New York Times, Thursday, September 2, 2010

Author: Patrick Blindauer and Andrea Carla Michaels
Editor: Will Shortz
Patrick Blindauer
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
617/21/200512/3/201419
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
12561117118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59251
Andrea Carla Michaels
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
476/12/20003/2/201522
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
43372100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63006

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15, Words: 80, Blocks: 42 Missing: {KQUXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 40 for Mr. Blindauer. This is puzzle # 23 for Ms. Michaels. NYT links: Across Lite

Puzzazz
Constructor notes:

ANDREA:

This was my first Thurs and the most complicated idea I had ever had. I wanted all the words in the grid to be OTHER words if read backwards. I envisioned three sets of clues: Across, Down and Backwards. There is no way I could make this grid on my own, so I went to the genius aka Patrick Blindauer. We bandied about how we could have a reveal in the grid itself. Either a phrase like TO AND FRO, BACK AND FORTH. Both he and Will felt it would be too easy to have a third set of clues.

Then Patrick managed to create a grid with the phrase EVERYACROSS/ASWERREADSFROM/RIGHTTOLEFT (written from right to left). I didn't originally want something that looked like gobbledygook in the grid, but there was no denying this was an incredible solution and that it broke into three balanced phrases that could be read backwards was breathtaking. One of the early drafts had several palindromes that I suggested were "cheating" which was a poor choice of words, which caused a lot of stress between us, but Patrick managed to get rid of most of them. (I bring this up not to tell tales out of school but to be honest about the difficulty of collaborating at times. Especially if one person feels they have done the lion's share of work.)

This is a delicate topic with partnerships. My personal feeling is whoever comes up with the idea should get full and equal credit/money, whereas Will told me a good idea could come from anywhere and doesn't necessarily deserve credit. Needless to say, I don't agree. I'd rather be extra generous with credit as we have so little else. I had been a writer in Hollywood for many years and was well aware of the heartbreak, rifts and lawsuits not giving proper credit can bring. We also didn't want partials that couldn't stand alone without a clue, like INOR even though it could be clued as Rice-a-___, but INOR when read left-to-right, out of context wouldn't stand on its own, so we were sensitive to that as there would be only the clues for the words going backwards, but would still look like good words read from left to right.

My fear was also when people caught on what was happening, they would have to erase or start completely over or have a big mess if solving with pen...and it was the first time ever I worried about pissing off solvers! But am super proud of the concept and the result.

JimH notes: Each across answer has to be entered into the grid backwards. Remarkably, all the across entries except for the three long ones are legitimate crossword answers in either direction.

The author Adam Langer blogged this puzzle for Wordplay.
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© 2010, The New York Times
Across Down
1. Skins : PEELS
6. It's hardly haute cuisine : SLOP
10. Miracle-___ : GRO
13. Go over again : RECAP
14. "___ girl!" : ITSA
15. Active volcano near Messina : ETNA
16. ___ Gay : ENOLA
17. Move text around : EDIT
18. Not a dupe: Abbr. : ORIG
19. On the ___ : LAM
20. Goddess of discord : ERIS
22. Late-night beverage : DECAF
23. Season opener? : ESS
24. Start of instructions for solving this puzzle : EVERYACROSS
27. Winter air : NOEL
28. Relative of -esque : ISH
29. Helicopter part : ROTOR
32. A number one : TOPS
34. Misses : GALS
38. Instructions, part 2 : ANSWERREADSFROM
41. Aids for police detectives : TIPS
42. Lake bordered by four states : ERIE
43. Female, formally : MADAM
44. Dashiell Hammett hero ___ Beaumont : NED
45. Nautilus leader : NEMO
47. End of the instructions : RIGHTTOLEFT
52. Voyage kickoff? : BON
55. Brand of wafers : NILLA
56. Height: Prefix : ACRO
57. Suffix with ranch : ERO
58. Cross : ROOD
59. Word from a Latin lover? : AMAT
61. Matriculate : ENROL
63. The Blue ___ (Hank Azaria's "Mystery Men" role) : RAJA
64. Penthouse pinups : PETS
65. Rover : NOMAD
66. Figs. : NOS
67. Circus trainer's prop : HOOP
68. Divisions politiques : ETATS
1. Bombards with e-junk : SPAMS
2. Lots of "Deck the Halls" : LALAS
3. Professeur's place : ECOLE
4. Poet's time of day : EEN
5. Ones whose work is decreasing? : PRESSERS
6. Denis, to France : PATRONSAINT
7. Flexible weaving material : OSIER
8. British co. : LTD
9. "Sprechen ___ Deutsch?" : SIE
10. Not neat : ONICE
11. Prelate's title: Abbr. : RTREV
12. All-natural sparkler : GEODE
15. John who co-starred in "Sands of Iwo Jima" : AGAR
21. Prefix with metric : ISO
22. "This might be of interest," on a memo : FYI
25. Stage : CHOREOGRAPH
26. College sci. class : ASTR
27. Overhead cost for an artist? : LOFT
29. Bldg. units : RMS
30. "Alley ___!" : OOP
31. Angular prefix : TRI
33. ___ curiam (like some court rulings) : PER
34. Constellation next to the Dragon, with "the" : SWAN
35. Much-discussed initials of a 1967 Beatles song : LSD
36. Bibliographic suffix : ANA
37. Pinup feature : GAM
39. It bugs bugs : DEET
40. Green rocks : EMERALDS
44. Opposite of remove : DON
46. Bit of A/V equipment : MIC
47. Performance fanfares : TADAS
48. 1988 Olympic track star, informally : FLOJO
49. Online financial services company : ELOAN
50. One way to N.Y.C.'s Penn Sta. : LIRR
51. Prefix with -path : HOMEO
52. Bellini opera : NORMA
53. Words after "whether" : ORNOT
54. Designer Geoffrey : BEENE
59. Abbr. on a cough syrup bottle : TSP
60. ___ Z : ATO
62. Kind of bran : OAT

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