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New York Times, Friday, September 25, 2015

Author: James Mulhern
Editor: Will Shortz
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1.60000
James Mulhern

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 28 Missing: {FJWXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Mulhern. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
James Mulhern notes: I put this puzzle together during the height of the triple-stack center craze of the early 2010's, when some of my favorite ... more
James Mulhern notes:

I put this puzzle together during the height of the triple-stack center craze of the early 2010's, when some of my favorite constructors were producing gorgeous examples of this type of grid. Basically, I wanted a challenge and a slick way to accomodate a double-Q, 12-letter seed entry.

Other than some less-than-perfect short stuff I'd like back (sigh), one entry I fell out of love with in this grid is INTERNET ECONOMY. I'd been trying to push more "business stuff" in the grid for a while, feeling that it was a major section of the newspaper that's too often ignored in puzzles. I didn't properly account for the fact that it's often the most boring section, too. This phrase feels a little shaky and doesn't sparkle enough for the amount of real estate it occupies. A bit of a miscalculation in my opinion.

That being said, it's not a terrible entry, and I think there's some fun stuff in here. I particularly like the musical vibe throughout — I was a classical pianist in a prior life. Hope you all enjoy. Happy Friday!

Jeff Chen notes: Awesome skeleton; three sparkly answers stacked in the middle with INTERNET ECONOMY running through them. (I loved seeing INTERNET ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Awesome skeleton; three sparkly answers stacked in the middle with INTERNET ECONOMY running through them. (I loved seeing INTERNET ECONOMY — I always read the business section first.) QUOTE UNQUOTE is my favorite kind of entry — it baffled me, especially as I tried to figure out if it was one word or many, plus it's a great phrase and amenable to potentially sneaky clue.

Max BAER defeats Arthur BAER!

The layout also allows for many more long entries. Ten additional slots for 8+ letter entries = such potential for assets!

Starting in the upper left: even though I tend to not like one-word answers and proper nouns that much, AMERICANA is snazzy, and PAVAROTTI both has huge fame and plays to the NYT's learned audience. I didn't care for IM A MAC as that commercial tagline is quite outdated by now, and ACS is a crossword convention that many an editor has let by. This annoyingly strict mechanical engineer sighs.

I dug the lower left. Although O SOLE MIO has been used a ton in crosswords now, it's still a classic work. The fact that PAVAROTTI has performed it many times helps its cause today. DONE DEAL is also a jazzy entry, and best yet, that corner is nice and clean. NEMEA might be tough for some, but this huge fan of Greek myths will be assigning stable-cleaning duty to any cynics. Plus, all the crossings are fair ... unless someone can justify hearing OYs on a ship.

(Okay, the Argo went through a lot. Oy!)

I don't mind a bit of ANODIC or AMINES, but both in one puzzle isn't ideal for me. Even with CEES and ACS, I still wasn't bothered … until I hit the lower right.

I'm vaguely familiar with PARSI, but PARSEE looks variant-ish, given that a few dictionaries list it as such. It might be perfectly fine since it's a word ported to English without a definite spelling. But man oh man, trying to figure out the BAER and GARRET crossings was rough.

I know Max BAER from crosswords now, but Arthur "Bugs" BAER and GARRET, a word rarely used during the Shortz era … yikes! Made for an unfortunately unsatisfying ending to an otherwise fun solve.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0925 ( 24,062 )
Across Down
1. Product of Champagne country : PINOTNOIR
10. Easy score, of a sort : TIPIN
15. Diners and drive-in theaters : AMERICANA
16. Film that might have "XXX" in its title : PORNO
17. Singer with the Guinness Book record for greatest number of curtain calls at a single performance (165) : PAVAROTTI
18. Muzzle : SNOUT
19. Organic compounds with nitrogen : AMINES
20. Course for a prospective citizen, for short : ESL
22. Place to ski in Italy : ETNA
23. Masculine side : YANG
24. Hardly Mr. Right : CREEP
26. Lead-in to meter : ODO
27. Coolers, informally : ACS
28. Quick drive : SPIN
30. Container with a long spout : OILCAN
32. So-called (but not really) : QUOTEUNQUOTE
34. Real problem : DOUBLETROUBLE
36. Partially : TOSOMEDEGREE
37. Like certain battery ends : ANODIC
38. 2.0s : CEES
39. Certain fund drive holder, for short : PTA
42. Come together : GEL
43. Food items that may be sold in stands : TACOS
45. Old newspaper humorist Arthur "Bugs" ___ : BAER
46. Dystopia's opposite : EDEN
48. Shout in a disaster movie : RUN
49. Attic : GARRET
51. Where Hercules slew the lion : NEMEA
53. Capital on the Indian Ocean : MOGADISHU
55. Symbol of freshness : DAISY
56. Worker for Walt Disney theme parks : IMAGINEER
57. Vegas attraction : SLOTS
58. Ones getting a Bronx cheer, for short? : NYYANKEES
1. Smoothie fruit : PAPAYA
2. Apple advertising catchphrase : IMAMAC
3. Civil War historian Allan : NEVINS
4. Animal in "The Jungle Book," for short : ORANG
5. Fade : TIRE
6. Base runners, in brief? : NCOS
7. Kind of flour : OAT
8. Google and Alibaba are parts of it : INTERNETECONOMY
9. Rear : RAISE
10. Plays a campus prank on, informally : TPS
11. "The Last Days of Pompeii" heroine : IONE
12. What diplomats follow : PROTOCOL
13. Swamp : INUNDATE
14. Zip : NOTAONE
21. Heroine of "Fidelio" : LEONORE
24. Commended : CITED
25. Stimulates : PIQUES
28. Last step of an online application : SUBMIT
29. Leader of the pack? : POLECAR
31. Use a 30-Across : LUBE
32. Which, in Latin : QUOD
33. Pushes on : URGES
34. It's all sewn up : DONEDEAL
35. Song for which 17-Across won a Grammy : OSOLEMIO
36. Final pieces : TAGENDS
39. Indian Zoroastrian : PARSEE
40. Snicker : TEEHEE
41. Pianist Schnabel and conductor Rodzinski : ARTURS
44. Spice in Indian cuisine : CUMIN
45. Lip : BRINK
47. Fit snugly : NEST
49. Head over heels : GAGA
50. Game point situation : ADIN
52. Ship cries : AYS
54. ___ marriage : GAY

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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