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New York Times, Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Author:
Jules P. Markey
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
195/10/20123/12/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0165700
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59461
Jules P. Markey

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 42 Missing: {FJKQVWXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Markey. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jules P. Markey notes:
I actually watched 'Road to Bali', for the first time this weekend on YouTube. For its time, it was a pretty hip movie, what with ... read more

I actually watched "Road to Bali", for the first time this weekend on YouTube. For its time, it was a pretty hip movie, what with inside-Hollywood and political humor, a few cameos, and breaking the fourth wall to wisecrack to the audience. My favorite line was when our heroes were captured by a tribe of cannibals. As they were being marched to their certain demise, a little boy runs out of the crowd of people and starts tapping and poking at them, the boy's mother hurriedly pulls him away and says: "Now junior, I told you not to play with your food" — that was a laugh-out-loud moment.

This was the second puzzle of mine to be accepted for publication, so you can see that Will does really try to space out word ladder puzzles. I was looking for something that was a bit off the beaten track when researching "xxxx to xxxx" phrases, and came upon the film title "Road to Bali", which I had not seen until the weekend prior to publication. I did see "Road to Utopia" on TV as a child, but that wouldn't work unless it was an add-two-letters word ladder (hmm...).

My original grid lacked the two cheaters which turned two of the "L"s into "T"s (on the sides of the grid). I really liked that the original made the middle of the grid look like a letter box movie screen, but there were too many "uglies" without those cheaters. Will and crew provided the fix, and cleaned it up a bit. In the SW I was wedded to having COSTAR at 38-Down crossing DOROTHYLAMOUR and providing her clue, however that also resulted in a few less than desirable entries. The Roman numeral unfortunately was inoperable.

I did have my qualms about the theme being dated and possibly turning off younger solvers, who would think it, and by extension me, less than hip. My advice to them would be to make a visit to their local Blockbuster and rent a VHS tape of the movie, they might like it =).

Hope you enjoyed the solve.

Jeff Chen notes:
Word ladder integrated with ROAD TO BALI, a film apparently in a line of 'Road to …' movies. I had heard of BROMANCE before but ... read more

Word ladder integrated with ROAD TO BALI, a film apparently in a line of "Road to …" movies. I had heard of BROMANCE before but not BROMANTIC COMEDY. Apparently it's a thing! I did find it odd that the term was used today to describe a movie made a long time before the term even originated, but perhaps that was the point. HOPE AND CROSBY were apparently way ahead of their time!

It must be riotous, because the poster says so!

I like consistency in a crossword, so I found it bothersome to have HOPE AND CROSBY (last names only) along with DOROTHY LAMOUR (full name). It might have been one thing if DOROTHY LAMOUR had gotten top billing in the movie — it seems even weirder to have the third star get her full name while the first two get crammed into one entry.

I think I would have preferred to have just HOPE AND CROSBY across the middle of the puzzle, especially since this puzzle was about BROMANTIC COMEDIES, yeah? Only having three long themers might have felt a little thin, but with the word ladder I think it would have been fine.

Four themers in a 15/13/13/15 arrangement also makes for a tough job in filling. And when you add in those four-letter words in rows one and 15, it's even more difficult. As an example, note how tough it is to fill the bottom right corner, constrained by -EMEN and BALI fixed into place. I tried to refill it out of curiosity, and couldn't come up with anything cleaner. No fun to be trapped with a configuration that necessitates gluey bits from the start.

A 15/13/15 arrangement isn't easy either, but in this case it would have given so much more flexibility in filling around those pesky word ladder rungs.

I like word ladders every once in a while, and I much appreciate an additional element so it's not just a boring old word ladder. So using ROAD to BALI is a nice touch. Having the ROAD to BALI go down a diagonal would have been even better — forming a sort of connected road!

