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

New York Times, Thursday, July 20, 2017

Author: Randolph Ross
Editor: Will Shortz
Randolph Ross
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1055/12/19917/20/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
48103131723
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.475002

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 30 Missing: {JQVZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 105 for Mr. Ross. 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!

Randolph Ross notes: This theme was inspired by Abbott and Costello's 'Who's on First?' routine. The question words who, what, how, why, when, where, ... more
Randolph Ross notes:

This theme was inspired by Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine. The question words who, what, how, why, when, where, which lend themselves to homophones. Since the first three directly correspond to names I came up with three fifteens that could be punned.

Making it a 72 worder with lots of sevens enabled me to have a better fill. (I also got to put my daughter's name in at 1-Across — REBECCA.)

Jeff Chen notes: HULET THE DOGS OUT! Er, HU let them out. Sad to say, this Chinese-American has trouble remembering all the former Chinese leaders, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

HULET THE DOGS OUT! Er, HU let them out. Sad to say, this Chinese-American has trouble remembering all the former Chinese leaders, dang it.

Randy plays upon half of the Five W's (plus one H) in journalism, homophones of what, how, who. At first, I thought it was impossible to include them all six, but WEN (another former Chinese leader!), Andy WEIR (author of "The Martian"), and … WAI? Surely there's another Chinese leader named WAI? No?

Alas, sometimes the crossword gods frown down upon you.

This one reminded me of another puzzle using the Five Ws. Sounding out the complete set of Five Ws made for a satisfying click ... when it did click (a few hours after I solved it).

Given that there were just three of these homophones, it would have been great if they were all perfect ones. HOWS / HOWES and HU / WHO are spot on, but there seems to be controversy over the "correct" pronunciation of WHAT. Any way I can think to say WATT, it doesn't sound exactly like WHAT. So it did feel like an inconsistent set of themers. Not good when you only have three.

Using only three themers allowed Randy to open things up, though, let his grid breathe. I like getting a themeless-level word count (72) when it can give me bonuses such as ALL STARS / TEE TIMES, SOCKHOP, PUG NOSE.

Not so much when the price to pay is RTES / REWARM (reheat, yeah?) / EDT / CUT TO (feels partial-ish) right at the beginning of the puzzle. Toss in LOBAR, AMS (usually not pluralized) … and oof, the EHLE / ECOLE / ILONA crossings. Should educated solvers be expected to know this trio? ECOLE came to me quickly because I took five years of high school French, but I'd be sympathetic to solvers Hu — er, who — finished with errors there.

It did help to hear Randy's thoughts — selecting the first three "questions" in the Abbott and Costello routine made the theme set feel a little better. But overall, I would have liked all six included, and/or a grid with more polish.

1
R
2
E
3
B
4
E
5
C
6
C
7
A
8
I
9
N
10
F
11
L
12
A
13
T
14
E
15
E
X
E
D
O
U
T
16
S
P
O
O
L
E
D
17
W
A
T
T
S
T
H
18
E
P
R
O
B
L
E
M
19
A
C
T
20
A
T
O
M
S
21
T
A
S
T
E
22
R
T
E
23
S
24
O
S
U
25
B
E
R
T
I
E
26
M
A
R
L
27
A
28
M
A
D
29
A
M
S
30
O
P
31
I
32
A
33
T
E
S
34
T
R
E
E
35
H
36
O
W
E
S
B
U
S
I
37
N
E
S
S
38
S
O
N
S
39
A
L
B
A
N
I
A
40
O
N
O
41
C
A
Y
42
T
R
43
Y
44
S
45
T
46
C
O
N
47
T
A
C
48
A
49
M
50
I
51
S
A
P
S
52
K
L
E
I
N
53
E
C
O
L
54
E
55
H
O
E
56
H
U
L
E
T
57
T
H
E
D
O
G
58
S
O
U
T
59
O
L
E
O
O
I
L
60
E
N
G
R
O
S
S
61
P
U
G
N
O
S
E
62
M
A
Y
I
S
E
E
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0720 ( 24,726 )
Across Down
1. Hitchcock film with Laurence Olivier : REBECCA
8. Exaggerate : INFLATE
15. Edited, in a way : EXEDOUT
16. Wound up : SPOOLED
17. James is keeping me from getting a steam engine patent? : WATTSTHEPROBLEM
19. Make a scene : ACT
20. Itsy-bitsy bits : ATOMS
21. Discrimination : TASTE
22. Some delivery drivers' plans: Abbr. : RTES
24. Big Ten powerhouse, for short : OSU
25. Edward VII, familiarly : BERTIE
26. Presidential ex : MARLA
28. Out of one's head : MAD
29. Half-days, for short : AMS
30. Real downers : OPIATES
34. Genealogist's work : TREE
35. Hockey, to Gordie? : HOWESBUSINESS
38. Princes, e.g. : SONS
39. Nation whose flag has a black eagle on a solid red background : ALBANIA
40. Middle name of Sean Lennon : ONO
41. Low island : CAY
42. Cheating meeting? : TRYST
46. Over-the-counter cold remedy : CONTAC
48. Brest friend : AMI
51. Drains : SAPS
52. Calvin who may have designs on you : KLEIN
53. Place for French lessons : ECOLE
55. One making a row? : HOE
56. A former leader of China gave his shar-peis some exercise? : HULETTHEDOGSOUT
59. Extract of beef fat : OLEOOIL
60. Fascinate : ENGROSS
61. What's turned up on someone's face? : PUGNOSE
62. Request from the curious : MAYISEE
1. Nuke, maybe : REWARM
2. Challenging bet : EXACTA
3. Outdo : BETTER
4. Setting for an O's game : EDT
5. Mexican thing : COSA
6. Screenplay directive : CUTTO
7. Fictional swordsman : ATHOS
8. AOL and MSN : ISPS
9. "Car Talk" carrier : NPR
10. Paid, as a bill : FOOTED
11. Lung-related : LOBAR
12. Top pros : ALLSTARS
13. Driving schedule? : TEETIMES
14. Member of Ronald Reagan's cabinet : EDMEESE
18. It'll never get off the ground : EMU
23. Impedes : SLOWS
25. It holds water : BASIN
27. Copier : APE
28. Big butte : MESA
31. Shorthand system inventor Pitman : ISAAC
32. Well : ABLY
33. It may have a ring to it : TUB
34. Reaction to sad news : TEARS
35. Southernmost major U.S. city : HONOLULU
36. How a flamingo may stand : ONONELEG
37. Coll. hoops competition : NIT
38. Old school dance : SOCKHOP
41. Response to a discouraging comment : CANTOO
43. Louts : YAHOOS
44. Frequent co-signatory : SPOUSE
45. Fly over the Equator : TSETSE
47. Attach, in a way : TIEON
48. Big heart? : ACE
49. Cable ___ : MODEM
50. Massey of old movies : ILONA
53. Jennifer of "Pride and Prejudice," 1995 : EHLE
54. Like custard : EGGY
57. Sequel to "Angela's Ashes" : TIS
58. Mr., abroad : SRI

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?