MATCHING WITS

New York Times, Sunday, June 30, 2013

Author: Alex Vratsanos and Jeff Chen
Editor: Will Shortz
Alex Vratsanos
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
116/13/20114/22/20153
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2112212
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61010
Jeff Chen
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
417/5/20108/15/201520
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
123451142
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64361

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21, Words: 134, Blocks: 92 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Vratsanos. This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

Constructor notes: Jeff: Alex came to me with the idea of a giant M and W made of black squares, and I thought it was clever. However, he had been working with a 15x grid which made for an extremely challenging layout. After playing with it for a while, I felt like it was going to result in too many three-letter words and too much compromise in the fill.

I suggested going to a 21x which would be somewhat more flexible plus it would give us a bigger palette with which to work. It proved to be slightly easier than a 15x but was still extremely challenging. The biggest difficulty was finding a way to place enough M-W theme answers without constraining the grid so much that the surrounding fill would be badly compromised. Luckily, we came upon the crossing pattern of MINUTE WALTZ, MIRACLE WORKER, MONEYS WORTH, and MINIMUM WAGE; a small miracle.

It ended up taking us several months of back and forth iterations before we settled upon the final grid. There were many places we had to work and rework in order to attain a reasonable fill we were both happy with. Quite a challenge!

JimH notes: Vertical theme answers are each two words starting with M and W. Blocks form an M at the top of the grid and a W at the bottom.
1
G
2
M
3
A
4
T
5
G
6
M
7
C
8
S
9
H
E
U
R
E
10
E
11
R
12
M
13
A
14
T
15
H
16
O
17
M
18
L
O
O
T
19
S
20
A
N
D
R
E
21
S
O
O
T
22
R
E
P
O
23
A
D
L
E
R
24
M
O
D
E
S
25
P
L
U
S
26
I
R
A
N
27
M
E
D
E
A
28
S
A
Y
A
H
29
T
O
T
E
30
M
P
O
L
E
31
O
R
A
L
S
32
W
R
I
33
T
E
34
H
A
I
L
E
35
Y
36
A
R
N
S
37
A
38
B
A
39
R
O
S
40
S
I
41
R
E
S
42
I
S
T
43
W
I
44
K
45
I
46
M
O
T
47
T
O
T
H
E
48
M
A
X
49
T
W
O
50
F
A
C
E
D
51
P
O
E
52
M
S
53
E
R
I
C
54
A
D
O
55
A
R
E
N
A
56
E
Z
R
A
57
M
58
M
E
59
S
L
60
A
V
61
R
62
O
O
F
63
D
E
S
K
64
M
I
N
65
U
T
E
W
A
66
L
T
Z
67
A
68
M
69
A
70
S
71
I
72
M
I
N
73
K
I
W
I
74
E
H
S
75
R
A
R
E
76
C
77
H
78
I
N
A
79
I
80
T
E
81
O
N
82
T
O
83
S
E
L
M
A
84
T
A
N
G
R
85
A
M
S
86
A
R
G
O
N
87
A
88
U
T
89
T
O
M
90
S
T
E
W
91
M
U
K
92
L
U
K
93
B
E
T
T
E
94
W
R
Y
95
C
H
96
A
S
M
97
E
N
E
98
R
O
99
H
E
A
100
T
H
101
P
102
E
S
O
S
103
W
104
E
N
T
R
O
G
105
U
E
106
M
O
I
107
S
108
T
109
O
T
T
O
S
110
A
L
T
I
111
A
G
R
A
112
B
O
S
O
M
113
S
H
A
P
E
114
G
A
T
E
115
S
A
D
R
116
A
N
K
L
E
117
T
A
S
E
R
118
E
N
O
S
119
T
N
U
T
120
T
I
E
O
N
121
N
Y
E
T
122
H
E
Y
S
© 2013, The New York Times
Across Down
1. Coll. senior's exam : GMAT
5. Some S.U.V.'s : GMCS
9. 1/24 of un jour : HEURE
10. ___ Franklin, Grammy-nominated gospel/R&B singer : ERMA
14. First name in footwear : THOM
18. Robs : LOOTS
20. Onetime wrestling great ___ the Giant : ANDRE
21. Shade of black : SOOT
22. Forced return? : REPO
23. Woman in Conan Doyle's "A Scandal in Bohemia" : ADLER
24. Most common elements : MODES
25. Asset : PLUS
26. Target of 2006 United Nations sanctions : IRAN
27. Euripides play : MEDEA
28. Opening words? : SAYAH
29. Heads of a Northwest tribe? : TOTEMPOLE
31. Endings of some courses : ORALS
32. Compose : WRITE
34. ___ Selassie : HAILE
35. What whalers may bring back : YARNS
37. "Defending liberty, pursuing justice" org. : ABA
