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

New York Times, Friday, June 19, 2015

Author: Martin Ashwood-Smith
Editor: Will Shortz
Martin Ashwood-Smith
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
856/5/19914/29/201710
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
000246316
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.520017
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 65, Blocks: 28 Missing: {QVYZ} Spans: 4, (1 quad stack) Grid has mirror symmetry. This is puzzle # 79 for Mr. Ashwood-Smith. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Martin Ashwood-Smith notes: Today's puzzle coincides with my father's 83rd birthday, so I dedicate it to Prof. M.J. Ashwood-Smith, aka Dad! About ... more
Martin Ashwood-Smith notes:

Today's puzzle coincides with my father's 83rd birthday, so I dedicate it to Prof. M.J. Ashwood-Smith, aka Dad!

About a year and a half ago, my files included a puzzle that quad stacked 15s on both the top and the bottom. However, there were too many problem "crossers" running down though one or another of the quad sets. Most of these problems were in the top row, but because of normal crossword symmetry, any possible fixes to the top quad created additional problems for the bottom quad. I was about to abandon the project, until one afternoon in a coffee shop, I noticed that the lower quad might work quite well alone, as the basis for a puzzle with Left-Right mirror symmetry. Moreover, I noticed that two extra 10-letter words (27-and 28-D) could be thrown into the mix.

A few minutes later, I sketched a suitable grid on the back of a napkin, leaving a reasonable amount of flexibility for the rest of the grid. I was happy to get in JOHN STEINBECK and ORWELLIAN, and the rest of the puzzle came together nicely around them. My only qualm was that I had to allow everyone's favorite bump in a log, KNAR, into the puzzle. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time the New York Times has used such a grid arrangement with a quad stack on the bottom.

With Will Shortz's blessing, I've also created exclusively for XWord Info a version of the puzzle that has the identical answer grid, but most words clued at the Monday/Tuesday level (clues written by MAS and George Barany). This is to make the point that wide open quad stack grids can be built using, for the most part, easier words that are accessible to early week level solvers (for the handful of slightly hard words in the grid, I have made sure that the crossing words are all easy).

But wait, there's more. With George Barany, I created a sister puzzle, which also has Left-Right mirror symmetry, but this time the quad is on the top (it had similar origins, where we had to toss a bottom quad). You can find two versions; unfortunately, both of them had an unfamiliar partial at 14-Down, and that was enough to be a dealbreaker. Still, George and I think that you'll enjoy these.

Happy solving!

Jeff Chen notes: A ton of great material + a wide-open grid pattern I haven't seen before = win. I've often wondered why triple-stacker (and ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

A ton of great material + a wide-open grid pattern I haven't seen before = win. I've often wondered why triple-stacker (and quad-stacker) specialists don't use mirror symmetry more often. It's not great for traditional themelesses, but it's perfect when you want to feature one grid-spanning stack without having to create a symmetrical one.

Orwell says: this puzzle is more equal than others

Such nice grid-spanners in the quad. Beautiful choices, each and every one. I STILL DON'T GET IT is a marvelous entry; so colorful and in the language. The prices to pay are ARE I, ENDO, LESE, and the awkardish IN A PEN / MISADAPT, but I think those are reasonable given the quality of the long answers. When you throw in how MAS worked in the beautiful COWGIRL and CAFÉ AU LAIT with MANIACAL laughter, the bottom half makes for a strong puzzle just by itself. I'd actually be okay with a little more glue, given how eye-poppingly open and fresh this grid looks.

But wait, there's more! I was impressed that MAS didn't stop there. Getting JOHN STEINBECK and ORWELLIAN … plus two nice corners in the top! I'm a huge SATCHMO fan, and although I didn't know GI BLUES, it's a fun entry. Working all this in with just a few AN OX, ADANO / KNAR kind of things made my solve very fun.

Bravo to MAS for for trying something different; branching out from his typical triple-stacks — we've seen so many of those that they've gotten repetitive for me. I would likely have given this the POW just for the bottom half alone, but the top half was sure a bonus. Looking forward to more experimentation with new and eye-catching grid patterns.

