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New York Times, Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3611/13/201211/14/201615
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51395310
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56261

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJVXZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes: I sifted through all the English words with Chinese roots and came up with the current set. I avoided words with obvious ... more
Zhouqin Burnikel notes: I sifted through all the English words with Chinese roots and came up with the current set. I avoided words with obvious Chinese ties like Mahjong or Feng shui. I also shunned words with controversial origins like Tofu or Ramen.

I found it tricky to work with theme entries of short length. I'm so used to the conventional grids with 4 or 5 long theme entries.

Will Shortz notes: What I like about this puzzle is the unusual nature of the theme. There are no theme answers longer than seven letters. The information in the theme makes you go "huh, I didn't know that," which is nice.
Jeff Chen notes: Fun change of pace from C.C. today. She has an interesting story, growing up in China and only starting crosswords back in 2008. Her ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Fun change of pace from C.C. today. She has an interesting story, growing up in China and only starting crosswords back in 2008. Her blog, L.A. Times Crossword Corner, covers the LA Times puzzle on a daily basis. I started doing crosswords back in 2008 as well, but can't imagine doing them in my non-primary language. Very impressive!

Anytime a theme uses shorter theme entries (seven letters or less), it increases the difficulty level for the construction. This is because the word count maximum of 78 stays the same, so the rest of the surrounding fill must be longer than usual. Note the stacks of 7s in the four corners, the 7s in the middle, and ARTICHOKE in the middle. It makes for a quasi-themeless type of filling challenge, incorporating many more seven letter words than usual. On the whole the fill is pretty good, although DCCC and QID show how difficult it can be to get those wide-open corners to work.

Finally, it would have been nice for the theme answers to stand out a bit more, perhaps by isolating them into five rows? That would have made for a extremely challenging construction (and may have called for different themers), but would have made it easier to see afterward which were the words of Chinese origin. As it is, SILK and CHOW blend into the puzzle a little too well (I've highlighted them in the grid so they stand out better). Typically Will likes the theme answers to "pop" and for good reason, but sometimes it just isn't possible. Today's puzzle reasonably trades off "theme pop" for the fact that I found it interesting to learn where these common words came from. Nice work from C.C.

1
K
2
U
3
M
4
Q
5
U
6
A
7
T
8
T
9
Y
10
P
11
H
12
O
13
O
14
N
15
A
T
E
I
N
T
O
16
H
O
R
M
O
N
E
17
L
E
T
D
O
W
N
18
E
D
A
S
N
E
R
19
E
R
A
20
S
T
E
21
A
M
E
D
22
A
G
O
23
S
I
L
24
K
25
R
E
L
A
26
Y
27
S
28
A
29
I
30
N
T
S
31
O
32
A
33
T
34
S
35
H
36
Y
U
N
D
A
I
37
K
38
O
W
T
O
W
39
A
A
A
40
K
E
T
C
41
H
U
P
42
O
D
E
43
G
U
N
44
G
H
O
45
H
O
R
A
46
T
I
O
47
E
L
K
O
48
B
O
T
T
L
E
49
B
50
A
51
R
A
K
52
C
53
H
54
O
55
W
56
E
57
B
58
B
59
B
O
R
E
60
D
61
O
62
M
63
I
M
O
64
M
A
R
65
C
O
N
I
66
C
H
A
67
T
T
E
R
68
A
L
A
D
D
I
N
69
C
O
L
U
M
N
S
70
G
I
N
S
E
N
G
71
C
H
I
N
E
S
E
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,317
Across Down
1. *Relative of an orange : KUMQUAT
8. *Tropical storm : TYPHOON
15. Eroded : ATEINTO
16. Certain steroid : HORMONE
17. Disappointment : LETDOWN
18. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-star : EDASNER
19. Procter & Gamble's first liquid laundry detergent : ERA
20. Plenty ticked off : STEAMED
22. Back in history : AGO
23. *Lingerie material : SILK
25. Race with lots of passing : RELAY
27. New Orleans pro team : SAINTS
31. Feeling one's ___ : OATS
35. Sonata maker : HYUNDAI
37. *Act deferentially : KOWTOW
39. Best rating at Moody's : AAA
40. *French fries topper : KETCHUP
42. Dedicated verse : ODE
43. *Like an eager beaver : GUNGHO
45. Friend of Hamlet : HORATIO
47. City in Nevada : ELKO
48. Alcoholic's recourse : BOTTLE
49. Former Israeli P.M. Ehud : BARAK
52. *Food, slangily : CHOW
56. Decline : EBB
59. The blahs : BOREDOM
63. "If you ask me," in blog comments : IMO
64. Radio pioneer : MARCONI
66. Surveillance pickup : CHATTER
68. Genie's master : ALADDIN
69. Op-ed pieces : COLUMNS
70. *Root used in some energy drinks : GINSENG
71. Language that's the source of the words answered by this puzzle's starred clues : CHINESE
1. Nutrient-rich cabbages : KALES
2. Organs men don't have : UTERI
3. Lead, for one : METAL
4. Four times a day, in an Rx : QID
5. Some, in Santiago : UNOS
6. No. in chemistry : ATWT
7. Sound of music : TONE
8. Dominant ideas : THEMES
9. Song in the Alps : YODEL
10. Often-counterfeited luxury brand : PRADA
11. ___ Pinafore : HMS
12. Wife of Charlie Chaplin : OONA
13. Universal donor's type, informally : ONEG
14. Villain in the 2009 "Star Trek" film : NERO
21. Plant with a heart : ARTICHOKE
24. The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conf. : KSU
26. "That hurt!" : YOW
28. Egyptian symbol of life : ANKH
29. Thought: Prefix : IDEO
30. ___ King Cole : NAT
32. Yours, in Paris : ATOI
33. Foofaraw : TODO
34. Neighbor of Nor. and Fin. : SWE
35. Major swag : HAUL
36. Jerk hard : YANK
37. Actor Russell : KURT
38. October gem : OPAL
39. What the number of birthday candles indicates : AGE
41. Sexy : HOT
44. Big bunch : GOB
46. Sleuth, in slang : TEC
48. Making public : BARING
50. Cabin or cottage : ABODE
51. 1998 De Niro crime thriller : RONIN
53. Vegas request : HITME
54. Signs : OMENS
55. In decline : WORSE
56. Slate, e.g. : EMAG
57. Indonesian tourist mecca : BALI
58. Fiber-rich food : BRAN
60. 800, in old Rome : DCCC
61. "I know! I know!" : OHOH
62. Landlocked African land : MALI
65. Some B&N wares : CDS
67. Large vat : TUN

Answer summary:

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