David Steinberg’s Tuesday, 2/4/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

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February 4, 2014 by manvspuzzle


Theme: J_ people.  8 theme answers are people who are known by their first and middle initials.

Theme Answers:

  • 17A — Author of the best-selling book series in history : JK ROWLING
  • 20A — Founder of U.S. Steel : JP MORGAN
  • 57A — “Peter Pan” author : JM BARRIE
  • 62A — Dagwood Bumstead’s boss : JC DITHERS
  • 9D — “The Well-Tempered Clavier” composer : JS BACH
  • 11D — Reclusive best-selling novelist : JD SALINGER
  • 27D — Pen name for Angela Lansbury’s character on “Murder, She Wrote” : JB FLETCHER
  • 47D — Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher who was a 2007 All-Star with Seattle : JJ PUTZ


What’s Good: Interesting and Uncommon Letter Strings (J-P-M, J-J-P, J-B-F, etc.).  Eyeball-sizzling!


2 4 14

Really hoping to see JA HAPP here.  Not because I love the guy (though I am a Phillies fan and rooted for him many times before he was traded), but because I’m trying to work him into a tricky corner of one of my *own* puzzles, and I’d like someone else to make me feel better about that.  Ah, well.

Nice little puzzle here.  Very Tuesdayish, in that there’s a lot to love but still something to complain about.  The first half of my solve I was just totally impressed with what I was seeing, as I got most of the theme answers straight away.  I *loved* all of the theme answers.  All very cool.

But then things got all weird for me.  I had to take a wild guess at the crossing of BROZ and ARCO.  I had THICK instead of SLICK (23D — Like pomaded hair), and an S where the I of CROCI needed to be (40A — Early bloomers).  So that section was hairy for quite a while.  And the fill?  I don’t need to tell you about it, you can see it for yourself (also, after yesterday’s puzzle, I’m not really in a position to point out someone else’s bad fill).

But none of this is to say this puzzle is bad.  It’s not.  It *will not* appeal to young puzzle rock stars.  But young puzzle rock stars are not the only people solving the New York Times crossword.  This puzzle is more for old puzzle cranks.  Or people with open minds.  Either way.

Over at XWord Info, David is quoted as saying “I was and still am pretty happy with how the puzzle turned out, though I’d probably try to use a bit less crosswordese nowadays.”  This is an old puzzle of his, and he certainly has come a long way since then.  Personally, I like seeing a constructor’s growth over time.  If you’re at all aware of David’s various exploits in the crossword community, then you’re probably just as impressed as I am.

Well done, David and Will!

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