Peter A. Collins’ Sunday, 3/30/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)


March 30, 2014 by manvspuzzle



Theme: 6 Answers are songs titles taken literally and structured crazily throughout the grid.

Theme Answers:

  • “Rock Around The Clock” (THE CLOCK is surrounded by the circled squares, which spell R-O-C-K.
  • “Smoke On The Water” (SMOKE is literally on THE WATER)
  • “Teenager in Love” (the answer is LOTEENAGERVE)
  • “Time After Time” (the answer is TIMETIME)
  • “Bad Moon Rising” (it’s a down answer, NOOMDAB)
  • “Stand By Your Man” (STAND is literally by YOUR MAN)


Something Good: Variety.  This theme style is kinda fun, but also kinda been there done that seen it before bush league stuff.  But what would *really* make it bush league is if the prepositional/relational gag was uniform throughout.  That would be boring.  I thought it was pretty interesting that every time I came to a new theme answer, I had to start from scratch and uncover the trick from a different angle.  Around, On, In, After, Rising, By — very nice mix.  Fun even.


3 30 14

Oh, hi Sunday.  You long, boring bastard.

Oops, sorry!  Didn’t mean to start out so negatively!  But seriously, I basically hate solving like 2 out of every 3 Sundays.  Sooooooo looooong.

But that’s my personal issue.  I can’t really say that I *hated* this, but…it certainly didn’t pull me out of my usual Sunday boredom hole.

Taking an objective look, there’s some nice stuff here.  The theme is good and well-executed (though NOOMDAB is really an odd-man-out for at least a couple of reasons — sort of distracting and unfortunate, but I don’t really feel like going into it), and there’s some definite color throughout.  DICK AND JANE, SEAT BELT, BAR ROOMS, IN BAD SHAPE, DO IT NOW and STAR DUST are among my personal favorites.  Oh, and TWERK.  This is TWERK‘s debut!  Bask in its glory, solvers.

I have no issues with the 3-letter stuff.  Or the 4-letter stuff.  5 is where it starts to get weird.  ADD IT, ANNEE, ASSOC, ACCT NO (a nice nod to yesterday’s AT NO) — and those are just the A-words that bugged me.  There are a few others, but not too many.

Not a fan of TOO CAREFUL.  That’s a big 10-letter stretch, and one that’s never been used before (in this case, that’s not good).  Honestly, I don’t really see the need for it.  Its symmetrical partner is EMPIRICIST, which is fine but by no means awesome or necessary.  An extra block could have eliminated TOO CAREFUL and perhaps upped the fill quality a bit.  But whatever.

All in all, this felt like a very average Sunday to me.  I don’t think really experienced solvers will love it, but it’s a good puzzle for smart solvers who are either new or sporadic.  The trick can be cute and satisfying.  I guess I’m saying it should be fun for people who haven’t been exposed to the concept much.

Or is that what I’m saying?  Not sure anymore.  It’s bedtime, folks.  Goodnight.

2 thoughts on “Peter A. Collins’ Sunday, 3/30/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

  1. Z says:

    TIMETIME I hear veteran solvers bemoan the size of the Sunday puzzle. I hear but I don’t understand. Personally, I wouldn’t want one this size every day, but it certainly beats church on a Sunday morning.

    SACRAL LEERS – we had a fair dose of those a year ago when the local parish suffered the indignity of having their priest arrested for driving drunk and naked.

    • manvspuzzle says:

      Honestly, I like Sunday puzzles if I’m solving with other people over the course of the day. Slow and casual, calling out clues, etc. Lately I’m solving them by myself when everyone else is asleep. So I bemoan.

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