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, Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Author:
Julie Bérubé
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
26/21/20165/7/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0110000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.51020
Julie Bérubé

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JKWZ} This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Bérubé. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Julie Bérubé notes:
I have always liked words games. As an adolescent, I played Scrabble with, and made crosswords for, my uncle — I am Quebecoise, ... read more

I have always liked words games. As an adolescent, I played Scrabble with, and made crosswords for, my uncle — I am Quebecoise, so this was in French. Newly married, I moved to the States, and my husband introduced me to the Sunday NYT puzzles — he doesn't regret this, but he now calls the pastime torture. Of course, we also came up with theme ideas and, eventually, I decided to try composing one… And I was hooked!

I've submitted a number of Sunday ones now, but nothing ever "tickled." Despair! One day, I was lighting a fire with old NYT pages, and came across a weekday puzzle with a hidden "fee fi fo fum" theme. Just nonsense syllables… I could do that, and it was accepted to boot! And the review and improvement process was surprisingly enjoyable.

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun idea, SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS split into pairs of syllables, then worked into regular words and phrases. A couple of ... read more

Fun idea, SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS split into pairs of syllables, then worked into regular words and phrases. A couple of neat findings, LISTIC hidden in HOLISTIC and CALI inside SCALIA.

It's SUPER!

With mainly short(ish) themers, Julie had a chance to incorporate some nice long fill. This is usually tough for a debut constructor to do, so I much appreciated entries like MAINSAIL, GUITARIST, ARTEMIS, even some NEXT DAY MANCINI. Spices up the grid.

I would have loved some crossword symmetry. It felt inelegant to have the syllables strewn about the grid, i.e. SCALIA and VALID not in symmetrical places. Holding to symmetry would mean LISTIC, the middle set of letters, would have to be in the middle row, in something like HOLISTICS or LISTICLES or WENT BALLISTIC. A long(ish) middle entry does make the grid design much harder, but I think it would have been worth it.

I also hitched at the division of AL-I-DO-CIOUS into AL-ID-O-CIOUS. There's no way to hide DOCIOUS into another word, which is unfortunate. I suppose you can make the argument that since it's a made-up word, you can divide the syllables however you want. But it is listed in some dictionaries now — with the AL-I-DO-CIOUS syallables. So it does seem wrong as implemented.

With seven "themers," there was bound to be a bit of crossword glue. I was pretty impressed at the start of the puzzle. It felt like a smooth solve up top, just RENTA seeming inelegant since it's always preceded by DE LA.

Unfortunately, I hit more of the SAULT, ABAB, HOS, SLO, ALIS, TSE (Tokyo Stock Exchange), PSS offenders as I went. None is that bad by itself, but in aggregate it felt like a lot. It is a tough grid design — so many areas are affected by two or more "themers," which create constraints pretty much everywhere.

Still, an interesting idea with some fun ways of hiding those special syllables.

Jim Horne notes:

Timothy Polin had a similar theme last year.

1
A
2
R
3
O
4
M
5
A
6
B
7
R
8
O
9
M
10
E
11
C
12
C
13
A
14
S
U
P
E
R
15
F
O
O
D
16
A
Q
U
A
S
17
P
E
T
I
T
I
O
N
S
18
N
U
R
M
I
19
R
E
N
T
A
20
S
C
A
L
I
A
21
A
22
G
23
T
24
M
A
I
N
25
S
A
I
L
26
F
R
A
27
G
I
L
E
28
H
U
N
29
S
30
L
31
O
32
R
A
M
O
S
33
H
O
L
I
34
S
T
I
C
35
A
B
A
B
36
S
37
C
O
O
T
38
L
E
N
T
39
I
L
L
I
40
N
O
I
S
41
L
A
N
G
E
42
D
E
E
43
E
A
T
44
S
45
P
A
T
O
U
T
46
E
X
P
I
47
A
T
E
S
48
S
A
S
49
A
50
D
51
A
P
T
S
52
B
A
S
T
53
A
54
V
A
L
I
D
55
G
U
I
T
A
R
56
I
57
S
58
T
59
E
R
I
C
A
60
A
T
R
O
C
I
O
U
S
61
S
A
S
S
Y
62
P
S
S
63
T
A
U
P
E
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0621 ( 24,332 )
Across
1
Bakery attraction : AROMA
6
Mate : BRO
9
Muslim holy site : MECCA
14
Source of supposed extraordinary health benefits : SUPERFOOD
16
Shades of blue : AQUAS
17
They need signatures : PETITIONS
18
Paavo ___, 1920s Olympic gold medalist : NURMI
19
Designer Oscar de la ___ : RENTA
20
Justice who died in 2016 : SCALIA
21
James Bond, e.g.: Abbr. : AGT
24
Big part of a ship's rigging : MAINSAIL
26
Easily damaged : FRAGILE
28
Sacker of ancient Rome : HUN
29
___-pitch : SLO
32
Spanish soccer star Sergio ___ : RAMOS
33
Of mind, body and spirit : HOLISTIC
35
Basic rhyme scheme : ABAB
36
"Scram!" : SCOOT
38
Fast time? : LENT
39
Where Reagan was born : ILLINOIS
41
Jessica with two Oscars : LANGE
42
Poor grade : DEE
43
Gobble up : EAT
44
Said quickly and angrily : SPATOUT
46
Makes amends for : EXPIATES
48
Nordic airline : SAS
49
Reconfigures, as a book to a screenplay : ADAPTS
52
"Enough, Enrico!" : BASTA
54
Well-founded : VALID
55
Band frontman, often : GUITARIST
59
Feminist author Jong : ERICA
60
God-awful : ATROCIOUS
61
Brazen : SASSY
62
Correspondent's afterthoughts, briefly : PSS
63
L'eggs shade : TAUPE
Down
1
Deadly Egyptian slitherer : ASP
2
Kick oneself for : RUE
3
Go (for) : OPT
4
Israel's fourth prime minister : MEIR
5
Apollo's twin sister : ARTEMIS
6
Baby's footwear : BOOTIE
7
"Brooklyn" actress Saoirse ___ : RONAN
8
Some E.R. cases : ODS
9
"Moon River" composer : MANCINI
10
50-50 : EQUAL
11
Ringlet : CURL
12
Victoria's Secret buy, informally : CAMI
13
Where the 27-Down is : ASIA
15
Biggest determinant of a school grade, often : FINAL
20
___ Ste. Marie : SAULT
21
Terror-stricken : AFRAID
22
1940s pinup Betty : GRABLE
23
Steaming Mexican treat : TAMALE
25
"Scram!" : SHOO
27
Desert that ancient traders crossed : GOBI
29
Shorthand takers : STENOS
30
___ franca (common tongue) : LINGUA
31
Some jazz groups : OCTETS
33
Syllables from Santa : HOS
34
Blind part : SLAT
36
Melodramatic shows : SOAPS
37
Queens's ___ Field : CITI
40
Overnight : NEXTDAY
41
Denouement : LASTACT
44
Way up or way down : STAIRS
45
Linguine sauce : PESTO
46
Heroic tales : EPICS
47
Borders : ABUTS
49
D.C.'s New York and Pennsylvania : AVES
50
Five-time Olympian Torres : DARA
51
Father-and-daughter boxing family : ALIS
53
Met solo : ARIA
55
___ year (precollege experience) : GAP
56
Promising letters? : IOU
57
Have dinner : SUP
58
Market for Jap. shares : TSE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?