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, Thursday, September 24, 2015

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1105/2/200610/16/201912
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
612253714106
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.565313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 33 Missing: {JQVWYZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 92 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:
The original version of this one had BALTO TO TOTO TOME at 17-Across. That would've led to the tighter clue 'One volume of the ... read more

The original version of this one had BALTO TO TOTO TOME at 17-Across. That would've led to the tighter clue "One volume of the Encyclopedia of Movie Dogs?". Unfortunately, Will thought Balto was too obscure in his own right (as the hero of the original Iditarod), let alone as the star of the 1995 animated film "Balto".

That film was getting heavy rotation in the Collins VCR back in the day, as in the late ‘90s our four preteen girls were deep into a) dogs, and b) animated movies. About that time our family was passing through Cleveland on our way home from a family reunion. We stopped at the Natural History Museum. Imagine our surprise when we turned a corner and stumbled upon the real Balto, stuffed and standing in a plexiglass box. Our youngest daughter flipped out. Why a famous sled dog from Alaska ended up in Cleveland is a mystery to me. There's also a Balto statue in Central Park in New York. Another mystery to me.

If you were really to make one volume of an encyclopedia of Movie Pets and Sidekicks from Tonto to Toto, I think you'd have a hard time filling an index card let alone a tome. Therein lies the humor, I guess.

This puzzle was finally accepted last February. After a second and third revision (both involving TONTO for BALTO), it was decided to revert back to the second version. The third version had fewer three-letter entries, but overall the fill wasn't as good.

Jeff Chen notes:
Nicely consistent theme; a pair of letters repeated exactly four times (total of five instances) within a kooky sentence. I AM A MAMA ... read more

Nicely consistent theme; a pair of letters repeated exactly four times (total of five instances) within a kooky sentence. I AM A MAMA MAMBA gave me a chuckle — it would make a great seed for a picture book! LEND A DAD A DADA was a neat exercise in parse-ology, forcing me to struggle to figure out where the spaces went. Entertaining.

I AM A MA MAMA MBA! Er, A MAMA MAMBA!

I always appreciate getting some long pieces of fill in a crossword, and Pete hits my wavelength today with six long entries. SMOKE ALARMS, NEXT IN LINE, PHOTO ALBUMS, and RATTED ON are all strong entries in my book. And although SANTA MONICA is average-ish to me, the "Three's Company" clue brought me back to the days when Jack Tripper was my boyhood hero.

Sad, isn't it?

Note how well Pete spaces out his long downs. None of them are piled up against each other, and they're all separated by a good number of black squares. I personally use similar arrangements of six long downs all the time, as it makes for surprisingly easy filling. All this extra material for the price of only an EDE and a minor AGRI = good execution.

Great to get even more sparkle in ONE SEED, too. I dropped in TOP SEED, but ONE SEED is a term I hear all the time during the NCAA basketball tourney.

Will's mentioned that all he's looking for out of a Thursday crossword is for it to be harder than a Wednesday. One way to do this is to simply crank up the difficulty of the clues. Take [Tots] for example. It took me forever to figure out that it obliquely referred to "totals up," not "little kid." I personally find it much more satisfying to have the theme concept of the crossword difficult, not the clues, though. Once I cottoned to this particular trick, looking for letter-repetitions made it too easy for my taste to fill in the theme answers.

The clue for ABA gave me a middle-schooler's tee-hee — the last part of the [Org. with red, white and blue balls, once] clue made me think of something very different. Ahem.

