THURSDAY, Jul. 26, 2007 - Joe Krozel

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Relative difficulty: Medium

THEME: East to West - all Across answers that begin on the far west side of the puzzle appear to be unclued, but are actually the second parts of the corresponding Across answers that end at the far east of the puzzle.

Feeling mildly better today, so I'll do a shortish commentary. I have seen this style of puzzle before, though I think the answers actually ran on to the next line (rather than the same line, as is the case here) and may have broken mid-word (rather than between words, as is the case here). At any rate, the only difficulty in this puzzle lies in figuring out the theme; once you've got it, none of the answers should give you much trouble.

"Theme" answers

  • 10A / 1A: Opposite of all (not / one)
  • 15A / 13A: Loser (also / ran)
  • 18A / 16A: Try, as something new (test / out)
  • 22A / 19A: Like some low-rise buildings (three- / story)

  • 30A / 26A: Places where fans may gather to watch a game (sports / bars)
  • 36A / 34A: Noted 1829 West Point graduate (Robert / E. Lee)
  • 40A / 37A: Deem appropriate (see / fit)
  • 44A / 41A: Irish playwright who wrote "The Shadow of a Gunman" (Sean / O'Casey)
  • 47A / 45A: Countryman of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (West / German)

  • 55A / 51A: Target of chondrolaryngoplasty (adam's / apple)
  • 62A / 59A: Barely (by a / nose)
  • 65A / 63A: Comforting words (it's / okay)
  • 68A / 66A: What some browsers browse (the / net)

Didn't know WEST GERMAN or SEAN O'CASEY, but they were both easily inferrable.

I would have called the Wal-Mart symbol a "SMILEY face" (42D: Symbol in Wal-Mart ads) Is his actual name "SMILEY?" I don't know why 4D: London shades are GREYS. Is it 'cause it's GREY there a lot? (see also 26D: Cloud up (befog)).

My favorite feature of this puzzle is the intersection of 4A: Common Halloween costumes (ghosts) and 7D: Hamlet, to Claudius (stepson). Hamlet's father famously appears to him as a GHOST and tells him to avenge his death at the hands of Claudius (Hamlet's uncle). I was annoyed when NEPHEW wouldn't fit for the Hamlet clue, but then it all made sense in the end.

There were probably a few too many abbrev.'s in this puzzle (TREAS., SWED., NAUT., ANON., SDS, SASE, REL., DST., INC., RPM) and HES (60D: Guys) is just godawful, but otherwise, a very enjoyable puzzle.

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld

39 comments:

Alex 10:52 PM  

I would like to thank ADAM'S APPLE for being a absolute gimme and for THYROID being one letter too long or I might have decided it was good enough (the surgery targets the thyroid cartilage not the thyroid).

Without that one I was sitting there pretty stumped on the theme.

What do you think of the puzzle construction where it is essentially to separate puzzles since the NW and SE diagonal is solid and there is no connection between the two halves?

Jerome 11:05 PM  

Rex,

Glad you're feeling better.

SPORTS BAR was my key to figuring out the theme.

Like you, hated HES (you can add PSAT to your abbr. list).

BTW, I never heard of OSSE. I obvously wanted OSTE until I had no other option.

Anonymous 11:10 PM  

I think GREY is British; GRAY, American. Hence, GREYS are London shades. I think the allusion is to the expession SHADES OF GREY/GRAY.

Steve M

Anonymous 11:40 PM  

I am sorry to say, as a physician, that osse works, although barely. There are a few terms, little used, beginning with osse - most importantly, "osseous" (i.e., of the bone), and the "osseous system," another way of saying the skeleton.

DES

jlsnyc 11:59 PM  

glad to see yer up and about!

sean o'casey was the *first* one i got. go figger. and how grateful i was to see 'im!

today's was one of those puzzles where solving the downs first (as much as possible anyway) was a real boon.

welcome back, mr. parker --

janie

campesite 2:21 AM  

Glad you're back, Rex.
Today's theme, to me, was pretty fun--if you don't mind 13 or so entries with the exact same clue.
Tony PENA was in yesterday's NY Sun clued almost exactly the same way--a new up and comer in puzzledom?

liebestraum 6:31 AM  

Hope you start to feel better.