1
R
2
O
3
A
4
D
5
T
6
O
7
A
8
D
9
T
10
O
11
L
12
D
13
A
U
T
O
14
U
T
N
E
15
C
A
P
E
R
16
B
R
O
M
17
A
N
T
I
C
18
C
O
M
E
D
Y
19
E
S
P
20
I
D
O
S
21
A
M
E
N
S
22
O
R
R
23
A
P
E
R
24
H
25
O
P
E
A
26
N
27
D
C
R
O
S
28
B
29
Y
30
C
U
R
E
D
31
E
A
T
I
N
32
A
O
33
N
34
A
M
O
S
35
M
I
N
U
S
36
H
Y
D
E
37
T
I
N
38
C
I
G
N
A
39
M
O
O
E
D
40
D
O
41
R
O
T
H
Y
L
42
A
M
O
U
R
43
A
P
T
S
44
L
C
D
45
L
46
A
N
C
E
47
E
48
R
I
C
49
Y
50
M
51
A
52
S
O
N
G
A
N
53
D
D
A
N
C
54
E
M
E
N
55
I
C
I
E
R
56
E
D
I
E
57
M
C
A
T
58
B
O
L
D
59
B
A
L
D
60
B
A
L
I
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0623 ( 23,968 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1
*"Mad Max: Fury ___" : ROAD
5
*Prey for a garter snake : TOAD
9
*"___ you!" ("See?!") : TOLD
13
What drives on a parkway and parks on a driveway : AUTO
14
___ Reader : UTNE
15
Bit of high jinks : CAPER
16
Modern-day genre for the 1952 film whose title is suggested by a word ladder starting at 1-Across : BROMANTICCOMEDY
19
"I know what you're thinking" ability : ESP
20
They're said at the altar : IDOS
21
Cries after a good sermon : AMENS
22
Bobby with a #4 jersey : ORR
23
Impressionist : APER
24
The film's headliners : HOPEANDCROSBY
30
No longer ill : CURED
31
Order room service, say : EATIN
32
Get an ___ (ace) : AON
34
Israeli writer ___ Oz : AMOS
35
Start of a very cold temperature : MINUS
36
Jekyll's counterpart : HYDE
37
Can material : TIN
38
Big name in health plans : CIGNA
39
Called to a calf, say : MOOED
40
The film's co-star : DOROTHYLAMOUR
43
Many urban homes: Abbr. : APTS
44
Kind of screen for a TV : LCD
45
Joust weapon : LANCE
47
Holder of a cabinet position, formerly : ERIC
49
Soprano Sumac : YMA
52
Occupations of 24-Across in the film : SONGANDDANCEMEN
55
More hazardous, as winter driving conditions : ICIER
56
Actress Falco : EDIE
57
Future internist's exam : MCAT
58
*Brash : BOLD
59
*Like a treadless tire : BALD
60
*Exotic getaway spot : BALI
Down
1
Broccoli ___ : RABE
2
Partners' pronoun : OURS
3
Sitting on : ATOP
4
___ Pérignon (Champagne) : DOM
5
Much arctic land : TUNDRA
6
Man's name that's almost a homophone for 13-Across : OTTO
7
Spanish liqueur : ANIS
8
Fourth qtr. ender : DEC
9
Some circus workers : TAMERS
10
Shop sign that may be flipped : OPEN
11
Watch readouts, for short : LEDS
12
Empty, as a well : DRY
15
"You have got to be kidding me!" : COMEON
17
Was on TV : AIRED
18
Women's casual pants : CAPRIS
22
Unlocks, in poesy : OPES
23
Real : ACTUAL
24
Sweat-inducing, as weather : HUMID
25
Maine college town : ORONO
26
Barn sounds : NEIGHS
27
Boyle who directed "Slumdog Millionaire" : DANNY
28
Louisiana inlet : BAYOU
29
Wisconsin v. ___ (landmark 1972 Supreme Court case on religious freedom) : YODER
30
Panther or puma : CAT
33
___ Stark, "Game of Thrones" protagonist : NED
35
Hand warmer : MITTEN
36
What a mechanic works under : HOOD
38
Black-and-white : COPCAR
39
The year 2300 : MMCCC
41
Traveled far and wide : RANGED
42
In a row: Var. : ALINED
45
Batty : LOCO
46
Deep blue dye : ANIL
47
Icelandic saga : EDDA
48
Feature at a horse track : RAIL
49
Workout site, for short : YMCA
50
Happy ___ : MEAL
51
Voting no : ANTI
52
Bro or sis : SIB
53
Girl coming out in society : DEB
54
Attaché's bldg. : EMB

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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