1
S
2
A
3
T
4
C
5
H
6
M
7
O
8
A
9
M
10
R
11
A
12
D
13
I
14
O
15
I
N
A
H
E
A
P
16
N
A
I
R
O
B
I
17
N
O
T
O
N
C
E
18
G
I
B
L
U
E
S
19
E
X
E
C
20
A
R
21
P
E
L
22
E
R
T
E
23
O
24
R
W
E
L
L
I
25
A
N
26
J
27
O
H
N
S
T
E
I
N
B
E
28
C
29
K
30
R
E
P
O
S
31
T
A
N
32
A
D
A
N
33
O
34
E
T
A
L
35
M
A
D
A
36
M
37
A
F
A
R
38
C
E
L
I
39
C
A
40
I
41
M
H
E
R
E
42
E
C
O
N
43
O
44
I
S
O
L
A
45
A
46
R
S
47
W
I
S
48
N
A
N
49
U
50
S
51
B
52
S
A
C
53
A
G
A
W
54
E
A
D
O
55
L
L
A
R
56
A
M
E
R
I
C
A
N
P
A
L
E
A
L
E
57
M
I
N
E
R
A
L
D
E
P
O
S
I
T
S
58
I
S
T
I
L
L
D
O
N
T
G
E
T
I
T
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0619 ( 23,964 )
Across Down
1. "___ Serenades" (1952 jazz album) : SATCHMO
8. Big news medium : AMRADIO
15. Not organized at all : INAHEAP
16. Capital near the Great Rift Valley : NAIROBI
17. Never : NOTONCE
18. 1960 Elvis Presley film : GIBLUES
19. Business suit : EXEC
20. Cosmetician Adrien : ARPEL
22. "The Seasons" lithographer : ERTE
23. Like newspeak and doublethink : ORWELLIAN
26. He wrote "In utter loneliness a writer tries to explain the inexplicable" : JOHNSTEINBECK
30. They may get carried away : REPOS
31. Out-lying result? : TAN
32. Fictional Sicilian town of literature : ADANO
34. Bibliog. shortener : ETAL
35. What some presidents are called : MADAM
37. Over the hill, say : AFAR
38. Former Toyota model for 36 years : CELICA
40. Entrance line : IMHERE
42. Cut-rate, commercially : ECONO
44. Gran Bretagna or Nuova Guinea : ISOLA
45. Cato's craft : ARS
47. State in which "That '70s Show" was set: Abbr. : WIS
48. Editor ___ A. Talese : NAN
49. Kind of hub or port : USB
52. New mint product of 2000 : SACAGAWEADOLLAR
56. Sierra Nevada brew : AMERICANPALEALE
57. Rock groups? : MINERALDEPOSITS
58. "Again, but slower" : ISTILLDONTGETIT
1. Wave creator : SINE
2. Dumb as ___ : ANOX
3. Jazz saxophonist Buddy : TATE
4. One who might steal a kiss : CHOCOHOLIC
5. Layer that scratches : HEN
6. Colorful talkers : MACAWS
7. Sousa's "El Capitan," e.g. : OPERETTA
8. Brad's partner in 2005's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" : ANGELINA
9. Like many rebates : MAILIN
10. Part of a supporting cage : RIB
11. "Journey to the Center of the Earth" actress : ARLENEDAHL
12. Forbidding : DOUR
13. Cynical reply : IBET
14. Chantilly's department : OISE
21. Answer, in court : PLEAD
24. MASH figures : RNS
25. Suit-making grp.? : ABA
26. Barre hop? : JETE
27. Like moonstones : OPALESCENT
28. Light brown : CAFEAULAIT
29. Bump on a log : KNAR
30. ___ hall : REC
33. Stuff in many 57-Across : ORE
35. Like lunatics' laughter : MANIACAL
36. Not acclimate properly : MISADAPT
39. Dale Evans, e.g. : COWGIRL
41. Staple of late-night talk : MONOLOG
43. Oldman's "JFK" role : OSWALD
44. Corralled : INAPEN
45. Words of concurrence : ASAMI
46. "Groundhog Day" director : RAMIS
50. Nixon and Brezhnev signed it in '72 : SALTI
51. French shipyard city : BREST
53. "Whose woods these ___ think ...": Frost : AREI
54. Thermal lead-in : ENDO
55. Start of treason? : LESE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?