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, September 22, 2014

Author:
Ian Livengood
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
554/12/20109/15/20164
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
617667112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64371
Ian Livengood

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 43 for Mr. Livengood. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ian Livengood notes:
The synonym of 'X' theme has thousands of possibilities, so the execution better be close to perfect. I tried to: Pick ... read more

The synonym of "X" theme has thousands of possibilities, so the execution better be close to perfect. I tried to:

  1. Pick interesting theme entries.
  2. Put all the synonyms in the beginning or end of the theme answers.
  3. Fill grid with Monday-level fill since, you know, it's a Monday theme. (ACH and STE are the only two meh entries.)
  4. Make the synonyms one level removed from their base phrase. (This is probably what separates a puzzle like this getting accepted vs. rejected.)

Trickiest area to fill was the P??F? section. You've got PROFS, PUFFS, PUFFY, POUFS ... and that's about it. But pretty happy how this one turned out.

Will Shortz notes:
Should a theme come with or without a revealer? To me it depends on the puzzle. Sometimes a revealer entry — one that explains ... read more

Should a theme come with or without a revealer? To me it depends on the puzzle. Sometimes a revealer entry — one that explains what or where the puzzle's theme is — is needed for clarity. In this puzzle, though, you're on your own. You just have to notice that the starting words in the five longest Across answers are related. If you do, you get a nice aha.

Jeff Chen notes:
Ian puts on a clinic today, executing on a synonyms theme with near perfection. I like when a Monday theme isn't blatantly obvious, ... read more

Ian puts on a clinic today, executing on a synonyms theme with near perfection. I like when a Monday theme isn't blatantly obvious, apparent as soon as you enter a few answers. I wasn't sure what was going on when I finished, and seeing the tie between STICK, CANE, POLE, STAFF, and ROD gave me a neat realization of how everything tied together.

I agree with Ian that synonym puzzles work best when the words are one step removed from their common meanings. ROD, for example, completely camouflages the "stick" meaning. STAFF works nicely as well, STICK and POLE too. CANE is not quite to the same level since sugarcane does have some connection to the cane shape. But still, CANE SUGAR does its job, hiding what's going on to some degree.

It's really impressive how little glue Ian uses in this puzzle. For Monday puzzles, that's so important, as a lone OLIO or even an ERNE can potentially turn off newer solvers. And with five themers, cleanliness is a tall order. Ian does well to choose a seven-letter middle answer, which makes everything much easier than if it were a nine, 11, or a 13. Veteran move.

I did find that the STICKUP in STICKUP MEN stuck out, though. I find consistency elegant, and having a lone instance of "this one does not look like the others" feels a bit off. I'm not sure what an alternate themer would have been though, considering how few "STICK *" answers there are that don't give away the game. STICK IN would work, but it's not nearly as jazzy as STICKUP MEN. So I think Ian's compromise is okay.

Patrick Berry's Crossword Construction book is unfortunately a bit hard to come by. Someone ought to think about writing the follow-on cough cough Livengood.

1
B
2
E
3
A
4
N
5
F
6
A
7
V
8
O
9
R
10
S
11
C
12
A
13
M
14
E
A
V
E
15
E
R
I
C
A
16
T
O
G
A
17
S
T
I
C
18
K
U
P
M
E
N
19
A
M
E
X
20
T
A
L
K
E
D
21
A
G
22
A
T
E
23
S
T
A
T
E
24
C
25
A
N
E
S
U
G
26
A
27
R
28
I
N
29
L
A
W
S
30
T
R
E
V
I
31
P
32
I
33
P
E
34
O
L
E
35
T
O
E
T
A
G
36
L
S
U
37
P
O
L
E
38
C
A
R
39
M
I
G
40
A
L
T
41
E
R
S
42
B
U
N
43
G
E
L
S
44
Y
E
S
N
O
45
S
I
E
S
46
T
A
47
S
T
A
F
F
48
C
U
T
S
49
I
N
50
K
51
E
52
D
53
S
O
S
A
D
54
A
N
G
O
L
A
55
P
56
A
I
R
57
R
O
58
D
59
S
T
E
W
A
R
T
60
A
C
D
C
61
A
K
I
T
A
62
A
L
O
E
63
W
H
E
E
64
T
U
N
E
D
65
R
A
Y
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0922 ( 23,694 )

Support XWord Info today

Access this site for a full year:

  1. Select your level
  2. Choose how to pay

Learn about support levels.

