New York Times, Thursday, February 17, 2000

Author: Matt Gaffney and David Bianco
Editor: Will Shortz
Matt Gaffney
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
587/24/19949/6/20001
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1401615157
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61004
David Benkof
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
32/17/20004/3/20142
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.67100

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15, Words: 74, Blocks: 34 Missing: {FQVWZ} This is puzzle # 55 for Mr. Gaffney. This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Benkof. NYT links: Across Lite

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Constructor notes:

DAVID:

The first two theme answers came easily to me when I noticed how similar JINGLEBELLS and THEJUNGLEBOOK sounded — "jingle" vs. "jungle" and with a "B" word connected to each. But it seemed to me a long shot that I would ever find a "jangle" or "jongle" or "Jengle" also with a B. And with the right lengths? Forget it.

But I brainstormed anyway (this was before I had access to good computer searches), and when I hit upon "MRBOJANGLES" I began to feverishly count letters in all three theme answers, and was thrilled when I realized I had an 11-13-11 puzzle. Matt Gaffney liked the theme and agreed to make the grid for me; this is the only collaboration he's done out of his 58 New York Times puzzles.

Would today's New York Times take a puzzle with such a small number of theme letters (35)? I doubt it. But I think the JINGLE-JANGLE-JUNGLE concept is fun, and with the extra B thrown in it exposes an unusual quirk in the English language. In my opinion, some of today's puzzles get so theme-heavy that simpler grids by newer constructors (this was my first contribution — under the name David Bianco, whereas now I contribute as David Benkof) get squeezed out.

1
H
2
A
3
H
4
A
5
S
6
G
7
A
8
B
9
O
10
N
11
C
12
A
13
R
14
A
R
O
L
E
15
O
M
E
G
A
16
O
R
E
17
J
I
N
G
L
18
E
B
E
L
L
S
19
M
E
G
20
J
A
I
A
L
A
I
21
L
E
T
22
E
Y
E
23
I
N
N
E
S
S
24
K
O
S
25
N
O
O
N
26
S
E
G
27
E
28
R
I
C
29
D
O
N
U
T
30
R
31
A
D
O
N
32
M
E
N
T
O
S
33
T
34
H
E
J
U
N
G
35
L
E
B
O
O
K
36
T
O
E
C
A
P
37
P
O
L
I
S
38
A
R
D
O
R
39
B
I
B
I
40
G
41
A
42
D
43
N
E
O
N
44
G
I
N
45
S
46
H
47
A
R
E
R
48
K
I
N
49
G
A
G
50
A
S
I
N
I
N
E
51
A
N
I
52
M
R
B
53
O
J
A
N
G
L
E
S
54
R
T
S
55
A
R
E
N
A
56
E
L
L
I
S
57
D
O
T
58
N
Y
N
E
X
59
S
E
E
D
Y
© 2000, The New York Times
Across Down
1. Stand-up's payoff : HAHAS
6. Libreville's land : GABON
11. Jam ingredient? : CAR
14. Play ___ in (influence) : AROLE
15. Last in a series : OMEGA
16. Metallurgist's subject : ORE
17. Winter sounds : JINGLEBELLS
19. Computer amount, slangily : MEG
20. Court sport : JAIALAI
21. "Play it again!" : LET
22. It may be caught : EYE
23. "Delaware Water Gap" painter : INNESS
24. Big belts : KOS
25. High time? : NOON
26. Line part: Abbr. : SEG
27. Playwright Bogosian : ERIC
29. Sinker : DONUT
30. Home health hazard : RADON
32. Candy known as "The Freshmaker" : MENTOS
33. Mowgli's medium : THEJUNGLEBOOK
36. Boot tip : TOECAP
37. Ancient Greek city-state : POLIS
38. Zeal : ARDOR
39. Netanyahu, informally : BIBI
40. "Holy cow!" : GAD
43. Element in Geiger counters : NEON
44. Game winner's cry : GIN
45. Joseph Conrad's "The Secret ___" : SHARER
48. Consanguine folks : KIN
49. Kind of law or order : GAG
50. Ill-considered : ASININE
51. "Wheel of Fortune" buy : ANI
52. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band hit, 1971 : MRBOJANGLES
54. Football positions: Abbr. : RTS
55. Washington's ___ Stage : ARENA
56. Former heavyweight champ Jimmy : ELLIS
57. Address component, these days : DOT
58. Part of a 1997 telecommunications merger : NYNEX
59. Like a pomegranate : SEEDY
1. Some pilgrims : HAJJIS
2. French satellite launcher : ARIANE
3. Perfecting : HONING
4. With fungi, they form lichens : ALGAE
5. Hawks : SELLS
6. Much of Mongolia : GOBI
7. Letters in many black church names : AME
8. Noted French-born English writer : BELLOC
9. Good looks? : OGLES
10. Harper's Weekly artist : NAST
11. Make a pass at : COMEONTO
12. Post-accident question : AREYOUOK
13. College board : REGENTS
18. Relaxed : EASEDUP
24. Cartel leader : KINGPIN
25. They aren't done : NONOS
28. Ex-Yankee Guidry : RON
29. Actress Mazar : DEBI
30. Satellite's job : RECON
31. Cracked open : AJAR
32. Grammy winner Manchester : MELISSA
33. Assailed : TOREINTO
34. Pleasure seeker : HEDONIST
35. Alternative to a passing shot : LOB
36. Stein relative : TANKARD
39. 1856 installation : BIGBEN
40. Gate design : GRILLE
41. Tale of a journey : AENEID
42. Fancy : DRESSY
44. TV producer Marshall : GARRY
46. "Tap" star : HINES
47. Devious plan : ANGLE
49. Fed : GMAN
50. Trojan War hero : AJAX
53. It's better than nothing : ONE

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