It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.
This web browser is not supported. Use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge for best results.

New York Times, Monday, August 31, 2015

Author:
Michael Dewey
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
61/9/201210/5/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0303000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.73000
Michael Dewey

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Dewey. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Michael Dewey notes:
This puzzle, which I called 'Pool Cues' during construction, was one I began brainstorming several years ago. The expression DIVE IN ... read more

This puzzle, which I called "Pool Cues" during construction, was one I began brainstorming several years ago. The expression DIVE IN HEAD FIRST was my point of departure. From there I attempted to develop a theme with four or five different expressions with action verbs (jump, leap, etc.), but that did not pan out to my liking. The "get in the pool" theme came to me relatively easily, once I had GO OFF THE DEEP END to match up with the 15-letter count of the first one. TAKE THE PLUNGE soon followed and worked out nicely as a 13-letter entry for the center.

My first filled grid was unsatisfactory, so the puzzle sat on the back burner for probably six months before I resurrected it for completion. Looking at it with new eyes, I realized that the theme was a strong candidate for a NYT Monday because of those three lively expressions.

The grid underwent several more iterations until both Will and I were satisfied with this version for publication. It has some solid but easy fill entries like SEVEN DWARFS, HANG IN THERE, MEDIEVAL, and a fun new entry, TWIST TOP. As it stands, the puzzle is quite solvable, as a Monday crossword should be, to allow new solvers to stick a toe in the water without much trepidation. (This leads me to my new formula for measuring the degree of difficulty for NYT puzzles: Monday = Stick a toe in, Tuesday = Wade in the water (children), Wednesday = Take the plunge, Thursday/Sunday = Dive in head first, and Friday/Saturday = Go off the deep end).

In the end, the puzzle also acts as a reminder that the Summer of 2015 still has some life left in it.

Jeff Chen notes:
Great theme; three colorful metaphors relating to jumping into a swimming pool. Really cool find, and so fortuitous that no words are ... read more

Great theme; three colorful metaphors relating to jumping into a swimming pool. Really cool find, and so fortuitous that no words are duplicated (except the minor THE in TAKE THE PLUNGE and GO OFF THE DEEP END). Wish I had made this discovery!

Getting medieval

It's become somewhat rare to get less than four themers in a weekday puzzle, but I'm perfectly fine with three long ones if they're all strong. All three here are beauties; vivid phrases that work so well together. I do expect more long fill out of a three-themer puzzle, so I like the effort Mike has put into giving us just that. Two pairs of long entries — HANG IN THERE / SEVEN DWARVES and MEDIEVAL / TWIST TOP — add so much to the sparkliness of the solve.

If only MEDIEVAL had been clued to the "Pulp Fiction" quote: "I'ma get ___ on your (bleep)." The Gray Lady doesn't allow ASS to be clued with this meaning, however. Ah well.

Nice to get a little extra in IVERSON and SISTINE as well.

I did notice some strain on the grid — not surprising given the size of those upper left and lower right corners. As much as I love Allen IVERSON, the pluralized OLEOS is a price to pay. And IVERSON's effects extend to the north section, forcing ETHNO and the partial A NAP. I think that's not a terrible trade-off, but since there's quite a bit more of the HOER, ONE A, A HIT sort of stuff, it felt like too much in total.

So, a fantastic theme and some great extras, but those extras came with a cost.