39. Carlo ___ wine : ROSSI
41. Go kicking and screaming : RESIST
43. Collaborative Web site : WIKI
46. Bon ___ : MOT
47. Fully : TOTHEMAX
49. Duplicitous : TWOFACED
51. They may be epic : POEMS
53. Actor Roberts : ERIC
54. Trouble : ADO
55. The Superdome, e.g. : ARENA
56. Biblical figure whose name means "help" : EZRA
57. ___ de Pompadour (figure in Fr. history) : MME
59. Many a person behind the Iron Curtain : SLAV
61. Dome, e.g. : ROOF
63. Secretary, e.g. : DESK
64. Piece longer than its name suggests : MINUTEWALTZ
67. Second of a Latin trio : AMAS
71. Gang member's "O.K." before a job : IMIN
73. Bird or fruit : KIWI
74. Canadian interjections : EHS
75. Like a sighting of an ivory-billed woodpecker : RARE
76. Where 84-Across were invented : CHINA
79. Suffix with favor : ITE
81. Catching ___ : ONTO
83. Seat of Dallas County, Ala. : SELMA
84. Seven-piece puzzles : TANGRAMS
86. Adventurer of Greek myth : ARGONAUT
89. Big gobbler : TOM
90. Dish that may be ladled : STEW
91. Eskimo boot : MUKLUK
93. Hollywood legend Davis : BETTE
94. Crooked : WRY
95. Bridge spot : CHASM
97. It has 31 días : ENERO
99. ___ bar (Hershey product) : HEATH
101. Some dinero : PESOS
103. Disobeyed orders, say : WENTROGUE
106. Dewy : MOIST
109. Four Holy Roman emperors : OTTOS
110. Certain singers : ALTI
111. Noted mausoleum site : AGRA
112. ___ buddy : BOSOM
113. Women's Health competitor : SHAPE
114. Terminal information : GATE
115. Baghdad's ___ City : SADR
116. ___-length : ANKLE
117. You may be shocked by it : TASER
118. Baseball's Slaughter : ENOS
119. Carpentry fastener : TNUT
120. Affix, in a way : TIEON
121. Word before and after "Tovarich" in a "Doctor Zhivago" number : NYET
122. Informal greetings : HEYS
1. Columbus's home : GENOA
2. "Hoochie Coochie Man" singer : MUDDYWATERS
3. In ___ (late, in law) : ARREAR
4. They may be shot at basketball games : TEESHIRTS
5. Star quality : GLAMOR
6. West Point subject : MODERNWARFARE
7. Frigid : COLDASICE
8. 1943 penny composition : STEEL
9. The Three Stooges, e.g. : HAMS
10. Clairvoyant's hurdle : ESPTEST
11. Caramel candy brand : ROLO
12. Shooting off more : MOUTHIER
13. Flummoxed : ATSEA
14. Like porn films : TRIPLEX
15. Purple Heart recipients, e.g. : HEROES
16. It's worn by many Libras : OPAL
17. Bang for one's buck : MONEYSWORTH
19. Many S.A. women : SRAS
30. 1962 movie for which Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won Oscars, with "The" : MIRACLEWORKER
33. Likewise : TOO
36. ___ Z : ATO
37. Jazzed : AMPED
38. Still dripping? : BOOZE
40. Gloss : SHEEN
42. "___ be a real shame ..." : ITD
44. "Toy Story 3" role for Michael Keaton : KEN
45. Muckraker Tarbell : IDA
48. Peruvian volcano El ___ : MISTI
50. ___ Schwarz : FAO
52. Euphemism used often on "The Newlywed Game" : MAKINGWHOOPEE
54. Frank Sinatra's second : AVA
57. Year the iPod came out : MMI
58. Money raised by members of Congress? : MINIMUMWAGE
60. Stupefying : AWING
62. 72 in a six-pack, often: Abbr. : OZS
65. Don Ho's instrument, informally : UKE
66. Sierra ___ : LEONE
68. Dewar's product : MALTWHISKEY
69. Medieval museum exhibit : ARMOR
70. Lowdown : SEAMY
72. Nick, maybe : MAR
76. They're beside the point: Abbr. : CTS
77. Magician's prop : HAT
78. Blissed out : INECSTASY
80. Tut's relative : TSK
82. Racing vehicle : TOBOGGAN
83. Where one might be in the hot seat? : STEAMBATH
85. Mornings, for short : AMS
86. Some baby sitters : AUNTIES
87. Fundamentally : ATHEART
88. Beehive State native : UTE
92. Gave for a time : LENTTO
96. Posit : ASSERT
98. Where one might be in the hot seat? : ROAST
100. Bimetallic Canadian coin : TOONIE
101. Writing on the Wall? : POST
102. A Coen brother : ETHAN
104. Joie de vivre : ELAN
105. Language of Lahore : URDU
107. They're always done by one : SOLOS
108. Feds : TMEN

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