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

New York Times, Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Author:
Ross Trudeau
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
122/9/201712/18/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5140200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63011
Ross Trudeau

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 37 Missing: {FJQ} Spans: 1 Grid has mirror symmetry. This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Trudeau. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ross Trudeau notes:
Maybe this 'protest puzz' is a little late to the game. I take the T to work here in Boston, and these days it seems the boorish ... read more

Maybe this "protest puzz" is a little late to the game. I take the T to work here in Boston, and these days it seems the boorish commuter MAN SPREADS less than he KEEPS HIS BACKPACK ON in a crowded car. (Though it bears noting that there's a pretty healthy "would you like to sit down?" culture on the Red Line. Go, team!)

Also, the bizarre triple stack juxtaposition of AMY POEHLER / MAN SPREADS/ SLEEP APNEA felt like an acceptable trade-off for some 3-letter glue in the center.

Jeff Chen notes:
Will's got a tough job, adhering to the NYT's tone and brand. Other editors get to debut all sorts of interesting terms at their ... read more

Will's got a tough job, adhering to the NYT's tone and brand. Other editors get to debut all sorts of interesting terms at their leisure, but Will is careful to maintain standards that he feels is appropriate for the NYT. Several years ago, he rejected one of my themelesses because DROPPED THE F-BOMB was too crass. And a while back, he said he wouldn't allow MANSPREAD, for similar reasons.

The Times, it is a changin'!

(F-BOMB debuted in 2015, MANSPREADS today – don't forget the cheeky SHTUP!)

It's a slow process of adoption, but I think that's a good thing. MANSPREADS felt a whole lot edgier back when the term first arose. Now, it's more mainstream, more acceptable for NYT usage.

Today's MANSPREADS visual was a bit too graphic for my taste, given the image in the bottom center of the puzzle.

What, you don't see it?

Um.

I don't either.

Ahem.

Let's change the subject and talk about puzzle tech. I like Ross's use of mirror symmetry, which feels appropriate for the theme. Check out the placement of the MANSPREADS revealer, down the centerline of the grid. That's rarely done because it forces a 10x3 chunk – you can't deploy black squares around it in columns 7 or 9 like you usually would using regular symmetry. And 10x3 chunks in a themed puzzle usually = no bueno!

It's a good thing Ross is a solid constructor. Some AMS ISS OPP LOA needed, but that's not that bad. A reasonable price to pay for the long bonuses.

The grid did feel pretty tough though; not welcoming for newer solvers. Entries like ELBERT, BYNES, TYNAN, MAXWELL ANDERSON give the puzzle an "I have to know trivia to do crosswords?" feel. That isn't the case since the crossings were all fair, but still, it can leave newbs with a sour aftertaste.

Also, given the simple theme, the complexity of the fill felt dissonant.

Overall, I liked the acknowledgment of the super-annoying phenomenon — dudes, keep them legs together! — but I felt like the bit wasn't enough to sustain an entire puzzle.

(And now I can't look away from that bottom center visual. My eyes, they're burning!)

1
U
2
S
3
E
4
D
5
O
6
M
7
A
8
N
9
I
10
A
11
C
12
T
13
S
14
N
U
D
E
15
R
A
T
O
N
16
B
A
R
E
17
C
B
G
B
18
E
A
T
A
T
19
S
L
A
W
20
A
W
E
21
M
C
M
A
H
O
22
N
23
V
I
A
24
S
A
I
25
D
O
K
26
W
A
27
K
I
N
G
28
T
Y
N
A
N
29
A
30
M
31
S
32
S
E
N
S
E
33
M
A
34
M
M
A
L
35
I
A
N
36
M
37
O
38
V
E
39
B
Y
N
E
S
40
O
41
V
42
E
43
R
44
A
P
E
45
A
P
S
E
S
46
A
V
A
47
N
E
R
48
V
49
E
50
O
P
P
51
H
52
O
M
E
R
53
U
N
T
I
L
54
E
R
A
55
A
D
O
R
E
56
B
E
E
B
57
H
E
P
58
Z
O
O
M
59
M
A
X
W
E
60
L
L
A
N
61
D
E
R
S
O
62
N
63
A
R
E
64
R
O
E
D
E
E
R
65
E
R
E
66
A
S
S
67
T
A
R
S
A
L
S
68
D
E
W
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0925 ( 25,158 )

