XW Info

Monday, April 24, 2017
by Gary Cee
Mon 4/24/2017
© 2017, The New York Times
Jeff Chen notes:

Such meaty theme entries today … and they form a meal! Starting with a WORD SALAD (a more polite term for "word vomit"), continuing with a NOTHING BURGER (Kevin O'Leary from "Shark Tank" uses this all the time), some COUCH POTATOES, finishing with a HUMBLE PIE. I've seen COUCH POTATOES and HUMBLE PIE used before in similar crosswords, but the first two feel nice and fresh. Well done.

Strong execution, too. I'd expect at least a pair of good bonus entries from Gary, given just four themers, and he didn't disappoint. ARPEGGIO for us classical music-lovers, I SUPPOSE, HOT MIC, PEGASUS — all of them excellent lifts as I solved.

There's a bit of arbitrary TWOAM, URI Geller (is he really crossworthy?), a singular ALP, but nothing else that dragged me down. I want smoothness in my Monday puzzles — to make them accessible to newer solvers — and Gary did well in this regard.

I usually think inconsistency is inelegant — POTATOES is the only plural food item — but in this case, I like the inconsistency. Who eats just one potato, after all? (This really should be the case for PIE. I mean, it's PIE, people!)

Only minor nit was the "Utah blocks" on the sides of the puzzle — the sets of five black squares that look like the state of Utah. Gary was already going to have a long down on each side of the puzzle, so why not do it in a way to avoid Utah blocks? Here, you could take out the three blocks after OPENS, and put one in at the E of IRATE — the long down would then be at the bottom right instead of the top right.

Solid Monday puzzle. It would have been spot-on if the meal had been a more typical menu — maybe SOUP, SALAD, BURGER, PIE? — but now I kind of want to try that BURGER followed by POTATOES gut bomb.

1.Web designer's code : HTML
5.One wearing an apron and a puffy white hat : CHEF
9.One includes "My cup runneth over" in the Bible : PSALM
14.Has debts : OWES
15.Slight amount : IOTA
16.Like a wolf's howl in the dead of night : EERIE
17.Gobbledygook : WORDSALAD
19.Looked open-mouthed : GAPED
20.Scot's cap : TAM
21."___ is me!" : WOE
22.Up in arms : IRATE
24.Nebraska's capital before Lincoln : OMAHA
26.Grandson of Adam : ENOS
27.Clock-setting std. : GMT
30.Big fat zero : NOTHINGBURGER
34.Like Jefferson on a list of presidents : THIRD
35.River through Paris : SEINE
36.Do laps in a pool : SWIM
39.Flower that's also a girl's name : PANSY
42.Spoonful of medicine, say : DOSE
43.Put forward, as an idea : POSIT
45.Unlocks : OPENS
47.Habitual tube watchers : COUCHPOTATOES
51.Swiss peak : ALP
52.Part in a movie : ROLE
53.Hair that hangs over the forehead : BANGS
56.Used a lever on : PRIED
58."Golly!" : GEE
60.Promise-to-pay note : IOU
61.Capital of South Korea : SEOUL
63.What a shamed person has to "eat" : HUMBLEPIE
66.Stand on three legs? : EASEL
67.Mideast native : ARAB
68.On the ___ (recuperating) : MEND
69.Lock of hair : TRESS
70.Metal canisters : TINS
71.Hankering : URGE
1.Book consulted by a do-it-yourselfer : HOWTO
2.Time in Manhattan when it's midnight in Montana : TWOAM
3.Ethel who sang "There's No Business Like Show Business" : MERMAN
4.It was often dropped in the '60s : LSD
5."See ya!" : CIAO
6.Woodchuck's escape route : HOLE
7.Airline app datum, for short : ETA
8.On the decline : FADING
9.Flying horse of Greek myth : PEGASUS
10."Save me a ___!" : SEAT
11.Notes of a chord played in rapid succession : ARPEGGIO
12.Fib : LIE
13.Club ___ : MED
18.Path of mowed grass : SWATH
23.Steal from : ROB
25.It might capture an embarrassing comment : HOTMIC
26.Bit of appended text : ENDNOTE
28.Store department selling suits and ties : MENS
29.Obstacle for a drone : TREE
31.Modern and cool : HIP
32.Plan that might include mutual funds, in brief : IRA
33.Body of water that separates Africa and Asia : REDSEA
36.Pet safety org. : SPCA
37.Sheep's coat : WOOL
38."It's certainly possible ..." : ISUPPOSE
40.Hot spring : SPA
41."The best is ___ to come" : YET
44.What amusement parks provide : THRILLS
46.2016 prize for Bob Dylan : NOBEL
48.Who wrote of "sorrow for the lost Lenore" : POE
49.Out-of-date : OLDHAT
50.Marksman with an M40 : SNIPER
54.Word cried twice before "gone" : GOING
55.Napped leather : SUEDE
57.Feels remorse over : RUES
58.F.B.I. worker, informally : GMAN
59.Recedes : EBBS
61.Ready : SET
62.Place for a bud or a stud : EAR
64.Celebrity psychic Geller : URI
65.Down Under bird : EMU

© 2017, Jim Horne