XW Info

Friday, September 20, 2013
by Mangesh Ghogre and Doug Peterson
Fri 9/20/2013
© 2013, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes: Debut for Mangesh! If you haven't read his 2012 ACPT letter you're missing out. Great story about the power of crosswords not only to delight but to educate. I had the pleasure to meet him at that ACPT and enjoyed swapping stories.

And how can you go wrong working with the venerable Doug Peterson, an expert constructor and a hilarious guy? I'm envious of the fun times they must have had. Doug and Mangesh incorporate double-stacked 15's, using a black square to break up rows 1 and 15. That pair of squares may seem insignificant, but this arrangement is so much more flexible to fill than a triple-stack of 15's. The top stack is very nice, both phrases being in the language and catchy. There are a couple of blemishes in OBS, EDD, and TER but overall it's pretty good. PENNON was a bit of a head-scratcher, but I enjoyed looking that up and reminiscing about The Tudors and Game of Thrones.

One issue with stacks of 15's is that they don't leave much room for other feature entries in the grid. Note how aside from the 15's, there are slots for only six 8's. It's relatively hard to find fresh 7-letter (or less) answers, so there's not a lot of room aside from the 15's to incorporate more marquee answers. TO DIE FOR is, well, to die for, but there aren't many other flashy entries.

To Will's point about reuse of 15's in stacks, some of us constructors have a running joke about SCARLET TANAGERS and A LOT ON ONES PLATE, which have been used many times in themeless stacks. Anytime a crossword has a 15-letter answer with any sort of bird clue, I automatically fill in SCARLET TANAGERS. And if I don't want to do something, I'll say "Sorry, I have a lot on one's plate."

Finally, a highlight of the puzzle is the clue for NINJAS. What a fun piece of information! Watch as I activate my ninja powers and turn invisib

Will Shortz notes: Mangesh Ghogre, of Mumbai, India, is making his debut with today's puzzle. How he and Doug divided up the construction job I don't know. The two pairs of stacked 15s are pretty nice, I think, although three of the four 15s have appeared in Times puzzles before (17A once, 48A twice, and 45A three times). But it's been awhile since they've appeared, and the clues for them are fresh, so I hope solvers will not remember them or at least not mind.
1.Offer to host : ASKOVER
8.W.W. II vessels : PTBOATS
15.Expressed slight surprise : RAISEDANEYEBROW
17."But really ..." : ALLKIDDINGASIDE
18.___ Empire : ROMAN
19.Deep-seated : INNER
20.What you might be overseas? : SIE
21.Part of A.M.A.: Abbr. : AMER
22.Principal : MAJOR
23.Leave in : STET
24.Rx specification : TER
25.Industry leader : TITAN
26.Part of a place setting : KNIFE
27.Swelters : BAKES
28.Absolutely correct : DEADON
29.Relatives of spoonbills : IBISES
31.Voyeur : PEEPER
32.Staggered : AMAZED
33.Many chains are found in them : MALLS
34.Ticked off : RILED
35.Works at a museum, say : BUSTS
36.One of the girls : SHE
39.Going ___ : ATIT
40.Gnats and mosquitoes : PESTS
41.Powerful engine : VTEN
42.Pipe holder? : PAN
43.Watch brand once worn by 007 : SEIKO
44.One of 24 : KARAT
45.1959 #5 hit with the B-side "I've Cried Before" : ATEENAGERINLOVE
48.What a board may be against : HOSTILETAKEOVER
49.Euripides tragedy : ORESTES
50.Satyrs, say : LEERERS
1.Mountains of ___ (Genesis locale) : ARARAT
2.Strauss opera : SALOME
3."Trees" poet : KILMER
4.Werner of "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" : OSKAR
5."In that ___ ..." : VEIN
6.Hall-of-Fame outfielder Roush : EDD
7.Throws off : RADIATES
8.Flag carried on a knight's lance : PENNON
9.Blake's "burning bright" cat : TYGER
10.Pessimist : BEAR
11.Outmoded: Abbr. : OBS
12.Three-time Haitian president : ARISTIDE
13.Super-wonderful : TODIEFOR
14.Make more attractive : SWEETEN
16.Warriors with supposed powers of invisibility and shapeshifting : NINJAS
22.Ready for an on-air interview : MIKED
23."Your mama wears army boots" and such : SNAPS
25.Put a charge into? : TASED
26.Leans precariously : KEELS
27."L'Arl├ęsienne" composer : BIZET
28.Workout targets, informally : DELTS
29.Copycat : IMITATOR
30.Long-haired cat breed : BALINESE
31.Simple and serene : PASTORAL
32.Fox relative : ARAPAHO
33.Old arm : MUSKET
35.Pale shades : BEIGES
36.Fought : STROVE
37.Shot-putter, e.g. : HEAVER
38.Puts in : ENTERS
40."Positive thinking" pioneer : PEALE
41.Grounds for a medal : VALOR
43.Pet : SNIT
44.Place for a jerk? : KNEE
46."Captain Video" figures, for short : ETS
47.'50s politico : IKE

© 2017, Jim Horne