# XW Info

Monday, November 11, 2013
by Elizabeth C. Gorski
 O R C S B L E S S F O U R M I R E L E D U P L A Z E A G E R A N I S E I R I S H O P E T H A T H E L P S A R E N A S I D E B P A B L O T O S C A O N A S P R I N G S O P E N P A P P G E N O A K I D D E T E R N A L C I T Y K E Y L E R O I R E E C E C L O C K A U J U S A L E X A N D E R P O P E C O L A B R I E R O N O R A N T I O T T E R L E N T B O O M W A S P S A S E A
© 2013, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: Beautiful puzzle today from the master, Liz Gorski, with quite the upscale feel. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL is such a great quote to hide within a puzzle, injecting me with an uplifting push after finishing. Not being super familiar with the origin of the quote, I looked it up and felt even more invigorated after doing so. Entertaining and uplifting, exactly what a puzzle ought to do.

Interesting construction challenge, given that ALEXANDER POPE is the dreaded length of 13. It might seem like not that big a deal for a revealer to be 13 letters, but it makes all the difference in the world. Typically, theme answers are best spaced out as much as possible, because more space = more flexibility. There's a reason why most of the time, the first and last theme answers go in rows 3 and 13.

But putting a 13-letter answer into row 13 is no good, because it forms an unsightly column of three black squares (in order to conform to the "no two-letter answers" rule of crosswords). So up the answer goes into row 12. And the challenge doesn't stop there.

Note the big chunks of black squares in the SW and NE corners. These look like "cheater squares", but really aren't, just squares that help deal with the 13-letter answers. Five black squares all clustered like that are a bit inelegant though, in that they visually take up a lot of space. There are ways around this arrangement, but each of them comes with its own challenge.

I like it when a famous quote is hidden inside theme answers. I personally find it more interesting when it catches you by surprise, either by being at the ends of the theme phrases, or by masking the word meanings. For instance, if SPRINGS had been at the end of BOX SPRINGS, that would add a level of camouflage. However, for this particular quote, there aren't many phrases ending in ETERNAL. Can't win 'em all.

Generally I prefer Monday puzzles to be easy enough that I could give them to novice friends to get them hooked, so I paused when I hit things like PAPP and CUPOLA. But the more I thought about it, the more I appreciated that the fill mirrors the tone of the puzzle. And to top it off, having fill like SPIKE JONES and a FLIP BOOK made the puzzle even more fun. Perhaps it's not my ideal Monday puzzle, but I greatly admire the work.

Will Shortz notes: A literary theme like this is always appropriate. The Times crossword has more of this flavor than most other puzzles, which is one thing, I think, that sets it apart from others. Among the nontheme entries here, I especially like CREPE PAPER, SPIKE JONES, and FLIPBOOK.
 1 "The Lord of the Rings" creatures : ORCS 5 Sprinkle with holy water : BLESS 10 Number in a quartet : FOUR 14 Muck : MIRE 15 Preceded, with "to" : LEDUP 16 Loll : LAZE 17 New ___ (Enya type) : AGER 18 Licoricelike flavor : ANISE 19 Colored part of the eye : IRIS 20 Friendly comment after providing information : HOPETHATHELPS 23 Sports stadium : ARENA 24 Lesser-played part of a 45 : SIDEB 25 Cellist Casals : PABLO 28 Puccini opera or its heroine : TOSCA 32 Put ___ happy face : ONA 34 Goes "pop!," as a jack-in-the-box : SPRINGSOPEN 38 Shakespeare in the Park founder/producer Joseph : PAPP 40 Italian birthplace of Paganini : GENOA 41 Captain ___ (pirate) : KIDD 42 Rome's nickname, with "the" : ETERNALCITY 45 Lock unlocker : KEY 46 The king, in France : LEROI 47 Volleyball star Gabrielle : REECE 49 Cuckoo ___ : CLOCK 53 French words describing how roast beef is often served : AUJUS 56 Author of the verse that starts with the beginnings of 20-, 34- and 42-Across : ALEXANDERPOPE 59 Coca-___ : COLA 61 Bramble : BRIER 62 ___ about (approximately) : ONOR 63 Prefix with lock : ANTI 64 Whiskered creature : OTTER 65 Loaned : LENT 66 Dynamite sound : BOOM 67 Insects with big stingers : WASPS 68 Where sailors go : ASEA
 1 Nebraska's largest city : OMAHA 2 Severity : RIGOR 3 Party streamer material : CREPEPAPER 4 One of the Williams sisters : SERENA 5 Lacking pizazz : BLAH 6 Sultry singer Horne : LENA 7 Does some magazine work : EDITS 8 Fish-on-rice serving : SUSHI 9 Put the pedal to the metal : SPEED 10 Simple means of animation : FLIPBOOK 11 They're in locks on a boat : OARS 12 Israeli-made gun : UZI 13 In medias ___ : RES 21 Keep ___ on (watch) : TABS 22 Tennis do-overs : LETS 26 Org. for women drivers : LPGA 27 Pitcher Hershiser : OREL 29 Quirky bandleader with the City Slickers : SPIKEJONES 30 Give up : CEDE 31 Handy-___ : ANDY 32 German automaker : OPEL 33 Kids' detective ___ the Great : NATE 35 "Monsters, ___" : INC 36 Alternative to rouge in roulette : NOIR 37 Box-office take : GATE 39 Declare loudly : PROCLAIM 43 River near the Pyramids : NILE 44 2013, e.g. : YEAR 48 Domelike top : CUPOLA 50 U-shaped bend in a river : OXBOW 51 Magna ___ : CARTA 52 Makes woolen bootees, e.g. : KNITS 54 Slightly leading in score : UPONE 55 Mattress brand : SERTA 56 Voice below soprano : ALTO 57 Shallow's opposite : DEEP 58 Makes mistakes : ERRS 59 Hack's vehicle : CAB 60 Yoko who married John : ONO