# XW Info

Thursday, November 7, 2013
by Alan Derkazarian
 R I A T A S S H A M F B I A N T E U P W O V E A L F R H O N D A A B A N D I T S E A U I N I O R S O N B B C R O O K S I A N H U B E P I C T R I P A P O L O B O N E S E C O F I V E O A R D T O T E S T E E K I N T E E L U D E A R R S G A S X A I R E I N C C C M O N T E S A T I N S A P F I R W W W W S T O P M I N I N G N I E M E D E O P O R T O E N D E D E N M E R E S T
© 2013, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: Every time I think I've seen all the twists and variations on rebus puzzles, another one pops ups to delight me. I really enjoy the moment when extreme frustration flips to the (pleasing) smack to the forehead, and this puzzle did that right. I was stuck trying to figure out ???? STOP, thinking I must have entered something wrong, but when I finally understood what was going on, I smiled. Well done.

Rebus puzzles are a unique construction challenge, auto-fill not being as readily available (to see if a particular grid arrangement is possible or not). It's not too tricky if there are single rebus squares dotted about the grid. The NE corner is a good example, where ??ARMED could be such entries as SWARMED, ALARMED, CHARMED, or UNARMED, and it's possible to use the brute force method of trying each option to see if good fill is achievable or not.

Not nearly as easy with stacked rebus squares. Consider the SW corner, where Alan already makes things as easy as possible (nicely done) by creating a 3x3 block to work with. Even then, since the only reasonable WAY?? entries are WAY IN, WAYNE, WAY TO, and WAY UP, there are only a limited number of combinations to try, each one creating some difficulty. As it is, Alan did pretty well, with only NIE sticking out as unappetizing. The double sets of cheater squares makes for a somewhat unappealing visual image, but it's certainly acceptable.

I was curious about his choice to include the word FAIN. At first glance, it would be easy to dismiss it as a sloppy job of construction since there are so many other options available up there, so I e-mailed Alan to ask him about his rationale. He gave me a thoughtful response, saying that 1.) he wanted the puzzle to be more challenging, and 2.) he found the word fascinating, in that it was utterly commonplace in Shakespearean days but is now largely archaic. It's neat how much tastes vary from constructor to constructor, and I was glad Alan had a reason for incorporating it.

Considering the many constraints, Alan did a nice job executing this strong concept. An enjoyable Thursday.

Will Shortz notes: I'm guessing this puzzle is a little hard to break into, but once you catch on to the theme, it goes much quicker. It's a lovely theme idea. Also, I like the entries AUDIOBOOK, STEAMPIPE, and RETURN FIRE.
 1 They're thrown from horses : RIATAS 7 Fake : SHAM 11 "The Silence of the Lambs" org. : FBI 14 Join the game, in a way : ANTEUP 15 Spun : WOVE 16 TV ET : ALF 17 The "you" in "you caught my eye" in a 1965 #1 hit : RHONDA 18 Casino sights : ONEARMEDBANDITS 20 It flows in the Loire : EAU 21 Pasta name suffix : INI 23 Boss of TV's Mork : ORSON 24 Small-time thieves : TWOBITCROOKS 27 Johannes : German :: ___ : Scottish : IAN 28 O'Hare or Newark Liberty : HUB 29 Totally awesome : EPIC 31 One usually buys a round one : TRIP 35 Olympian Ohno : APOLO 37 Some archaeological finds : BONES 39 Author of "The Prague Cemetery" : ECO 40 "Hawaii ___" : FIVEO 41 Suffix with drunk : ARD 42 Schleppers' aids : TOTES 44 Relative of a tank top : TEE 45 "Roots" surname : KINTE 47 Slip past : ELUDE 48 Touchdowns: Abbr. : ARRS 50 Antibloating brand : GASX 51 It can cause bloating : AIR 52 German word that's 67-Across spelled backward : EIN 54 Con game : THREECARDMONTE 58 Glove material : SATIN 60 Fool : SAP 61 It may be topped with an angel : FIR 62 What an intersection may have : FOURWAYSTOP 65 Excavation : MINING 67 German word that's 52-Across spelled backward : NIE 68 Parthian predecessor : MEDE 69 City north of Lisbon : OPORTO 70 Butt : END 71 Setting for a fall : EDEN 72 Minimum : MEREST
 1 Dish with melted cheese : RAREBIT 2 Occupy : INHABIT 3 Just above : ATOUCHOVER 4 + 6 : TEN 5 Some commuter "reading" : AUDIOBOOK 6 Joe of "NCIS" : SPANO 7 Overran : SWARMED 8 Tramp : HOBO 9 Shylock trait : AVARICE 10 Sharp circle? : MENSA 11 Willingly, old-style : FAIN 12 Nonkosher sandwich : BLT 13 Uncertainties : IFS 19 Discouraging advice : DONT 22 Japanese flower-arranging art : IKEBANA 25 Line at a stationery store? : RULE 26 Topps collectible : SPORTSCARD 30 Cataloging things : INDEXCARDS 32 Fight back : RETURNFIRE 33 Whacked : ICED 34 Vogue on a dance floor : POSE 35 Shaving brand : AFTA 36 Place to get a bite? : PIER 38 Certain heat conduit : STEAMPIPE 43 Mishmash : OLIO 46 Lit : IGNITED 49 Ship's route : SEAWAY 53 Familiar phone conversation starter : ITSME 55 Common spice in Indian food : CARDAMOM 56 Shades : TINTS 57 Cereal killer : ERGOT 58 Went to and fro : SWAYED 59 Convergent point : NODE 62 Oscar-winning John : WAYNE 63 Entry : WAYIN 64 Fence (in) : PEN 66 Word before rain, heat and gloom : NOR