David Steinberg’s Thursday, 4/10/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)


April 10, 2014 by manvspuzzle

bees! 009

Theme: SIX FLAGS.  6 theme answers are common terms whose first words can also precede the word ‘flag.’  Then there’s the revealer.

Theme Answers:

  • 13A — *Kind of affair : BLACK TIE
  • 19A — *1971 song with the lyric “Helter skelter in a summer swelter” :  AMERICAN PIE
  • 25A — *Creator of Sheriff Deadeye and Cauliflower McPugg : RED SKELTON
  • 33A — *Sketchy history : CHECKERED PAST
  • 40A — *January events : WHITE SALES
  • 48A — *Some illegal transmissions : PIRATE RADIO
  • 59A — Popular day trip destination … or a hint to the starts of the answers to the starred clues : SIX FLAGS

Something Good: A Thursday for the “Normals.”  I can’t imagine any serious solver not noticing that this is a decidedly un-Thursday theme.  Feels much more like a Tuesday, maybe even a Monday.  Other elements may make the puzzle fit snugly in this part of the week, but for the most part I found it surprisingly easy and accessible.  So, if you’re concerned about the poor noob solvers who struggle even early in the week, direct them to this one.  They may experience a confidence boost.

4 10 14

I’d be really interested to learn why this puzzle was run today instead of yesterday or the day before.  Could be the lowish word count (72).  Maybe the theme density.  Or maybe the fact that Will Shortz is seriously running low (as he has mentioned in the Internetverse) on non-rebus Thursday themes.  Don’t know.  But it’s kinda weird to see this one here today.

Without factoring in the day of the week issue, this puzzle is a good one.  The theme is basically fun and makes sense.  A pretty good idea, actually, and one I wish I’d thought of.  Some nice wide-open space (kind of a Thursday trait).  The fill is kinda so-so, but there’s nothing totally weird or ungettable.  It’s all fair-to-good.

The theme answers themselves do stand out as sparkly.  PIRATE RADIO and CHECKERED PAST are particularly nice.

Anyway, for me this was an excessively easy Thursday that really didn’t feel like a Thursday at all.  Just a regular early-week puzzle.  I should mention that I picked up the theme very early, like on the first pass, so that may have helped with my generally breezy experience.

This guy Steinberg: if you don’t know of his exploits, you should.  Be sure to check out the Preshortzian Puzzle Project when you have a chance.





4 thoughts on “David Steinberg’s Thursday, 4/10/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

  1. tom pepper says:

    Definitely not a Monday puzzle for me. I finished Monday’s in under 6 mins. Today’s took me 29 mins. David, ol’ PAISAN ol’ pal, you know I’m a huge fan … I don’t know why I struggle with your puzzles, but I do.

    Never heard of PAISAN or EMETIC and ___ RADIO wasn’t obvious to me. I kept trying to figure out how HUNGovER could somehow mean “more ambitious.” Took me forever to see HUNGRIER.

    Read David’s comments at xwordinfo about Will’s clue for TAGGED. I stared at it longer than David and I still didn’t get it. Had to read Jeff’s explanation. It’s a great clue and I’m bummed I couldn’t grok it.

    And while your at David’s Pre-Shortzian site, be sure to check out the Litzer of the Month, who you might recognize as an alert nuisance commenter on a little-known blog.

  2. Well, there are at least three of us reading this blog, i.e., its author Sean Dobbin, my friend Tom, Pepper, and myself. I want to second or third what has already been said, including the reference to David Steinberg’s own account on xwordinfo.com Apparently, David never planned for this to be a Thursday, but given that one of Will Shortz’s major needs these days is for non-rebus Thursdays, and given the elegant construction (six theme entries plus a reveal, along with a relatively low word count), the decision was made to toughen up the clues and run the puzzle today. Whether one agrees with this or not, who are we to second-guess the Puzzle Master?

    It was a pleasure to meet David in person last month at the ACPT, after having corresponded with him frequently via e-mail, both in his capacity as editor of the Orange County Register, and for a collaborative puzzle entitled “Definitely Defined” we had last summer in the Wall Street Journal (edited by Mike Shenk). Kudos to Tom for being April’s Litzer of the Month in David’s Pre-Shortzian Project. Finally, for those who are still in a mood for one more puzzle, an even easier one than today’s NYT, please check out “What’s the Difference?”(http://tinyurl.com/differencepuz) which I wrote last June in response to a historic NYT puzzle.

  3. Z says:

    I think this is a little crunchier than MvP suggests. 1A will get people, 3D will get people, the NE will cause people problems, PAISAN and EMETIC will take people a few crosses, RED SKELTON has to be a WOE for a large swath of the under-50 crowd – this was Wednesdayish for me, but I imagine there will be a fair number who struggle. I agree, though, a fine puzzle overall.

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