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New York Times, Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Author:
Gary Cee
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
385/28/20095/20/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
112108421
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56021
Gary Cee

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {FJQZ} This is puzzle # 26 for Mr. Cee. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Gary Cee notes:
The website www.onelook.com was invaluable in pulling this one off. I kept moving three ONs around until I came up with the three ... read more

The website www.onelook.com was invaluable in pulling this one off. I kept moving three ONs around until I came up with the three themers. Will kept most of my clues. The original submission for 26-Down was "What a student takes notes on."

My app, "Gary Cee's Crosswords," is almost done. I ran into a bit of snag in uploading all 61 puzzles — one freebie and three puzzle-packs of 20 each — but I should be in the App Store soon!

Will Shortz notes:
Today's puzzle, along with those for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, were used last Saturday at the 7th annual Bay Area ... read more

Today's puzzle, along with those for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, were used last Saturday at the 7th annual Bay Area Crossword Tournament, in Oakland, Calif. The event was run by Andrew Laurence to benefit the Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. More information, including the results, can be found at www.bayareacrosswords.org.

Jeff Chen notes:
Nice straightforward early-week puzzle today, phrases containing three instances of ON. Great revealer, repurposing ON AND ON AND ON ... read more

Nice straightforward early-week puzzle today, phrases containing three instances of ON. Great revealer, repurposing ON AND ON AND ON (yadda yadda yadda) to tie the theme together. FYI, a search string to use for something like this is *ON?*ON?*ON*, where the question marks represent "any single letter" and the asterisks are "any set of letters with length greater than or equal to 0." If you didn't mind two consecutive ONs, *ON*ON*ON* would be even simpler.

Gary utilizes a great arrangement for long fill today. Check out how TRANSLUCENT, PINE NUTS, TEXT BOOK, and WRITING DESK are both spaced out and alternating, top bottom top bottom. Just as with themers, proper spacing for long fill is key. For any puzzle with less than five themers, I do expect at least two pieces of nice long fill, but four is much better (six is fantastic if you can pull it off cleanly!). This type of layout works so well.

With a simple-ish theme like today's, it's important to pick out strong themers. I love TONY TONI TONE — I don't know their music but what a fun and memorable name — and MONSOON SEASON reminds me of Malaysia, getting caught in a sudden torrential downpour. LONDON ONTARIO doesn't feel as strong to me (plus it's the only one with two consecutive ONs), but perhaps Gary was aiming for more of a "famous city in an unexpected place" clue. For example, PARIS has all sort of fun cluing potential, given that there's a PARIS, Texas. It would have been really fun to have something akin to this here.

I appreciate Gary's short fill today too. Generally not much stuck out me, which is short fill's job. ELEMI I've seen before, and I would prefer not to see it much again, especially in early-week puzzles. Why does it appear, you might ask? Well, one drawback to incorporating a lot of long fill is that it makes short fill harder to get clean. The holy grail of any construction is to get both great fill plus absolutely zero glue. It's easier said than done, though, usually requiring dozens of iterations, trying word after word after word in the TRANSLUCENT slot.

I wonder what it says about me that I plunked in SEVENTHS for [Another round at the buffet, say].

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0916 ( 23,688 )

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Across
1
Horse race's starting point : GATE
5
Lovers' quarrel : SPAT
9
Bracelet location : WRIST
14
Rows : OARS
15
Novelist ___ Stanley Gardner : ERLE
16
Lena of stage and screen : HORNE
17
Golf course hazard : TRAP
18
Use friendly persuasion : COAX
19
Territory east of Alaska : YUKON
20
1990s R&B group with a repetitive-sounding name : TONYTONITONE
23
Some doorways : INS
24
Sinus specialist, briefly : ENT
25
Genre of Walter Isaacson's "Steve Jobs," for short : BIO
26
___ pedal (guitar accessory) : WAH
29
City midway between Detroit and Toronto : LONDONONTARIO
33
Throws a tantrum : ERUPTS
35
Thumb-to-forefinger signal : AOK
36
Hats, informally : LIDS
37
What Velcro may substitute for : LACES
38
Commercial ending with Water : PIK
39
Curriculum ___ : VITAE
40
Looked at : EYED
41
Early Mets manager Hodges : GIL
42
Ophthalmologist's concern : RETINA
43
June to September, in India : MONSOONSEASON
46
Bank acct. earnings : INT
47
Whiskey variety : RYE
48
___-roaring : RIP
49
"Today" rival, for short : GMA
52
How a motormouth talks ... or what 20-, 29- and 43-Across literally have in common : ONANDONANDON
55
Last word of "The Star-Spangled Banner" : BRAVE
58
"Topaz" author Leon : URIS
59
Penny : CENT
60
Psyched : EAGER
61
Dish you might sprinkle cheese on : TACO
62
"Get it?" response : ISEE
63
File material : EMERY
64
Ugly Duckling, eventually : SWAN
65
"The ___ the limit!" : SKYS
Down
1
The family in the 2009 best seller "This Family of Mine" : GOTTI
2
Hank who hit 755 homers : AARON
3
Like sheer fabric or sautéed onions : TRANSLUCENT
4
Catch sight of : ESPY
5
Another round at the buffet, say : SECONDS
6
Immediately : PRONTO
7
Jai ___ : ALAI
8
Required school purchase, maybe : TEXTBOOK
9
"Oh, what the heck?" : WHYNOT
10
Philanderer : ROUE
11
Grate on : IRK
12
___-cone : SNO
13
Important number on Downing Street : TEN
21
Camp sights : TENTS
22
Porker's sound : OINK
26
Secretary : WRITINGDESK
27
Actor Quinn : AIDAN
28
Old Testament book : HOSEA
30
Maureen Dowd pieces : OPEDS
31
They can take a pounding : NAILS
32
Samuel on the Supreme Court : ALITO
33
Resin used in incense : ELEMI
34
Synthetic fabric : RAYON
38
Ingredients in pesto : PINENUTS
39
Italian motor scooter : VESPA
41
Francisco who painted frescoes : GOYA
42
Dampens, as a parade : RAINSON
44
Stubborn : ORNERY
45
Beethoven's Third : EROICA
50
$$$ : MONEY
51
Gets the pot started : ANTES
52
Choice on a gambling line : OVER
53
Stalemate : DRAW
54
TV drama set in the D.C. area : NCIS
55
Busy one : BEE
56
Crash into : RAM
57
Store in a cask, say : AGE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?