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New York Times, Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Author: Timothy Polin
Editor: Will Shortz
Timothy Polin
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3212/11/20111/17/20172
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42531602
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1.62470
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 17 for Mr. Polin. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jeff Chen notes: Something so pretty about those WATER / FALLS, yeah? I'm a sucker for a puzzle with a visual element. It's a shame that this couldn't ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Something so pretty about those WATER / FALLS, yeah? I'm a sucker for a puzzle with a visual element. It's a shame that this couldn't have been printed in color, but I went ahead and added my own artist's representation of bubbling waterfalls below.

How about a little symmetry, eh, Mother Nature?

I remember talking to Parker Lewis years ago when he first got back from his Peace Corps mission, and one of the ideas he was tossing around was WATER falling in different parts of the grid. Not quite the same as Tim's, but too similar. Ah, getting scooped ...

Bendy themers always up the difficulty in grid filling. Here, it's not as bad as usual, because Tim chooses to go without symmetry in his waterfalls, giving himself high flexibility. Normally I'm not a fan of that, finding it inelegant, but there's something picturesque about the non-symmetry of the falls, just like in nature. Water goes where water wants to go, after all.

It's clear to me that Tim spent a lot of time and iterations figuring out where the falls could go without causing serious compromises in the grid. Not easy to work VICT / TORIA and YOS / SEMITE into regular words … nice to weave YOS into the end of ARROYOS instead of going with the easy road of YOYOS.

Now, it's not without its flaws. I know Suze ORMAN pretty well, as I think she's done some nice things with empowering people to take charge of their personal finances, but solvers not knowing her might be gnashing their teeth at the OMRI Katz crossing. Maybe it's fair, as both of them are semi-famous? Not ideal, though.

Similar situation in the lower left corner, UTZ unknown to this West coaster. REZA is awfully tough to pull out from memory if it's there at all, so that was rough. I do like the color the Z adds in, but I don't think it's worth the price.

Even though there are some compromises typical of the bendy themer type puzzle, I really dug the visual impact. Neat idea, and good execution.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 24,025
Across Down
1. As high as you can go : ACME
5. With 68-Across, what the groups of circled letters are famous examples of : WATER
10. Instrument similar to a cor anglais : OBOE
14. Use a Veg-o-Matic : CHOP
15. Italian's "I love you" : TIAMO
16. Fond of self-reflection? : VAIN
17. Per the Beach Boys, they're the cutest in the world : CALIFORNIAGIRLS
20. Ranchero's rope : RIATA
21. Flogging implement : STRAP
22. Usually dry gulches : ARROYOS
25. Sea monster of Norse myth : KRAKEN
29. Streaker at night : METEOR
32. Barclays Center, e.g. : ARENA
33. City founded by a twin, in myth : ROME
36. Actor Katz of "Dallas" : OMRI
37. Turf war adversaries : GANGS
38. Pass with flying colors : ACE
39. Sewer's protection : THIMBLE
41. Narc's org. : DEA
42. Friedlander of "30 Rock" : JUDAH
44. Forbidden-sounding perfume : TABU
45. Mobster's gal : MOLL
46. Words of concession : ILOSE
47. Mind-boggler : ENIGMA
49. Mr. Boddy, in the game Clue : VICTIM
51. Rabbi, e.g. : TEACHER
55. Home of Maine's Black Bears : ORONO
58. Zoo heavyweight : RHINO
59. Chester Nimitz or William Halsey : FOURSTARADMIRAL
64. ___-G suit : ANTI
65. Dumbstruck : INAWE
66. Salt, chemically : NACL
67. Exiled shah Mohammad ___ Pahlavi : REZA
68. See 5-Across : FALLS
69. Trauma experts, briefly : EMTS
1. Ghana's capital : ACCRA
2. Direct, as a meeting : CHAIR
3. One of eight baby teeth : MOLAR
4. Perfect example : EPITOME
5. Intl. commerce group : WTO
6. Go public with : AIR
7. Some salon acquisitions : TANS
8. Throw off : EMIT
9. "The Fountainhead" hero Howard : ROARK
10. Egg-laying animals : OVIPARA
11. Vaulter's hurdle : BAR
12. Subject of a 1973 crisis : OIL
13. U.S.N.A. grad: Abbr. : ENS
18. Dunaway of "Chinatown" : FAYE
19. Motorhead's workplace : GARAGE
23. Texter's "However ..." : OTOH
24. Hebrew or Arab : SEMITE
26. Japanese sword sport : KENDO
27. TV foreign correspondent Richard : ENGEL
28. Congested-sounding : NASAL
30. Financial guru Suze : ORMAN
31. Croaking sound : RIBBIT
33. Indira Gandhi's ill-fated son : RAJIV
34. Eye-shaped openings : OCULI
35. French red wine : MEDOC
39. His and hers : THEIRS
40. Olympic downhill event : LUGE
43. Oregon city named for a furrier : ASTORIA
45. Cyborg, in part : MACHINE
48. Head of the class, in pioneer schools : MARM
50. Theme : MOTIF
52. Distiller ___ Walker : HIRAM
53. Sign into law : ENACT
54. Diner basketful : ROLLS
56. Granny : NANA
57. Student's viva voce : ORAL
59. Partner of away : FAR
60. Score for a post-touchdown kick : ONE
61. Big name in chips and pretzels : UTZ
62. Saddler's tool : AWL
63. Start of many French surnames : DES

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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