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

New York Times, Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Author: David Woolf
Editor: Will Shortz
David Woolf
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1511/15/201310/1/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2212332
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54310

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 81, Blocks: 40 Missing: {BJQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. Woolf. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Woolf notes: I loved the idea of making a puzzle where all of the four letter words were the combination of two two-letter US state abbreviations. Of the ... more
David Woolf notes:

I loved the idea of making a puzzle where all of the four letter words were the combination of two two-letter US state abbreviations. Of the 50 states, there are 37 that are capable of combining with other states to form words. (Sorry West Virginia and New Mexico!) Thus I could form a maximum of 18 words using the 36 of the 37 state abbreviations. (Sorry Kentucky!) Then I had to find a way to fit them all into the grid. After many iterations (I have 23 different named versions of this puzzle in Crossword Compiler, each one of which probably went through ten iterations), I found that stacking three of the theme answers on top of each other was the best way to fit everything in.

In my submitted grid, each four-letter word had an additional bracketed clue, such as for my clue for 5 Down: Lots [6/11], the answer of which is MANY. These bracketed clues corresponded to when the states were admitted to the union (6th for MA, 11th for NY), and I felt they'd help alert the solvers that something different was going on and help solvers track down the theme answers once they finished.

Without them, alas, I imagine the puzzle will play like a not-very-well-filled themeless puzzle for anyone who doesn't spend the time to seek out all of the states, but hopefully the revealer still serves as a nice "a-ha" moment. As always, I hope you enjoyed the solving experience and that the payoff was worth the effort!

Jeff Chen notes: What a neat idea! The TWO-STATE SOLUTION refers to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, but also to the fact that every four-letter word in ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

What a neat idea! The TWO-STATE SOLUTION refers to the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, but also to the fact that every four-letter word in this puzzle is formed by two state abbreviations, i.e. MISC = MI (Michigan) + SC (South Carolina), ORCA = Oregon + California, etc. Not an easy task at all to come up with 18 (!) words, using 36 postal codes without repeating any.

Simply forming that many words without repetition is tough enough, but to do it without resorting to a bunch of ugly answers is impressive. MISC isn't great, and ILKS feels odd in the plural, but the other 16 are all fine entries. Nice that David didn't resort to the ARME or CACO sort of stuff.

And to stack all those four-letter words so well! I did hitch on a couple of inelegant entries, a SERIO / AFARM here, a SCI there, so I had a feeling something odd was going on — David has strong enough grid skills that he wouldn't usually let those through. But when I realized the constraint he was working with, I was impressed with the results. The lower left corner is especially nice, stacking WACO / ALLA / FLAK without needing crossword glue, but also giving us the nice CLAVE and even intersecting STEVE / ALLEN. OAKED might seem on the marginal side, but it is regularly used in the distilling business.

Also admirable to work in SHILLELAGH. What a neat word, and so hard to spell correctly. I let out a giggle when I filled in THREE WAY for [Relationship with two other lovers, both of whom consent]. A little embarrassing to realize it was TRIAMORY. I enjoyed learning that term.

Not easy to work with this tough constraint, so I don't mind the aforementioned inelegant entries plus the dabs of SMS, MTN, TWI, etc. State postal codes have been used in many ways in crosswords throughout the years, but this will be memorable for me.

