New York Times, Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3311/13/20129/19/201614
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41295210
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1.56151

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {GQX} This is puzzle # 11 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes: This puzzle was accepted in August 2012. I was inspired by ELON MUSK, but could not make him work due to the short letter count.
Jeff Chen notes: A business-oriented puzzle, right up my alley. And specializing in entrepreneurs, even better! Back in 2002, I had the good fortune ... more
Jeff Chen notes: A business-oriented puzzle, right up my alley. And specializing in entrepreneurs, even better! Back in 2002, I had the good fortune to help a friend start a company from ground zero, Acucela Inc.. The start-up experience was rough, costing me many 80+ hour weeks and taking several years off my life, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Who knows if emixustat will end up working for dry form age-related macular degeneration, but if nothing else, being able to create jobs for dozens of people was pretty cool.

I enjoy communicating with C.C. — it's always fun to hear about her process. She mentioned that she originally wanted to focus on high-tech entrepreneurs — I love that desire for a "tight" theme — but couldn't make the symmetry work out. So I like the fact that she retained crossword symmetry by choosing four titans on industry for the long theme spots (highlighted below). We both lamented the fact that she couldn't make my main man JERRY YANG and YAHOO work. (I didn't know him, but he graduated a few years after me.) What can you do.

Crossing themers will always up the difficulty of a puzzle. C.C. does well to choose the pinwheel layout, which helps a lot with spacing. I really like her use of cheater squares in the very SW and NE — any open 5x5 section gets hard to fill cleanly, and with the J of JEFF BEZOS in place, things are even harder (J in the middle of a word limits one's options). Generally I like to see those 5x5 sections broken up or sectioned off, i.e. with a black square at the intersection of A DARE / OVERFED. This would cause a big cascade of changes in the puzzle skeleton of course, but it sure would be nice to avoid the ODELL / ALTE crossing and the A DARE partial. The rest of the puzzle is pretty nice and clean, so the NE corner stuck out to me.

Business themes aren't going to be for everyone (this one was memorable to me but certainly didn't appeal to everyone), but today's was right in my wheelhouse. Although it would have been fantastic if C.C. could have achieved her goal of being more specific (focusing only on high-tech or dot com entrepreneurs), it still made me smile.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,625
Across Down
1. Test runners : LABS
5. Many a carnival game : SCAM
9. Lower California, informally : BAJA
13. "Splendor in the Grass" director Kazan : ELIA
14. "Changed my mind" computer command : UNDO
15. "Entertainment Tonight" host Nancy : ODELL
17. Founder of 6-Down : TEDTURNER
19. Loads and loads : RAFTS
20. Relief on a hot day : BREEZE
21. Stuffed : OVERFED
23. Near eternity : EON
24. Pre-A.D. : BCE
26. Hit back? : SIDEB
27. Precious : DEAR
28. Old name for Tokyo : EDO
29. Aliens, for short : ETS
32. "That's not news to me" : YESIKNOW
36. World's largest online retailer : AMAZON
38. Macy's symbol : STAR
39. Word after Dead or Red : SEA
41. Seat with cushions : SOFA
42. Get tangled : ENMESH
45. Splits, as a couple : BREAKSUP
48. Uncooked : RAW
49. Where to find a soft drink's promotional code : CAP
51. End-of-season honorees, for short : MVPS
52. Hawk's home : AERIE
54. Soak up, as gravy : SOP
55. Pub draught : ALE
58. World's biggest private employer : WALMART
60. Andean ruminants : LLAMAS
62. Winning : ONTOP
63. Founder of 47-Down : STEVEJOBS
66. Cybermemo : ENOTE
67. Skye of "Say Anything ..." : IONE
68. Domain : AREA
69. Many bills in tip jars : ONES
70. Pre-K enrollees : TOTS
71. Fall back (on) : RELY
1. Ignored : LETBE
2. Olds of old : ALERO
3. Obama's veep : BIDEN
4. Fill to the gills : SATE
5. "No prob" : SURECAN
6. World's most widely distributed syndicated news service : CNN
7. Suffix with lemon : ADE
8. Down in the mouth : MOROSE
9. Cause of yawning : BOREDOM
10. On ___ (how some pranks are done) : ADARE
11. Founder of 36-Across : JEFFBEZOS
12. Old one, in German : ALTE
16. One may trip on it : LSD
18. Turkic tongue : UZBEK
22. "Livin' La ___ Loca" : VIDA
25. Lover of Psyche : EROS
27. Critical : DIRE
30. Pretty tasteless food : TOFU
31. Lose it : SNAP
32. River through Flanders : YSER
33. Italian hothead? : ETNA
34. Founder of 58-Across : SAMWALTON
35. Fly trap : WEB
37. Pops, as the question : ASKS
40. Combat supplies : ARMS
43. Just gets (by) : SCRAPES
44. Eyelash, e.g. : HAIR
46. Slowly changes : EVOLVES
47. "World's most admired company," per Fortune : APPLE
50. Look after a neighbor's dog, say : PETSIT
53. Ham it up : EMOTE
55. Love, to Valentino : AMORE
56. Valentino, e.g. : LABEL
57. Op-ed piece : ESSAY
58. "___ unto him ..." : WOE
59. A.D. part : ANNO
61. Slightly open : AJAR
64. Overly : TOO
65. M.D. specialty : ENT

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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