This puzzle took me too long to complete because I wasn't swift enough to pick up on the theme. I had actually filled in GERMAN and APPLE without knowing they were connected to any other clue.

Then once I got the theme, I had TEST RUN for the longest time.



lieb

Anonymous 7:39 AM  

ATHROB?

Howard B 8:25 AM  

I dunno, I think noticing the Berlin Wall separating the west and east sides actually helped a little with the trick, since if you do the Times puzzle enough, you know that they wouldn't normaly allow a puzzle to be split like that without a good reason.

Once you figure out the trick, the whole puzzle becomes at least a bit easier to work through; it wasn't the clues that make up the difficulty here, it was just figuring out what in the name of Shortz was going on with those 'blank' clues and then solving normally. Or I should say, as you normally solve (if you do the puzzle hanging upside-down while yodeling, say, that's entirely your business).

Evad 8:55 AM  

Funny, I was just leafing through my copy of Amy's How to Conquer the NYT, and noticed Will's "rules" for crossword construction. One of them is that no section of a grid should be isolated from another, ie, a solver should be able to make proceed from any section to any other without stopping.

Rules are made to be broken, they say.

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

Oooo...the Puzzle Police are on patrol!

Anonymous 9:50 AM  

I have to admit, I was totally stumped until I cheated and checked Rex's blog. Once I saw the theme explanation, the whole thing became a breeze

b

Rex Parker 9:53 AM  

This grid violates the aforementioned "rule" only visually. Since the Across answers in the east leap to the west, the whole puzzle is, in fact, interconnected, with no parts separated entirely from one another.

rp

Alex 10:06 AM  

Yeah, I guess I'll just think of it as a special Leaning Tower of Piza puzzle that had to be squared off for publishing reasons.

Like this:

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1331/905746640_c2fbe4bb03.jpg?v=0

Anonymous 10:23 AM  

alex, that is cool

Orange 11:11 AM  

Alex, thanks for the illustration. I just linked to it in the comments at my blog.

Deschanel 11:34 AM  

I was awfully stumped by "Canine coat"= ENAMEL.

I'm thinking of little statuettes of dogs?... til the dental idea of canine came up. D'oh!

Chris 11:39 AM  

This one reminded me of the puzzle on 4/1 this year. In that puzzle, some of the numbers for the across entries were missing in the print edition, which made things a bit easier to figure out. Anyone know if the same is the case for this puzzle?

Karen 12:08 PM  

I had SEA green instead of PEA green. Not knowing my baseball managers, didn't figure it out until picking through the puzzle with multiple wikis looking for the error. I liked the central idea, though.

profphil 12:22 PM  

Karen,

I too had sea instead of pea as I am ignorant as to sports figures. Only realized it when I completed the puzzle and checked out this blog and saw that it was Pena/pea.

Almost perfect is good enough for me.

Anonymous 1:27 PM  

I think Claudius qualifies as a faux pa.

Sarah 1:43 PM  

mildly better is better than naught

Fergus 2:54 PM  

Perceptive of howard b to notice that the 'Wall' was quite clearly intended as a solution hint. "Where East is West and West is East ...." or something along those lines might have been too much of a give-away, if that was the Puzzle's title. I, too, was heading on to the next row for a bit. Didn't the last similar, partially unclued puzzle just have straight continuity from left to right?

The canine tooth 'misdirection' is getting hackneyed. I almost would be surprised if a canine clue had anything to do with a dog.

Is the crossing of SEE with RESEE as irritating -- and clueless -- as I first thought?

Wade 3:24 PM  

Karen and Profphil, ditto. I kept hitting "done" on the puzzle and it kept bouncing back. I was convinced the error was the first letter of DEANE/DST (since I didn't know the patriot Silas's last name and since I had it in my head the __ST could be D/M/P/C or E, as in time zones), but changing those didn't work either. I never thought to re-examine SEA/SENA. When it comes to sports personalities, I'll believe anything the puzzle tells me.

