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

New York Times, Monday, July 2, 2018

Author:
Evan Kalish
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
37/2/201811/26/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0200010
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61010
Evan Kalish

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 42 Missing: {FJQX} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Kalish. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Evan Kalish notes:
As with many constructors, this marks the fulfillment of a long-time dream. I've always loved playing with words, and back in middle ... read more

As with many constructors, this marks the fulfillment of a long-time dream. I've always loved playing with words, and back in middle school I would eagerly await Will Shortz's next Sunday Puzzle challenge, tuning in to NPR at exactly 10:41 A.M. (But who's counting?) In college I was inspired by the work of Dustin Foley, who wrote a daily puzzle comic strip. Back then I was filling 15x15 grids printed from Microsoft Word, and the results weren't particularly encouraging. (To wit: Once I tried asking a crush out via crossword on Valentine's Day. It went unsolved.) Puzzling at Brown really took off soon after I graduated, and I vowed that one day I would join the ranks of Shortz-certified Brunonian cruciverbalists. [Insert training montage here.]

I'm a huge road trip enthusiast, and over time I've come to realize the importance of certain life skills… like navigating the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger. (Psst… think Will would allow "Animal Style" in a grid?) I first considered a SECRET MENU puzzle in 2014, lamenting that the only decent phrase I could find a secret "menu" in was PRIME NUMBER. Years later, "IT'S A SECRET" struck me as a good revealer, leading to this puzzle.

The veritable cornucopia of potential thematic material led to high ambitions and an inevitable Grid Reckoning. It eventually led me to attempt a theme answer stack à la Patrick Berry, though the challenge left this mere mortal with the unfortunate TELNET and cheater squares at 6- and 65-Across. Considering that every down answer intersects between one and three theme entries, I was pleased to keep the damage fairly contained. (I know, ID EST can be a bit of a party pooper… though initially he's great.) Hopefully MARKUP LANGUAGE—the ‘ML' of ‘HTML'—isn't too outré for a Monday puzzle. My favorite find was WHAT A GENTLEMAN, a comment I've heard in the wild! SHOPPER, à la GRASSHOPPER, was the coolest possibility I didn't incorporate.

Hope you enjoyed the puzzle! I'd like to thank Jeff Chen, who has a) put up with me for years as I've learned the ropes and peppered him with random crossword ideas; and b) made great resources available for budding constructors everywhere.

Jeff Chen notes:
Shh! IT'S A SECRET, i.e., words that can follow SECRET. The 'words that can follow' theme type is largely bygone these days, but I ... read more

Shh! IT'S A SECRET, i.e., words that can follow SECRET. The "words that can follow" theme type is largely bygone these days, but I like Evan's effort to elevate it: appropriate to "hide" SECRET words within themers!

Strong work for a debut. Six long themers? A great majority of experienced constructors wouldn't take that on, and if they did, the results would be catastrophic. Evan did incredibly well, stacking pairs atop each other, making sure that his letter pairs were friendly (PASTA SHELL over PEASANT ARMY has a lot of easy AP, SE, HA, ES, LA pairs).

I'm not sure such high theme density was desirable, though. (secret) SANTA, (secret) agent, yes! (secret) menu, okay – the menus you have to specifically ask for at fast food joints.

(secret) stash and (secret) plan? Huh.

I didn't feel like those two added much if anything. I would have preferred fewer themers, which would have made it easier to jazz up the grid. BAY AREA and SKI MASK are good, colorful fill, but I wanted more.

I eventually did recognize all the theme phrases, but I squinted hard at WHAT A GENTLEMAN at first. I suppose it's commonly enough said? And while MARKUP LANGUAGE is technically a thing, at the very least it doesn't feel very welcoming to a newer solver.

Speaking of not welcoming: MSRP crossing ISP. Ultimately, I think even newer solvers ought to have heard of one or the other, but it's iffy for a Monday.

Overall, a nice way to do something slightly different with a mostly dead theme type. I respect the choice Evan made (high theme density), even if it wasn't what I would have done, and I think he did a solid job of executing.

