Thursday, October 1, 2020

Thursday, October 1, 2020, Adam Fromm


It's been a good week for the NYTX so far, and The Turn is starting out with a bang. Today we've got a tricky "quantum rebus!" (Is that already a term? If not, I just invented it.) Each rebus square is in flux between a number and the letters carried by that number on TOUCHTONEPHONES, and the way it appears depends on which way you look at it. Just like Schrödinger's cat!

ALFRE Woodard

So anyway, the quantum rebī are as follows, Downs first:

"Bisected" IN2 and "Stage a coup" GR[ABC]ONTROL

"Band with the 1970 #1 hit "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)" - 3DOGNIGHT and "Let the air out of" [DEF]LATE

"Cassette tape predecessor" 8TRACK and "Coral island nation north of Fiji" [TUV]ALU

"Dr. J's team" 6ERS (I guess going with 76ers, and coming up with an across that used "PQRSMNO" would probably have been more difficult than just "MNO.") and "Genre of 'The Big Sleep' and 'Kiss Me Deadly'" FIL[MNO]IR

"Classic checker-dropping game" CONNECT4 and "First name of a famous Mongol ruler" GEN[GHI]S

All good. Well, the cassette tape appears to have been invented prior to 8TRACK (1962 vs. 1965, according to Wikipedia), but it certainly had a longer tail, so we'll let that slide. 

Now all that remains to do is start a band called "DEF Dog Night."

Other things to enjoy are the amusing "The usual suspect" (BUTLER), the unusual clue for usual fare "Never mind, it's fine" (STET), the geologic "Mineral in some geodes" (AGATE) (I'm guessing this wouldn't be allowed in "Spelling Bee," where they seem to be geology-averse), and the always welcome RYE (Manhattan ingredient). TWEENAGER (Fifth grader, often) was also fun.

Lots of names today, and I'm wondering if ENLAI beside SEALE might cause some problems, especially as they cross [TUV]ALU, but, well, it's Thursday. 

All in all, I'm a fan of the quantum rebus. Now it's on to the themelesses!

- Horace


  1. Loved it! 'Course it took me an hour to finish, but once I (finally) got the theme I just took out my phone and happily cheated my way to victory! Super fun, and I, too, enjoyed the clues, especially for BUTLER.

  2. 13:13
    Tricksy tricksy NYT xword! I'm kicking myself for not figuring it out earlier. I knew 9A was [DEF]LATE, but couldn't figure out how that could cross 3DOGNIGHT. Also, I guessed bALi (not a country) because of those two middle letters, but got that SPiD was not a tater. Great stuff! Shout out to COOTIE.

  3. 24:25 (FWOE)
    My error came in at AFTRA/ANDS, where I tried an "e" out. I didn't know the acronym for the thespian organization, and addenda usually occur at the ends, so it worked for me. I figured out the theme relatively early, but unlike Ms. Clark, I just ran through the letters. Luckily, there were no 7s or 9s, because being older, I remember there weren't any Qs or Zs, right? That's "recent." I am a fan of the "quantum rebus" moniker proposed by Horace. Let's make it so.

  4. I am new to NYTX annnnnnd may I say DLATE DDOGNIGHT and GRAONCONTROL made zero sense! Maddening! I was convinced this puzzle was published without any editing and certainly not even a second glance.
    Then I began searching for answers. I discovered a whole new crossword creation world!
    Thankful for your blog. I learned something new!

  5. I was once at a tournament which had a quantum rebus for the final. Fortunately, a low stakes small tournament but boy was that an illustration of "never use a rebus in a tournament" (or if you do realize you'll never figure out how to score it).