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

New York Times, Thursday, June 1, 2017

Author: Derek Bowman and Sarah Keller
Editor: Will Shortz
Derek Bowman
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
88/27/20096/1/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1000520
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57121
Sarah Keller
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5210/2/20006/1/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
020255200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.51110

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQVXZ} This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Bowman. This is puzzle # 52 for Ms. Keller. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: DEREK: I had submitted several versions of this puzzle to Will and Joel to the extent that they (kindly) nudged me in the direction ... more
Constructor notes:

DEREK: I had submitted several versions of this puzzle to Will and Joel to the extent that they (kindly) nudged me in the direction of finding a collaborator.

I had worked with Sarah previously on a few puzzling endeavours, including a small diorama for a National Puzzlers' League convention event. It has always been very enjoyable working with her, a theme maven who doesn't let me get away with crummy entries, and again our collaboration worked out well.

I was particularly bogged down with chunky groups of black squares for the rays of the SUN, but she streamlined the layout of the whole grid and made everything fall into place.

I am indebted to her for helping make this puzzle come together. Thanks.

SARAH: This is our second New York Times collaboration. I met Derek, a successful new constructor, in 2008, at an NPL convention. We thought it would be fun to work on a puzzle together.

When collaborating, we always choose to work with wordplay themes as well as those that require unusual grids. This astrological theme was Derek's and Derek's alone. In my opinion, he is a grid master. In this venture, he combined circular THE WORLDs along with a SUNny central rebus.

We worked together on some grid manipulation to lessen the black square count as well to make the puzzle more pleasing to the eye. It was fun getting the puzzle publication-ready and is always fun working with Derek.

Jeff Chen notes: What a neat visual! Something so pretty about those four diagonals leading out to the four sets of circles. Eye-catching, artistic ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

What a neat visual! Something so pretty about those four diagonals leading out to the four sets of circles. Eye-catching, artistic pattern.

We get THE WORLD circling in four places … that must mean "around THE WORLD"? ... with the SUN in the middle of the puzzle? It didn't all click for me, as I wasn't sure why around THE WORLD was circling … around what? And why were four worlds circling the SUN?

I'm sure my comics-ubergeek brother will clue me in, telling me about some fictional star system with four worlds circling the SUN. It'd be so awesome if it were called ETRURIA or ASASON!

Speaking of those, it's so tough to avoid obscure or esoteric entries when filling around so many circled letters. Although Derek and Sarah have a lot of flexibility in 1.) which way THE WORLD revolves and 2.) where to start it, it's highly likely that exactly zero of the 16 possibilities would have been easy to fill around.

I was all set to say how impressed I was with the NE corner, chock full of BATH TOY, PRELUDE, OODLES, and … ASASON? Oof. You can love someone like a son, you can think of someone as a son, but AS A SON by itself would be a puzzle-killer for me.

These types of heavily-constrained biggish corners tend to need entries with -ER and -EST additions, and/or RE- prefixes. The SW corner is a perfect example. EASIEST is a fine word, but ADORERS and LITHEST are both iffy.

It's common for these biggish, constrained corners to need short gluey bits, too. I don't mind an innocuous (and easily gettable) ESE. Maybe I should have known Jack SOO, one of the few Asian actors of his time? DIECI is … Italian for ten? Herb RITTS? Hmm.

This sort of puzzle with heavy constraints — so many letters fixed into place all over the grid — is so hard to pull off well. All in all, I would have liked a bigger payoff, something that made more sense of the rationale why four THE WORLDs were going around the SUN.

Still, what a great first impression the blank grid made on me.

ADDED NOTE: Astute reader Seth Cohen pointed out that THE WORLD rotates regularly, shifting two spots at each new position ... sort of how our world rotates as it revolves around the SUN. D'oh, can't believe I missed that. That does make much more sense now. I'm embarrassed to admit that I stared at everything for a good 10 minutes but couldn't piece together exactly what was going on.

