Chris A. McGlothlin’s Friday, 1/31/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)


January 31, 2014 by manvspuzzle


Theme: None

What’s Good: Wide Open Spaces.  This puzzle has 116 open squares, which means there are 116 white squares that *don’t* touch a black square, even diagonally.  The average open square count for a Saturday is around 94 — so this puzzle is way above average.  It’s actually tied (with many others) for the 9th-fewest open squares in the Shortz-era.  (Kids, I get stats like this by paying a mere pittance to have full access over at XWord Info.  Go check it out.)

1 31 14***

Awesome.  I love opening up the puzzle and seeing all that whiteness.  Like, I seriously get excited.  And guess what?  I know full well there will be compromises in the fill, the short stuff will be wicked hard and kinda nasty looking, and there will be a bunch of stuff that I don’t know.  I *know* this before I even start solving a puzzle like this.  And I’m still excited and happy.  How is that possible?

Probably because I’m not a psycho whiner who unfairly expects (demands) that all words be as common as CAT or TREE.  (Folks, I never know where these daily posts are going to take me.  Today, for some reason, it’s taking me to my hatin-on-narrow-minded-complainers place).

The 15-letter answers are, in my opinion, all great — with the exception of one.  CAST ONES SPELL ON (60A — Charm) just doesn’t seem like a real thing.  So, it’s not a general spell that anyone can use — this person has his/her own *unique* spell.  (“Dang it!  Bob cast his patented neck-shortening spell on me again!”).

But that’s it.  The other long stuff (non 15s) is really good, too.  TACO BELL, I GO TO RIO, HOG TIED, IN WANT OF, etc. — all great.

Nice clues today, too.  I especially loved 35A — “Marker’s mark maker” for FELT TIP.  Fun stuff.

One more thing.  Where would your mind go if you were looking at this in the grid:

nipplesand the clue was “What Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue has a lot of”?  I was 99.9% sure that it *wasn’t* NIPPLES, but my brain kept making me wonder (it turned out to be AD PAGES).  NIPPLES wouldn’t make sense anyway.  My experience tells me that there’s usually just a few of them visible in any given Swimsuit Issue.

Sheesh, sorry for the Friday crassness.  Thanks, Chris!

One thought on “Chris A. McGlothlin’s Friday, 1/31/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

  1. Jeff Chen says:

    Thanks for the shout-out! And hilarious point on the SI clue.

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