New York Times, Thursday, September 29, 2016

Author: Jonathan M. Kaye
Editor: Will Shortz
Jonathan M. Kaye
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This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 33 Missing: {JKQXZ} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Kaye. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: We recommend using the PDF, or alternatively one of the other available electronic versions, for solving this puzzle, as it contains elements that the software cannot reproduce.
Jonathan M. Kaye notes: I'm pleased with how all aspects of this puzzle came together. My original concept was to simply divide the 'B' into DD, but ... more
Jonathan M. Kaye notes:

I'm pleased with how all aspects of this puzzle came together. My original concept was to simply divide the "B" into DD, but single-letter splits have been done before in the NYT crossword, and I wondered if there might be two letters that could be split together. I was fortunate to find that a divided "BY" would work nicely, including as part of a spot-on revealer, which in turn could be neatly clued as ÷.

The 12 theme entries (the four "BY" words and the eight that cross them at the divided "B" or "Y") use 75 squares, which could have led to a very tight grid — but with some effort I managed to keep it relatively open, with only 33 blocks.

At first I wanted the "BY" words to be more challenging, but Will and Joel asked me to change the toughest one in my submission: PRESBYOPIC. They felt a fairly obscure theme answer would throw many solvers, as there was already a difficult gimmick. I can see their point (even without my presbyopic reading glasses!) and I agree that the final puzzle is better without it.

I came up with the ATARI clue with Will in mind, as he's known to be an avid player of table tennis. I had to double-check to be sure that my memory was correct: Pong's graphics were so primitive that the ball actually was square.

Enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes: Another neat letter-based idea from Jon, this one using DIVIDED BY to represent BY split across the middle — the capital B ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Another neat letter-based idea from Jon, this one using DIVIDED BY to represent BY split across the middle — the capital B forms a pair of capital Ds stacked atop each other, and the capital Y forms a capital V sitting on a capital I. I had seen both tricks individually, but to combine them into one — with such a perfect revealer! — was really cool. WITT (wish I had thought of that).

I also loved the fact that the BY in DIVIDED BY was split like the others. Very neat to have the special split happening right within the theme revealer. Nicely consistent.

I got a little confused during my solve, though. The fact that there were other Bs and Ys floating around the grid made me wonder why I shouldn't be splitting up those letters too. It was even more confusing when there was an extra B right in a theme entry: the first B in BOOBY TRAPS. But, I decided that it was totally fair, since there is a clear logic of "only divide the letters B and Y when they're combined into the BY bigram."

It would have been so awesome to not have that confusion. I've constructed enough puzzles with letter restrictions to realize how much the fill can suffer, especially when you choose not to use common letters, but Bs and Ys are a different story. It's a tough call — although BOOBY TRAPS has that confusion-generating first B, it's such a great answer.

Glad that Jon, Will, and Joel decided to eliminate PRESBYOPIC — even having worked in ophthalmic pharma development, that one only barely registered! I would have liked another example where BY weren't just the word BY, though, something like RUBY RED SLIPPERS or TRIPOLI, LIBYA. Alternately, having all BYs be separate words would have given nice consistency.

Excellent gridwork; just a few minor bits in IRED (odd form of IRE), RES, and GSA (General Services Administration). The theme constraint makes filling around those BY regions challenging, so the overall smoothness is even more appreciated than usual. And nice bonuses of CALIPHS, STONE AGE, MAESTRO, EAT DIRT, too. To do all that with so many entries affected by the theme is a fantastic result.

Another really clever idea from Jon. I felt like there was a little potential left on the table, but I still greatly enjoyed the solve — and perhaps even more so, the post-solve analysis. That's a great sign.

