Michael Blake’s and Andrea Carla Michaels’s Monday, 12/23/13 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

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December 23, 2013 by manvspuzzle

Theme: TAKE IT TO THE BANK.  A “words that can precede…” theme that’s bank-related.  Central revealer ties the theme answers together.

Theme Entries:

  • 18A — Mammal with the largest brain of any animal: SPERM WHALE
  • 24A — Riding on someone else’s shoulders: PIGGY BACKING
  • 39A — “Believe you me!” … or what you can do with the start of 18-, 24-, 53- or 63-Across?: TAKE IT TO THE BANK
  • 53A — Young Indiana Jones portrayer: RIVER PHOENIX
  • 63A — Dry-ice contraption for theatrical effect: FOG MACHINE

    © The New York Times

    © The New York Times


First of all, congratulations to BREASTS (51-Across: Chicken pieces that aren’t legs, thighs, or wings) on making your New York Times puzzle debut today.  I’ve been saying for years that I want to see more BREASTS in the puzzle.  Great job.

My only real issue here is that I’ve never heard of a FOG BANK.  Just spent about 43.5 seconds researching it, and it still seems pretty obscure.  I’d bet that no one I know has ever used that term.  That doesn’t make it wrong, but that does seem pretty obscure for a Monday theme answer.  I think something beginning with BLOOD-, FOOD-, or WEST- would have made me a little happier.  But whateva.

I like the revealer.  I pretty much like the fill.  I had no writeovers or anything, so this seems basically well-edited and put-together.  We can all see that the interconnected GEST/MASC/COQ/QUOI is pretty unpalatable, and as a solver I feel like I can feel the constructor(s) forcing that Q on me — kinda like the feeling you get from door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen, or the manager at the Moe’s on Kirkwood highway in Wilmington, Delaware (dude, they’re just burritos, get over yourself).  I think the ESME/MOET crossing will probably trip some people up today, too.

Other than all of that, I’m happy with this puzzle.  I conquered it, cause I’m awesome.  Some of you didn’t, cause you suck.

That’s it.  Thanks, Michael and Andrea!

P.S. — I see the pangram.  I don’t really like pangrams for the sake of pangrams, but I understand that there are solvers out in the world who actually get totally psyched whenever they get one.  Even if *you* don’t like it, it would probably be smart to keep in mind that some people do, and it ain’t all about you, duh.  So enjoy this day, pangram lovers!  I promise not to get all bitchy about it.



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