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PERSONS OF NOTE

New York Times, Sunday, September 1, 2013

Author: John Farmer
Editor: Will Shortz
John Farmer
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
331/25/20061/29/20150
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
21361083
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64275

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 83 Missing: none – this is a pangram This is puzzle # 30 for Mr. Farmer. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Farmer notes: It all started at 1-Across. The genesis was a brief conversation I'd overheard about Washington. 'Which one?' was the question, meaning to clarify whether city or state, but the way my mind works, I thought, ... more
John Farmer notes: It all started at 1-Across. The genesis was a brief conversation I'd overheard about Washington. "Which one?" was the question, meaning to clarify whether city or state, but the way my mind works, I thought, which one? Denzel? George? That triggered the CTD (crossword theme detector) in my brain, and pretty soon I had the idea of a double rebus playing off the various paper currency denominations. The dollar sign at the center of the grid needed to stand alone, more or less forcing the 13-letter vertical answers at 31- and 33-Down, which ended up being a variation of a title I'd had in mind. It fit nicely and added, I think, a certain element to the puzzle. That central $ forced the rebuses toward the perimeter, ate into the 140-word allotment of a Sunday grid, and posed a few challenges for the fill. In the end, it all came together, with just a handful of short answers coming from the B-list, so to speak.

Three final thoughts:

1. What do a dollar sign and a crossword grid have in common? Both have 180-degree rotational symmetry. They were made for each other, you ask me.

2. All denominations of U.S. paper currency now in circulation ($1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100) made it into the grid. Higher-value banknotes were officially withdrawn from circulation in 1969.

3. The seven rebus answers total $188. The number 188 represents the ranking of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Who'll Stop the Rain" on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The (money) quote from the great John Fogerty: "Certainly, I was talking about Washington when I wrote the song." Coincidence? I think not. The only question is this: "Washington? Which one?"

Jeff Chen notes: Genius idea for a Sunday puzzle, a true WITT (Wish I'd Thought of That). The theme answers relate to American currency, so the one-dollar bill is represented by DENZEL WASHINGTON crossing 1 SEC, the ten-dollar ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Genius idea for a Sunday puzzle, a true WITT (Wish I'd Thought of That). The theme answers relate to American currency, so the one-dollar bill is represented by DENZEL WASHINGTON crossing 1 SEC, the ten-dollar bill by LINDA HAMILTON crossing HANGS 10, etc.

Incredibly difficult construction, perhaps one of the hardest I've run across in five years of analyzing the NYT xw. Not only does John incorporate 1.) a dollar sign in black squares (in the center of the grid), but 2.) a two-part revealer and 3.) SEVEN crossing theme answer pairs. The fact that he uses several three-letter answers inside the dollar sign necessitates some wide-open sections in all regions of the grid (due to the 140 maximum word count restriction). Amazing that John was able to fill it at all!

As a solver, I was frustrated to not accurately finish the east section, not having heard of HAIRCUT 100 (I searched for their "top hits" and hadn't heard either of those songs) and being only vaguely familiar with MHO (stupid MS in electromechanical engineering, did you teach me nothing?). Every puzzle must trade off thematic density and quality of fill, and I wonder what the result would have been if one of the bills, the 100, had been removed. That would still allow for thematic consistency (incorporating all American bills up to the 50) while giving more flexibility to fill those tough, wide-open areas.

Overall though, I loved the fresh concept and the fantastic "aha moment" it provided.

