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New York Times, Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Author: Jonathan Gersch
Editor: Will Shortz
Jonathan Gersch
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
62/20/20075/24/20160
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0042000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58001

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {BKQVX} Spans: 3 This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Gersch. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jonathan Gersch notes: First, thanks to Jeff and XWord Info for presenting this forum. As I recall, the idea for this one just popped in my head, as ... more
Jonathan Gersch notes: First, thanks to Jeff and XWord Info for presenting this forum. As I recall, the idea for this one just popped in my head, as they sometimes do, and I thought it would be fun to give solvers a hidden-word puzzle-in-a-puzzle. I was very fortunate to come up with the theme entries, especially those that contained TAN twice. After working out the placement of these theme entries within the grid, I got even more lucky to find some nice fill that could string two or more of these together; getting AUSTRIA to cross all three in the middle really worked very nicely.

Will offered a number of suggestions, which led to some reworking of a few areas, and this resulted in a nicer and cleaner final version. I then drafted up the clues which I aimed to be fresh and lively. Besed on the theme, Will thought it would be good to run during beach season. I hope you all enjoy! I guess we'll just have to WAIT AND SEE!

Will Shortz notes: The large amount of theme material in this puzzle impacted the grid in some unappealing ways. Balancing quantity of theme and ... more
Will Shortz notes: The large amount of theme material in this puzzle impacted the grid in some unappealing ways. Balancing quantity of theme and quality of fill is always tricky. At 35A, the constructor had SERAL ("Of ecological stages"). I thought SURAL was better, but probably not by much.
Jeff Chen notes: Such a shame that constructor extraordinaire NATAN Last wasn't in on this one. =] Great concept for a theme. I really liked the ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Such a shame that constructor extraordinaire NATAN Last wasn't in on this one. =]

Great concept for a theme. I really liked the idea of having two instances of the word TAN making for a literal TAN line, and the three 15-letter theme answers do this perfectly. Very neat! It's a nice bonus that each of these answers is a lively entry in itself.

To expand on Will's point, not only are there five long theme answers, but an additional four instances of TAN (or NAT) hidden vertically, plus the TAN/LINE revealer. This is a gigantic set of constraints, much higher than usual. It's impressive to see so many TAN instances, but since there's no explicit rationale for having 14 of them, I wanted to see if there was another arrangement which might allow for cleaner fill while keeping the nice theme concept.

Some searching turned up AUGUSTA NATIONAL as another grid-spanner having a "TAN line" (two connected TANs). I like the idea of having four 15-letter theme entries that do this, with no other TANs present, something like this grid. It's not nearly as ambitious as Jonathan's construction, but to Will's point, it makes for a different balance of quantity of theme/quality of fill. Some might like it more, some might like it less.

A final note: how incredible would it be if the TAN lines made some sort of recognizable shape, perhaps by placing the theme entries in a pinwheel arrangement? I don't think the Gray Lady is ready for the shape I had in mind, though. =]

1
S
2
T
3
A
4
N
5
D
6
A
7
N
8
A
9
T
10
O
11
W
12
N
13
S
14
S
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W
15
D
E
C
O
16
W
A
A
C
17
W
A
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A
18
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D
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E
19
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S
T
O
20
R
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O
21
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H
A
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22
G
23
O
24
O
25
F
F
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N
26
A
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T
28
A
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G
E
N
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29
M
A
R
A
30
S
U
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F
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31
S
T
Y
32
C
H
A
C
33
H
34
A
35
S
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A
36
L
37
S
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L
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A
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38
A
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O
F
O
39
M
40
A
41
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42
A
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O
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43
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G
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A
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G
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E
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L
Y
54
J
A
P
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A
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A
T
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E
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Z
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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,297
Across Down
1. Testimony spot : STAND
6. Nursing school subj. : ANAT
10. Defeats regularly, in slang : OWNS
14. Muscular strength : SINEW
15. 30 Rock's architectural style : DECO
16. Female mil. unit created 5/15/42 : WAAC
17. Like a patient person's attitude : WAITANDSEE
19. Analogy words : ISTO
20. Flying Cloud of old autodom : REO
21. Take the top off of, in a way : UNHAT
22. Stray from the subject : GOOFFONATANGENT
29. Rooney ___, star of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" : MARA
30. Browses, in a way : SURFS
31. Place to wallow in mud : STY
32. Quick ballroom dance : CHACHA
35. Relating to the calf : SURAL
37. Mideast monarchy : SULTANATEOFOMAN
42. Passion : ARDOR
43. Term of address for a 2-Down : SENORA
44. Model Carangi : GIA
47. One of almost 20 French kings : LOUIS
49. Fishing rod, flies, lures, etc. : GEAR
50. Without delay : INSTANTANEOUSLY
54. Where some ex-major-leaguers play : JAPAN
55. ___ Taylor (clothing retailer) : ANN
56. Company that once owned the trademark "Escalator" : OTIS
57. Not corroborated : UNATTESTED
64. Cork's locale : EIRE
65. Component of brass : ZINC
66. Words of compassion : ICARE
67. Progeny : SEED
68. Rash feeling? : ITCH
69. See 61-Down : LINES
1. Vane dir. : SSW
2. Member of la familia : TIA
3. Purchase from Pat Sajak : ANI
4. Last figure on an invoice : NET
5. Tower over : DWARF
6. Scanners, webcams, etc. : ADDONS
7. Super ___ (old game console) : NES
8. Do superbly on : ACE
9. Shoe part : TOE
10. Short, in a way : OWING
11. Laps against : WASHES
12. Floating : NATANT
13. "Star Trek" character who says "Aye" a lot : SCOTTY
18. Modernist's prefix : NEO
21. Failing inspection, say : UNSAFE
22. Some pickups : GMCS
23. Island with Yokohama Bay : OAHU
24. Like many presentations : ORAL
25. Statements in a legal case : FACTA
26. Alpine land : AUSTRIA
27. Irrefutable : TRUE
28. Some "Hair" hairdos : AFROS
33. Sci-fi author Ellison : HARLAN
34. "___ the seventh day ..." : ANDON
36. "Cute" sound : LONGU
38. Month in l'été : AOUT
39. Where Duff Beer is poured : MOES
40. ___ Sea (now-divided waters) : ARAL
41. ___ a one : NARY
44. Toys known as Action Men in the U.K. : GIJOES
45. Headed for sudden death, perhaps : INATIE
46. Aim high : ASPIRE
48. Swipe, as a purse : SNATCH
51. Shocked, in a way : TASED
52. Tolkien creature : ENT
53. Negro leagues star Buck ___ : ONEIL
57. Assault weapon named for its designer : UZI
58. Minor complaint : NIT
59. Post-apartheid ruling org. : ANC
60. Chem. or biol. : SCI
61. With 69-Across, beach markings ... 14 of which are hidden vertically and horizontally elsewhere in this puzzle : TAN
62. 'Fore : ERE
63. ___ Plaines, Ill. : DES

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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