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

New York Times, Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Author: Victor Barocas and Tom Pepper
Editor: Will Shortz
Victor Barocas
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
92/9/20115/22/20165
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3012300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62022
Tom Pepper
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
72/6/201210/19/20163
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0311200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64011

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 81, Blocks: 38 Missing: {BKQ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Barocas. This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Pepper. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: WIZARDOFAAHS is one of Victor's favorite theme types — the dorky pun (see Victor's May 14, 2014 NYT puzzle to get the idea). It was ... more
Constructor notes:

WIZARDOFAAHS is one of Victor's favorite theme types — the dorky pun (see Victor's May 14, 2014 NYT puzzle to get the idea). It was nice that the three AAHs are different (amazement at the fireworks, comfort from the massage, and just a convenient vocalization to open one's throat for the doc).

We've found that we get along well and work well together. This seemed like a good opportunity to work together, which as expected, we both enjoyed a lot. We hope that people had as much fun solving the puzzle as we had making it.

Jeff Chen notes: Loved this idea; three people who elicit 'aahs,' playfully nicknamed the WIZARD OF AAHS. One-word themers can often come out dull, but OTOLARI, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Loved this idea; three people who elicit "aahs," playfully nicknamed the WIZARD OF AAHS. One-word themers can often come out dull, but OTOLARI, er OTOLAYR, dang it! OTOLARYNGOLOGIST is a neat word. MASSAGE THERAPIST is a colorful answer as well. What a perfect pairing of 16-letter answers, both people strongly associated with AAHS.

Say AAH ...

I want to stress how much I liked this idea before I launch into my next paragraphs. Just the fact that I spent so much time thinking about the following shows how much I wanted this already neat idea to be the perfect crossword.

PYROTECHNIST. I was so convinced it was PYROTECHNICIAN that I thought rebus squares were in play. Maybe that IAN had been rebified? I had to force myself to enter the -NIST ending, my hands refusing to obey even at the very end. I totally get why Victor and Tom did this — at 14 letters, PYROTECHNICIAN doesn't match lengths with WIZARD OF OZ (10), THE WIZARD OF OZ (13), WIZARD OF AAHS (12), or THE WIZARD OF AAHS (15) — but it felt like a big compromise. Google does show 50K hits for PYROTECHNIST, so it's legit.

Ish.

Additionally, pyrotechnicians do elicit AAHS, but it's more OOHS and AAHS, with an emphasis on the former. This takes PYROTECHNIST further away from the other two themers for me, as the others are so strongly all about AAHS. I might have actually preferred just three total themers: OTOLARYNGOLOGIST, MASSAGE THERAPIST, and WIZARD OF AAHS right in the middle.

I appreciated much of the fill. Getting the long and colorful ILLUMINATI and OPENS DOORS goes a long ways to add zest. Not a fan of the old-school ITERS though. Those west and east sections are tough, what with having to work with two grid-spanning themers. The starts of OTOL... and MASS... combine with OPENS DOORS to make it a tough little section to fill, but I would have liked some massaging there to strip out ITERS.

It's rare that I like an idea so much I obsess about it this much after solving. POW! for me despite the minor shortcomings. Put a big smile on my face.

