# XW Info

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
by Andrew Reynolds
 A R G O S K A T R I F L E M O U S E P A D S O R I O N B E S T T H R E E M I S D O I S H H E M P B A S H E S E R A T E N E H U M B L E R A I S I N I V I E S M T I D A C O B N E X T H E A D S L I R A T A U N O L T E M O N T Y S P R I N T C O U G H S A T E H O O T S C E N T S A U D I S E C T O S C A O U T O F F I V E U N P I N U N I N S U R E D B E N D Y R T E S N I N E
© 2014, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: I cannot resist the allure of the Schrodinger puzzle. It's so cool when there are two answers which work equally well. Sometimes one answer is more tortured than the other, but most all of them today are very nice. A prime example of a home run is FISH and FIST, both of which are landed by a hook (a FISH by a fishhook and a FIST by a right hook). Very clever clue for both!

These types of squares are very difficult to pull off, so it's even more impressive that Andrew was able to incorporate so many of them. Thirteen answers are affected, with eight squares needing to work with duality. Just getting one or two to work well is hard enough, so tossing in a huge handful is incredibly impressive.

And given the theme density, I would expect the fill to suffer greatly. Not only does Andrew need to work around the themers BEST THREE / OUT OF FIVE, but he has to place five "coins" throughout the grid. Each of those "coins" requires two answers to be placed (one across, one down), and a set of intersecting across/down answers generally makes for tough constraints. When you have five of them, you're asking for trouble.

As if that wasn't enough, there's the HEADS/TAILS in the center, making the entire puzzle heavily constrained. Sure, there are a few bits like AMBI, SKAT, and OST (all in the NW area), but the grid is remarkably clean. I wondered if Andrew could have gotten rid of the OST and AMI by placing the first coin in the SW corner instead of the NW? That SW corner feels much less constrained and ripe for a "coin," although this would require a different set of dual-working answers than ISH/IST and GUSH/GUST due to length requirements.

And yes, the grid is too segmented for my taste (the entire NW and SE can be sectioned off by adding just one set of black squares, which breaks up the flow of the puzzle), but I'll happily take that sort of thing when the payoff is good enough.

My final reaction: at first I felt like there was almost a little too much going on. What with all the coins and the answer in the middle and the theme answer telling me BEST THREE OF FIVE, I wasn't sure what to look at first. I started to overthink it all, brainstorming how nice it would have been to make it some sort of predictive magic trick, or to tie the central answer to the coins themselves somehow. And then I decided to just sit back and enjoy it.

Neat idea, and a grid executed with obvious care and devotion to clean fill. Much appreciated by this solver!

JimH notes: The 13 multi-answer clues is a SchrÃ¶dinger record. April 1 is a special day. See all the April Fools puzzles. I list some favorites here.
 1 Award-winning 2012 film about a fake film : ARGO 5 Game with a 32-card deck : SKAT 9 AK-47, e.g. : RIFLE 14 Desktops' desktop accessories : MOUSEPADS 16 The Hunter constellation : ORION 17 With 56-Across, common format for a wager : BESTTHREE 18 Handle wrongly : MISDO 19 Suffix with cartoon : ISH 20 Marijuana plant : HEMP 21 Clobbers : BASHES 22 The "E" of Q.E.D. : ERAT 23 Opposite of WSW : ENE 24 Bring down : HUMBLE 28 Sun-Maid dried fruit : RAISIN 31 Princeton and Yale : IVIES 32 Peak in Greek myth : MTIDA 34 Holder of corn kernels : COB 36 Queue cue : NEXT 37 Winner of the wager in 17-/56-Across, depending on how you fill the circled squares in this puzzle : HEADS 38 Old Italian money : LIRA 39 Upsilon preceder : TAU 40 Nick who was named People's Sexiest Man Alive in 1992 : NOLTE 41 ___ Python : MONTY 42 AT&T competitor : SPRINT 44 Throat clearers : COUGHS 45 Had a bite : ATE 46 Blast : HOOT 48 What scratch-and-sniff stickers emit : SCENTS 51 German automaker : AUDI 52 Jiffy : SEC 55 Opera singer in an opera : TOSCA 56 See 17-Across : OUTOFFIVE 58 Remove, as a boutonniere : UNPIN 59 Not using Obamacare, say : UNINSURED 60 Like some straws : BENDY 61 GPS recommendations: Abbr. : RTES 62 Number of holes in a half-round of golf : NINE
 1 Prefix with -dextrous : AMBI 2 Caviars : ROES 3 Sudden outburst : GUSH 4 German direction : OST 5 Globe : SPHERE 6 "Instant ___!" (John Lennon hit) : KARMA 7 Highly capable : ADEPT 8 Mao ___-tung : TSE 9 Bucharest's land : ROMANIA 10 Eye parts : IRISES 11 It may be landed with a hook : FISH 12 It may have gold in them thar hills : LODE 13 Officer on TV's "The Dukes of Hazzard" : ENOS 15 Roosevelt and Kennedy : ETHELS 21 Abacus row : BEADS 24 Bit of color : HINT 25 Eye parts : UVEAS 26 Shuffle : MIXUP 27 Wager : BET 28 Antagonize : RIDE 29 It might read "Happy Birthday!" : ICING 30 Robb Stark's realm in "Game of Thrones," with "the" : NORTH 32 Diner menu item : MELT 33 Part of retribution, in a phrase : TAT 35 Howls at the moon : BAYS 37 Improves, in a way : HONES 38 "Skip to My ___" : LOU 40 Penn State's ___ Lions : NITTANY 41 Recurring themes : MOTIFS 43 Nasty-smelling : RANCID 44 Genetic sequence groups : CODONS 46 Plague : HAUNT 47 Certain navel : OUTIE 48 Concert souvenir : STUB 49 Dunce cap shape : CONE 50 Channel with postgame analysis : ESPN 52 Apple genius? : SIRI 53 Equitable : EVEN 54 Surrender : CEDE 56 The "O" of S O S, supposedly : OUR 57 Band with the 2012 #1 hit "We Are Young" : FUN