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John Farmer
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
331/25/20061/29/20150
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
21361083
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64275

with Jeff Chen comments

See the answer words debuted by John Farmer.


33 puzzles by John Farmer

POW Thu 1/29/2015
ESASHAIGMACAW
SACKLUNCHALOHA
CUTOUTTHEROMAN
ADORNSRAIN
PINTAPEKINGMAN
ESETEATIMEALA
HITMANGTOS
THEICECOMETH
HELPMANANA
ERAALABAMAASS
MANFRIDAYRANCH
AGUAMODELA
MANDYMIDDLEMAN
EXCELEMAILLIST
GEODESARIEASY

★ Sometimes I miss the cleverness a puzzle brings. Today, I wondered why AGUA was a Latin American capital – perhaps it was a currency unit of Guatemala or Nicaragua? And the theme didn't really make sense to me. I saw the sets of two MAN entries "spread out" from where they were supposed to be, but that seemed like it didn't really jive with CUT OUT THE / MIDDLEMAN. So I shrugged and went on with my day.

One of the many great things about providing daily commentary about puzzles is that it forces me to go back and revisit them. Not only does it help my own construction skill development, but I uncover elements I missed the first time around. So to finally grok that AGUA was actually (MAN)AGUA, with the middle of three MAN entries cut out … yes! A great a-ha moment.

I was SO sure there was an Oscar-winner called "Rain" ...

The same goes for RAIN(MAN)'s middle MAN cut out, and THE ICE(MAN) COMETH as well. I particularly liked that central one, the cut out MAN sitting in the middle of HIT(MAN) and (MAN)ANA.

I'll explain Will's and then John's cryptic clue for ETA, since I still didn't get it after John hinted above at its awesomeness. (I had to ask John about it, FYI.) Apparently when fraternities and sororities launch new chapters at different schools, they label them with Greek letters, i.e. the first chapter is the Alpha Chapter, the second is the Beta Chapter, etc. So although it requires a deep understanding of an esoteric subject, but the repurposing of the bankruptcy term "Chapter 7" is really neat.

I might have liked all the MAN entries to be more hidden as in MANDY and MANAGUA, but overall, a beautiful, clean execution on a great idea. I know it's not currently possible, but how awesome would it be to open up your newspaper and find three chunks physically cut out of your crossword, like so?

Thu 10/16/2014
CALAISNUDETRE
ALUMNAEPICURES
MENTALWHOOPIES
SCARLETTERAPSE
ALMALSDLEX
LICKWMDEVE
ADOCANEFRAPPE
PERCYBYSSHELLEY
DANUBESTAGAPE
UTENYEBYES
ZACRBIESAU
AWOLLANDONOVAN
PAPALACELOYOLA
PRIMERIBADULTS
ADADENSREPEAT
Tricksy stuff today, REPEAT hinting at the fact that certain three-letter words do double-duty. Took me a while to cotton to the gimmick, but PERCY BYSSHE (SHE)LLY cleared it up. Nice find there! I liked how the overlaps were all actual quality three-letter words: PIE, LET, SHE, DON, PAL.

Interesting point to me today was the placement of the revealer — it's so hard to get a six-letter word down in the last across answer. Seems like an odd statement, doesn't it? How hard could that be, considering many, many puzzles use five-letter revealers in that location without a hitch? But when you have a five-entry theme, the addition of that sixth letter on the revealer makes for a huge change in difficulty.

Why? With five themers, you're almost always going to have some overlap between one of your themers and your revealer. Look at how much real estate there is between the end of LANDONOVAN and REPEAT. That 6x4 SE corner is no joke. John does well to make it a 6x4 block rather than a 6x3 (as he could have by moving LANDONOVAN down one row), since the extra space gives him more flexibility in that SE corner. Impressive that John nailed it.

Whoopie pie

I found it a little odd that WHOOPIE PIES turned into WHOOPIES was included. The others have three-letter words unrelated to the base phrase, so to see PIES and PIE felt odd. Consistency is something I find elegant in a puzzle, and WHOOPIES felt like the one that didn't seem like the others. I do like how hilarious the term sounds (yes, I'm a fourth-grader at heart) and how delicious it looks, though.

Smooth offering today, with just NEBS making me scratch my head (but apparently it's a real thing!), and a couple of nice variations on clever clues for short answers (ANODE the favorite for this physics junkie). I would have loved if the beautiful PRIME RIB and CORNUCOPIA could have gotten clever clues as well, since devilishly hard clues for those nice long entries make them even better.