1
H
2
A
3
Z
4
E
5
S
6
A
7
C
8
T
9
B
10
O
11
A
12
R
13
O
C
E
A
N
14
A
L
O
E
15
A
M
M
O
16
P
A
S
T
A
17
S
H
E
L
L
18
Y
A
P
S
19
S
I
T
20
P
E
A
S
A
N
21
T
A
R
M
Y
22
H
A
N
23
E
A
R
24
W
25
H
A
T
A
26
G
27
E
28
N
T
L
E
29
M
30
A
31
N
32
M
A
A
M
33
T
A
R
O
34
C
A
R
G
O
35
A
N
T
36
E
V
I
T
37
A
38
B
A
G
39
I
D
E
40
S
41
T
42
E
C
I
G
43
V
I
P
S
44
M
A
R
K
U
45
P
L
A
N
G
46
U
A
G
E
47
I
N
A
48
I
N
N
49
P
50
R
51
I
M
E
N
52
U
53
M
54
B
E
R
55
C
56
H
57
E
58
H
O
D
A
59
I
T
S
A
S
E
60
C
R
E
T
61
E
V
E
S
62
N
E
R
D
63
S
P
A
R
S
64
W
E
A
K
65
I
S
P
66
T
A
B
B
Y
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0702 ( 25,073 )

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. Foggy mental states : HAZES
6. Play a role onstage : ACT
9. Wild hog : BOAR
13. Atlantic or Pacific : OCEAN
14. Soothing substance : ALOE
15. Bullets and BBs : AMMO
16. Italian food item that can be stuffed and baked : PASTASHELL
18. Doesn't stop talking : YAPS
19. Common canine command : SIT
20. Militia of farmers, e.g. : PEASANTARMY
22. ___ Solo of 2018's "Solo" : HAN
23. Corn unit : EAR
24. "He's so polite" : WHATAGENTLEMAN
32. Sir's counterpart : MAAM
33. What poi is made from : TARO
34. What a plane's hold holds : CARGO
35. ___-Man (shrinking Marvel superhero) : ANT
36. Hit musical set in Argentina : EVITA
38. Something the eco-conscious bring to a grocery : BAG
39. "I.e.," spelled out : IDEST
42. Vaper's device : ECIG
43. A-list group at an event : VIPS
44. It may allow a text document to be displayed on a web page : MARKUPLANGUAGE
47. Once ___ while : INA
48. No room at the ___ (problem once in Bethlehem) : INN
49. 3, 5 or 7, but not 9 : PRIMENUMBER
55. Guerrilla ___ Guevara : CHE
58. "Today" co-host Kotb : HODA
59. "Keep this between us" ... or hint to this puzzle's circled letters : ITSASECRET
61. December 24 and 31, e.g. : EVES
62. One probably not with the jocks at the lunch table : NERD
63. Practices boxing : SPARS
64. Watered down, as coffee : WEAK
65. Verizon Fios or Comcast's Xfinity, for short : ISP
66. Striped cat : TABBY
Down
1. Kangaroo movements : HOPS
2. Berry marketed as a superfood : ACAI
3. Lemon rind part : ZEST
4. Consume : EAT
5. Get testy with : SNAPAT
6. Lager alternatives : ALES
7. ___ wars (longtime advertising battle) : COLA
8. Early computer connection protocol : TELNET
9. Where San Francisco and Oakland are : BAYAREA
10. Actor Epps : OMAR
11. 12-hour toggle on clocks : AMPM
12. Flushed, as cheeks : ROSY
14. "Eureka!" : AHA
17. Its members serve six-year terms : SENATE
21. Barber's powder : TALC
22. Nonkosher sandwich meat : HAM
24. "A Fish Called ___" (1988 comedy) : WANDA
25. Jealous critic, informally : HATER
26. Judge's mallet : GAVEL
27. Writer Jong : ERICA
28. Away from the office : NOTIN
29. Head honcho : MRBIG
30. Open-mouthed : AGAPE
31. Spiced holiday drinks : NOGS
32. Seriously injure : MAIM
37. Texas A&M team : AGGIES
40. Robber's identity-protecting headwear : SKIMASK
41. Something carried by a singer : TUNE
43. Tradesperson's vehicle : VAN
45. Sandwich with grill marks : PANINI
46. Turmoil : UNREST
49. [What a relief!] : PHEW
50. Wander about : ROVE
51. What a light bulb indicates in cartoons : IDEA
52. Beehive State tribe : UTES
53. Car sticker fig. : MSRP
54. Word to a dog that has just chewed the sofa : BAD
55. One who complains, complains, complains : CRAB
56. Parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme : HERB
57. Website for craft vendors : ETSY
60. Busy worker in April, for short : CPA

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?