1
M
2
O
3
S
4
H
5
E
6
D
7
A
8
M
9
W
10
H
11
I
12
Z
13
O
L
E
O
14
S
15
T
U
N
E
16
R
A
V
I
17
D
I
V
E
I
18
N
H
E
A
D
19
F
I
R
S
T
20
I
V
E
R
S
O
N
21
P
I
U
S
22
S
I
N
23
T
R
O
24
D
25
E
S
T
26
H
27
E
28
R
29
H
A
D
30
J
I
31
E
32
A
V
E
33
A
L
E
34
W
O
N
35
A
L
M
A
36
O
N
L
Y
37
T
A
K
E
38
T
H
E
P
L
39
U
N
G
E
40
B
A
R
E
41
W
I
T
S
42
P
E
I
43
A
R
F
44
C
I
T
E
45
D
A
N
46
A
47
S
48
N
A
S
49
A
L
S
50
D
51
A
52
D
A
53
T
V
A
54
W
E
T
55
S
56
D
I
T
57
C
H
E
D
58
G
59
O
60
O
F
F
T
H
61
E
D
E
E
P
E
N
D
62
U
R
D
U
63
O
U
S
T
64
S
U
R
G
E
65
N
O
E
L
66
P
I
C
O
67
S
E
E
N
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0831 ( 24,037 )
Across
1
___ pit (area at a punk concert) : MOSH
5
Cheese named after a town in Holland : EDAM
9
Phenom : WHIZ
13
Butterlike spreads : OLEOS
15
Adjust the strings of, as a guitar : TUNE
16
Shankar who mentored George Harrison : RAVI
17
Attack an endeavor vigorously : DIVEINHEADFIRST
20
Allen whose #3 was retired by the 76ers : IVERSON
21
Papal name chosen 12 times : PIUS
22
What a priest may absolve : SIN
23
Stepped (on) : TROD
25
Heroine of Purim : ESTHER
29
Pilgrim to Mecca : HADJI
31
Locale for Christmas lights : EAVE
33
Ginger ___ (soft drink) : ALE
34
Prevailed : WON
35
___ mater : ALMA
36
The "O" in S.R.O. : ONLY
37
Get hitched : TAKETHEPLUNGE
40
Lacking adornment : BARE
41
Good things to have about you in an emergency : WITS
42
Building designer I. M. ___ : PEI
43
Terrier's expression of terror : ARF
44
Name, as sources : CITE
45
Entertainers Carvey and Delany : DANAS
48
M's and N's, in pronunciation : NASALS
50
Circa-W.W. I art movement : DADA
53
Pre-W.W. II public works project, for short : TVA
54
Moistens : WETS
56
Eighty-sixed : DITCHED
58
Lose one's mind : GOOFFTHEDEEPEND
62
Pakistani language : URDU
63
Expel from power : OUST
64
Jolt of power : SURGE
65
Holiday-time song : NOEL
66
Micro : millionth :: ___ : trillionth : PICO
67
Viewed : SEEN
Down
1
In fashion : MODISH
2
Actress Munn of "Deliver Us From Evil" : OLIVIA
3
Title characters in Disney's first full-length feature : SEVENDWARFS
4
Gardener in the weeds : HOER
5
Prefix with centric : ETHNO
6
Word before north or process : DUE
7
"I need ___" (yawner's words) : ANAP
8
Pertaining to the time of castles and knights : MEDIEVAL
9
Where to wear a watch : WRIST
10
Part of a sarcastic laugh : HAR
11
Hosp. hookups : IVS
12
Teen's facial blemish : ZIT
14
The Vatican's ___ Chapel : SISTINE
18
Neither's partner : NOR
19
What to light on a stick of dynamite : FUSE
24
X'd out : DELETED
26
"Don't give up now!" : HANGINTHERE
27
Vogue rival : ELLE
28
"The Bridge of San Luis ___" : REY
30
Rib-tickler : JOKE
32
Charges (up) : AMPS
35
Score ___ (enjoy some success) : AHIT
36
Draft-worthy : ONEA
37
"Gone With the Wind" plantation : TARA
38
Like some easy-open bottles : TWISTTOP
39
Subjects of some software pop-ups : UPDATES
40
Outlaw : BAN
44
Musical symbol : CLEF
46
Exact retribution for : AVENGE
47
Make melancholy : SADDEN
49
Terrible : AWFUL
51
Supplement : ADDTO
52
Go pfft : DIE
55
Feng ___ (harmonizing philosophy) : SHUI
57
PC brains : CPUS
58
Rev, as an engine : GUN
59
Pizarro's gold : ORO
60
Praiseful poem : ODE
61
Abort key : ESC

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?