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

New York Times, Saturday, June 23, 2018

Author: Byron Walden
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
9011/23/20017/15/201813
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1001192607
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59321
Byron Walden

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 22 Missing: {JWZ} Spans: 4, (2 double stacks) This is puzzle # 89 for Mr. Walden. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

Support XWord Info

Donation Amount

XWord Info is only possible when people like you choose to support it through donations.

Donate to get access to XWord Info for a year.

Benefits vary by donation level. Thank you!

Byron Walden notes: I usually don't start a themeless having a grid in mind, but every once in a while, I'll try to push myself with a hard one. This ... more
Byron Walden notes:

I usually don't start a themeless having a grid in mind, but every once in a while, I'll try to push myself with a hard one. This grid is a Manny grid (1/10/03), so it's like treading on hallowed ground for me. I like giving solvers lots of connectivity, but it definitely takes a lot of patience and sweat trying to find a way to make everything fit together. This one was hard enough that I'm gonna stay far away from the Manny grids that had even fewer black squares.

The CELEBRITY CHEF entry/clue combo is one of my all-time favorites. I'm always on the lookout for clues that have two misdirecting parts. Here, I especially like that the first part of the clue points to the second part of the entry, and vice versa. On top of that, it uses the old hidden capital trick as well. Happening on this clue was like finding a four-leaf clover.

The quote in the CYNIC clue was cut for space. The full version is: "a blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be." Mister, we could use a man like Ambrose Bierce again.

Jeff Chen notes: Byron is one of the most clever folks around when it comes to wickedly brilliant clues. I appreciate how carefully he picks his seed ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Byron is one of the most clever folks around when it comes to wickedly brilliant clues. I appreciate how carefully he picks his seed entries — it's not good enough to have a snazzy phrase if it can't be clued devilishly. CELEBRITY CHEF is a fun marquee. It's elevated to stratospheric heights with the innocent – dare I say childlike? – [Childlike personality?]. That's Julia Child!

And ECONOMIC BOYCOTT repurposes the snappy phrase, "commercial break," to mean an interruption in commercial services. Such spot-on plays with language!

It's a shame that both of these did need the giveaway question mark, but they were so outstanding that I didn't mind.

Byron does tend to gather Jeffsquints for his entries, though. I did wonder if CELEBRITY CHEF was a valid phrase at first. Some Googling made it seem more than fine, but does this open the doors to CELEBRITY ANIMAL TRAINER? CELEBRITY CLOWN?

Hmm, I say. Hmm.

And ECONOMIC BOYCOTT gave me the same first impression. "Boycott" by itself, yes. "Sanctions," yes. Again, Google says that I don't know what I'm talking about (as do many others) — the full term is in many headlines. Still, it's not something I'd strive to seed a themeless with.

Some of his clues go over my head; too clever for this schmo. AGENDAS are covered by boards? Hmm, not in a literal sense. In board meetings? Yeah … sort of. I finally figured out that was referring to how the board of directors usually puts together an agenda in a board meeting. But it's usually the board chairperson who assembles the agenda. At the very least, this clue needed that question mark – without it, it doesn't quite work.

I don't mind some IMA AME SEENO crossword glue when it's in service of a wide-open 66-word grid. Solid gridwork.

This puzzle didn't have quite enough snazzy material for me to put it into POW! consideration, but it worked pretty darn well. Super tough to build around extra-long marquee answers in a 66-word grid, so Byron did a nice job.