1
S
2
L
3
I
4
M
5
R
6
I
7
B
8
S
9
A
10
L
11
P
12
H
13
A
14
I
O
N
E
15
A
D
A
M
16
M
A
H
E
R
17
T
O
N
T
18
O
T
O
T
O
19
T
O
T
O
M
E
20
U
P
S
H
O
T
21
K
O
I
22
T
E
A
23
O
N
E
24
S
25
E
E
D
26
E
O
N
S
27
L
28
E
29
N
D
A
D
A
D
A
D
30
A
D
A
31
A
R
E
S
32
O
N
E
L
33
B
U
L
34
B
35
S
36
M
I
X
37
A
N
T
38
A
39
H
A
40
B
A
A
41
P
E
T
42
E
R
43
A
44
G
R
I
45
P
U
R
R
46
I
A
M
47
A
M
A
M
A
48
M
A
M
B
A
49
M
50
E
N
U
51
D
O
G
S
T
A
R
52
A
T
L
53
F
E
N
54
U
G
A
55
N
56
D
57
A
58
T
H
I
59
S
I
S
I
60
S
61
I
S
I
S
A
I
D
62
E
I
N
E
N
63
C
A
K
E
64
O
P
E
D
65
O
C
E
A
N
66
A
G
E
S
67
L
E
T
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0924 ( 24,061 )

Support XWord Info today

Pay now and get access for a year.

1. Select account level
2. Choose how to pay
Across
1
Not much, but better than none : SLIM
5
Cookout fare : RIBS
9
Head dog : ALPHA
14
One of the Nereids in Greek myth : IONE
15
Garden party? : ADAM
16
TV host who said "It's all been satirized for your protection" : MAHER
17
One volume in the Encyclopedia of Movie Pets and Sidekicks? : TONTOTOTOTOTOME
20
Outcome : UPSHOT
21
Goldfish relative : KOI
22
Instant ___ : TEA
23
Tournament favorite : ONESEED
26
Forever : EONS
27
Let someone's father borrow this Arp or that Duchamp? : LENDADADADADA
31
God with a shield : ARES
32
Scott Turow title : ONEL
33
Some spring plantings : BULBS
36
This and that : MIX
37
Social worker? : ANT
38
"You are so busted!" : AHA
40
Bucolic sound : BAA
41
Sellers of many films : PETER
43
Farming prefix : AGRI
45
Engine sound : PURR
46
Statement from the proud snake as its eggs were hatching? : IAMAMAMAMAMBA
49
Remote button : MENU
51
Sirius : DOGSTAR
52
Hawks' home: Abbr. : ATL
53
Bog : FEN
54
Lake Victoria locale : UGANDA
58
Recounting of the time you introduced the Egyptian goddess of fertility? : THISISISISISAID
62
German article : EINEN
63
Staple at a wedding reception : CAKE
64
Piece that can go left or right : OPED
65
Much of a world map : OCEAN
66
Forever : AGES
67
"Sure, I'm game" : LETS
Down
1
In ___ (as found) : SITU
2
Aerial stunt : LOOP
3
Comfort spots? : INNS
4
Section of a science paper : METHODS
5
Sold down the river, in a way : RATTEDON
6
Ringing endorsement? : IDO
7
Stick in a dugout : BAT
8
Signals to leave? : SMOKEALARMS
9
Mine, in Marseille : AMOI
10
Back muscle, to weightlifters : LAT
11
Where to get in your best shots? : PHOTOALBUM
12
Weightlifter types : HEMEN
13
Places : AREAS
18
Chaplin of "Game of Thrones" : OONA
19
Chuck of NBC News : TODD
24
"Three's Company" setting : SANTAMONICA
25
Palindromic Dutch city : EDE
26
End of a commencement speaker's address? : EDU
27
Part of the Pixar logo : LAMP
28
Sandusky's lake : ERIE
29
Like Charles vis-à-vis Elizabeth : NEXTINLINE
30
Org. with red, white and blue balls, once : ABA
34
Sharp remark : BARB
35
F.D.R.'s mother : SARA
37
Branch : ARM
39
Breaks : HIATUSES
42
Toilette water? : EAU
44
Shtick bit : GAG
45
Object seen in Seurat's "La Grande Jatte" : PARASOL
47
Citrus drinks : ADES
48
Figures in a crèche : MAGI
49
Start of the Nuevo Testamento : MATEO
50
Work ___ : ETHIC
53
Fictional boy who claimed "All kings is mostly rapscallions" : FINN
55
Scruff : NAPE
56
"Breakthrough" detailed in many a best seller : DIET
57
Tots : ADDS
59
Locale for Wynken, Blynken and Nod : SEA
60
Annual awards org. : SAG
61
Old White House nickname : IKE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?