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STOLEN PRODUCE

New York Times, Sunday, November 3, 2013

Author: Andy Kravis and Victor Barocas
Editor: Will Shortz
Andy Kravis
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
311/3/20135/22/20162
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.86010
Victor Barocas
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
92/9/20115/22/20165
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3012300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62022

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 71 Missing: {QZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Kravis This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Barocas. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: ANDY: Victor and I met at ACPT 2012, where he sat at the table behind me. We sat in the same seats at ACPT 2013, and he pitched the idea of this puzzle to me. I loved it, but he was still a theme entry short. ... more
Constructor notes:

ANDY: Victor and I met at ACPT 2012, where he sat at the table behind me. We sat in the same seats at ACPT 2013, and he pitched the idea of this puzzle to me. I loved it, but he was still a theme entry short. Eventually, I came up with DATE BOOKS, and the rest is history!

This puzzle is a great example of collaboration in constructing gone right. Victor put together the symmetrical theme entries, then I designed the grid and took the first crack at the fill. We traded maybe eight or nine versions of the fill back and forth until we had something we were satisfied with. Then Victor clued it, and we sent notes back and forth on ways to improve the clues. The whole process took us about three months, and I think letting the puzzle gestate for that long really paid off. Victor is a really creative and skilled constructor, and it was a real pleasure working with him!

Will Shortz notes: A fresh theme, elegantly done. DATEBOOKS did give me pause, because I'm just barely familiar with the usage of 'book' meaning 'to leave' — but it's legitimate. You might be interested to know that the ... more
Will Shortz notes: A fresh theme, elegantly done. DATEBOOKS did give me pause, because I'm just barely familiar with the usage of "book" meaning "to leave" — but it's legitimate. You might be interested to know that the constructors' manuscript had F-BOMB at 1A, which I edited out. It was a close call, but I wasn't sure this met the Times's standards of good taste.
Jeff Chen notes: What a perfect use for a Sunday-size grid today! Sometimes the bigger palette can feel like a weekday puzzle simply stretched out, but Andy and Victor use the extra space for a great payoff. It took me a while to ... more
Jeff Chen notes: What a perfect use for a Sunday-size grid today! Sometimes the bigger palette can feel like a weekday puzzle simply stretched out, but Andy and Victor use the extra space for a great payoff. It took me a while to cotton to the trick, and when I finally figured out that each phrase on the right hand side told you what letters to take out for the corresponding answer, I thought it was pretty cool. But then when I realized that each of the "removal phrases" were fruit-related and FRUIT FLIES tied them all together, I stood up and cheered. A true WITT (Wish I Thought of That).

Ten theme answers makes for a difficult construction. Sure, one might think because the lengths are relatively short that this is equivalent to five grid-spanners (answers of 21 letters), but it's more difficult than that. With grid-spanners you have the advantage that they use no black squares, thus allowing you to deploy your black squares elsewhere, breaking up difficult spots. Today's arrangement places several black squares right off the bat, making the construction less flexible.

The fill is generally good given all the constraints. In terms of long fill, there's GO DUTCH, NAVY YARD, ID LOVE TO, and MISS JAPAN, which at first seemed a bit arbitrary, but I've decided I like. Some really good stuff. However, as with most Sunday-size grids and their inherent challenges, the crossings of DEKE/HEKATE and ESME/ESTES and DNIEPER/ADEN are going to be a real challenge for some. I don't mind seeing a random European river here or there, but somehow having two in one puzzle feels (to me) like one too many (ARNO, I'm looking at you). I don't think any of these crossings are necessarily unfair, but I'd say they aren't ideal.

Finally, I'd like to express another note of amazement that Andy and Victor were able to come up with 1.) five "fruit"+"synonym for leave" pairs and 2.) found enough entries so that they were symmetrically paired. I really enjoyed this puzzle; a close second for the POW. Brilliantly conceived and executed.

P.S. You may recognize Andy from "Million Second Quiz". Incredible accomplishment to have won it all! If you're into such capitalist notions as money. (insert proletarian harrumph here)