Sat 10/12/2013
NASTYGRAMNAPES
INTHEREARORRIN
PARASAILSBOONE
SLOWSDIGOATEE
STPYSIDRO
SROUSUALLYTED
CAMERASHYSTYLI
ADAPTTOFSHAPED
RAHALPROPONENT
FRAEYEEXAMSAO
BADENDMET
STEPINZIAESAU
MIATAPOOLHALLS
ULCERENTOURAGE
GEHRYDEATHSTAR
Nice puzzle from John today, with a highlight of NOBODYS HOME and its brilliant clue. Bravo as well for the misdirectional clue "John Paul's successor", referring to John Paul Stevens, not Pope John Paul (I or II). I tried LEOIX, LEOXI, PIUSI, etc. until I realized that both Pope John Pauls were recent. I blame the fact that my buddy Merlin gave me his backward-progressing timeline. I'll tell you all about tomorrow's puzzle yesterday.

Quite a bit of good stuff in this puzzle, as Will mentioned. The SE stack in particular is fantastic, with not only three great answers but two more (RED ZONE and SPAMALOT) crossing them all. Now that's a beautiful piece of construction. I also appreciated how little dreck John incorporated overall. APTER isn't great ("more apt" being more common) and ULCER feels a bit grim, but overall, excellent work.

TURTLE DIARY: curious choice of answer. There are only two slots for 11-letter entries, and at first, I winced when I needed most of the crossings to uncover what seemed to be two random words strung together. After some searching, I found that the movie made $2.2M domestically. Yes, Harold Pinter (definitely gridworthy, Nobelist in Literature) wrote the script for TURTLE DIARY, but it still feels a touch questionable. I was curious if it was a necessary evil to make CAMERA SHY/EYE EXAM/BAD END section possible, or if it was a seed entry, so I'm very glad John weighed in on that (I will see it, John, thanks for the recommendation!). As for F SHAPED, I played cello for 20 years, so from my perspective, F SHAPED was both a gimme and an asset to the puzzle. The great thing about the diversity of constructors is that we as solvers get exposed to a huge range of subjects.

Finally, I love the fact that Will points out an entry he wants to see less (or none) of. SDI was an important acronym 30 years ago, but it's faded into the background by this point. It's important for crosswords to evolve, to keep relevant to people's lives, and I enjoy observing this process of adaptation. I really appreciate hardly ever seeing ADIT (esoteric term for a mine opening) anymore: ADIT instances in the Maleska era = well over 100 (in the puzzles litzed so far), in the Shortz era = 20.

Excellent Saturday challenge.

Sun 9/1/2013PERSONS OF NOTE
DENZEL1JOGGEDLOUF
ORIOLESSAMURAIBLANC
ONLEAVEPLANETSLATTE
DSLSICHORNECHIMEIN
TASTEDEPELIASASET
HISTORYRETORTS
MACANEYALEMHO
VARIANTJABTAMAEAR
HITITFATIMOFFSTADIA
ARCYOGABAZAARFLIRT
NTHSEEKSACEDTACO
DUBAIREEFEREVANBUR
ROOMERAWAREVELOCITY
USXDOWNQEDARETHAO
BOTSOYACLELAS
PHENOMSHOUSTON
GASLITFEEAREANTED
OCTAGONSWANNEGGKOA
DEATHAALARGEMOANING
ELMO5TSARISTARGONNE
LAPSLINDATGEORGE2
Genius idea for a Sunday puzzle, a true WITT (Wish I'd Thought of That). The theme answers relate to American currency, so the one-dollar bill is represented by DENZEL WASHINGTON crossing 1 SEC, the ten-dollar bill by LINDA HAMILTON crossing HANGS 10, etc.

Incredibly difficult construction, perhaps one of the hardest I've run across in five years of analyzing the NYT xw. Not only does John incorporate 1.) a dollar sign in black squares (in the center of the grid), but 2.) a two-part revealer and 3.) SEVEN crossing theme answer pairs. The fact that he uses several three-letter answers inside the dollar sign necessitates some wide-open sections in all regions of the grid (due to the 140 maximum word count restriction). Amazing that John was able to fill it at all!

As a solver, I was frustrated to not accurately finish the east section, not having heard of HAIRCUT 100 (I searched for their "top hits" and hadn't heard either of those songs) and being only vaguely familiar with MHO (stupid MS in electromechanical engineering, did you teach me nothing?). Every puzzle must trade off thematic density and quality of fill, and I wonder what the result would have been if one of the bills, the 100, had been removed. That would still allow for thematic consistency (incorporating all American bills up to the 50) while giving more flexibility to fill those tough, wide-open areas.

Overall though, I loved the fresh concept and the fantastic "aha moment" it provided.

