XW Info

Wednesday, August 28, 2013
by Erik Agard
Wed 8/28/2013
© 2013, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: I met Erik at the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament two years ago and immediately liked him. What a fun guy! I only wish he hadn't shaved his awesome afro recently. He's being mysterious about his picture, so I'll find a good Dick Cheney pic to use if he doesn't send in one soon, similar to the one of my wife.

I love what Erik has done with this theme. Quote puzzles have largely gone by the wayside due to the fact that the theme entries are essentially unchecked until the solve is almost done. This often gives solvers fits, so the payoff has to be high — a hilarious punchline, a bot mot, a witty turn of phrase — if it's to work. So Erik has broken up the themers and knitted them together at the very end, putting the pieces together nicely.

Erik's cluing is distinctive too. Leave it to a hip 20-something to come up with the clue for 3-down; I love it. I enjoy it when a puzzle's clues exhibits the constructor's vibe. Sam Donaldson, friend, tax professor, and cake-maker, is excellent at this too, as demonstrated in this puzzle.

I have a minor issue with the SE, the inclusion of TAIT. I'm a fan of topology and Martin Gardner's puzzle-related work, but that's a pretty esoteric name even for me. Having two parallel constraints in that corner (end of BETTER YEAR and RUTH) makes construction hard enough, but adding a third parallel constraint, an 8-letter across, forces a very difficult construction. The result is a blip in Erik's otherwise excellent work.

Speaking of work, if only Erik had clued SERENITY related to "SERENITY now, insanity later", a phrase I frequently use while writing at my local coffee shop.

Will Shortz notes: Erik's a pretty good clue writer. I changed fewer clues in this puzzle (about a third) than I do in most. I look forward to more puzzles from him.
1.With 67-Across, man whose 1930 salary was $80,000 : BABE
5.Gives off : EMITS
10.Seventh anniversary ruiner? : ITCH
14.Treats, as a sprain : ICES
15.Like some sprays : NASAL
16.One's part? : SOLO
17.Nickname for 1-/67-Across : THESULTANOFSWAT
20.Peace and quiet : SERENITY
21.Injures : WOUNDS
22.Bro's sib : SIS
23.Whittle : PARE
24.Deerstalker, e.g. : HAT
27.It's the law : STATUTE
30.Eleanor : F.D.R. :: Bess : ___ : HST
33.Obama's birthplace : OAHU
35.School for James Bond : ETON
36.Be really annoying : GRATE
38.Man whose 1930 salary was $75,000 : PRESIDENTHOOVER
41.Snowy wader : EGRET
42.Writer James : AGEE
43.Faucet annoyance : DRIP
44.Kenny Rogers's "___ Believes in Me" : SHE
45.Battlers at sea : ARMADAS
48.Naval rank: Abbr. : ENS
49.Newcastle Brown and others : ALES
50.Pre-barbecuing mixture : RUB
52.Deplorable : HORRID
55.Repay : MAKEUPTO
60.Quote from 1-/67-Across on why he outearned 38-Across : IHADABETTERYEAR
62.One of the Jackson 5 : TITO
63.It lights up when it's excited : ARGON
64.Guitarist Clapton : ERIC
65.Go into the wild blue yonder : SOAR
66.Runs rampant : TEEMS
67.See 1-Across : RUTH
1.Memory units : BITS
2.Be sore : ACHE
3."Beauty is in the eye of the ___ holder": Kinky Friedman : BEER
4.Bluegrass duo? : ESSES
5.Up in arms? : ENLISTED
6.QB Stafford : MATT
7."What can ___?" : ISAY
8.Treat, as a hide : TAN
9.Not adept in : SLOWAT
10.Time piece? : ISSUE
11.Go to ___ on : TOWN
12.Attired : CLAD
13.Sexual attraction, with "the" : HOTS
18.One-piece garments, informally : UNIS
19.Precede : FOREGO
23.Gave up by giving up control : PUNTED
24.Crosses one's fingers, perhaps : HOPES
25."Good grief!" : AARGH
26.Word repeated when consoling someone : THERE
28.Units of brilliance? : ATEAMS
29.Its capital is Nuku'alofa : TONGA
30.Le ___, France : HAVRE
31.Rathskeller order : STEIN
32.A.C.C. team, informally : TERPS
34.Purpose : USE
37.Surveyor's unit : ROD
39.Vicina della Francia : ITALIA
40.Listens up, quaintly : HEARKENS
46.Chestnut-colored flying mammal : REDBAT
47.Litigant : SUER
49.Zeal : ARDOR
51.The "emptor" in "caveat emptor" : BUYER
52.Best sellers : HITS
53.Home of the U.S.'s largest cities whose names start with X and Z : OHIO
54.Pro ___ : RATA
55.Lender's offering: Abbr. : MTGE
56.It's elementary : ATOM
57.Big silver exporter : PERU
58.Mathematical physicist Peter who pioneered in knot theory : TAIT
59.Philharmonic grp. : ORCH
61."Inconstancy falls off ___ it begins": Shak. : ERE

© 2017, Jim Horne