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, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

New York Times, Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5312/11/20111/27/20202
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
76962302
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.626150
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QVX} This is puzzle # 38 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Every once in a while, I finish a puzzle and stare at it, trying to figure out the theme. It took me an embarrassingly long 12 minutes ... read more

Every once in a while, I finish a puzzle and stare at it, trying to figure out the theme. It took me an embarrassingly long 12 minutes of searching and thinking and beating my head to realize that five phrases end with synonyms for "hit": SLUG, BELT, BOP, SOCK, CUFF. D'oh!

Why was this theme so hard to pick up? Besides my idiocy, Tim used a wide-open layout; a themeless-esque word count of 70. That opens up so much room for great fill, and Tim uses most all of it well. STEADY JOB, TAKE A KNEE, LOW RIDER, LONGHORN, GARDEN SLUG … oh wait, that last one is a themer. Double d'oh! You see the problem? All that great long fill in the across direction muddies what's a themer and what is not.

I like it when a puzzle gives me a little credit, doesn't dumb it down, but in this case, I would have liked a final HIT or something that clued me in.

Another solution would have been to use a more standard layout, with only five long across answers, making the five long across phrases stand out more naturally.

Tim's such a strong constructor. It's not easy to complete such a theme-dense and wide-open grid without some crossword glue. There is a ROTO, but what else? Some may balk at E INK, but I love it. Not only is it a modern invention, but millions of people use it (it's featured in Amazon's Kindles). So, extremely well done there.

I did pause at so many "+ preposition" phrases — CALLED TO, SOLD TO, FEAST ON, SET ON — but there are always trade-offs when you work with such a tough grid skeleton. I'd much rather have a pile-up of these types of phrases that just take up space than have a gloppy mess of crossword glue, so I can give them all a pass.

I usually like it when synonym-theme words are disguised, and these phrases sure do that. But I don't like feeling defeated like I was beaten by the puzzle. (DRUM BEAT would have been another possibility!) Strong execution, as with most all of Tim's puzzles, but I would have enjoyed this one more as a Monday puzzle, with an explicit revealer to explain what was going on. (Or, if I was smarter.)

1
A
2
S
3
H
4
H
5
E
6
A
7
P
8
S
9
U
10
C
11
S
12
F
13
S
T
E
A
D
Y
J
O
14
B
15
M
A
T
E
16
G
A
R
D
E
N
S
L
U
17
G
18
P
L
E
A
19
A
T
E
I
N
20
A
T
O
21
P
22
L
E
S
23
R
E
S
T
24
G
25
A
R
T
E
R
26
B
E
L
T
27
D
R
Y
28
G
E
M
29
S
O
L
D
T
O
30
S
E
T
O
31
N
32
N
O
T
I
N
33
B
34
L
I
T
Z
K
R
35
I
36
E
G
B
O
P
37
S
L
O
S
H
38
A
M
I
E
S
39
H
A
N
S
E
40
N
41
A
N
D
42
R
43
A
44
W
45
A
R
G
Y
L
E
46
S
47
O
C
K
48
R
O
T
O
49
M
E
H
50
P
R
O
F
51
G
I
T
M
O
52
B
O
O
53
T
54
O
F
F
55
T
56
H
E
C
U
F
F
57
L
U
R
E
58
T
A
K
E
A
K
N
E
E
59
E
T
N
A
60
L
O
W
R
I
D
E
R
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0607 ( 24,683 )
Across
1
Worthless mounds : ASHHEAPS
9
Bay Area campus, in brief : UCSF
13
Reliable source of income : STEADYJOB
15
Impossible chess ending with a king and knight versus a lone king : MATE
16
Slimy outdoor pest : GARDENSLUG
18
"Save yourself!," e.g. : PLEA
19
Didn't get takeout : ATEIN
20
At the apex of : ATOP
22
"___ Misérables" : LES
23
Unwind : REST
24
Item in the lingerie department : GARTERBELT
27
Not allowing sales of alcohol : DRY
28
Aquamarine or amethyst : GEM
29
Had as a customer : SOLDTO
30
Determined to accomplish : SETON
32
Away from the office, say : NOTIN
33
Classic 1976 Ramones song that begins "Hey! Ho! Let's go!" : BLITZKRIEGBOP
37
Wade noisily : SLOSH
38
French girlfriends : AMIES
39
Liane ___, longtime NPR host : HANSEN
41
"Moreover ..." : AND
42
Inexperienced : RAW
45
Diamond-patterned footwear : ARGYLESOCK
48
___-tiller : ROTO
49
"I've seen better" : MEH
50
Campus V.I.P. : PROF
51
U.S. base in Cuba, informally : GITMO
52
Kick (out) : BOOT
54
Improvised : OFFTHECUFF
57
Tempt : LURE
58
Safely run down the clock, in football : TAKEAKNEE
59
Mediterranean volcano : ETNA
60
Road-scraping custom car : LOWRIDER
Down
1
Home of the Norse gods : ASGARD
2
Granite ___ (New Hampshire resident) : STATER
3
Religious unorthodoxy : HERESY
4
Lost all patience : HADIT
5
Old Testament paradise : EDEN
6
"The Fountainhead" author Rand : AYN
7
Comfy sleepwear : PJS
8
Kind of renewable energy : SOLAR
9
Baseball boobird's target, often : UMP
10
Hailed from afar : CALLEDTO
11
Hardy work shoe feature : STEELTIP
12
Enjoy heartily, as a banquet : FEASTON
14
Keister : BUTT
17
"There ___ the neighborhood" : GOES
21
Like antlers and pitchforks : PRONGED
24
Jazzman Stan : GETZ
25
Wild way to run : AMOK
26
Amorphous shapes : BLOBS
28
Entreaty to Lassie : GETHELP
30
Actress Spacek : SISSY
31
Second Amendment advocacy grp. : NRA
33
Announce loudly : BLAREOUT
34
University of Texas athlete : LONGHORN
35
Apple desktop : IMAC
36
Text-displaying technology on Kindles : EINK
37
Walk with an awkward gait : SHAMBLE
40
Wolfe of crime fiction : NERO
42
Roly-poly : ROTUND
43
Withdrawal charge : ATMFEE
44
Low-frequency stereo component : WOOFER
46
Velvety : SOFT
47
Butcher's scraps : OFFAL
48
Lake of daytime TV : RICKI
51
Flippers, scuba tank, etc., for a diver : GEAR
53
Nonalcoholic brew : TEA
55
Boxing decision, for short : TKO
56
Take an ax to : HEW

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

See NYT Crosswords for info.