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New York Times, Monday, March 24, 2014

Author: Tom Pepper
Editor: Will Shortz
Tom Pepper
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0311200
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1.64011

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQ} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Pepper. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom Pepper notes: A year ago, I was reading something that made mention of George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words banned from the airwaves. I'd heard his ... more
Tom Pepper notes: A year ago, I was reading something that made mention of George Carlin's Seven Dirty Words banned from the airwaves. I'd heard his stand-up routine on the subject a long time ago, but my recollection was fuzzy. I wondered how many of the seven I could name, so I made my guesses and then looked 'em up. Depending on how you score it, I got three or three and a half right (not tellin' which ones ... OR what my wrong guesses were!), and then the thought flashed: wouldn't THOSE be a riot to see in a puzzle! Well, of course that exact idea was going nowhere, but the DIRTY WORDS seed was planted. And the clue I submitted for 60-Across was [George Carlin's list of seven, or the starts ...].

While it's a simple and pretty vanilla theme, what appeals to me is the juxtaposition of the opulent FILTHY RICH against the modest (dirt cheap?) GREASY SPOONS, and the saintly STAINED GLASS against the irreverent DIRTY WORDS.

That and YERTLE the turtle.

So, here's mud in your eye—hope it was good, clean fun!

Will Shortz notes: This week's Monday-Thursday puzzles were used for the Akron Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Here are some notes from the organizer, ... more
Will Shortz notes: This week's Monday-Thursday puzzles were used for the Akron Crossword Puzzle Tournament. Here are some notes from the organizer, Deb Papa:

"Before we began Puzzle #3 I shared your information about Alex Vratsanos being a 21-year-old college student that you had purchased a first puzzle from when he was 18-years-old. The room buzzed with excitement as the competitors discussed this amongst themselves. Thank you for this information, everyone enjoyed learning something about the puzzle maker.

You had also emailed that Puzzle #4 had a tricky theme. I didn't let anyone know until after the championship round. This was the first time no one finished the championship puzzle 100% correct! None of the finalists answered 28 across correctly. (They didn't get the "2" in the first box.)

Since this was our 5th year of tournament, I have also compiled some statistics. In 5 years we have had 10 different people on the Auditorium stage for the Championship Round. Of these 10 people, 3 have been on stage twice and 1 woman has been on stage an amazing three times!

Before we began, during intermissions, and even afterward at least six different people approached me thanking the library for having this tournament. They appreciate that it is well-organized and enjoy working the crossword puzzles that you send. Thank you once again for the crossword puzzles for the 5th Annual Akron Crossword Puzzle Tournament. We are already looking forward to next year!"

Jeff Chen notes: Fun start to the week, DIRTY WORDS starting three snappy phrases. FILTHY RICH, GREASY SPOONS, STAINED GLASS — great selection ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Fun start to the week, DIRTY WORDS starting three snappy phrases. FILTHY RICH, GREASY SPOONS, STAINED GLASS — great selection of themers! In-the-language, pleasing to the ear, all phrases I wouldn't hesitate to use. Love 'em all.

I also appreciated Tom's effort to incorporate long fill into the grid. Usually with four themers, I would expect at least one pair of long downs, but Tom's gone the extra mile to incorporate not just SHEEP DOG and USHERS IN, but WILL DO! and ARGYLE, making good use of his sixes. And seeing the up-to-date THE CLOUD, a nice touch, particularly relevant since xwordinfo has moved to the cloud! Hopefully nothing breaks, but let me know if it does.

I was slightly confused during my solve, as I had thought THE CLOUD and SPLIT PEA were part of the theme. That's a risk of using long across fill; solvers like myself will spend minutes trying to figure out what the heck is so dirty about SPLIT (don't ask, you don't want to know what I thought up). Yes, those two answers are shorter than the 10's, but they look awfully theme-y. I would much rather have two sets of long downs than a set of long downs plus a set of long acrosses — it's sometimes difficult to pull off, but that arrangement works better for my personal tastes.