Anonymous 4:23 PM  

Also posted at "NYT in Gothic":

There is a better visualization than a parallelogram: a cylinder. That is, paste the (square) puzzle onto a can -- one with a circumference of fifteen squares -- and all those split entries will recombine, each in the correct left-to-right order. It is amusing to imagine crossword puzzles on other surfaces. Just figure out how to cut the surface to spread it out on a plane. Surely, the only possible objection is an excessive attachment to a two-dimensional world!

The only Thursday puzzle I have enjoyed this much is one a few weeks ago in which answers were written backwards (with the word "back" present only in its illustration).

Matt M. 5:16 PM  

Chris, the print version has this note at the top (perhaps this was in the online version, too?):

Note: While some Across clues in this puzzle appear to be missing, every answer is in fact clued.

Of course we still needed those numbers for the corresponding Down clues.

Orange 5:19 PM  

Yes, SEE and RESEE crossing each other is generally held to be a no-no in crossword construction. However, that reminds me of the Pete and Repete skit in the Remy Charlip book, Arm in Arm. This was one of my favorite books as a kid and it probably helped launch my lifetime love of wordplay. So if you know a child who's hip to wordplay, give him or her this book!

Chris 6:03 PM  

Were answers like 13-, 16-, and 19-across numbered as well? Those numbers have no down clues associated with them.

C zar 7:04 PM  

disliked I
theme the
me to
make didn't
sense much
put to
in words
order reverse

Maybe we could call it "Talk Like Yoda. Pretty quick once I figured out the theme.

Anonymous 9:15 PM  

Glad you are better

jae 9:54 PM  

Got the theme from the dashes because it was done before on a Saturday puzzle. Could anyone explain OROS for "Spanish card suit?" My wife is fluent and she did not get it.

Badir 10:32 PM  

All right, I've been lurking for a few months, so I thought I'd finally comment. I thought this was a lot of fun. I kept thinking "It should be 'Robert E. Lee' and 'sports bar', but they just don't fit." Still, I ended up taking about seven minutes off my best Thursday time! Glad you're feeling better, Rex, and thanks for a great blog!

Fergus 12:22 AM  

OROS corresponds to Diamonds in a deck of cards

jae 1:38 AM  

Fergus -- thanks, all I could come up with is trebols, corszones, espades, and diamondes (probably not spelled correctly), none of which fit!

Matt M. 8:52 AM  

Chris,
Yeah, sorry, I guess all of the said numbers were not necessary, but they were indeed included in the print version.

WWPierre 6:27 PM  

Loved this puzzle, even though it took only one cup of tea to complete. I also had TEST RUN as opposed to TEST OUT; the crosses seemed reasonable.

My favorite clue/answer combo was 4d, London shades, because it works on a couple of levels.

I would say that fifteen or 20 years ago, the Wal-Mart symbol would have to be a SMILEY FACE, but today it is simply a SMILEY, a type of emoticon.

I see you are still blogging, Rex, so I trust you recovered fully. :)

Waxy in Montreal 8:37 PM  

6 weeks on:

To misquote Mr. Dickens "it was the worst of times (and then), it was the best of times". This puzzle drove me bonkers until a eureka moment when ADAMS suddenly appeared from the crosses quickly leading to APPLE and by extension all the rest of the West-East pairings.

Interesting that 6 weeks back Matt M. noted his print version stated "Note: While some Across clues in this puzzle appear to be missing, every answer is in fact clued." I don't know if this was the norm as my paper doesn't contain such a hint.

Anyway, what a great puzzle!

Dave 9:51 PM  

Waxy -- My paper, the San Diego Union Tribune, included the explanation.

Wade said above that several letters fit in _ST (38A). Actually only "D" fits since EST, CST, etc. are non-summer clock settings. This had be misled for a while, too.

WWPierre 2:30 PM  

The Vancouver Sun puzzle was prefixed by the hint, fwiw.

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