Wed 2/20/2013
BOSNIACABAVEO
ASPECTUNURAGU
CHECKMARKSANOS
HAWKBLACKLIST
TEALHOST
FBIAGENTHEYHO
TALESEARCAFAR
ORUYEARENDAZT
AGEDSLCOUTIES
DOJOSPOSTCARD
AGUAPEEN
FACEVALUEKOBE
INKAMATCHMAKER
NYERCPAAIRING
KATSOSHMADEDO
Tue 1/1/2013
ABODEFLINTFOX
RUBESRADARATE
EXAMSABOLITION
TOMEAPRDCAREA
EMANCIPATION
TAKETOTSARS
CUBISMSIMMOO
ABRAHAMLINCOLN
SEANASNEARLY
ARTOOROBINS
PROCLAMATION
CAMEBYANELOVE
OFSLAVERYZOWIE
BRRCELIASTAND
BOPHYMANASSES
Thu 10/13/2011
RACEDFATHOMGDP
APACEONAUTOLEA
DOTHEBRIGHTTHING
ISAOIBMIONIA
OTCBEASTOFEDEN
ALOFTSLURPDADS
DEMONSLEEK
BOUTOFAFRICA
TOILADLIBS
CITYOLAFIDERMA
HOWARDSBENDPOT
ADANOSCIDLVI
SINGININTHEBRAIN
ENGDECREERANEE
REYSWEARSATEST
Tue 5/17/2011
MINETAAHEMIQS
ALAMOSROVEDUE
JIMMYKIMMELCIN
KEYSFAASCANS
MEDSOINGOARCO
AYREDDIEVEDDER
GOOADOSASE
SUPERBTSTRAP
FLAKSIEIVE
ANNIELENNOXPIN
VAILLIEONJOAD
APNEASAWZEST
TAJBETTYHUTTON
ALABREEELLERY
RMSYARNFUISSE
Fri 9/3/2010
IDIDWHATSPIGOT
SAMEHEREOOLALA
ONALEASHBLINDS
BEGETTERSKAGGS
ALINASWOE
RANTSINKERBALL
SWEARTOIDCARDS
GEOAMT
SOSUEMEUMPIRES
EXOPLANETSKANT
MIDONOITO
IDAHOSOPTIONED
NICOLERIESLING
AZARIAMANOLETE
LENNONENSNARES
Sat 8/14/2010
FISTBUMPSPREAD
ATTHEZOOTUILLE
RAREBIRDASSIGN
OLAESPIALSNON
ITTHUNKYDORY
DATAREMYCORES
ENORMOUSJAR
SONATASPUTITTO
NEDSADSTORY
ABCTVWORDOKIE
ZEROEDOUTSYM
TSERUNRIOTOMS
ETCHESSCRAMJET
COHOSTOLDSCORE
SWEETSPESKIEST
Fri 7/23/2010
GRIERPLANB
BRODIEOOLALA
DIAMONDJIMBRADY
RENELONACRE
ORDSWEETENKIA
SCITAGSALESAT
SENSORSTEUTONS
QUIZCRUX
SOUPCONSTOPSBY
PSIANISTONCEE
IMSLEAPERSANN
ROISGAPSNIT
ONTHERAZORSEDGE
DOOVERNORMAN
REATAETAIL
Thu 7/8/2010
ADIDASRCAS
NUMERALSJUAREZ
IMPERIALUNBENT
SPUMANTEGELATI
EREIREFSECOL
REDGRAVECOVE
NOVELSADES
BONSAILEHRER
LIDOMARACA
EGOSTESTINGS
SAMEDANLRENU
SPERRYFEELWARM
OPTIONREVIEWER
FLENSEOPENLATE
ERGSNESTED
Thu 6/24/2010
DIAGNNCOFAMED
ETHIOPIANTHANE
MAILSACKSDANTE
MLKETHEPROBLEM
EYESTOSEEDYRS
COILCIGS
ITMAKESNMETHOD
CHORDOOFSPYRO
BODEANSAREPEL
MRSULUENSETOME
PANGNEVE
SHASTEVIERANT
TAKEASTEEPNMBA
AGINGSEMIOTICS
MATINTRANSACTS
PRADAOSEEDIVE
Thu 3/11/2010
SCABBARKMELDS
MAMEATANACURA
ENYAHOCUSPOCUS
LOTTOZETASRMS
LEASHREBLESE
SSNCEYUNITED
TAMMIEABIT
ABRACADABRA
OLIOANGLIA
KNOLLSEISOTT
OPELABCCANEA
MAVALOHAOWENS
OPENSESAMEAOUT
DEREKOLININRE
ORALSXKESTEED
