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New York Times, Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author: Stu Ockman
Editor: Will Shortz
Stu Ockman
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82/2/201210/8/20150
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0002501
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56100

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Ockman. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Stu Ockman notes: I sent Will my first version of this crossword more than two years ago. It was the thirteenth puzzle I constructed. Before August ... more
Stu Ockman notes: I sent Will my first version of this crossword more than two years ago. It was the thirteenth puzzle I constructed. Before August 2011, I'd received nothing but rejections from the NY Times so "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" just popped into my head.

I was trying to figure out how to use it as a theme when I found Ms. Kelly's June 22, 2006, Point of no return rebus. Thanks to Ms. Kelly, problem solved. The original grid, with eight unsymmetrical call boxes, wasn't exciting enough, but Will did like 38A. That was all the inspiration I needed to construct an entirely new version. I decided, in this case, that less was more, so I went with a call box in each corner along with the two in 38A. The only other answers in both versions are BACALL and CALLAS.

Sadly, this version was rejected, too, which surprised me because my mentor, Adam Perl, had a slightly different take: "I thought this puzzle was fantastic - challenging without being frustrating. The theme is excellent and very well carried through the puzzle. 'Don't call us...' was brilliant. The two sets of three eleven letter words were very good. I didn't find anything too crosswordy in it." Based on Adam's encouraging words, I decided to give it one more shot and added CALL BOX to the grid. Will wrote back, "Your CALL rebus 15x is looking pretty good…"

Hope you enjoyed it as much as Adam.

Will Shortz notes: E-mail from Rachel Colangelo, organizer of the Pittsburgh Crossword Tournament: 'We had another successful event and 64 ... more
Will Shortz notes: E-mail from Rachel Colangelo, organizer of the Pittsburgh Crossword Tournament: "We had another successful event and 64 participants helped to raise over $2,200 in support of the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In the finals (today's puzzle), the three solvers were stumped for some time, but once they caught on to the rebus trick they flew through the solution. Mike Wilhelm, our winner, was a very impressive solver — he finished the Monday puzzle in 3.5 minutes."
Jeff Chen notes: I really like when rebus puzzle have a good reason for multiple letters to be shoved into one square. This puzzle is an example of ... more
Jeff Chen notes: I really like when rebus puzzle have a good reason for multiple letters to be shoved into one square. This puzzle is an example of that, since it has literal CALL boxes along with CALL BOX at 14D. Clever! 1A/38A/67A are fantastic entries; not to mention, who doesn't like a ST PAULI GIRL and a RAPSCALLION in their puzzle? =]

I winced a bit at MONGST and AMARO, both of which I needed every cross to get. SPATLESE is fine in retrospect (and is something I'm happy to learn about), but it also took me every cross. Out of curiosity, I tried to see if there was a quick fix to get rid of the first two answers, but I didn't find any easy way of working around them. Perhaps Stu will start a campaign to get a thoroughfare in Philly (his hometown) renamed to MONG ST.? =]

So I wondered how difficult would it really be to get rid of MONGST and AMARO and decided to roll up my sleeves to dig in. I tried changing ROLL CALL to COLD CALL, but that didn't help much by itself. After another hour of trial and error, I realized that shifting the location of one set of black squares really helps. Those giant open spaces in the NW and SE are so tough to fill that shrinking them ever so slightly really helped.

This is the grid I finally worked out (empty regions should be easy to cleanly fill) after several hours. It has the benefit of two fewer 3-letter words, which is nice, but it does contain the clunkers ROLEO, EENS, and FER (amongst others) so it's not clear that it's a "better" grid. Perhaps I could improve it with a few more hours work, but I don't know. It's a testament to the difficulty of Stu's task!

