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

New York Times, Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Author:
Jules Markey
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
185/10/201210/30/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0155700
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58461
Jules P. Markey

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QWZ} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Markey. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jules P. Markey notes:
The idea for this puzzle came when my MacBook word-of-the-day screensaver featured the term ex post facto, which I immediately saw in ... read more

The idea for this puzzle came when my MacBook word-of-the-day screensaver featured the term ex post facto, which I immediately saw in terms of theme possibilities. How many other entries could I find that start with a letter written phonetically? It probably wasn't very fruitful because I somehow zeroed in on the phrase "X marks the spot" instead, and saw that if I used EX, MARX and DESPOT I could, with a little poetic license, mimic that phrase.

Originally 29-Across was MARXBROTHERS, and the reveal was PIRATEBOOTY. Upon reflection I changed that to TREASUREMAP, which seemed to be more apt. After filling the grid I noticed that the two long downs each crossed at only one theme entry, which gave me some flexibility to relate them to the theme as well. OLDSEADOG crossed nicely at the S in DESPOT, however, I had trouble finding anything that would work with the MARX BROS. With the option of going to MARXANDLENIN available, I saw that the perfectly synonymous BUCCANEER did the trick. The addition of ISLE was serendipitous, and ARRR was deliberate (I was hoping for a September 19th publish date).

Thanks to Will and Joel, who excised a couple of "uglies" (my term) in the west and lower Mississippi, and greatly improved on my clueing.

I hope you enjoy the wordplay, whatever level of solver you ARRR!

Jeff Chen notes:
X MARKS THE SPOT sounded out (pseudo-)phonetically at the starts of themers. I had a little laugh when I realized DESPOT was a ... read more

X MARKS THE SPOT sounded out (pseudo-)phonetically at the starts of themers. I had a little laugh when I realized DESPOT was a stand-in for THE SPOT. It didn't totally work for me, since EX / X and MARX / MARKS are perfect homonyms while DESPOT / THE SPOT are not, but it reminded me of all sort of childhood jokes, i.e. "denial" is the longest river in Africa and "Denise" is the sister of de nephew. (groan)

I wasn't a fan of MARX AND LENIN as a theme answer, as it doesn't sound like a real phrase to me. Yes, Marx's philosophies heavily influenced Lenin, but it's not like they co-wrote something. Perhaps KARL MARX could have been a better choice, and moving the hidden phrase to the end would have allowed for a better DESPOT phrase, like BENEVOLENT DESPOT or something. That pesky EX wouldn't cooperate though, as there's no good phrase ending in the word EX. Rats!

Fun to get some theme-ish fill in BUCCANEER and OLD SEA DOG. The latter made me hitch though — SEA DOG and OLD SALT are terms for seamen, but OLD SEA DOG didn't sound quite right to my ear. It also wasn't as specific to pirates as BUCCANEER. Still, these two entries helped give the puzzle a heftier feel.

I don't mind a couple of minor dabs of crossword glue to hold a puzzle together. RRS, YDS, DELA, NATL, ANON … that's a little too much for my taste, but it's not far above my threshold. Although ARRR is thematic(ish), I have a tough time with arbitrary extra letters, like SHHH and OOOH. Feels inelegant to me.

Speaking of inelegant, BROADS hasn't been seen in a major crossword since 1990. I hitched on it, wondering how many women it would offend. I do appreciate the attempt at ameliorating it with the "impolite" qualifier, but I'd much rather not see any word listed in dictionaries as "offensive." I personally want my crosswords to be uplifting and fun, not insulting. I'm curious to hear from readers about this one.

Overall, some enjoyable fill in DJ SETS, MAKE PAR, A-LISTERS, and a few aspects that didn't hit home with me.