JimH notes: Here are the people in question.
1
D
2
E
3
N
4
Z
5
E
6
L
7
1
8
J
9
O
10
G
11
G
12
E
13
D
14
L
15
O
16
U
17
50
18
O
R
I
O
L
E
S
19
S
A
M
U
R
A
I
20
B
L
A
N
C
21
O
N
L
E
A
V
E
22
P
L
A
N
E
T
S
23
L
A
T
T
E
24
D
S
L
25
S
I
C
26
H
O
R
N
E
27
C
28
H
I
M
E
I
N
29
T
A
30
S
T
E
31
D
E
P
32
E
L
33
I
34
A
S
A
S
E
T
35
H
I
S
36
T
O
R
Y
37
R
E
T
38
O
R
T
S
39
M
A
C
40
A
N
E
41
Y
A
L
E
42
M
43
H
44
O
45
V
A
R
I
46
A
N
T
47
J
48
A
49
B
50
T
A
M
51
A
52
E
A
R
53
H
I
T
I
T
F
A
T
54
I
M
O
55
F
F
56
S
T
57
A
D
I
A
58
A
R
C
59
Y
O
G
A
60
B
A
Z
A
A
61
R
62
F
L
I
R
T
63
N
T
H
64
S
65
E
E
K
66
S
67
A
C
E
68
D
69
T
A
C
O
70
D
U
B
A
71
I
72
R
E
E
73
F
74
E
75
R
76
E
V
A
77
N
78
B
U
R
79
R
O
O
M
E
80
R
81
A
W
A
R
E
82
V
E
L
O
83
C
I
T
Y
84
U
S
X
85
D
O
86
W
N
87
Q
E
D
88
A
R
E
T
H
A
100
89
B
O
20
90
S
O
Y
91
A
92
C
L
E
93
L
A
S
94
P
95
H
E
N
O
M
96
S
97
H
O
U
S
98
T
O
N
99
G
100
A
101
S
L
I
T
102
F
E
E
103
A
R
E
104
A
N
T
105
E
106
D
107
O
C
T
A
G
O
108
N
109
S
W
110
A
N
N
111
E
G
G
112
K
O
113
A
114
D
E
A
T
H
115
A
116
A
L
A
R
G
E
117
M
O
A
118
N
I
N
G
119
E
L
M
O
5
120
T
S
A
R
I
S
T
121
A
R
G
O
N
N
E
122
L
A
P
S
123
L
I
N
D
A
10
124
G
E
O
R
G
E
2
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,308
Across Down
1. Star of four Spike Lee films : DENZELWASHINGTON
8. Exercised on a track : JOGGED
14. Longtime Ed Asner role : LOUGRANT
18. Birds at a ballpark : ORIOLES
19. 1954 film septet : SAMURAI
20. White: Fr. : BLANC
21. Away, in a way : ONLEAVE
22. Gustav Holst septet : PLANETS
23. Barista's offering : LATTE
24. Cable alternative : DSL
25. [typo not fixed] : SIC
26. Star of a 1981 Broadway revue subtitled "The Lady and Her Music" : HORNE
27. Add one's views : CHIMEIN
29. Style : TASTE
31. Second-in-command: Abbr. : DEP
32. 41-Across athlete : ELI
34. How his-and-hers towels are sold : ASASET
35. "Gossip well told," per Elbert Hubbard : HISTORY
37. Comebacks : RETORTS
39. Bud : MAC
40. Hydrocarbon ending : ANE
41. See 32-Across : YALE
42. Electrical unit, old-style : MHO
45. Webster's second? : VARIANT
47. Quick punch : JAB
50. Author Janowitz : TAMA
52. Bud's place : EAR
53. Strike turf before the ball, in golf : HITITFAT
54. Bye line? : IMOFF
56. Olympic venues : STADIA
58. It may extend for many minutes : ARC
59. Thoughtful exercise : YOGA
60. Overseas market : BAZAAR
62. Tease : FLIRT
63. Unspecified degrees : NTHS
65. Comic strip cries : EEKS
67. Waltzed through : ACED
69. ___ de carne asada : TACO
70. Burj Khalifa locale : DUBAI
72. Joint : REEFER
76. Fashion label ___-Picone : EVAN
78. Prickly sticker : BUR
79. Letter with a limited amount of space : ROOMER
81. Savvy : AWARE
82. Radar reading : VELOCITY
84. Steel giant, formerly : USX
85. Chug : DOWN
87. End of an argument : QED
88. Singer at Obama's 2009 inauguration : ARETHAFRANKLIN
89. Baseball All-Star who was also a football Pro Bowler : BOJACKSON
90. Edamame source : SOYA
92. Cross-state rival of CIN : CLE
93. Arizona's ___ Cienegas National Conservation Area : LAS
94. Hot prospects, say : PHENOMS
97. Home base for many a mission : HOUSTON
99. Like Victorian streets : GASLIT
102. Honorarium : FEE
