Alan Arbesfeld’s Sunday, 3/2/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)


March 2, 2014 by manvspuzzle

elf beards


Theme: Each theme answer is comprised of two Oscar-winning (or -nominated) movie titles, thus creating hilarious phrases/concepts/whatever.  Clues help out by giving each film’s year of release, and also have question marks for extra zing.

Theme Answers:

  • 23A — Nelson Mandela? [1995, 1985] : BRAVEHEART OUT OF AFRICA
  • 30A — One giving unreliable testimony? [1976, 1985*] : ROCKY WITNESS
  • 53A — Reason for missing a flight? [1970*, 2000*] : AIRPORT TRAFFIC
  • 68A — Part of a line at O’Hare? [2002, 1976*] : CHICAGO TAXI DRIVER
  • 86A — Cheesy pickup line? [1944, 1995*] : GOING MY WAY BABE
  • 106A — Reason why all the computers are down? [1976*, 2005] : NETWORK CRASH
  • 118A — Seaside outing? [1955*, 1954] : PICNIC ON THE WATERFRONT


Something Good: Catering to the Masses.  Yo, movies are for everyone.  The young, the old, the stupid, etc.  Sure, this puzzle didn’t really tickle *my* fancy, but I’m a crossword superfreak.   I can totally see (as I often do on Sundays) how the common person would get a real kick out of this.  And, like any major entity geared toward garnering a large public following, the Times puzzle has to be a little middling sometimes, especially on days like Sunday and Monday.  It’s kinda like McDonald’s.  Sure, you can toss a Shamrock Shake at your customers every once in a while, but if you don’t keep pumping out those McNuggets, you’re sunk.  So yeah — this puzzle’s a McNugget.  But one of the cool, boot-shaped ones.


3 2 14

Who the hell is this mysterious ENKOCH, and what is his connection to Gracie Mansion?

Oh, wait.  It’s ED KOCH.  But you can see why I’d be confused because of that crossing (112D — Skirt style : MIDI).  But that’s my bad.  The MIDI-skirt is a classic crossword puzzle garment.  In fact, did you know that MIDI hasn’t been clued as the digital music format *ever* in the history of the New York Times puzzle?  That seems like kind of a BAFF.

Hey, speaking of BAFF (27A — Strike the ground in a golf swing): huh?  Wow, that word’s never appeared in the New York Times puzzle (at least since Will’s been editing)!  I’ve been a golfer for a long, long time and I’ve never heard it.  Doesn’t mean it’s not legit, but…you know.  It’s totally Scottish.  Golfy, but not *American* golfy.

What else?  Oh, right.  ELSE.  Not a bad word.  But crossed by LAING, NISI, and EDER in succession, it becomes virtually ungettable for the average brain (read: mine).  So I had to guess a lot there.

The theme was good.  Fun.  For someone.  Moms and Dads in bathrobes, maybe.  Or my favorite mental crossword image: self-conscious college students in townie diners.  They’re gonna seem so smart when they figure out CHICAGO TAXI DRIVER in front of their crush!

I have no idea what I’m saying anymore.  Enjoy your Sunday.

One thought on “Alan Arbesfeld’s Sunday, 3/2/14 NYT crossword puzzle (ed. Will Shortz)

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