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, Saturday, June 23, 2018

Author:
Byron Walden
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
9311/23/20012/20/201914
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
1101292617
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
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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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 )

Support XWord Info today

Access this site for a full year:

  1. Select your level
  2. Choose how to pay

Learn about support levels.

$50 — Angel

Full access + download

$20 — Regular User

Full access, limited Finder

$10 — Casual User

Students & seniors
Across
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
Down
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?