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. Secondhand : USED
5. Native of Muscat : OMANI
10. Drama units : ACTS
14. Like photos that violate one of Instagram's community guidelines : NUDE
15. Betray by selling out : RATON
16. Unadorned : BARE
17. Legendary N.Y.C. punk rock club : CBGB
18. Really vex : EATAT
19. Common picnic side dish : SLAW
20. Leave gobsmacked : AWE
21. W.W.E. head Vince ___ : MCMAHON
23. By way of : VIA
24. Verbally consented : SAIDOK
26. Coming to : WAKING
28. Tenor Ronan ___ : TYNAN
29. Early hrs. : AMS
32. Something "common" that's not really so common : SENSE
33. Like bats, cats and rats : MAMMALIAN
36. With 40-Across, comment to someone who 30-Down : MOVE
39. Amanda of Nickelodeon's "The Amanda Show" : BYNES
40. See 36-Across : OVER
44. "Great" primate : APE
45. Church recesses : APSES
46. "Selma" director DuVernay : AVA
47. Courage : NERVE
50. Antonym: Abbr. : OPP
51. Hit a four-bagger : HOMER
53. To the point that : UNTIL
54. ___ of Good Feelings : ERA
55. Absolutely love : ADORE
56. Network on the telly, with "the" : BEEB
57. Cool, to a jive talker : HEP
58. Go a mile a minute : ZOOM
59. Pulitzer-winning playwright for "Both Your Houses" : MAXWELLANDERSON
63. "___ you serious?" : ARE
64. Eurasian animals with antlers : ROEDEER
65. Before, to poets : ERE
66. Donkey : ASS
67. Foot bones : TARSALS
68. Wet blanket? : DEW
Down
1. Still to be filled, as a role : UNCAST
2. With 12-Down, places where a thoughtless person 30-Down : SUBWAY
3. Enter by sidling : EDGEIN
4. Ball belle, briefly : DEB
5. Hoover competitor : ORECK
6. "Just the facts, ___" : MAAM
7. Lead-in to girl or boy : ATTA
8. Biblical patriarch-turned-sailor : NOAH
9. Being pulled : INTOW
10. Muscles in sit-ups, informally : ABS
11. Comics boy who says "Reality continues to ruin my life" : CALVIN
12. See 2-Down : TRAINS
13. Underground waste : SEWAGE
21. "___ Lisa" : MONA
22. Org. prominent at Cape Canaveral : NASA
25. Title for Judi Dench : DAME
27. Casino game : KENO
29. "Parks and Recreation" star : AMYPOEHLER
30. Crowds one's seatmates, in a way ... or a hint to the circled letters : MANSPREADS
31. Nighttime breathing disorder : SLEEPAPNEA
34. Deg. for a C.E.O. : MBA
35. Magazine no. : ISS
36. Four-time N.B.A. champ Ginobili : MANU
37. Free drink locales : OPENBARS
38. Corners in geometry : VERTEXES
41. Skedaddled : VAMOOSED
42. Always, quaintly : EVERMORE
43. Like a steak that's "still mooing" : RARE
48. Panorama, e.g. : VIEW
49. Mount ___, highest peak in the Rockies : ELBERT
51. Abusive sorts in a fraternity : HAZERS
52. Scent : ODOR
59. Goat's call : MAA
60. Hawaii's Mauna ___ : LOA
61. Joe Biden's state: Abbr. : DEL
62. Never-before-seen : NEW

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?