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

New York Times, Saturday, July 9, 2016

Author:
Josh Knapp
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
232/26/20109/7/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
20102810
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.70002
Josh Knapp

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 29 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Knapp. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Josh Knapp notes:
A few notes that comes to mind: I planned to submit this puzzle to Peter Gordon's Washington Post Puzzler guest constructor ... read more

A few notes that comes to mind:

  • I planned to submit this puzzle to Peter Gordon's Washington Post Puzzler guest constructor contest back in 2014. It had a different NE corner that I wasn't completely satisfied with, so ended up submitting another puzzle instead.
  • I was reluctant to give up USAINBOLT (had a fun clue for him), but TREEHOLE was iffy and IRR/TUTTED no fun, so eventually rebuilt that corner.
  • Spent a lot of time on the clues, since Peter judged the puzzles by solving them instead of looking at the finished grids.

Glad most of my clues survived. A few that Will/Joel changed:

  • BLACK EYE: Hard-hitting evidence, maybe?
  • OLD MASTERS: Martini and Bellini, e.g.
  • HAIRCUT: It might result in a blowout
  • IT GIRL: Magnetic young star
Jeff Chen notes:
This puzzle exemplifies why I think Josh is possibly the best themeless constructor out there. I've always been impressed with his ... read more

This puzzle exemplifies why I think Josh is possibly the best themeless constructor out there. I've always been impressed with his puzzles, but this one sizzles. I can't remember the last time I did a themeless where nearly everything I turned up was pure gold. From PIRATE SHIP to FAT SUITS to OLD MASTERS, to TESLA COIL to NOSEGAYS to DO YOU MIND! Not only were almost all the long entries fantastic, but there was a little something for everyone, making it accessible and enjoyable for a huge range of solvers.

Josh goes big by working with 18 (!) long slots of 8+ letters. I've found that it's nearly impossible to convert so many slots into stellar material, because once you start fixing a few in place, you get less and less flexibility as you go. Josh does a great job of spreading his long slots around, but it's impossible to isolate any one of them — each must interact with a ton more.

And what results! I'm usually happy to get 10 colorful answers in a themeless, but I count roughly 17 here (things like ERRONEOUS feel more neutral to me). During my solve, it seemed like Josh was pulling some sort of magic trick. When I went back and studied the grid, what he did made more sense — by staying at a relatively high word count (70), he was able to use a lot of short words to stick his longer ones together. And by never packing too many long slots together, he was able to avoid any one area that had too much white space. It still seems a little magical even after I study it, though.

All this, without using much crossword glue. There's an ELL and an SYST, but those are so minor. Dabs of crossword glue tend to drag down my solving experience when there are more than about five (or one is egregious), but these two little guys were negligible.

And so many amazing clues! I won't point them all out, but if you're an aspiring constructor, go back and study the clues for HURL, GREEN ALGAE, HINGE, HOP, BLACK EYE. Brilliant wordplay in there.

My favorite themeless so far this year. Standing O for Josh.

1
P
2
I
3
R
4
A
5
T
6
E
7
S
8
H
9
I
10
P
11
I
12
D
13
O
14
L
15
S
H
O
R
E
L
E
A
V
E
16
B
O
H
O
17
H
O
M
E
M
O
V
I
E
S
18
S
Y
S
T
19
A
P
P
S
20
E
R
R
O
21
N
E
O
U
S
22
W
E
S
23
Z
24
I
N
C
25
O
N
U
S
26
F
A
T
S
U
27
I
28
T
S
29
M
A
30
P
31
A
32
C
33
T
I
N
G
34
T
R
E
E
35
L
I
N
E
36
C
H
E
E
Z
I
37
T
38
A
R
G
O
N
N
E
39
M
I
S
F
I
R
E
40
S
41
S
A
N
D
A
L
42
E
L
L
43
B
L
A
C
44
K
E
Y
E
45
L
A
46
M
A
47
O
A
R
S
48
H
49
O
50
P
51
M
A
C
A
R
52
T
53
H
U
R
54
M
I
S
O
55
A
X
O
N
56
O
U
T
E
57
R
58
B
A
N
K
S
59
N
E
I
L
60
G
R
E
E
N
A
L
G
A
E
61
I
D
L
Y
62
O
L
D
M
A
S
T
E
R
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0709 ( 24,350 )
Across
1. One might have black-and-white standards : PIRATESHIP
11. Treasure hunter's loot, maybe : IDOL
15. Stay off the water? : SHORELEAVE
16. Unconventional and hippielike, informally : BOHO
17. Some juvenile records : HOMEMOVIES
18. Way: Abbr. : SYST
19. Developers work on them : APPS
20. Wrong : ERRONEOUS
22. Jazz great Montgomery : WES
23. More than a fraction of a cent : ZINC
25. Responsibility : ONUS
26. Outfits for big parts? : FATSUITS
29. Station display : MAP
31. "The perfect idiot's profession," per Katharine Hepburn : ACTING
34. Certain upper-growth limit : TREELINE
36. Orange snack in a red box : CHEEZIT
38. Where the Lost Battalion got lost : ARGONNE
39. Doesn't go off as expected : MISFIRES
41. Flip-flop, e.g. : SANDAL
42. Crooked joint : ELL
43. Boxing ring? : BLACKEYE
45. Religious figure from on high? : LAMA
47. Set at sea? : OARS
48. Small vault : HOP
51. One of 20-30 "genius grants" awarded annually : MACARTHUR
54. ___ soup : MISO
55. Impulse transmitter : AXON
56. North Carolina vacation area : OUTERBANKS
59. Gaiman who wrote "American Gods" and "Coraline" : NEIL
60. Film about rock groups? : GREENALGAE
61. Without much effort : IDLY
62. Bellini and Botticelli : OLDMASTERS
Down
1. "Yeah, right!" : PSHAW
2. [Fingers crossed] : IHOPE
3. Wins easily : ROMPS
4. War force : ARES
5. Pro ___ : TEM
6. "Out of the Blue" group, for short : ELO
7. "Hockey sticks," in cards : SEVENS
8. Buzz, e.g. : HAIRCUT
9. 2011 Best New Artist Grammy winner Bon ___ : IVER
10. Philippine money : PESO
11. His last play was "When We Dead Awaken" : IBSEN
12. "Excuse me?" : DOYOUMIND
13. Classic folk number : OHSUSANNA
14. Heaps : LOTS
21. Bouquets, quaintly : NOSEGAYS
23. Island known for its spices : ZANZIBAR
24. This year's starlet : ITGIRL
26. Sphere of control : FIEF
27. Org. in "Patriot Games" : IRA
28. Like Hemingway vis-à-vis most other writers : TERSER
30. Exfoliation : PEEL
31. Tiptop : ACME
32. Hung around casually? : CHILLAXED
33. It may cause sparks to fly : TESLACOIL
35. Isolated : LONE
37. It may be in the bag : TEA
40. Went looking for places to shoot : SCOUTED
44. First name on the 1970s-'80s Lakers : KAREEM
46. Rugged : MANLY
48. Swinging joint : HINGE
49. "The Tin Drum" boy : OSKAR
50. Duck faces, e.g. : POSES
51. Salon job, informally : MANI
52. Land on the Gulf of Guinea : TOGO
53. Project with a lot of momentum : HURL
54. Like Colt 45 and Mickey's : MALT
57. Kind of virus : RNA
58. Not haut : BAS

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?