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New York Times, Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Author: Jules P. Markey
Editor: Will Shortz
Jules P. Markey
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155/10/201210/25/20170
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0144600
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1.57351

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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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 )
Across Down
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
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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