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New York Times, Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Author: Dick Shlakman and Jeff Chen
Editor: Will Shortz
Dick Shlakman
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
22/2/20147/2/20142
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57010
Jeff Chen
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
627/5/201011/19/201637
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
195491564
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.633122

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJVZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Shlakman. This is puzzle # 28 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Constructor notes: DICK: This puzzle was accepted for publication on June 30, 2013, before my Sunday collaboration with Jeff published last February ... more
Constructor notes: DICK: This puzzle was accepted for publication on June 30, 2013, before my Sunday collaboration with Jeff published last February was accepted. Thus, this is really my maiden effort at puzzle creation. The idea for the puzzle began with a triple homophone and clue that just popped into my head while coming awake from an afternoon nap, but that did not survive: LET THE BEE BE BEA, clued to refer to a Golden Girl (Bea Arthur) waving at a stinging buzzer, was the thought provoker, and I developed a list of similar triple homonyms and sent it to Jeff with the request that he co-create if the idea appealed to him.

As a total novice, I had no idea how to go forward with grid creation, fill, cluing or any other aspect of puzzle creation. There were, on my list, some ideas Jeff liked but no internal grammatical or stylistic consistency. Some had just 3 words, some 4, some 5, some in the present, some in the past, etc. If you are a fan of Jeff Chen puzzles, you know that such sloppiness of internal thematic consistency does not pass muster. He came up with the tabloid headline clue structure and the fill structure where every themer is only 3 words, and all follow the identical grammatical pattern. I had taken the first shot at cluing the non-themers and tried for Thursday level difficulty and misdirection. Jeff saw it more as a Monday or Tuesday puzzle and together we simplified the clues. None of this seemed to matter as Will accepted it as a Wednesday and rewrote what seems to me to be a very considerable number of the clues. Maybe that's the norm; I do not know. If you already know the answers, as I did, it might be hard to see a change upward in level of difficulty of the clues.

Jeff Chen notes: It's time for another edition of JEFF VS. DAN! For those of you who don't know of this magnificent contest, I race Dan Feyer, the ... more
Jeff Chen notes: It's time for another edition of JEFF VS. DAN! For those of you who don't know of this magnificent contest, I race Dan Feyer, the reigning ACPT champ, at my own puzzles. In the past he's stomped me into dust, often by a factor of two (a factor of three, one time). So after a while, what could I do but up my level of cheating, going one step above knowing the answers? By studying the entire answer grid for five minutes and memorizing as many answers I could, I proceeded to trounce Dan (by two magnificent seconds).

So I decided to be the bigger man and give "the crossword titan" (note the theatrical air quotes) a handicap. I'm eventually going to beat Dan fair and square (by only knowing the answers — more than fair, really).

My time on today's puzzle: a blazing 3:56! My hand shall be victoriously raised!

Dan's time, listed at his blog... 1:49. Dagnabit! He beat me by a factor of two. The sun was in my eyes. And the clouds. And these grapes are awfully sour. Ahem.

BTW, fun to work with Dick on this one. We had a lot of back and forth, brainstorming and revising Dick's core idea. The grid came pretty quickly after finalizing the themers, as 15/14/14/15 is a pretty easy pattern to work with. And I enjoy the exercise of fitting in good short fill like ONE TWO, NO PROB, BAD RAP, R KELLY. BTW, I actually don't know who R KELLY is. I mean, I know the name. But if you put Eminem, Psy, Lil' Wayne, Yo-yo Ma and R Kelly together, you could easily convince me that they were The Village People. R Kelly is the construction worker, isn't he?

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,612
Across Down
1. Fix : SPAY
5. Sauna garment : ROBE
9. Needing a new muffler, say : NOISY
14. Jessica of "Dark Angel" : ALBA
15. Isle of exile : ELBA
16. When prompted : ONCUE
17. MOUNTAINS TICK OFF TOY DOGS : PEAKSPIQUEPEKES
20. Honshu honorific : SAN
21. Has control of : MANS
22. Caricatures and such : ART
23. "Now or never" time : DDAY
25. Netflix menu heading : BROWSE
28. SOUTH AFRICANS ARE UNEXCITED BY SWINE : BOARSBOREBOERS
32. Big name in fancy chocolates : LINDT
33. Give ___ of approval : ANOD
34. Play about Capote : TRU
35. Piece of Slate, e.g. : ESSAY
36. Sex columnist Savage : DAN
37. Crime in much insurance fraud : ARSON
39. ___ brown : ASH
40. "Pics ___ didn't happen" ("Where's the proof?!") : ORIT
41. ___ poker (dollar bill game) : LIARS
42. COUPLES PEEL FRUIT : PAIRSPAREPEARS
46. Cost of maintenance : UPKEEP
47. ___ grease : AXLE
48. Antiquity, in the past : ELD
49. Shrek, e.g. : OGRE
51. Any of T. S. Eliot's "practical" creatures : CAT
54. PASTORAL POEMS INCAPACITATE TEEN FAVES : IDYLLSIDLEIDOLS
59. Author Zora ___ Hurston : NEALE
60. One sleeping "in the jungle, the mighty jungle," in song : LION
61. ___ Major : URSA
62. Lecherous goat-man : SATYR
63. Didn't spoil : KEPT
64. Sign of spoilage : ODOR
1. Chumps : SAPS
2. "Don't shoot!," e.g. : PLEA
3. Final order from the captain : ABANDONSHIP
4. Tibetan source of butter : YAK
5. Makes good on : REPAYS
6. Lena of "Havana" : OLIN
7. Tailgaters' activities, for short : BBQS
8. La mer contents : EAU
9. "You got it" : NOPROB
10. Pugilistic combo : ONETWO
11. "E-e-e-ew!" : ICK
12. Boy of song who hated his name : SUE
13. Sycophant's standard reply : YES
18. Wisenheimer : SMARTY
19. Like fur seals : EARED
24. "___ means nothing" (1918 manifesto declaration) : DADA
25. Any of three literary sisters : BRONTE
26. Becomes worthy of the Guinness Book, say : SETSARECORD
27. Rarities for Gold Glove winners : ERRORS
28. Guinea-___ (West African nation) : BISSAU
29. Unjust verdict : BADRAP
30. Radio booth sign : ONAIR
31. Catches some rays : SUNS
32. Grand jeté, e.g. : LEAP
37. Kosygin of Russia : ALEXEI
38. Iranian currency : RIAL
40. Printed points of view, for short : OPEDS
43. Singer with the 1994 hit "Bump n' Grind" : RKELLY
44. Many a Craigslist user : SELLER
45. PepsiCo, to Frito-Lay : PARENT
49. Often-kicked comics canine : ODIE
50. Zero-star fare : GLOP
52. "In addition ..." : ALSO
53. Pre-1917 autocrat : TSAR
54. Networkers' hopes : INS
55. Bust-making org. : DEA
56. China's Sun ___-sen : YAT
57. Kind : ILK
58. Indigo Girls, e.g. : DUO

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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