1
R
2
O
3
P
4
E
5
S
6
I
7
N
8
A
9
G
10
E
11
N
12
D
13
A
14
S
15
E
C
O
N
O
M
I
16
C
B
O
Y
C
O
T
T
17
L
A
N
G
U
A
G
E
B
A
R
R
I
E
R
18
A
N
T
E
S
19
E
L
O
P
E
20
D
O
E
21
B
A
I
L
22
A
R
E
T
E
23
H
A
V
E
24
E
D
U
25
C
R
I
B
S
26
C
A
R
E
T
27
L
A
S
28
T
Y
E
A
R
29
B
O
R
E
R
S
30
U
N
A
N
I
31
M
O
U
S
32
A
33
L
34
A
N
I
S
35
T
O
U
C
H
36
P
37
A
38
D
39
F
O
L
I
C
40
S
Y
N
T
H
41
H
I
E
42
F
A
Q
S
43
D
U
C
K
S
44
S
O
R
T
45
A
N
A
46
L
E
C
H
E
47
B
E
E
B
E
48
I
C
E
49
H
O
C
K
E
Y
50
A
R
E
N
A
S
51
R
A
D
I
C
A
L
F
E
M
I
N
I
S
T
52
S
P
A
C
K
L
E
53
D
E
T
O
X
E
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0623 ( 25,064 )
Across Down
1. Recruits : ROPESIN
8. They're covered by boards : AGENDAS
15. Commercial break? : ECONOMICBOYCOTT
17. Problem in the Tower of Babel story : LANGUAGEBARRIER
18. Gets into the game : ANTES
19. Depart unceremoniously? : ELOPE
20. Female koala : DOE
21. Depart unceremoniously, in slang : BAIL
22. Mountain ridge : ARETE
23. Be down with : HAVE
24. School extension? : EDU
25. Copies illegally : CRIBS
26. Circumflex lookalike : CARET
27. Passé, so to speak : LASTYEAR
29. Tunneling machines : BORERS
30. Fully in agreement : UNANIMOUS
32. 1991 self-titled debut album : ALANIS
35. Microsoft Surface surface : TOUCHPAD
39. ___ acid : FOLIC
40. Manufactured drug, for short : SYNTH
41. Speed : HIE
42. They're answered once and for all : FAQS
43. Manages to avoid : DUCKS
44. Basic spreadsheet command : SORT
45. Japanese carrier : ANA
46. Dulce de ___ (Latin American confection) : LECHE
47. "A Room With a View" clergyman : BEEBE
48. Montreal's Bell Centre and others : ICEHOCKEYARENAS
51. Fierce opponent of patriarchy : RADICALFEMINIST
52. Crack filler : SPACKLE
53. Gets clean, in a way : DETOXES
1. Prepare for return shipping, say : RELABEL
2. Song that debuted on Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day in 1880 : OCANADA
3. First name in the Gospels : PONTIUS
4. Foreign news correspondent Richard : ENGEL
5. Under: Fr. : SOUS
6. "___ Ramblin' Man" (#1 Waylon Jennings country hit) : IMA
7. Naira spender : NIGERIAN
8. Ones hoping for prior approval? : ABBOTS
9. Flip out : GOAPE
10. Lake ___, Australia's lowest point : EYRE
11. Big A.T.M. maker : NCR
12. Timorous question : DOIDARE
13. Dined at someone else's place : ATEOVER
14. Composition of some grids : STREETS
16. Childlike personality? : CELEBRITYCHEF
22. Specializations : AREAS
23. Abrasive : HARSH
25. One "whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be," per Ambrose Bierce : CYNIC
26. Express carefully : COUCH
28. Capital where the Arab Spring began : TUNIS
29. Card makeup : BOUTS
31. Fiddled (with) : MONKEYED
32. Business, either personal or otherwise : AFFAIRS
33. Limitation for borrowers : LOANCAP
34. Literally, "the foundation" : ALQAEDA
36. Renaissance symbol : PHOENIX
37. Starting site for sorties : AIRBASE
38. Can't take : DETESTS
40. Nurse : SUCKLE
43. Football helmet item : DECAL
44. "___ Evil" (1971 Mia Farrow thriller) : SEENO
46. Overwhelming favorite, informally : LOCK
47. "Blimey!" sayer : BRIT
49. Fruit juice brand : HIC
50. D.C.'s historic Metropolitan ___ Church: Abbr. : AME

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?