XW Info

Monday, September 16, 2013
by Ed Sessa
Mon 9/16/2013
© 2013, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: Nice start to the week; Ed gives us a lively set of theme answers that haven't been seen much before. It took me a while to remember the ad slogan as "M'm M'm Good", not "Mmmm Good". Funny how much difference a single space makes.

I tried to think of potential theme answers that had two sets of double-m's, and only came up with a few. I find JIMMY KIMMEL hilarious, but including him in the same thought as MM MM GOOD...I'm glad Ed didn't go down this route. Mr. Kimmel, if you're reading, I'll take my 15% cut in unmarked bills for the skit idea.

The theme density today is high, with five themers including a 10/15/10 in the middle. Ed does a nice job of spacing them out to give maximum flexibility, but there are so many crossings between MUMMYS TOMB, MILLION MOM MARCH, and MAMMY YOKUM that the center section becomes tough to fill. O??U doesn't have many options (OAHU only), and surprisingly, neither does M??M (MAAM, MAIM, MARM). That duo constrains the fill heavily, causing the ?AA? pattern at 45A (BAAL). So many constraints in that region.

Finally, a discussion about the difficulty of using eight-letter revealers. Because a revealer is often best placed at the bottom of a grid (so it wraps up the theme at the very end), notice how by necessity the SW and NE corners are six white spaces across. Bigger sections are harder to fill, and a 6x5 swath of wide-open space can be especially challenging. Ed does a nice job in the SW with the beautiful LET ME SEE and just one partial (A TIE) as a blemish, but the NE suffers a little with the "roll-your-own" RETAB next to the poetic ENORM.

Constructing for a Monday is very hard. Most of the aforementioned entries would be totally acceptable on a Thursday, especially if necessary to carry off an ambitious theme, but for a Monday, they offer a very tough challenge for beginning solvers.

Will Shortz notes: The Monday through Thursday puzzles this week were used last Saturday at the 6th annual BAC Fill crossword tournament in Oakland, Calif. Each year all the money raised at the event goes to benefit Families of SMA, which is dedicated to finding a treatment and cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. More info can be found at www.bayareacrosswords.org.
JimH notes: This puzzle blows away the old record for most Ms. There are 25 of them.
1.Man-goat of myth : PAN
4."Make it snappy," on an order : ASAP
8.Smartly dressed : DAPPER
14.Media inits. since 1958 : UPI
15.Guys' counterpart : GALS
16.Mike Nichols's comedy partner ___ May : ELAINE
17.Abba-inspired hit musical : MAMMAMIA
19.Is unable to : CANNOT
20.Loud, as a crowd : AROAR
21.Sign before Virgo : LEO
23.Gillette razor brand : ATRA
24.River of the underworld, in myth : STYX
25.Movie starring Lon Chaney Jr., with "The" : MUMMYSTOMB
28.Footnote abbr. : IBID
30.___ of Wight : ISLE
31."Now I get it!" : AHA
34.Suffix with buck : AROO
36."Since ___ My Baby" (1965 Temptations hit) : ILOST
40.Washington rally of 5/14/00 : MILLIONMOMMARCH
44.Push : IMPEL
45.False god : BAAL
46.Timid : SHY
47.Office worker just for the day : TEMP
50.Makes bales on a farm : HAYS
52.Dogpatch matriarch : MAMMYYOKUM
56.Tibetan priest : LAMA
60.Even, after "in" : ATIE
61.Math's highest degree? : NTH
62.Baseball's Hammerin' Hank : AARON
63.Many a corporate plane : CESSNA
65.Classic advertising slogan ... and a hint to 17-, 25-, 40- and 52-Across : MMMMGOOD
68.Very advanced, computerwise : HITECH
69.Test : EXAM
70.Mal de ___ : MER
71.Al and Al Jr. of auto racing : UNSERS
72.Puerto ___ : RICO
73.Suffix on juice drinks : ADE
1.Mountain cats or sneakers : PUMAS
2.Miles ___ (not even close) : APART
3.Leonard who played Mr. Spock : NIMOY
4.Medium in bio labs : AGAR
5."Uncle ___ wants you" : SAM
6.Boxer Muhammad : ALI
7."The Lord is my shepherd ...," e.g. : PSALM
8.Wooden ducks : DECOYS
9.Pie ___ mode : ALA
10.Long, thin cigar : PANATELA
11.Mottled horse : PINTO
12.Huge, in poetry : ENORM
13.Adjust the margins again : RETAB
18.Opposite of mini- : MAXI
22.Brit. record label : EMI
25.Artist Joan : MIRO
26.Japanese soup noodles : UDON
27.Meagerly : SLIMLY
29.Barnum's circus partner : BAILEY
31.Friend of Fran├žois : AMI
32."I Will Follow ___" (1963 #1 hit) : HIM
33.Mont Blanc, e.g. : ALP
35.White House financial advisory grp. : OMB
37.Surgery sites, for short : ORS
38.Educ. facility : SCH
39."___ will be done ..." (Lord's Prayer phrase) : THY
41."Hmmm ..." : LETMESEE
42.Honolulu's home : OAHU
43.Sir's counterpart, informally : MAAM
48.Bird mimics : MYNAHS
49.One calling the kettle black, in a saying : POT
51.Metal waste : SLAG
52.___ Picchu (Incan site) : MACHU
53.Had dinner at home : ATEIN
54.Light fogs : MISTS
55.Official language of Cambodia : KHMER
57.Scent : AROMA
58.Made a cow call : MOOED
59.Tennis's Agassi : ANDRE
62.Bullets, BB's and such : AMMO
64.Co. that makes A.T.M.'s : NCR
66.1011, in old Rome : MXI
67.McDonald's Big ___ : MAC

© 2017, Jim Horne