Tim Croce’s Tuesday, 1/14/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

2

January 14, 2014 by manvspuzzle

Croc01Theme: Nonsense.  16 theme answers are synonyms for ‘nonsense’

Theme Answers (all have the same clue, which is, not surprisingly, ‘Nonsense’):

  • JIVE, JAZZ, HOKUM, PRATTLE, TWADDLE, HOT AIR, BILGE, ROT, TRIPE, BUSHWA, BLATHER, HOGWASH, HOOEY, TOSH, BUNK, BALONEY

What’s Good: Theme Density

1 14 14***

Wow.

This puzzle has 86 theme squares.  That means that a little over 60% of the letters are used in the theme.  Holy crap, that’s a lot!

Of course, to produce such a theme-dense puzzle, compromises have to be made.  First, there are 82 words — 4 more than the general limit for a 15×15 puzzle (that rule, of course, is broken at the editor’s discretion when the theme warrants).

Second, there is some nasty fill.  It’s really not too bad, considering all of the limitations.  Mostly, it’s just that there isn’t any really *good* fill.  But the biggest fill issue hit me in the NE, where I found myself guessing at the intersection of OCEDAR and MTA.  A little bit farther down, the whole BUSHWA/PAPAW/STELA thing really had me going.  I had to make like 3 good guesses to solve this puzzle correctly.

But you get lots of theme, which is probably good for many people out there solving today.  I don’t think this puzzle is meant to make the pros happy.  No, this one’s for the little guy/gal.  The high-schooler.  The old-schooler.  The n00b.

And whatever.  I got through it and it was Tuesdayrrific.  What else can I ask for?  Nothing, really.

I’m guessing that some will argue that Tim should have cut down the theme density a bit to make the fill better.  Maybe.  With a very straightforward theme like this, which really isn’t too exciting, I’d argue that the *best* thing you can do is at least give us a lot of it.  That’s the fun part — showing the world how many different (and symmetrical) ways ‘Nonsense’ can be played on.  If Tim had removed 2 or 4 or 6 of these theme answers, then we’d be complaining that, although the fill is good, the theme is just boring.  Choose your poison.

So, it’s Tuesday.  We got through it.  And it wasn’t horrible.  Thanks, Tim!

2 thoughts on “Tim Croce’s Tuesday, 1/14/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

  1. howardb42 says:

    I guess in that pic, its CROC TIME!

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