Tue 11/17/2009
ADENPETDUBS
OCULIELIENLAI
DURANPODBLING
ORATORSENTENTE
RANIGITMOAGAR
OJSWAVES
BOONEWIREPHOTO
USATWINKLENEW
CUFFLINKSERODE
RIGELASO
ESSOALERTSKUA
SPUMONIIMEANNO
SUGARSONKNOCK
ARAGETAGENCLS
TREOSRODEKE
Mon 6/1/2009
STEVEJACKIBM
ERRORSALEENEA
CONANOBRIENJAY
TDSINAGESLENO
LESSONAESIR
MIMIINTIMATES
ATPEACEONE
JOHNNYCARSON
TAMDENEUVE
ABOMINATESNAG
SOLOSGIBEAT
HOSTREDUCEPRO
THETONIGHTSHOW
OONANTEONTIME
NOSPAARALLEN
Fri 5/8/2009
BOOTCAMPS
CAPTAINAHAB
QUIETONTHESET
PUTTCHEWAHS
RAYKOSHERSUET
ENOAPTERJAFFA
STURIASMAXOUT
CURRANTFABERGE
IMLATEGLIBTIT
ELOPEBLAZESTR
NESTCOAXEDCIE
TASBRRRDAVE
PERIODICTABLE
SPACENEEDLE
ISINGLASS
Fri 4/3/2009
OBSTACLEBLEST
ONPATROLSAILTO
FAUXHAWKARTIER
SINEVECHAWAR
BEARTHEBLAME
SMELTOILBELT
DOORSELAATLAS
RUNTSYENSTABS
UPTOPEDGEUCLA
DELILLONICHE
JUSTTHISONCE
OJSTADFOEPSI
SOONASCABARETS
EUREKAILLGETIT
FRITESLEEPERS
Wed 12/17/2008
AWASHLEDEELED
MESMERIZEXRAYS
MACADAMIAPIXEL
EVERYSOOFTEN
TINTTINFLU
ENDGOODOLDDAYS
RGSOMNIJANE
BOYSCOUTS
CARBEBAYESC
DOESWONDERSMAO
SLYAWLMANN
FINEANDDANDY
RAJIVALANADALE
AZURESODAWATER
NOTESTEASTERS
Fri 7/25/2008
TRANCEJAMPACKS
RIDEONUPACREEK
ICIESTMORTALLY
MENDERPLYLESE
WATTLEILLSBOS
AREOLENOOSE
IORSOJOURNERS
SNIPENANSTLEO
TIMEPIECESBUB
DIDOKUPROSE
MOECONFGLOWER
ICANLOLGIBRAN
CAROLINAENROBE
ALLSIZESSTOOLS
HASHEESHTHYMES
Thu 5/29/2008
ONEABARBQHAIG
LAMBACURAARNO
ERIESTRETCHESA
STRAPSTAIACH
THATIAGORAMAI
RETARSENIOHALL
AXENEWTOPEL
MOVEATOWN
LILOPOKECPU
ONEMANBANDSARP
OVAPEETETIRES
KITEXTASSISI
ATHESTREETABED
ORELTANTOAONE
NORMOYVEYCUTA
Sun 4/20/2008SPACED OUT
RESYAZLASTSPCAASP
OCTUREUSUALALANMPH
THEAMERICANCENTURYORO
SHOLOMORRAMINOANIT
RKELLYEVERYTHINGMUSTGO
SODAIDSEARESSAI
ZENFRUSTAAFLOW
THECATCHERINTHERYEALSO
EUROPEELOHENMANVAIL
AGOGAXIOMSBOASTODED
ROSSINISMOKEANDMIRRORS
DORMLIVAIRE
JUMPINTOTHEFIRENECKTIE
EROOEATITFLUTIEEAST
TITSOXIDESERRPORTIA
ECHTFIVESTARRESTAURANT
SHEDSESTATERPI
ROASTRANSPYHEEL
VANCOUVERCANUCKSPAIRUP
IBISMINEOYAYLYRICS
JAGINDEPENDENTCOUNSEL
ASHGEOMNAOMIHUTCPI
YETORLYBMOCSROHAD
Wed 1/9/2008
CARDALAISPLAT
HOOIMEANOMEGA
ARMSIGHTUNSEEN
STINGSANT
MAJORINCLAMBAR
SENSATETVGUIDE
CATSILIE
WHOLEWHEATBREAD
IOLACLUE
THEHUTUINTOTAL
TOORDERFERRARI
DRATORRIN
SHINEALIGHTRAN
AMOURIRISHENE