1
B
2
I
3
N
4
S
5
W
6
I
7
S
8
E
9
S
10
C
11
O
12
P
13
E
14
U
N
I
T
15
A
G
E
S
16
H
A
V
E
N
17
DD
VI
P
R
18
O
D
U
C
T
19
A
L
E
R
T
20
I
T
S
A
D
E
A
L
21
W
H
I
R
22
E
R
A
S
E
23
N
U
24
D
E
25
P
L
26
I
27
E
28
S
O
T
S
29
M
A
D
E
DD
30
VI
H
A
N
D
31
E
32
T
A
33
E
M
I
S
S
I
O
N
34
E
35
L
36
S
37
R
E
38
S
39
O
N
E
40
D
N
A
41
L
E
T
42
M
E
S
E
43
E
44
G
S
45
A
46
B
O
O
DD
VI
T
R
A
47
P
S
48
N
49
S
50
F
51
W
52
A
N
N
E
53
R
A
T
E
54
S
C
A
R
E
55
E
G
56
G
O
57
D
E
58
T
A
I
N
E
E
59
A
60
T
A
R
I
61
D
I
V
I
D
E
D
DD
VI
62
D
O
G
E
S
63
I
R
E
D
64
N
E
I
L
65
S
W
E
E
T
66
E
T
S
Y
67
T
R
E
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 24,432
Across Down
1. They're used for storage : BINS
5. Fresh : WISE
9. Brand of mouthwash : SCOPE
14. Storage ___ : UNIT
15. Gets on : AGES
16. Word after New or tax : HAVEN
17. Carbon dioxide or water vis-à-vis cellular respiration : BYPRODUCT
19. Ding or buzz, maybe : ALERT
20. "Let's shake on that" : ITSADEAL
21. Drone of a drone, say : WHIR
22. Undo : ERASE
23. Kind of beach : NUDE
25. Demi-___ (ballet move) : PLIE
28. Barflies : SOTS
29. Artisanal, maybe : MADEBYHAND
31. Uber calculation, briefly : ETA
33. E.P.A. concern : EMISSION
34. Lawful ends? : ELS
37. Law "thing" : RES
39. Unified : ONE
40. Part of a modern police database : DNA
41. "So many choices ..." : LETMESEE
44. Fed. property overseer : GSA
46. Staples of Indiana Jones films : BOOBYTRAPS
48. Warning next to an internet link : NSFW
52. Sullivan who taught Helen Keller : ANNE
53. Grade : RATE
54. Hiccup cure, it's said : SCARE
55. Brand with a Thick & Fluffy variety : EGGO
57. Captive : DETAINEE
59. Its version of table tennis had a square ball : ATARI
61. ÷ ... or a literal hint to interpreting eight squares in this puzzle : DIVIDEDBY
62. Onetime Venetian leaders : DOGES
63. Really mad : IRED
64. Buzz preceder, famously : NEIL
65. "Awesome!" : SWEET
66. Popular crafts site : ETSY
67. Número of Disney Caballeros : TRES
1. Pals : BUDDIES
2. Kind of fertilization : INVITRO
3. Gently bites : NIPSAT
4. German avenue : STRASSE
5. Flamingos do it : WADE
6. Pet that's a herbivore : IGUANA
7. Place in solitary : SECLUDE
8. Is written on papyrus? : EST
9. Noted exile of 1979 : SHAH
10. Abu Bakr and others : CALIPHS
11. Like veneer : OVERLAID
12. Pay-click connection : PER
13. Specialist in three of the five senses, for short : ENT
18. Shelley's "___ to Liberty" : ODE
21. Formations of unions? : WEDDINGS
24. Tear down, in real-estate lingo : DEMO
26. Privy to : INON
27. Designer Mode of "The Incredibles" : EDNA
29. Leader in a pit : MAESTRO
30. Shop holders : VISES
32. Noted fountain name : TREVI
34. Actor Idris : ELBA
35. Spanish provincial capital : LEON
36. Very primitive : STONEAGE
38. Evening in Italy : SERA
42. Operating requirement? : MDDEGREE
43. Humble oneself : EATDIRT
45. Like the Aramaic language : ANCIENT
47. Overuse of the word "like," and others : PEEVES
49. Shop device : SANDER
50. Big Mac? : FREDDIE
51. Boring things : WEEVILS
54. Down : SAD
56. Meat : GIST
58. Like some sums : TIDY
59. Targets of some blockers : ADS
60. Aftermath of a breakdown : TOW
61. Mint apparatus : DIE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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