1
V
2
E
3
S
4
P
5
A
6
A
7
R
8
M
9
A
10
D
11
A
12
I
13
R
14
E
15
I
N
E
R
T
16
R
A
I
S
I
N
17
L
O
X
18
P
Y
R
O
T
19
E
C
H
N
I
S
T
20
L
A
P
21
A
F
F
I
X
22
I
S
P
23
J
U
N
O
24
I
C
E
25
M
26
A
N
27
E
28
D
A
M
29
O
30
T
31
O
L
A
R
Y
N
G
32
O
L
O
G
I
33
S
34
T
35
P
E
P
E
36
T
R
E
37
Y
S
L
38
N
O
V
39
I
T
E
R
40
S
41
T
W
42
O
S
43
T
44
S
A
R
S
45
U
R
N
46
P
47
A
L
48
A
T
49
F
50
E
T
T
E
51
M
A
S
52
S
A
G
E
53
T
H
E
R
54
A
P
I
S
T
55
D
E
M
O
56
A
U
R
O
R
A
57
C
58
H
O
W
59
N
60
U
M
61
D
A
R
62
T
63
S
64
L
E
O
65
W
I
Z
A
66
R
67
D
O
F
A
A
H
68
S
69
O
A
R
70
V
E
I
L
E
D
71
A
T
R
I
A
72
G
P
S
73
A
S
S
E
N
T
74
T
E
E
N
Y
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0922 ( 24,059 )
Across Down
1. Italian scooter brand : VESPA
6. Fleet opposed by Sir Francis Drake : ARMADA
12. Wrath : IRE
15. Unreactive : INERT
16. Fruit in a cereal bowl : RAISIN
17. It's smoked in a deli : LOX
18. Fireworks expert : PYROTECHNIST
20. One mile, at Churchill Downs : LAP
21. Fasten (to) : AFFIX
22. AOL or Verizon, for short : ISP
23. Hera, to the Romans : JUNO
24. He "cometh" in an O'Neill play : ICEMAN
27. Dutch cheese : EDAM
29. Head and neck physician : OTOLARYNGOLOGIST
35. Stinky Le Pew : PEPE
36. Uno + due : TRE
37. Haute couture monogram : YSL
38. Election Day mo. : NOV
39. Roman roads : ITERS
41. "Terrible" period : TWOS
43. Boris Godunov and others : TSARS
45. Cremains container : URN
46. Word after pen or gal : PAL
48. Fed. agency that conducts raids : ATF
50. Suffix with towel : ETTE
51. Hard rubber, maybe : MASSAGETHERAPIST
55. Infomercial component : DEMO
56. Colorado city just east of Denver : AURORA
57. Grub : CHOW
59. Book of the Bible between Lev. and Deut. : NUM
61. Pub game : DARTS
64. DiCaprio, to friends : LEO
65. Alternative name for 18-, 29- or 51-Across? : WIZARDOFAAHS
69. Sculler's need : OAR
70. Like some threats and brides : VEILED
71. Heart chambers : ATRIA
72. Common taxi feature : GPS
73. Say yes : ASSENT
74. Minuscule : TEENY
1. Bigwig : VIP
2. One-named Irish Grammy winner : ENYA
3. Feudal worker : SERF
4. Serial crime investigator : PROFILER
5. New York prison famous for a 1971 riot : ATTICA
6. Lob's path : ARC
7. "Go team!" : RAH
8. Field in which people pick their work? : MINING
9. Risky way to buy a used car : ASIS
10. Drives away : DISPELS
11. Tidbit for an aardvark : ANT
12. "Angels & Demons" group whose name is Latin for "enlightened" : ILLUMINATI
13. Color similar to chestnut : ROAN
14. Montreal baseballer, once : EXPO
19. Apply, as pressure : EXERT
23. Show from which "NCIS" was spun off : JAG
25. ___ Beach, S.C. : MYRTLE
26. All over again : ANEW
28. Lamebrain : DOLT
29. Heroin source : OPIUM
30. Half of octo- : TETRA
31. Affords opportunities : OPENSDOORS
32. Pearl maker : OYSTER
33. Puts in order : SORTS
34. Something that might have you working through channels? : TVSET
40. Stuff caught in a filter : SPAM
42. Pearl Harbor location : OAHU
44. Not together : SEPARATE
47. Miseries : AGONIES
49. "The Lord of the Rings" ring bearer : FRODO
52. Use a Singer, say : SEW
53. Cornhusk-wrapped food : TAMALE
54. 1994 Peace co-Nobelist : ARAFAT
57. Drano target : CLOG
58. Amount of trouble? : HEAP
60. Israeli submachine guns : UZIS
62. Amount subtracted from gross weight : TARE
63. Body part guarded in soccer : SHIN
65. State whose license plate says "Wild, Wonderful": Abbr. : WVA
66. Stimpy's cartoon cohort : REN
67. Pesticide banned in 1972 : DDT
68. Second word of "The Star-Spangled Banner" : SAY

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?