Overall, it's a pretty nice grid. Lots of nice fill including YERTLE, but there are a few entries like AS NEW, ERN, OLEO, DER, EINE which combine to be not ideal. The NE corner looked pretty isolated, so I would have liked it redone to get rid of OLEO, but again, that's a personal preference. Out of curiosity, I investigated that corner to see if it would be easy or hard to redo, and it turns out the letter combinations (11D and 12D ending in O and U) make it not a cakewalk. It took me a while to figure out that IT'LL DO works much better than WILL DO, which seems like it will always have one trade-off or another. So not super easy to redo, as it turns out. Given how nice WILL DO! is, having OLEO feels like a reasonable price to pay.

Always the trade-offs in crosswords. I'm sure there's a way to get rid of ERN and AS NEW in that section, but it would likely be at the price of the nice ARGYLE and GENDER. So much work goes into gridding up a single crossword!

Excellent to have met Tom at the ACPT, and it's neat to see his work in print!

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B
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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,512
Across Down
1. What winds do : BLOW
5. French goodbye : ADIEU
10. Troubles : WOES
14. Exercise in which you might sit cross-legged : YOGA
15. Birds' homes : NESTS
16. Rick's love in "Casablanca" : ILSA
17. Not just well-off : FILTHYRICH
19. Like Jack Sprat's diet : LEAN
20. "Am not!" comeback : ARETOO
21. Where many digital files are now stored : THECLOUD
23. "Curse you, ___ Baron!" : RED
24. Film director Lee : ANG
26. "Excellent, dude!" : RAD
27. Low-class diners : GREASYSPOONS
33. Surrendered : CEDED
36. Oktoberfest beverage holder : STEIN
37. Kilmer of "The Doors" : VAL
38. Word after eye or makeup : EXAM
39. Give the cold shoulder : SPURN
40. ___ Le Pew of cartoons : PEPE
41. On fire : LIT
42. Belgian treaty city : GHENT
43. Pimply : ACNED
44. Window material in many cathedrals : STAINEDGLASS
47. Pop singer Carly ___ Jepsen : RAE
48. Suffix with east : ERN
49. When repeated, a ballroom dance : CHA
52. Kind of soup : SPLITPEA
57. Male or female : GENDER
59. Some savings plans, in brief : IRAS
60. Curses ... or the starts of 17-, 27- and 44-Across? : DIRTYWORDS
62. Alternative to a man-to-man defense : ZONE
63. Tatum of "Paper Moon" : ONEAL
64. Apple's apple, e.g. : LOGO
65. Lambs' mothers : EWES
66. "Beau ___" : GESTE
67. Sign for the superstitious : OMEN
1. Overwhelmingly : BYFAR
2. France's longest river : LOIRE
3. Girl-watched or boy-watched : OGLED
4. Light bulb measure : WATT
5. "Do I have a volunteer?" : ANYONE
6. German "the" : DER
7. "What time ___?" : ISIT
8. Write permanently : ETCH
9. Welcomes at the door, say : USHERSIN
10. "O.K., I'm on it!" : WILLDO
11. Margarine : OLEO
12. Older son of Isaac : ESAU
13. Hourglass filler : SAND
18. Be a pack rat : HOARD
22. Quaker's ___ Crunch : CAPN
25. Said "Oh ... my ... God!," e.g. : GASPED
27. Jewel : GEM
28. Attacked by bees : STUNG
29. Dr. Seuss' turtle : YERTLE
30. Pizzeria fixture : OVEN
31. Scruff of the neck : NAPE
32. Iditarod vehicle : SLED
33. Disney Store collectibles : CELS
34. Way out : EXIT
35. Facts and figures : DATA
39. Border collie, for one : SHEEPDOG
40. Mac alternatives : PCS
42. Pesky insect : GNAT
43. Good ___ (completely reconditioned) : ASNEW
45. Purple spring bloomers : IRISES
46. Diamond-shaped stocking design : ARGYLE
49. Electronic storage medium : CDROM
50. Word before "fund" or "one's bets" : HEDGE
51. Burning issue? : ARSON
52. Regular or large : SIZE
53. Nose of a ship : PROW
54. Lois of the Daily Planet : LANE
55. Mozart's "___ kleine Nachtmusik" : EINE
56. Olympian war god : ARES
58. ___ contendere (court plea) : NOLO
61. Body art, in slang : TAT

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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