1
P
2
R
3
I
4
S
5
M
6
M
7
I
8
S
9
C
10
A
11
F
12
A
13
R
14
M
15
G
O
N
N
A
16
O
R
C
A
17
S
E
R
I
O
18
A
M
G
E
N
19
V
A
I
N
20
G
R
I
M
M
21
L
A
Y
22
M
E
N
23
T
A
R
D
E
S
24
O
25
H
O
K
26
T
R
I
27
A
28
M
O
R
Y
29
N
O
R
E
30
E
N
31
H
I
N
D
32
S
33
M
34
S
35
S
T
I
R
S
36
A
37
G
O
R
A
38
H
O
I
39
T
W
O
S
T
40
A
T
E
S
O
L
41
U
42
T
I
O
N
43
A
A
U
44
L
E
T
T
S
45
D
O
L
C
E
46
R
X
S
47
G
A
I
A
48
H
O
L
L
O
W
49
S
A
I
N
T
50
D
51
O
M
52
D
E
W
Y
53
W
54
A
55
F
T
I
N
56
R
A
M
57
P
A
L
58
A
L
L
E
N
59
T
60
N
U
T
61
A
L
A
62
M
63
O
64
C
L
A
V
E
65
W
I
N
E
66
C
I
G
A
R
67
O
A
K
E
D
68
I
L
K
S
69
T
E
H
E
E
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0706 ( 24,347 )
Across Down
1. Light beam splitter : PRISM
6. This and that: Abbr. : MISC
10. What Old MacDonald had : AFARM
15. About to, informally : GONNA
16. Ocean predator : ORCA
17. Prefix with comic : SERIO
18. Biopharmaceutical company that makes Enbrel : AMGEN
19. Futile : VAIN
20. Either of Cinderella's storytellers : GRIMM
21. By no means experts : LAYMEN
23. "Buenas ___" ("Good afternoon," in Spanish) : TARDES
24. "Um, sure" : OHOK
26. Relationship with two other lovers, both of whom consent : TRIAMORY
29. Corcoran of "Bachelor Father" : NOREEN
31. Rearmost : HIND
32. Texting format, for short : SMS
35. Starts to come to : STIRS
36. Greek marketplace of old : AGORA
38. ___ polloi : HOI
39. Topic of international negotiations ... and a hint to every four-letter answer in this puzzle : TWOSTATESOLUTION
43. Nonpro sports org. : AAU
44. Baltic natives : LETTS
45. Sweetly, in music : DOLCE
46. Drs.' orders : RXS
47. Earth goddess : GAIA
48. Like a jack-o'-lantern : HOLLOW
49. Pope's bestowal : SAINTDOM
52. Like morning grass : DEWY
53. Enter, as an alluring aroma : WAFTIN
56. Flutist Jean-Pierre ___ : RAMPAL
58. See 49-Down : ALLEN
59. Letter-shaped fastener : TNUT
61. Avis competitor : ALAMO
64. Hardwood percussion stick : CLAVE
65. Blush, e.g. : WINE
66. Prop for Groucho : CIGAR
67. Stored in certain wood barrels, as 65-Across : OAKED
68. Types : ILKS
69. [Titter] : TEHEE
1. Green jacket org. : PGA
2. It can't be written to, in a PC : ROM
3. Causing shame : INGLORIOUS
4. Court tie-ups? : SNEAKERS
5. Lots of : MANY
6. Helper with a relocation : MOVER
7. Kurd, perhaps : IRANI
8. Poli ___ (college major) : SCI
9. Send packing : CAN
10. Home to Norse gods : ASGARD
11. Charon's craft : FERRY
12. Like an environment that's difficult for farming : ARID
13. Icy coating : RIME
14. Annual May honorees : MOMS
22. High-elev. spot : MTN
23. Pitch-related : TONAL
24. G.M. navigation system : ONSTAR
25. Hair removal method : HOTWAX
27. Lots (of) : AHOST
28. "Blue I," "Blue II" and "Blue III" artworks : MIROS
30. Guinness suffix : EST
32. Cudgel made from a knotty stick : SHILLELAGH
33. Bovine, to a tot : MOOCOW
34. Tough and stringy, as meat : SINEWY
36. Ordered takeout, say : ATEIN
37. Suggest subtly : GETAT
40. Delon of "Purple Noon" : ALAIN
41. Japanese salad herb : UDO
42. Prevaricated : TOLDALIE
47. Got portlier : GAINED
48. Chin scratcher's utterance : HMM
49. With 58-Across, first host of "The Tonight Show" : STEVE
50. Feeling no pain, so to speak : DRUNK
51. Hall's partner in pop music : OATES
53. Branch Davidians' home : WACO
54. ___ breve : ALLA
55. Bomber pilot's worry : FLAK
57. A handshake may seal one : PACT
59. ___-night doubleheader : TWI
60. Zero, in soccer : NIL
62. Actress Whitman of "The Duff" : MAE
63. You can dig it : ORE

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?