POUTSCELTSDAY
Fri 12/28/2007
MIAMIEELED
JENNIFERLOPEZ
LANDOCALRISSIAN
ENTSATIATEFDA
TGIFSAONESION
ALOAFLTDOPERA
TENDRILSAMOSAS
DONLEK
ASSIGNSPEGASUS
LUTESAVIANISE
ASETPIANOEDEN
RIARELLENOETO
MEMBERSOFTHEBAR
QUICKBROWNFOX
POTSYROOTY
Thu 12/13/2007
SPAMSJAGSARKS
PETALACRECIAO
ERICALAIDETTA
CITYSTATEANDZIP
SHIPSKYYES
UPIREDEALT
SUBPOENAOESTE
EMAILDOMAINNAME
DAREDMINSTREL
SPIDERSANY
ABAAGEBUNT
GODBLESSAMERICA
AXLETALLRIVAL
ZEALIDOLTBIRD
EDITTEESSEEYA
Fri 9/14/2007
GOFORADIPSOPOR
ABORIGINECLARO
VERKLEMPTASSAY
ARTIEMRTLOTTA
GOWNQEIIENROL
ENOTURNERARI
AHATSUNAMIS
AMBIENTTSELIOT
QUIXOTICHAL
USAAMULETRAJ
ASSADERASMETO
TETRALAOGATOS
IDIOTACTSALONE
CURSEGAZASTRIP
SPEEDSOULPATCH
Wed 4/25/2007
EDWARDQTRHASP
QUAKERWYOITAL
ULTIMATEPURPOSE
ALTOWIRETAPPED
LYSCENTEGO
FORYAMSKIP
AUDENKHANISR
USINGONESNOODLE
LSDONBYVJDAY
DROPTABSAS
AVAOLESHBO
EXACERBATEHEAP
ZONINGORDINANCE
RUINENDNIMROD
ATNOTDSGAMINS
Sat 3/17/2007
RAILBIRDALBUMS
EDGARLEEMAUPIN
CANTEENSOKSANA
USOANTIQUESHOP
STROKESUNREELS
ARENASBITDATA
LADYLMONTEDAT
XEROXCOPY
SYLGELEESERFS
TEAMMIRBOLERO
ASPIRINSUMPTER
GOLDENAGERSSEC
GRACEDLEGALIZE
ENCASEONELINER
ROEPERMORTUARY
Thu 11/2/2006
TRIGPESTOFOPS
BETAANTEDABOO
OVERITALIANJOB
NUMBEROFLETTERS
EPSONMFAOAT
NEBFEZDOG
INFLUXBIGWALL
MULTIPLYBYTHREE
IBIDEEEPAYTON
TSPALTOTS
ACSSSNKABOB
EACHANSWERSCLUE
SHOEPOLISHMATH
ASIFMINEOEZRA
IONSSPECSSEER
Wed 10/18/2006
ACDCMESASJAVA
WAILEXALTOXEN
ESAUTEMPOWENT
ALBERTWILLIE
LEECHED
CLARERHOOVUM
WOMENSABOANIN
THEMANFROMUNCLE
SABULOLBRYANT
NASAREDGAPES
LADYEVE
MILTIEFESTER
UTAHSABINADAM
SEMIONENDPICA
TMENPINESSTEW
Fri 3/17/2006
ETRADELASAGNA
SHORESPARAKEET
TRUMPEDUPCHARGE
HITATEDSELBAS
EVENHANDEDWITT
TERIMILDPOLES
EDSPOSEGUESS
BLUEJEANS
PRIERUMPSBEL
PRADAEMMERENE
ROPEPIPEDREAMS
ASHBIDETESTAS
WHATEVERTHECOST
NOERRORSUSAUSA
SPLINTSRENTER
Thu 3/9/2006
SQUARINSIDE
SUNSETCANNING
BETIDESEPISODE
UNIAXISSPURON
LCECNGADSLAW
HDLTHREEAMID
EMSALSORANS
ACEALAIQSSGT
DRYSDALEUHF
MEETEMERAREC
SPECSLOWASHI
SCARABSOREPEN
RETIRESFARMING
INCLOSEFACEIT
THEBOXUQSNO
Wed 1/25/2006
ERIKISSUEJAMB
LOCILLAMAOBIE
KTELLEMATWEND
SCROOGEMILTIE
BOTCHED
OTRASHAIVANA
SCHEMEALAARON
THEMANFROMUNCLE
URDUDELANYHOW
BEASTLEGPAYS
HOLYOKE
FESTERWIGGILY
OMOOBABELOREO
XMASIDESTBONY
YAKSTENTSINTO