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New York Times, Thursday, March 2, 2017

Author: Peter Gordon
Editor: Will Shortz
Peter Gordon
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
989/5/19893/2/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
833181310619
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.5891611

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 98 for Mr. Gordon. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Peter Gordon notes: Getting the clues to conform to the meter was terribly difficult. Sooner or later you start to sound Seussian.
Jeff Chen notes: You had to look up DOUBLE DACTYL too? Whew, glad it wasn't only me! It's a poetic form, with six syllables ... numbers one and ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

You had to look up DOUBLE DACTYL too? Whew, glad it wasn't only me!

It's a poetic form, with six syllables ... numbers one and four stressed? Appropriate for a poet's full name, EM-I-LY DICK-IN-SON.

So glad to get Peter's note. I had a sense something felt a hair unusual about the clues, but I couldn't place my finger on it. And overall, I thought the puzzle felt thin, like a quote puzzle with not a huge payoff.

I have much more appreciation for it, after learning that Peter made EVERY clue fit that double dactyl pattern! I wrote a single double dactyl for the tooltip (mouse over Dickinson's pic), and that took me 10 minutes. And it's not very good.

What still feels off to me is that the double dactyl is also know as a verse form; a specific pattern of … well, an example from Wikipedia better explains it:

Higgledy piggledy,
Benjamin Harrison,
Twenty-third President
Was, and, as such,

Served between Clevelands and
Save for this trivial
Idiosyncrasy,
Didn't do much.

EM-I-LY DICK-IN-SON seems to be more just the "dactylic dimeter." Jim assures me that technically, "double dactyl" refers to either the single line or the whole verse. (That's what I get for trusting Wikipedia.)

Nice and smooth grid, with bonuses in OSTEOPATH, ARGYLE SOCK, and USAIN BOLT. Sometimes (often) I have trouble with Peter's Fireball puzzles because of an esoteric person or two he allows in his fill, but everyone ought to know the fastest man on the planet.

I wonder if the MESSI / TBILISI crossing is going to cause problems. Not being a soccer fan, my forehead wrinkled when my friend Parker Lewis said he couldn't wait to debut MESSI in a grid. But solvers ought to know world capitals.

Loved the clue for THERE. Apt, for a poetry-themed puzzle: [Starter of limericks].

There once was a crossword about poetry … (any takers on completing this?)

I liked the touch of all the clues being in that same pattern; a task much harder than it might seem. It would have been nice to have some hint built within the grid to make that clear, though — I worry that many people are going to completely miss it. (Jim and I both did, at first.)

BTW, Peter has a Kickstarter campaign going (ending on Sunday night) for Fireball Newsflash Crosswords, a biweekly news-based crossword. Get "All the News That Fits Symmetrically" delivered by email. Check it out, and help push it over the edge!

JimH notes: Trivia question: Besides Benjamin Harrison, name two other former White House denizens whose names are double dactyls. You'll know them when you get them.
1
S
2
P
3
A
4
E
5
S
6
T
7
O
8
D
9
E
10
B
11
R
12
A
13
H
U
T
14
S
15
S
H
I
A
16
I
D
L
E
S
17
O
S
T
E
18
O
P
A
T
H
19
S
K
U
N
K
20
W
H
A
T
F
A
M
O
U
21
S
P
O
E
T
22
N
Y
C
23
U
N
A
24
L
U
C
25
H
26
A
S
A
N
27
A
28
M
E
T
H
29
A
30
T
31
S
32
T
33
H
E
R
E
34
C
O
P
E
35
R
U
E
36
A
I
D
E
37
T
38
A
R
O
T
39
L
G
B
T
40
T
N
T
41
T
A
X
I
42
S
A
Y
A
H
43
A
D
O
44
U
B
L
E
D
45
A
46
C
T
Y
L
47
N
I
L
48
R
A
E
49
E
50
V
51
A
52
E
53
M
I
L
Y
54
D
55
I
C
K
I
56
N
S
O
N
57
H
A
I
T
I
58
U
S
A
I
N
B
O
L
T
59
E
S
S
E
S
60
M
E
D
E
61
A
C
T
S
62
M
E
S
S
I
63
P
E
E
R
64
K
A
Y
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 24,586
Across Down
1. Place known for pampering : SPA
4. Idaho motto word : ESTO
8. Winger of "Shadowlands" : DEBRA
13. Dwellings for castaways : HUTS
15. Muslim minority : SHIA
16. Doesn't do anything : IDLES
17. Muscle maneuverer : OSTEOPATH
19. Bad-smelling animal : SKUNK
20. Start of a question is ... : WHATFAMOUSPOET
22. SoHo's metropolis : NYC
23. A, in Iberia : UNA
24. Ice hockey's Robitaille : LUC
25. More of the question is ... : HASANAMETHATS
32. Starter of limericks : THERE
34. Handle adversity : COPE
35. Feel some repentance for : RUE
36. Paraprofessional : AIDE
37. Deck with a Justice card : TAROT
39. Letters for Out readers : LGBT
40. Blasting material : TNT
41. Rainy day rarity : TAXI
42. Checkup imperative : SAYAH
43. End of the question is ... : ADOUBLEDACTYL
47. Zero, in soccer scores : NIL
48. Issa of comedy : RAE
49. Youngest Gabor sister : EVA
52. Here's what the answer is ... : EMILYDICKINSON
57. Country with voodooists : HAITI
58. Fastest Olympian : USAINBOLT
59. Cornering challenges : ESSES
60. Ancient Iranian : MEDE
61. Emulates Nicholson : ACTS
62. Argentine footballer : MESSI
63. One in a jury box : PEER
64. Wife in "The Godfather" : KAY
1. Proven as accurate : SHOWN
2. Brash and belligerent : PUSHY
3. Really quite taken with : ATTACHEDTO
4. Andalucía's land : ESPANA
5. Medical sorcerer : SHAMAN
6. Yugoslav dictator : TITO
7. Island with Diamond Head : OAHU
8. Quarrel or fight about : DISPUTE
9. "How'm I doin'?" pol : EDKOCH
10. Color like indigo : BLUE
11. Payment for tenancy : RENT
12. Pose in an interview : ASK
14. Part of a tennis match : SET
18. Having a benefit : OFUSE
21. Conquered insomnia : SLEPT
26. Make, in arithmetic : ARE
27. Pungently odorous : ACRID
28. Sound from a meadowland : MOO
29. Footwear with lozenges : ARGYLESOCK
30. Oompah-pah instrument : TUBA
31. Thomas the clockmaker : SETH
32. "Toodles," in Twickenham : TATA
33. In the posterior : HIND
37. Total for scorekeepers : TALLY
38. Tool for a lumberjack : AXE
39. Troubadour offering : LAY
41. Caucasus capital : TBILISI
42. Mug in a rathskeller : STEIN
44. Blends or conglomerates : UNITES
45. Place to play Centipede : ARCADE
46. Having more clumpiness : CAKIER
50. Physics class eponym : VOLTA
51. Nervous and fidgety : ANTSY
52. Effortless quality : EASE
53. Notice the absence of : MISS
54. Garbage disposal site : DUMP
55. Words of enlightenment : ISEE
56. Org. for the Pelicans : NBA
57. Speak indecisively : HEM

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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