1
R
2
A
3
F
4
T
5
S
6
A
7
S
8
A
9
S
10
O
11
N
12
S
A
D
L
O
T
13
S
14
B
A
T
H
T
O
Y
15
E
T
R
U
R
I
A
16
P
R
E
L
U
D
E
17
C
H
I
18
O
F
T
19
L
O
W
20
A
L
T
21
L
O
E
22
W
23
F
A
24
L
U
N
25
O
R
E
S
26
U
L
N
A
27
R
28
T
I
S
29
B
L
T
S
30
D
E
N
N
I
31
S
32
E
E
33
R
I
E
34
E
S
E
35
T
H
36
E
SUN
S
E
T
37
F
38
D
39
A
40
S
T
E
A
D
41
M
E
42
D
I
A
N
43
H
44
M
O
S
45
S
E
46
C
47
R
E
R
U
N
48
H
E
R
O
49
H
I
R
E
50
D
51
W
E
G
O
52
E
L
M
53
W
O
E
54
R
I
55
O
56
S
H
Y
57
A
D
O
58
R
E
R
S
59
T
E
R
60
M
I
T
E
61
L
I
T
H
E
S
T
62
S
C
A
L
D
E
D
63
S
N
O
O
P
Y
64
I
N
K
E
R
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0601 ( 24,677 )
Across Down
1. A whole bunch : RAFTS
6. How one may be loved : ASASON
12. Pitiful sorts : SADLOTS
14. Rubber ducky, e.g. : BATHTOY
15. Ancient region of central Italy : ETRURIA
16. Lead-in : PRELUDE
17. Universal life force : CHI
18. ___-repeated : OFT
19. Depressed : LOW
20. Lead-in to right or rock : ALT
21. Movie theater pioneer Marcus : LOEW
23. ___ Gong (Chinese spiritual practice) : FALUN
25. They may come with silver or gold : ORES
26. Of an arm bone : ULNAR
28. "___ folly to be wise" : TIS
29. Diner purchases, for short : BLTS
30. Towheaded comics boy : DENNIS
32. Creepy : EERIE
34. Minneapolis-to-Milwaukee dir. : ESE
35. Cowboys may ride off into it : THESUNSET
37. Letters of approval : FDA
40. Home addition? : STEAD
41. Middle of the road? : MEDIAN
43. Med. insurance plans : HMOS
45. Mo : SEC
47. Seldom-reviewed TV show : RERUN
48. Sub : HERO
49. Brought on : HIRED
51. Words after "Here" and "Away" : WEGO
52. The Liberty Tree, for one : ELM
53. Misfortune : WOE
54. El Orinoco, e.g. : RIO
56. Owing : SHY
57. The Magi, e.g. : ADORERS
59. One eating you out of house and home? : TERMITE
61. Most svelte : LITHEST
62. Left a burning impression? : SCALDED
63. Comics character with a big nose : SNOOPY
64. Cartoonist's aide : INKER
1. Squalid places : RATHOLES
2. Actress Barbeau of the cult classic "Swamp Thing" : ADRIENNE
3. Something bad to come down with : FLU
4. Snow blower brand : TORO
5. Leave nothing behind? : STIFF
6. Composer Copland : AARON
7. Hearty entree : STEW
8. Org. with the Calder Cup : AHL
9. Little of children's literature : STUART
10. A whole bunch : OODLES
11. Nos in Novosibirsk : NYETS
12. Cut off : SECLUDE
13. Occupied, as a table : SATAT
14. Pretty good grades : BPLUSES
22. Washed-out : WAN
24. Opposite of covers : LIESUNDER
25. "___ Buttermilk Sky" : OLE
27. Fashion photographer Herb : RITTS
29. Midge, for one : BITER
31. "Ain't ___ Sweet" : SHE
33. Kind of sleep : REM
36. Like one-star puzzles : EASIEST
37. Place for a poker : FIRESIDE
38. Female issue : DAUGHTER
39. Ticked off : ANNOYED
40. Jack of "Barney Miller" : SOO
42. "Do the ___" (beverage slogan) : DEW
43. Bottled up : HELDIN
44. Detective whose first name is Kentaro : MRMOTO
46. Roll at a counter : CERTS
48. Makes sound : HEALS
49. Equine : HORSY
50. Cinque + cinque : DIECI
53. Boohoo : WEEP
55. Part of the escape route in "Casablanca" : ORAN
58. Density symbol : RHO
60. Jan. honoree : MLK

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?