103. Nirvana's "Come as You ___" : ARE
104. Paid to play : ANTED
107. It has 135-degree angles : OCTAGON
109. Proust title character : SWANN
111. See 115-Across : EGG
112. Campers' letters : KOA
114. ___ by chocolate (popular dessert) : DEATH
115. Certain 111-Across specification : AALARGE
117. Ghostly sound : MOANING
119. First film Tarzan : ELMOLINCOLN
120. White Russian, e.g. : TSARIST
121. 1918's Battle of the ___ Forest : ARGONNE
122. Formula One units : LAPS
123. "The Terminator" co-star : LINDAHAMILTON
124. Neighbor of Archie Bunker : GEORGEJEFFERSON
1. "I ___ it!" (Skelton catchphrase) : DOOD
2. Bond villain ___ Stavro Blofeld : ERNST
3. Popular snack brand : NILLA
4. Actress/screenwriter Kazan : ZOE
5. Stretchiness : ELASTICITY
6. Assesses : LEVIES
7. "Be right there!" : 1SEC
8. Heap : JALOPY
9. Poet Khayyám : OMAR
10. Artillery crewman : GUNNER
11. Founder of the New York Tribune : GREELEY
12. Have something : EAT
13. Tiddlywink, e.g. : DISC
14. Peruvian pack : LLAMAS
15. Warren of "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" : OATES
16. Free : UNTIE
17. Rapper who feuded with Ja Rule and Nas : 50CENT
19. Round figure : SPHERE
20. Second-tier, among celebs : BLIST
28. Women's rooms? : HAREMS
30. Actress Belafonte : SHARI
31. With 33-Down, Skeptic's advice ... or a "noteworthy" hint to seven Across answers in this puzzle : DONTTAKEANYOF
33. See 31-Down : ITATFACEVALUE
36. Colorful songbird : TANAGER
38. Brazilian greeting : OLA
39. Pop/rock group with a 2002 hit co-written with Mick Jagger : MATCHBOX20
42. Story coloring? : MEDIABIAS
43. 1980s British band : HAIRCUT100
44. Big deliveries? : ORATORY
45. Paganini or Rachmaninoff : VIRTUOSO
46. "He makes no friend who never made ___": Tennyson : AFOE
47. Schooner sail : JIB
48. Health org. since 1847 : AMA
49. Dickens pen name : BOZ
51. Raiding grp. : ATF
53. Polish the old-fashioned way : HANDRUB
55. Air safety org. : FAA
57. ___-rock : ALT
61. Apotheosizes : REVERES
64. Uncle ___ : SAM
66. Wrap (up) : SEW
68. Hollow : DALE
71. Homemade bomb, for short : IED
73. Web site heading : FAQ
74. Before, in verse : ERE
75. Sanguine : RED
77. Recently : NOTLONGAGO
80. Met, as a challenge : ROSETO
83. "U.S.A." is part of one : CHANT
86. Ended up? : WON
91. Acronym for the hearing-impaired : AMESLAN
92. Louis Armstrong instrument : CORNET
94. "___ Republic" : PLATOS
95. Celebratory gesture : HIGH5
96. Alaska town that is mile 0 of the Iditarod Trail : SEWARD
97. Does a surfboard stunt : HANGS10
98. 1913 Literature Nobelist from India : TAGORE
99. Douglas Hofstadter's "___, Escher, Bach" : GODEL
100. Amtrak bullet train : ACELA
101. Sign of approval : STAMP
105. Scratching (out) : EKING
106. "Meditation XVII" writer : DONNE
108. N.R.A. piece?: Abbr. : NATL
110. Vegas casino with a musical name : ARIA
111. Newsweek, e.g., now : EMAG
113. "Terrible" toddler time : AGE2
116. Auden's "___ Walked Out One Evening" : ASI
118. Often-partnered conjunction : NOR

Answer summary: 17 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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