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.

BUMPER CARS

New York Times, Sunday, September 8, 2013

Author:
Pete Muller and Sue Keefer
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
184/18/20067/16/20177
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6042501
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60250
Pete Muller
TotalDebutCollabs
19/8/20131
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1000000
RebusCirclePangram
000
Sue Keefer

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 72 Missing: {J} Spans: 5 Scrabble average: 1.72 This is puzzle # 17 for Mr. Muller. This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Keefer. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
Pete: Sue Keefer is my sister and a longtime NY Times solver. This is her first published puzzle. The first version of it included BLAZER LEGEND ESCORT [Companion for Clyde Drexler?] and ... read more

Pete: Sue Keefer is my sister and a longtime NY Times solver. This is her first published puzzle. The first version of it included BLAZER LEGEND ESCORT [Companion for Clyde Drexler?] and GREMLIN WRANGLER FIESTA [Where to find spirit chasers on a Friday night?]. Will asked us to change both of these.

PARK AVENUE COUGAR QUEST was the seed entry and the one that made us decide to do the puzzle. We hope you like it!

Will Shortz notes:
Judging by the test-solvers' comments, the clue for 99-Down, 'Pussy ___ (Russian girl group),' will raise some eyebrows. But the group's name has been much in the news for several years, ... read more

Judging by the test-solvers' comments, the clue for 99-Down, "Pussy ___ (Russian girl group)," will raise some eyebrows. But the group's name has been much in the news for several years, including in several New York Times headlines, so I think it's fair game.

Jeff Chen notes:
Fantastic to see a brother and sister team up! I'm trying to get my nephew (age nine) to co-construct with me, but he stubbornly and heinously insists that LEGOs are more fun than ... read more

Fantastic to see a brother and sister team up! I'm trying to get my nephew (age nine) to co-construct with me, but he stubbornly and heinously insists that LEGOs are more fun than crosswords. I will break him sooner or later.

Five grid-spanners (21-letter lengths) plus two 18's make for a tough construction. All those long across entries necessitate a spate of down entries which must cross two or more theme entries. Pete and Sue use a quasi-stairstep pattern (note how most of the black squares flow NW to SE) which is frequently employed to reduce these constraints and segment the grid into sections. Working with smaller subsections is much easier than trying to fill an entire grid as a whole.

Areas that are more cordoned from the rest of the grid tend to be easiest to fill. Let's look at the ROLEX/BRIM section at the west. There are five parallel constraints (five down words that must cross both of the theme answers), but the fact that this area doesn't have to connect to anything to the left makes it easier. Pete and Sue did an admirable job with a tough set of constraints, only OONA being slightly esoteric (I'm still not sure what her "Game of Thrones" role is, but then again, I still get Renley Baratheon confused with a dozen other people).

Now consider the adjacent POOH/SOMA section. This part must connect to the left (into the ROLEX/BRIM area), but also to the SE (the BITO/TCBY area), which already has its own constraints. The result isn't as nice, with a IMRE crossing SOMA. That's two subsections covered, and the constructors have roughly a dozen more to boot, each with its set of constraints. Is it any wonder that Sundays are so much more difficult to construct than weekday puzzles?

