at least not as quickly as ALONE / BALONEY.

It's easy enough to find entries that become other entries when the first and last letters are lopped off – a quick python script of about 10 lines does the trick. So I'd have liked something extra to elevate the theme more. Some possibilities:

  • Longer entries (which would have helped them stand out better in the grid, too)
  • Every one of them requiring re-parsing
  • The same letters being lopped off the front and/or end
  • Lopped-off letters spell out something appropriate

That last one would likely have been tough if you used all the lopped-off letter, but you could certainly spell out something with the first letters.

As it was, I kept wondering what BY / SY / IT / TO / UY / SE might lead to. Seemed too random, not tight enough, if you allow for the first and last letters to be anything whatsoever.

Some fun clues helped to entertain. ANTS as creatures on every continent except ANTartica. A light YEAR going a long way. And what the heck might [Verses versus verses events] be? Ah, poetry SLAMS! That's clever.

The gridwork was good, nothing that slowed me down too much, just some SEL STET NEURO AS YOU. Considering the constraints of having seven themers – shortish, but still seven – it's a decent result.

Some solid themer finds, but with an extra element as listed above, this could have been a real standout.

1
A
2
M
3
A
4
N
5
A
6
S
7
S
8
L
9
A
10
M
11
S
12
B
A
L
O
N
E
13
Y
14
S
K
E
T
C
H
15
Y
16
E
N
T
I
T
L
E
17
T
I
E
A
T
I
E
18
T
I
E
R
S
19
S
20
H
E
L
21
L
E
N
A
22
T
A
R
S
23
S
N
A
I
L
24
L
E
T
S
25
I
C
E
26
I
F
O
R
G
E
27
T
28
R
O
T
29
N
A
G
30
A
N
O
31
B
E
T
O
32
N
33
G
L
O
B
E
34
F
I
R
35
N
E
36
U
37
R
38
O
39
U
R
40
B
A
N
41
A
T
O
N
O
F
42
A
43
S
44
H
45
T
A
N
G
46
E
L
O
47
P
D
F
48
S
T
E
49
T
50
S
T
E
P
S
51
D
I
E
S
52
Y
E
A
R
53
S
A
R
I
54
M
O
C
H
I
55
O
P
T
I
56
M
A
S
57
C
58
L
U
N
K
E
D
59
U
P
E
A
R
L
Y
60
S
O
T
H
E
R
E
61
E
D
D
I
E
62
A
T
O
D
D
S
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0509 ( 25,384 )

Support XWord Info today

Pay now and get access for a year.

1. Select account level
2. Choose how to pay
Across
1
Some ranges : AMANAS
7
Verses versus verses events : SLAMS
12
Unassisted : BALONEY
14
Two-masted vessel : SKETCHY
16
Qualify : ENTITLE
17
The way to do this is the #1 how-to search, according to Google : TIEATIE
18
Rungs : TIERS
19
Children's author Silverstein : SHEL
21
Actress Headey of "Game of Thrones" : LENA
22
Sea dogs : TARS
23
Slowpoke : SNAIL
24
Calls for reserves? : LETS
25
It may be crushed or shaved : ICE
26
Blacksmith's workplace : IFORGET
28
Corruption : ROT
29
1998 Winter Olympics locale : NAGANO
31
Be sure of : BETON
33
Grade school classroom accessory : GLOBE
34
Pre-Christmas purchase : FIR
35
Prefix with science : NEURO
39
Built up : URBAN
41
Countless : ATONOF
42
Much-used wood for tool handles : ASH
45
Perfect child : TANGELO
47
Shareable doc format : PDF
48
Instruction to a typesetter : STET
50
Traveling, so to speak, in basketball : STEPS
51
Goes pfft! : DIES
52
A light one goes a long way : YEAR
53
Dress that may leave the midriff exposed : SARI
54
Glutinous rice cake of Japan : MOCHI
55
Midsize Kias : OPTIMAS
57
Knocked, like heavy machinery : CLUNKED
59
30th anniversary gift : UPEARLY
60
Not this or that : SOTHERE
61
Fast ___ Felson, "The Hustler" character : EDDIE
62
Locking horns : ATODDS
Down
1
What an accomplice may be doing : ABETTING
2
Wild and crazy : MANIACAL
3
Second person? : ALTEREGO
4
Gritty films, informally : NOIRS
5
Ironically, they live on every continent except Antarctica : ANTS
6
Seasoning for une omelette : SEL
7
Item of cookware : SKILLET
8
Most common Korean surname after Kim : LEE
9
In any way : ATALL
10
Actress Janet with a Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier Award : MCTEER
11
Eastern faith : SHINTO
13
Like some questions : YESNO
14
Rod on reels : STEIGER
15
Brewmaster's need : YEAST
20
It's a sign : HARBINGER
23
West Coast air hub, for short : SFO
26
Stationary : INERT
27
Scout leader? : TONTO
30
Aladdin's sidekick : ABU
32
Opposite of paleo- : NEO
34
Bookstore section : FANTASY
36
Like fruit on a tree : UNPICKED
37
Kept a close eye (on) : RODEHERD
38
Football offense ... or a hint to six answers in this puzzle : OFFSIDES
40
Brew with a red triangle logo : BASSALE
41
Racer Unser and son : ALS
42
Words before wish or were : ASYOU
43
Siberian land feature : STEPPE
44
Like some pools and arguments : HEATED
46
Grand tales : EPICS
49
Threesome : TRIAD
51
Crooner with a ukulele : DONHO
54
Many a rescue : MUTT
56
Med. diagnostic : MRI
58
Mauna ___ : LOA

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?