$50 — Angel

Full access + download

$20 — Regular User

Full access, limited Finder

$10 — Casual User

Students & seniors
Across
1
Noggin : BEAN
5
Handout to a party guest : FAVOR
10
Almost any "Get rich quick!" offer : SCAM
14
House overhang : EAVE
15
Jong who wrote "Fear of Flying" : ERICA
16
Frat house party wear : TOGA
17
Bank heist group : STICKUPMEN
19
Visa or MasterCard rival, informally : AMEX
20
Conversed : TALKED
21
Tiny type size : AGATE
23
The "S" in 36-Across : STATE
24
Sweet rum component : CANESUGAR
28
Relatives by marriage : INLAWS
30
Rome's ___ Fountain : TREVI
31
Appurtenance for Santa or Sherlock Holmes : PIPE
34
Cheer for a torero : OLE
35
Morgue identification : TOETAG
36
Sch. in Baton Rouge : LSU
37
Indy 500 leader : POLECAR
39
Russian jet : MIG
40
Changes : ALTERS
42
Hamburger holder : BUN
43
Hair goops : GELS
44
Kind of question with only two answers : YESNO
45
South-of-the-border nap : SIESTA
47
Company downsizings : STAFFCUTS
49
Signed, as a contract : INKED
53
"A pity!" : SOSAD
54
Coastal land south of Congo : ANGOLA
55
Couple : PAIR
57
British rocker with the 1979 #1 hit "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?" : RODSTEWART
60
Electrical adapter letters : ACDC
61
Japanese dog breed : AKITA
62
___ vera (skin soother) : ALOE
63
Cry on a roller coaster : WHEE
64
Adjusted the pitch of, as an instrument : TUNED
65
Sunbeams : RAYS
Down
1
Opposite (or synonym) of worsts : BESTS
2
Really bother : EATAT
3
St. Teresa of ___ : AVILA
4
Item not worn on casual Fridays : NECKTIE
5
Fight between late-night hosts, e.g. : FEUD
6
Dadaist artist Jean : ARP
7
Pep : VIM
8
Atlantic and Pacific : OCEANS
9
Stove : RANGE
10
Height : STATURE
11
"I'm stranded and need a ride" : COMEGETME
12
Grow older : AGE
13
Reach the limit, with "out" : MAX
18
Astute : KEEN
22
Fur trader John Jacob ___ : ASTOR
24
Telephone : CALL
25
Not very much : AWEEBIT
26
To no ___ (in vain) : AVAIL
27
Bobby who lost 1973's Battle of the Sexes tennis match : RIGGS
29
Eton johns : LOOS
31
"Hamlet" and "Macbeth" : PLAYS
32
Speck of land in the sea : ISLET
33
Takes off the front burner : PUTSASIDE
35
Gets color at the beach : TANS
37
Univ. lecturers : PROFS
38
Stage prompts : CUES
41
Carry out, as a law : ENFORCE
43
Fight over turf : GANGWAR
45
Numerical puzzle with a 9x9 grid : SUDOKU
46
Fork prong : TINE
48
Gem weight : CARAT
50
Down Under "bear" : KOALA
51
Jetson boy of 1960s TV : ELROY
52
Results of using eHarmony : DATES
54
Not very much : ATAD
55
Animal foot : PAW
56
German's "Oh my!" : ACH
58
Loud noise : DIN
59
Sault ___ Marie, Ont. : STE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?