1
S
2
P
3
A
4
Y
5
T
6
A
7
L
8
C
9
M
10
C
11
A
12
T
13
S
14
S
15
E
16
P
17
I
18
A
19
I
L
I
A
20
O
H
I
O
21
R
I
C
O
H
22
E
A
R
L
S
23
P
A
R
K
24
A
V
E
N
U
25
E
C
O
U
G
A
26
R
Q
U
E
S
T
27
T
W
I
X
28
M
A
R
S
H
29
P
A
L
A
U
30
S
A
O
31
S
E
A
M
E
32
N
33
I
S
I
34
T
35
E
L
M
E
36
R
S
37
C
A
V
A
L
I
38
E
39
R
C
A
P
R
40
I
D
I
P
L
O
M
41
A
42
T
43
H
U
E
44
G
M
A
45
Y
S
E
R
46
S
W
A
M
I
47
A
48
L
H
I
R
49
T
50
A
M
51
O
52
U
53
R
54
E
N
Y
A
55
B
56
O
57
B
C
A
T
R
A
B
58
B
59
I
T
A
C
C
O
60
R
D
61
R
O
L
E
X
62
A
R
A
63
T
A
L
E
64
A
65
B
66
S
67
I
N
T
R
E
68
P
69
I
70
D
R
A
M
71
C
72
H
A
L
L
E
73
N
G
E
R
74
M
A
S
75
S
O
M
A
76
S
O
O
77
B
U
R
N
T
78
S
T
O
R
M
79
T
80
R
O
O
P
81
E
82
R
83
S
O
N
A
T
A
84
A
85
Q
86
U
I
87
H
E
N
C
E
88
S
H
A
N
K
S
89
M
U
N
R
90
O
91
B
I
92
T
93
O
94
U
Z
I
95
A
96
T
97
F
98
C
E
L
E
B
99
R
100
I
101
T
Y
G
O
L
102
F
D
E
F
103
E
104
N
D
E
R
105
O
N
S
I
D
E
106
N
E
M
O
107
F
L
I
M
S
Y
108
A
109
K
A
110
C
O
I
N
111
S
112
T
E
R
113
S
114
E
115
A
X
I
S
116
M
I
D
117
G
E
T
O
U
T
118
B
A
C
K
E
X
119
P
L
O
R
E
120
R
121
P
R
E
E
N
122
C
R
A
M
P
123
E
R
A
S
124
N
E
R
F
125
S
I
D
L
E
126
Y
E
T
I
S
127
D
E
M
I
128
S
D
A
K
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0908 ( 23,315 )
Across
1
Fix : SPAY
5
Some powder : TALC
9
Hurdles for future E.N.T.'s and G.P.'s : MCATS
14
Antiqued photograph color : SEPIA
19
"Idomeneo" heroine : ILIA
20
River into which the Great Miami flows : OHIO
21
Japanese copier company : RICOH
22
Some title holders : EARLS
23
Search for a cradle-robbing woman in New York City? : PARKAVENUECOUGARQUEST
27
Candy bar featured in a "Seinfeld" episode : TWIX
28
Bittern's habitat : MARSH
29
Country composed of 200+ islands : PALAU
30
Start of many Brazilian place names : SAO
31
Salts : SEAMEN
33
"___ any wonder?" : ISIT
35
Sticky handle? : ELMERS
37
High-handed ambassador stationed off the Italian coast? : CAVALIERCAPRIDIPLOMAT
43
Cast : HUE
44
TV show broadcast from Times Square, for short : GMA
45
French/Belgian river : YSER
46
Turbaned type : SWAMI
47
Musician with the gold-selling album "Sugar Lips" : ALHIRT
50
Billet-doux recipient : AMOUR
54
Four-time Best New Age Album Grammy winner : ENYA
55
Peace treaty between a predator and its prey? : BOBCATRABBITACCORD
61
Frequently faked luxury brand : ROLEX
62
Palindromic constellation : ARA
63
Relation? : TALE
64
Contents of some six-packs : ABS
67
Tom Brady, in the 2002 Super Bowl? : INTREPIDRAMCHALLENGER
74
More, in Madrid : MAS
75
___ cube (popular 1960s puzzle) : SOMA
76
___ Canals : SOO
77
Charred : BURNT
78
Musical piece for a "Star Wars" battle scene? : STORMTROOPERSONATA
84
Here, in Honduras : AQUI
87
As a result : HENCE
88
Mistakes made by some bad drivers : SHANKS
89
Writer H. H. ___ : MUNRO
91
___-Honey : BITO
94
Magazine user? : UZI
95
Smuggler-chasing org. : ATF
98
Advocate for pro-am tournaments? : CELEBRITYGOLFDEFENDER
105
Kind of kick : ONSIDE
106
Pixar title character : NEMO
107