1
CALL
2
T
3
H
4
E
5
D
6
O
7
G
8
S
9
O
10
F
11
F
12
B
13
A
14
CALL
15
I
H
A
V
E
N
O
I
D
E
A
16
A
P
B
17
O
R
I
O
L
E
S
N
E
S
T
18
T
H
O
19
P
O
L
20
A
T
S
E
A
21
C
22
R
O
I
X
23
E
W
E
24
S
25
W
I
S
26
C
A
A
N
S
27
P
28
R
O
P
29
H
T
T
P
30
A
31
L
32
G
A
E
33
O
R
R
34
S
35
E
36
T
37
A
38
D
O
N
T
CALL
39
U
40
S
W
E
L
41
L
CALL
Y
O
U
42
S
O
U
L
43
R
O
E
44
T
I
E
R
S
45
E
46
M
I
T
47
D
48
O
D
O
49
A
50
P
S
O
S
51
H
E
T
52
N
53
C
54
A
55
R
56
C
H
I
E
N
57
C
A
P
E
58
S
59
A
M
O
60
A
O
L
61
G
62
U
A
D
A
L
C
63
A
N
A
L
64
T
R
E
65
S
T
P
A
U
L
I
G
I
R
L
66
CALL
A
S
67
T
O
O
C
L
O
S
E
T
O
CALL
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,298
Across Down
1. Stop threatening : CALLTHEDOGSOFF
12. "How to Marry a Millionaire" actress : BACALL
15. One's initial response to this clue, perhaps : IHAVENOIDEA
16. Police dept. broadcast : APB
17. Suspended avian home : ORIOLESNEST
18. While, in brief : THO
19. Campaign pro : POL
20. Bamboozled : ATSEA
21. ___ de Guerre (French military award) : CROIX
23. What shepherds may shepherd : EWES
25. Superior home?: Abbr. : WIS
26. Actors James and Scott : CAANS
27. Kind of jet : PROP
29. Web opening : HTTP
30. Deterrent to swimming : ALGAE
33. Three-time N.H.L. M.V.P. : ORR
34. ___ trap : SETA
38. Audition rebuff : DONTCALLUSWELLCALLYOU
42. "Or what shall a man give in exchange for his ___?": Mark 8:37 : SOUL
43. Sea urchin delicacy : ROE
44. Many opera houses have them : TIERS
45. Throw off : EMIT
47. Dimwit : DODO
49. Lhasa ___ : APSOS
51. Worked (up) : HET
52. Biltmore Estate state: Abbr. : NCAR
56. Pooch, in Paris : CHIEN
57. Mantles : CAPES
59. "Ti ___" (Italian lover's declaration) : AMO
60. Owner of Moviefone : AOL
61. Site of W.W. II's first amphibious landing : GUADALCANAL
64. Number of colori on the Italian flag : TRE
65. Commercial figure holding six beer mugs : STPAULIGIRL
66. Singer known as La Divina : CALLAS
67. Extremely tight : TOOCLOSETOCALL
1. Homer's Muse : CALLIOPE
2. Discombobulate : THROW
3. Two-time Olympic running gold medalist ___ Gebrselassie : HAILE
4. Bolivian president Morales : EVO
5. Place ___ Concorde : DELA
6. Quick combination : ONETWO
7. It may be full of dirt : GOSSIP
8. Math ratios : SINES
9. Ancient theaters : ODEA
10. Moroccan city known as the Athens of Africa : FES
11. Moneybags : FATCAT
12. One being passed in a race : BATON
13. Black fly, e.g. : APHIS
14. Roadside fixture : CALLBOX
22. Rogue : RAPSCALLION
24. German wine made from fully ripe grapes : SPATLESE
26. PC key : CTRL
28. Reminisce about : RECALL
29. Much of central Eur., once : HRE
30. Circular parts : ADS
31. Head overseas : LOO
32. Animal whose young is a calf : GNU
33. Be obliged : OWE
35. Size up : EYE
36. High, rocky hill : TOR
37. N.S.W. locale : AUS
39. "O'Hara's Choice" novelist : URIS
40. Inebriate : SOT
41. Ford last produced in 1986 : LTD
46. In the midst of, poetically : MONGST
47. The Blue Demons of the N.C.A.A. : DEPAUL
48. Verdi opera : OTELLO
49. Hoy día : AHORA
50. Gobs : PILES
51. Was equipped for summer heat, as an auto : HADAC
53. "That's enough!" : CANIT
54. Ruben ___, Phillies Gold Glove-winning shortstop : AMARO
55. Class starter : ROLLCALL
56. Sound of derision : CATCALL
57. Family head : CAPO
58. Agronomy and metallurgy: Abbr. : SCIS
62. ___-Aztecan (language family) : UTO
63. Historical period : AGE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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