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, Edge, Safari, or Firefox for best results.

New York Times, Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Author:
Adam G. Perl
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/28/19984/25/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
18108300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.50020
Adam G. Perl

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 28 for Mr. Perl. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Adam G. Perl notes:
It is rare nowadays to see a crossword puzzle in the NY Times with only three themes, and not very long ones at that. In fact, only 33 ... read more

It is rare nowadays to see a crossword puzzle in the NY Times with only three themes, and not very long ones at that. In fact, only 33 squares in this puzzle are devoted to thematic material. Still, I like this puzzle for its simplicity — three poker hands reversed. (ANTES and CARDS in the upper and lower corners are Poker related, but not really thematic.)

In the original version I submitted, the two long down entries were also poker terms, namely CHECK RAISES and SMOOTH CALLS, both of which were clued as "devious bets." Will didn't like them because he had never heard of SMOOTH CALLS (he's obviously not watching enough poker tournaments) and strictly speaking they weren't thematic since they lacked the twists of the three Across entries. So, at his request, I repealed and replaced them with LAMEBRAINED and GO TO THE DOGS (not meant to be a comment on either this constructor or the puzzle).

I also like the two crosses in the grid — hinting at a double-cross theme. I'm not crazy about the grid-spanning 7-Down DO THE BEST YOU CAN because it is not thematic and is the longest word in the puzzle, but I needed it to keep the word count down to the maximum of 78.

This was one of the times when I wish the daily puzzles had titles. This one I called "Bad Beat." (In poker, a bad beat is a term for a hand in which a player with what appear to be strong cards nevertheless loses.)

Jeff Chen notes:
Such a great idea! At first, I was confused by a queen 'beating' a king at a CHESS MATCH. She doesn't actually beat him, does she? I ... read more

Such a great idea! At first, I was confused by a queen "beating" a king at a CHESS MATCH. She doesn't actually beat him, does she? I still didn't get the theme after wondering why an ace "beats" a pair at DOUBLES TENNIS — an ace just wins one point, right?

Beautiful a-ha click when I got to SOCK DRAWER. Two pair does beat three of a kind there (as this disorganized non-sorter of clothing well knows). Such a fun realization that the themers are all wordplay examples of when poker hand orderings get reversed. So playful, so amusing, and so novel.

Well crafted grid, too. Some bonuses in REDBOX, GO TO THE DOGS, LAME BRAINED, DO THE BEST YOU CAN; not too many dabs of crossword glue in ISR, RES. (Some complain about ESAI Morales popping up in too many crosswords, but he's had enough big roles to be fine to me.)

I would have liked a couple more great bonuses considering that there were only three theme answers. Since the solving experience was so smooth, I would have accepted just a touch more crossword glue to get another great bonus entry or two. Perhaps if AMES IOWA and TRIBUTES could have been replaced with snazzier entries?

It's so rare for me to see a non-derivative theme idea. Loved, loved, loved this one; made me brainstorm for other examples, which is a sign of a great theme idea. (All I could think of was some potty humor related to a STRAIGHT FLUSH …)

1
A
2
N
3
T
4
E
5
S
6
I
7
D
8
O
9
L
10
G
11
L
12
A
13
D
14
M
O
O
L
A
15
P
O
N
E
16
E
A
S
E
17
C
H
E
S
S
18
M
A
T
C
H
19
E
M
I
L
20
I
S
R
21
H
E
A
22
R
23
E
M
U
24
E
25
D
26
G
E
27
I
28
C
E
29
R
E
30
D
B
O
X
31
L
E
O
32
A
B
33
E
34
C
A
R
V
E
35
F
E
T
36
A
37
A
M
E
S
38
I
O
W
A
39
D
O
U
40
B
L
E
S
T
E
N
N
I
41
S
42
T
R
I
B
U
T
E
S
43
S
N
O
44
B
45
B
46
E
H
A
N
47
P
Y
E
48
E
D
U
49
O
M
E
L
E
50
T
51
O
M
52
G
53
P
D
A
S
54
P
E
D
55
T
A
56
B
U
57
E
58
E
L
59
E
R
O
60
S
61
S
O
C
62
K
D
R
A
63
W
64
E
65
R
66
E
G
G
O
67
E
S
A
I
68
I
N
A
N
E
69
P
E
S
T
70
S
E
N
D
71
C
A
R
D
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0809 ( 24,746 )

Support XWord Info today

Pay now and get access for a year.

