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New York Times, Friday, July 1, 2016

Author: James Mulhern
Editor: Will Shortz
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2411/16/20096/23/20176
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1.60000
James Mulhern

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {V} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Mulhern. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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James Mulhern notes: I made this puzzle about two years ago. It's actually a rewrite; initially, I had a couple answers (FLASH ART, AN ITEM) that Will ... more
James Mulhern notes:

I made this puzzle about two years ago. It's actually a rewrite; initially, I had a couple answers (FLASH ART, AN ITEM) that Will and Joel rightly nixed, all of which led to the version you see today. As a big fantasy sports fan, I was happy to include the grid-spanning FANTASY BASEBALL, as well as some other fun fill.

Hope this puzzle is a pleasant lead-in to a wonderful long weekend!

Jeff Chen notes: Two nice answers, FANTASY BASEBALL and SQUARE BRACKET down the midlines of the puzzle. I'm huge into fantasy basketball, and I can ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Two nice answers, FANTASY BASEBALL and SQUARE BRACKET down the midlines of the puzzle. I'm huge into fantasy basketball, and I can see the appeal of FANTASY BASEBALL (if only I liked baseball!). Something so compelling about analyzing oodles of stats, cutting the data in hundreds of ways a la Billy Beane in "Moneyball."

Sometimes when a themeless features a few really long answers, we don't get much else. Really nice that James configured his grid to allow for 12 eight-letter-long slots. My favorite was TEXAS BBQ, not just because I love me some BBQ, but that terminal Q is so bizarre-looking. It's also so smoothly interlocked into SQUARE BRACKET.

I would have liked more of these longish slots to be converted into stellar material, though. I enjoyed EPIDURAL with its funny [… labor management?] clue, and ER DOCTOR, TAILGATE, FLASHERS with brilliant usage of the word "hazards" (slang for hazard lights) in [Driver's hazards]. ANAPOLIS felt a little off, like ANNAPOLIS had been misspelled, and it felt like there was a lot of geography what with NAGASAKI and CANBERRA. I did like learning a little about each city, though.

Grids with great grid flow like today's often present construction challenges. It's so tough to work from two different directions and get everything to mesh together. Generally I thought James did quite well, for example getting the ER DOCTOR/TAILGATE region to mesh with LESTAT/LAKOTA/STARES, without needing crossword glue. The one place I hitched was in the center, with STUPA. The middle is no doubt the toughest region to fill, given how many words flow into it, and STUPA is really the only word which stood out to me. (Just one data point, but my dad's a practicing Buddhist, and he didn't know what a STUPA was.)

I would have loved a little more cleverosity in the SQUARE BRACKET clue — [Backslash neighbor] made it a little too easy to look down at my keyboard and fill in the blank right away. How about [It's often to the left of a backslash], misdirecting to URLs?

Overall, a couple of really nice long entries and a lot of care taken to make the grid pretty smooth.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0701 ( 24,342 )
Across Down
1. Talk : TATTLE
7. Driver's hazards : FLASHERS
15. Not divisible, as a job : ONEMAN
16. Amelia Earhart, e.g. : AIRWOMAN
17. Good news for wage earners : TAXCUT
18. Far Eastern city whose name means "long cape" : NAGASAKI
19. Org. that covers Springfield in a dome in "The Simpsons Movie" : EPA
20. Torpedo : DESTROY
22. Black : JET
23. Office monitor : BOSS
25. Dough made in the Middle East? : RIALS
26. Lane in a strip : LOIS
27. Wedding keepsake : ALBUM
29. Long-running Vegas show : CSI
30. Even's opposite : MORN
31. Gravy goody : GIBLET
33. Mississippi feeder : YAZOO
35. Backslash neighbor : SQUAREBRACKET
39. Buddhist memorial dome : STUPA
40. Like motets : CHORAL
42. Cross words : FIES
44. One-on-one basketball play, slangily : ISO
46. Sound : AUDIO
47. Feature of un poema : RIMA
48. Accomplished : ADEPT
50. Damage done : TOLL
51. It welcomes praise : EGO
52. "Wouldn't think so" : DOUBTIT
54. Pixar specialty, briefly : CGI
55. City called the Bush Capital : CANBERRA
57. 2006 musical featuring a vampire : LESTAT
59. Light blue partner of Connecticut and Vermont : ORIENTAL
60. Crazy Horse, e.g. : LAKOTA
61. "It was my pleasure" : NOTATALL
62. They're drawn by the bizarre : STARES
1. Green grocery choice : TOTEBAG
2. Brazilian city name that sounds like a U.S. state capital : ANAPOLIS
3. Some southern cookin' : TEXASBBQ
4. Alternative to SHO : TMC
5. Celebrate : LAUD
6. Rapping response : ENTER
7. Its rosters aren't real : FANTASYBASEBALL
8. 1997 comedy with the tagline "Trust me" : LIARLIAR
9. Odysseus' faithful dog : ARGOS
10. Clout : SWAY
11. Christmas trio : HOS
12. Key of Chopin's étude "Tristesse" : EMAJOR
13. Collect lots of : RAKEIN
14. Cross states : SNITS
21. Word with a 35-Across before and after it : SIC
24. Separator of the Philippines and Malaysia : SULUSEA
26. "Incoming!" : LOOKOUT
28. Charcuterie, e.g. : MEATS
30. Nut-brown : MOCHA
32. Tony-winning title role of 1990 : TRU
34. Country's ___ Brown Band : ZAC
36. Aid in labor management? : EPIDURAL
37. One handling an OD : ERDOCTOR
38. Get too close, in a way : TAILGATE
41. Teases, in older usage : LOLITAS
42. French daily, with "Le" : FIGARO
43. Lackey's response : IMONIT
45. Pick : OPT
47. Casing job, for short : RECON
48. Big supply line : AORTA
49. Bill collectors? : TILLS
52. Dimple : DENT
53. Something farm-squeezed? : TEAT
56. Arthur with a Tony : BEA
58. Genre for Reel Big Fish : SKA

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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