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,371
Across Down
1. Winner of the 2005 and 2007 Grammys for Best Spoken Word Album : OBAMA
6. Relief for the snowbound : THAW
10. Seal words : MOTTO
15. Put one's hands together : CLAP
19. Setting for Henry James's "The American" : PARIS
20. Actress Chaplin of "Game of Thrones" : OONA
21. Company whose logo was, appropriately, crooked : ENRON
22. Burrow, perhaps : LAIR
23. Many service dogs, after 29-Across? : GERMANSHEPHERDS
25. Roi's wife : REINE
26. ___ Stanley Gardner : ERLE
27. French colony until 1953 : LAOS
28. The Warrior Princess : XENA
29. They get stuffed at Greek restaurants : GRAPELEAVES
31. Rapper with the 2013 #1 album "Born Sinner" : JCOLE
33. Sees red : BOILS
34. Eighty-sixes : IXNAYS
35. Foil user's words : ENGARDE
38. Foreshadows : BODES
39. A/C measures : BTUS
40. Serious break, after 48-Across? : COMPOUNDFRACTURE
42. Author John Dickson ___ : CARR
43. Mao ___-tung : TSE
46. Harvests : GLEANS
47. "I don't know why ___ this way" : IACT
48. Schedule planners : DATEBOOKS
50. Years, for Cicero : ANNI
51. On the q.t. : INSECRET
53. Sail extender : SPRIT
54. She, overseas : ELLE
56. Greek goddess of witchcraft : HEKATE
59. Salinger title girl : ESME
60. Legendary Scottish swimmer, after 66-Across? : LOCHNESSMONSTER
66. Tart treats : LEMONDROPS
68. Potter's base : CLAY
69. Painted crudely : DAUBED
71. Gulf of ___ : ADEN
72. Marx without much to say : HARPO
74. Cruiser repair site : NAVYYARD
77. List component : ITEM
81. Circus founders, after 89-Across? : BARNUMANDBAILEY
84. "The Lion King" lioness : NALA
85. Overflowed : TEEMED
87. Swelled head? : ESS
88. Ice cream brand : EDYS
89. Ice cream treats : BANANASPLITS
91. Shield border : ORLE
92. Mastodon features : TUSKS
93. Clobber : SHELLAC
94. Jet Ski competitor : SEADOO
97. Forces from office : OUSTS
98. Begins to wake : STIRS
99. Where Margaret Thatcher studied chemistry, after 108-Across? : OXFORDUNIVERSITY
101. Winglike : ALAR
102. "The King and I" role : ANNA
106. Ulrich of Metallica : LARS
107. Obliterate : ERASE
108. Short-lived pests ... or an alternative title for this puzzle : FRUITFLIES
110. Prefix with -genarian : OCTO
111. Money holders : TILLS
112. Guam, e.g.: Abbr. : TERR
113. Only inanimate zodiac sign : LIBRA
114. Lee of Marvel Comics : STAN
115. Beginning : ONSET
116. Northeast vacation locale, with "the" : CAPE
117. "The Lion's Share" author : AESOP
1. Car with a lightning bolt in its logo : OPEL
2. The Tide : BAMA
3. River of Pisa : ARNO
4. Tokyo beauty, maybe : MISSJAPAN
5. Smokestack emission : ASH
6. Poe poem : TOHELEN
7. Tony winner Lena : HORNE
8. All that ___ bag of chips : ANDA
9. Second word of "A Tale of Two Cities" : WAS
10. "The more the ___" : MERRIER
11. N.B.A.'s Shaquille and Jermaine : ONEALS
12. Psychedelic experiences : TRIPS
13. Shape (up) : TONE
14. Glenfiddich bottle size : ONELITRE
15. Wipes off, say : CLEANS
16. Caterpillar, for one : LARVA
17. Dancer Alvin : AILEY
18. Iron : PRESS
24. Book in which Moses is born : EXODUS
29. Split the check : GODUTCH
30. They're way out : EXURBS
32. Buds : CRONIES
33. Ball game : BOCCE
35. Med. test : ECG
36. Saints' home, for short : NOLA
37. Feds : GMEN
38. Frederick's of Hollywood purchases : BRAS
39. Flutter, as one's eyes : BAT
41. Adjusts carefully : FINETUNES
42. Twin-hulled vessel : CATAMARAN
43. Many a broken statue : TORSO
44. Tighten one's belt : SKIMP
45. Politico Kefauver : ESTES
48. Hockey fake : DEKE
49. Phone button : OPER
51. "Here's looking at you, kid" addressee : ILSA
52. Mother, e.g.: Abbr. : REL
55. Psychedelic drug : LSD
57. Mary Lincoln, nee ___ : TODD
58. Jackson-to-Birmingham dir. : ENE
60. Earthy pigment : OCHRE
61. Santa ___ : CLAUS
62. Damages : HARMS
63. "Law & Order: SVU" force : NYPD
64. Many a collector's resource : EBAY
65. Preacher, for short : REV
67. Fourth-longest river of Europe : DNIEPER
70. Powerful line : DYNASTY
73. Puck's master : OBERON
75. "Over There" soldiers : YANKS
76. Word of woe : ALAS
78. Does what George Washington couldn't? : TELLSALIE
79. Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL
80. Lead-in for physics ... and pieman? : META
82. Enthusiastic reply : IDLOVETO
83. Grease dissolver : LYE
85. Casual top : TSHIRT
86. Medal awarded to MacArthur in W.W. I and W.W. II : DSC
89. Superlative for Atlanta International Airport : BUSIEST
90. "Holiday Inn" co-star : ASTAIRE
91. Favored against the field : ODDSON
92. Scrap : TUSSLE
94. Performs unaccompanied : SOLOS
95. Perfect : EXACT
96. Vessel with an arch : AORTA
97. Some exams : ORALS
98. Drink loudly : SLURP
100. Andrews of Fox Sports : ERIN
101. Vicinity : AREA
103. Penpoints : NIBS
104. Great-grandson of Mark Antony : NERO
105. Quickly, quickly : ASAP
108. Org. "protecting America's consumers" : FTC
109. Marco Rubio's home: Abbr. : FLA

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 6 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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