1. Select account level
2. Choose how to pay
Across
1
Feeds the kitty : ANTES
6
Immunity ___ ("Survivor" object) : IDOL
10
Trash bag brand : GLAD
14
Bread : MOOLA
15
Dixie bread : PONE
16
Reduce, as anxiety : EASE
17
Where a queen can beat a king : CHESSMATCH
19
Disney's "___ and the Detectives" : EMIL
20
Mossad's land: Abbr. : ISR
21
Catch wind of : HEAR
23
Bird on Australia's coat of arms : EMU
24
Beat by a whisker : EDGE
27
Medium for some sculptures : ICE
29
Big name in DVD rental : REDBOX
31
Soccer's Messi, informally : LEO
32
Half a sawbuck : ABE
34
Sculpt : CARVE
35
Cheese in moussaka : FETA
37
Midwest university town : AMESIOWA
39
Where an ace can beat a pair : DOUBLESTENNIS
42
Outpouring after a celebrity's passing, say : TRIBUTES
43
Wine ___ (oenophile, often) : SNOB
45
"Borstal Boy" author : BEHAN
47
Onetime English poet laureate Henry James ___ : PYE
48
School email suffix : EDU
49
Dish often served with home fries : OMELET
51
Texter's "Yikes!" : OMG
53
Forerunners of smartphones, for short : PDAS
54
___ Xing : PED
55
"Forbidden" fragrance in old ads : TABU
57
California's ___ River : EEL
59
One taking a bow in Greek art : EROS
61
Where two pair beats three of a kind : SOCKDRAWER
66
Breakfast brand : EGGO
67
Morales of "La Bamba" : ESAI
68
Cockamamie : INANE
69
Pain in the you-know-what : PEST
70
Make rhapsodic : SEND
71
What hands are composed of : CARDS
Down
1
"The Walking Dead" channel : AMC
2
Japanese drama style : NOH
3
Gout target, often : TOE
4
Cow on milk cartons : ELSIE
5
Get fresh with : SASS
6
Hoppy brew, briefly : IPA
7
Give 100% : DOTHEBESTYOUCAN
8
Number of times Howard Hughes's Spruce Goose flew : ONCE
9
"The Merry Widow" composer : LEHAR
10
"Hmm, I don't know about that" : GEE
11
None too smart : LAMEBRAINED
12
"I, Robot" author : ASIMOV
13
Highest-quality : DELUXE
18
Radiology exam, briefly : MRI
22
Scout's job, briefly : RECON
24
One with pointy ears and shoes : ELF
25
"___ I Do" (1926 jazz standard) : DEED
26
Completely fall apart : GOTOTHEDOGS
28
Was mentioned, as in conversation : CAMEUP
30
Times to crow : DAWNS
33
Think the world of : ESTEEM
36
Hearing-related : AURAL
37
Garment in a vestry : ALB
38
Certain plural ending : IES
40
Alfred of I.Q. testing : BINET
41
Coke or Pepsi : SODA
44
Transportation to school : BUS
45
Flock loser of rhyme : BOPEEP
46
Come out of one's cocoon : EMERGE
50
Subdues with a shock : TASES
52
Goal for some H.S. dropouts : GED
53
Primary strategy : PLANA
56
Big name in audio systems : BOSE
58
Holder of the Obama cabinet : ERIC
60
Dipsomaniac : SOT
62
What Rick called Ilsa : KID
63
Word in 12/8/41 headlines : WAR
64
Terminus : END
65
In medias ___ : RES

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?