1
E
2
T
3
T
4
A
5
A
6
R
7
C
8
I
9
N
10
G
11
B
12
I
13
D
14
N
A
A
N
15
R
E
I
N
E
R
16
U
K
E
17
E
X
P
O
18
S
T
F
A
C
T
O
19
C
E
L
20
M
E
A
N
T
21
L
O
L
22
V
23
O
C
A
L
24
Y
D
S
25
E
26
R
E
27
I
28
R
E
N
A
29
M
A
R
X
30
A
N
D
L
E
N
31
I
32
N
33
B
34
R
35
O
A
D
S
36
T
E
A
37
M
E
S
A
38
Y
O
L
K
S
39
A
T
S
40
S
P
E
L
T
41
R
U
D
E
42
A
L
I
43
P
E
T
R
E
L
44
D
E
S
P
45
O
T
I
C
46
A
L
L
Y
47
E
A
R
L
S
48
C
O
L
49
T
50
S
51
A
52
O
53
H
A
R
A
54
T
55
E
E
56
E
57
D
I
T
S
58
M
U
D
59
T
60
R
E
A
S
61
U
R
E
M
A
P
62
E
G
O
63
E
A
R
V
I
N
64
L
O
R
E
65
N
O
G
66
D
J
S
E
T
S
67
A
R
R
R
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0705 ( 24,346 )
Across
1. Jazz legend ___ James : ETTA
5. Like the path of a high basketball shot : ARCING
11. "One no-trump," e.g. : BID
14. Indian bread : NAAN
15. Funnyman Carl : REINER
16. Hawaiian instrument, for short : UKE
17. Retroactively, at law : EXPOSTFACTO
19. Animation frame : CEL
20. "I ___ every word I said" : MEANT
21. Email chuckle : LOL
22. Outspoken : VOCAL
24. Football units: Abbr. : YDS
25. Poetic preposition : ERE
27. Lady in Spenser's "The Faerie Queene" : IRENA
29. Red giants : MARXANDLENIN
33. Women, impolitely : BROADS
36. Drink often served with a lemon wedge : TEA
37. City between Tempe and Apache Junction : MESA
38. "The ___ on you!" (classic gag line) : YOLKS
39. @@@ : ATS
40. Went letter by letter, British-style : SPELT
41. Impolite : RUDE
42. Late boxing great : ALI
43. Long-winged seabird : PETREL
44. How Ivan the Terrible ruled : DESPOTICALLY
47. ___ Court (district in London) : EARLS
48. Rank above maj. : COL
49. Passenger-screening org. : TSA
52. Maureen of "Miracle on 34th Street" : OHARA
54. Bit of apparel with a ring neck : TEE
56. Copy changes : EDITS
58. Joe : MUD
59. Pirate's guide that's hinted at phonetically by the starts of 17-, 29- and 44-Across : TREASUREMAP
62. Roman "I" : EGO
63. Magic Johnson's real first name : EARVIN
64. Stuff of legends : LORE
65. Yule beverage : NOG
66. Music mixes at a nightclub : DJSETS
67. Pirate's interjection : ARRR
Down
1. Spartans, to the Athenians : ENEMY
2. Imposed a levy on : TAXED
3. ___ bar : TAPAS
4. Shortly : ANON
5. Paintings : ART
6. Involuntary action : REFLEX
7. "So long, Sofia!" : CIAO
8. Leans : INCLINES
9. Amount after all is said and done : NET
10. Abase oneself : GROVEL
11. Pirate : BUCCANEER
12. Store with a "Self Serve" furniture warehouse : IKEA
13. Big name in PCs : DELL
18. Places : STEADS
23. Risky way for a car to be running : ONEMPTY
26. B&O and Pennsylvania: Abbr. : RRS
28. Food label stat : RDA
29. Finish a hole between a birdie and a bogey : MAKEPAR
30. Room under a roof : ATTIC
31. What may be pictured on a 59-Across : ISLE
32. The "N" in NASA: Abbr. : NATL
33. Robert ___, longest-serving senator in U.S. history (51 years) : BYRD
34. Dissolute man : ROUE
35. Pirate, informally : OLDSEADOG
39. Top celebs : ALISTERS
40. One end of an eBay transaction : SELLER
42. Home of the Brave?: Abbr. : ATL
43. Oslo Accords grp. : PLO
45. Spoke on the stump : ORATED
46. Does really well on a test : ACESIT
49. East ___ (nation since 2002) : TIMOR
50. ___ Report (political document of 1998) : STARR
51. According to : ASPER
52. Portent : OMEN
53. Science fiction award : HUGO
55. Place for an icicle : EAVE
57. Hip-hop trio ___ Soul : DELA
60. British rule in India : RAJ
61. Little ___ : UNS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?