Like some excuses : FLIMSY
108
Pseudonym preceder : AKA
110
Change : COINS
112
Short-winded : TERSE
115
Turning point : AXIS
116
Diminutive Aborigine? : MIDGETOUTBACKEXPLORER
121
Engage in excessive self-reflection? : PREEN
122
Marathoner's woe : CRAMP
123
Sections of a natural history museum, maybe : ERAS
124
Super Soaker brand : NERF
125
Not approach directly : SIDLE
126
Himalayans of legend : YETIS
127
Prefix with god : DEMI
128
Home of Wind Cave Natl. Park : SDAK
Down
1
Nurse : SIP
2
Stop getting better : PLATEAU
3
Broadcast medium : AIRWAVE
4
City near Mount Rainier : YAKIMA
5
"Mazel ___!" : TOV
6
[Pardon] : AHEM
7
Director Wertmüller : LINA
8
"CBS Evening News" anchor before Pelley : COURIC
9
1969 Peter O'Toole title role : MRCHIPS
10
Union letters : CIO
11
Small 58-Down size : ACUP
12
Ready for a frat party, say : TOGAED
13
"Would you like me to?" : SHALLI
14
"The Dark Knight" and "The Bourne Supremacy," e.g. : SEQUELS
15
Mer contents : EAU
16
Newspaper worker : PRESSMAN
17
"Casablanca" heroine : ILSA
18
Concerning : ASTO
24
Skater's jump : AXEL
25
Time piece : ESSAY
26
X Games fixture : RAMP
31
Acad., e.g. : SCH
32
Brief remark upon retiring : NIGHT
34
Milk-Bone, e.g. : TREAT
36
Stroked, in a way : ROWED
38
Arabic for "commander" : EMIR
39
___ avis : RARA
40
"___ la Douce" : IRMA
41
Singer Winehouse : AMY
42
Actress Carrere : TIA
47
Lenovo competitor : ACER
48
Having the fewest rules : LAXEST
49
It'll grab you by the seat of your pants : TBAR
51
Twice tetra- : OCTA
52
Berkeley campus, for short : UCAL
53
Sushi bar offering : ROLL
55
Lip : BRIM
56
Actress Chaplin of "Game of Thrones" : OONA
57
Nonkosher lunch orders, for short : BLTS
58
See 11-Down : BRA
59
Playground retort : IAMSO
60
Shoe brand named after an animal : REEBOK
64
Taj Mahal city : AGRA
65
Inclination : BENT
66
Mex. miss : SRTA
68
___ Bear : POOH
69
Hungarian man's name that's an anagram of 38-Down : IMRE
70
"Nuts!" : DAMN
71
Speak pigeon? : COO
72
Short trips : HOPS
73
Ones with good habits? : NUNS
78
Seductive singer : SIREN
79
Frozen dessert brand owned by Mrs. Fields : TCBY
80
Rule : REIGN
81
Book of Judges judge : EHUD
82
Bring down the house? : RAZE
83
Disdainful response : SNIFF
84
"Mad Men" channel : AMC
85
Neighbor of Vt. : QUE
86
Dumped (on) : UNLOADED
90
Very blue : OBSCENE
92
Accessories for hoofers : TOETAPS
93
Ancient Mexican : OLMEC
95
Like role models : ADMIRED
96
Small mosaic tile : TESSERA
97
Small ___ : FRY
99
Pussy ___ (Russian girl group) : RIOT
100
Opposite of brilliance : IDIOCY
101
Job security, for some : TENURE
102
Split : FORKED
103
Carrier to Ben Gurion : ELAL
104
Onetime White House family : NIXONS
108
Some concert gear : AMPS
109
Diva ___ Te Kanawa : KIRI
111
H.R.'s, e.g. : STAT
113
Withered : SERE
114
Checkup, e.g. : EXAM
117
Shampoo, maybe : GEL
118
Ascap rival : BMI
119
Inflation indicator: Abbr. : PSI
120
D.C.'s ___ Stadium : RFK

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?