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New York Times, Thursday, January 12, 2017

Author: Joe Krozel
Editor: Will Shortz
Joe Krozel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
857/7/20069/28/201715
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4147232521
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48056
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 44 Missing: {FJQYZ} Spans: 1 Grid has up-down mirror symmetry. This is puzzle # 84 for Mr. Krozel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Joe Krozel notes: Today's crossword originated with a study of rebus setups involving word fragments in some relative position. It just so happened ... more
Joe Krozel notes:

Today's crossword originated with a study of rebus setups involving word fragments in some relative position. It just so happened that the first three examples I generated involved two side-by-side words rather than word fragments, so those words could be clued independently. Next, it occurred to me that each rebus needed added words to complete – or reveal – the rebus thought, and it turned out to be rather convenient to tag on these revealers immediately after the rebus words. So, the three-consecutive-entry layout was shaping up nicely from the start. Not long after that, I realized that the revealer words themselves were synonyms suggesting a rift – well, duh! – so I imposed that long rift of black squares upon the grid as an additional novelty.

For a while, I pondered whether any further theme embellishments were possible. Clearly TED, ANA and KEN have the name connection, but nothing elegant emerged from that observation. I also noticed that BUS and BAN could act as imperative verb forms, and I might have pursued that if BRO were the same … but alas, that was another potential connection which didn't pan out. In the end, not all ideas could be exploited, but those that were, made for a pretty decent theme on their own.

Finally, some solvers may know the "Rebus" category of crosswords and will recognize that this puzzle is not within that classification; I generally cannot solve crosswords requiring more than one letter per square, so – after 84 crossword contributions – I still refuse to construct anything like that. Instead, I decided I would produce an "anti-Rebus" rebus.

Jeff Chen notes: For my money, Joe Krozel is one of the most innovative, interesting constructors out there. Some of my friends have grumbled that ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

For my money, Joe Krozel is one of the most innovative, interesting constructors out there. Some of my friends have grumbled that pushing the envelope doesn't always lead to great solving experiences, and I can see their point. But I felt that today's puzzle not only broke (pun intended) new ground, but it was an immense pleasure to solve.

Several constructor friends and I have brainstormed concepts with a grid separated in two, but none of us have ever thought of this cool idea. Joe found three solid phrases relating to a separated grid — and separated those phrases! Not only that, but each piece of each broken phrase makes a fine word in itself. BUSTED APART = BUS / TED + APART, BANANA SPLIT = BAN / ANA + SPLIT, BROKEN IN TWO = BRO / KEN + IN TWO. Just genius.

Will has rejected every one of my attempts to use this "up-down" style of symmetry, saying that it just looks odd, and I can usually see his point. But Joe uses a set of heavy black lines that evokes left-right symmetry, maintaining a pleasing visual effect.

And the fill! With some trick puzzles, fill necessarily shows strain to make the trick work. Joe does so well, giving us some excellent IKEBANA, TRANSISTOR RADIO, RAGTIME, THE NORM, SANGRIA, etc., flowing all the way down the right side. Okay, UNTAME isn't very good, but all the great entries overwhelmed that one for me.

The left side isn't quite as snazzy, but it does have a nice TAXICAB, PLANETS, NITWITS, ARMHOLE, without much crossword glue holding it together — just an UNA and a TELE made for a silky solve.

It's not often that I'm green with envy, wishing that it had been my name on the byline, but that was the case today. If I did a Crossword of the Month like Matt Gaffney, this one would be sure to be on it. Loved it.

JimH notes: This is only the second ever NYT crossword with up-down mirror symmetry. Here's the first. Our Symmetry Page is here.
1
B
2
U
3
S
4
T
5
E
6
D
7
A
8
P
9
A
10
R
11
T
12
U
N
A
13
W
A
R
E
14
C
O
V
E
R
15
U
16
P
17
T
A
X
I
C
A
B
18
I
K
E
B
A
N
A
19
L
O
S
T
20
D
E
C
A
N
T
S
21
H
22
O
23
P
S
24
S
A
T
25
U
N
L
O
26
A
27
D
28
S
29
R
30
A
31
G
32
T
I
M
E
33
S
T
A
N
T
O
N
34
E
L
A
P
S
E
D
35
B
A
N
36
A
N
A
37
S
P
L
I
T
38
A
R
E
39
A
R
U
G
40
T
H
E
N
O
41
R
42
M
43
N
I
T
W
I
T
S
44
S
A
N
G
R
I
A
45
D
O
S
E
46
R
N
S
47
I
48
O
49
T
50
A
51
S
52
A
53
D
54
C
A
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E
55
N
56
E
57
I
G
H
E
D
58
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O
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D
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R
59
A
R
M
H
O
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60
R
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A
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D
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61
B
R
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62
K
E
N
63
I
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W
O
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0112 ( 24,537 )
Across Down
1. Route follower : BUS
4. ___ Conference : TED
7. Word following 1-/4-Across, appropriately : APART
12. Not clued in : UNAWARE
14. The scandal of Watergate, essentially : COVERUP
17. Its distance is measured within a meter : TAXICAB
18. Japanese flower-arranging art : IKEBANA
19. Going "Huh?!?" : LOST
20. Pours a certain way : DECANTS
21. Brewing need : HOPS
24. Subject of some prep classes : SAT
25. Vents frustration : UNLOADS
29. Some piano music : RAGTIME
33. Edwin M. ___, war secretary under Lincoln : STANTON
34. Slipped by : ELAPSED
35. Government stance on texting while driving : BAN
36. Santa ___ : ANA
37. Word following 35-/36-Across, appropriately : SPLIT
38. Throw on the floor : AREARUG
40. How things typically are : THENORM
43. Lamebrains : NITWITS
44. Fruity libation : SANGRIA
45. Give meds : DOSE
46. Ones attending to patients, for short : RNS
47. Tiny bit : IOTA
51. Pity evoker : SADCASE
55. Called from a stall, say : NEIGHED
58. Sequentially : INORDER
59. What you might accidentally try to put your head through when getting into a sweater : ARMHOLE
60. Antacid brand : ROLAIDS
61. "Dude!" : BRO
62. ___ doll : KEN
63. Words following 61-/62-Across, appropriately : INTWO
1. "___ how?" (words of disbelief) : BUT
2. Spanish article : UNA
3. Instrument in swing : SAX
4. Entree in a shell : TACO
5. Some are named after presidents : ERAS
6. Something a shopaholic might be in : DEBT
7. Biting : ACID
8. Put a finger on, in a way : POKE
9. With, to Renoir : AVEC
10. Onetime CW sitcom : REBA
11. It could carry a tune in the 1950s : TRANSISTORRADIO
13. Big brand of sports equipment : WILSON
15. Savage : UNTAME
16. Walloped : PASTED
21. Subject of an old wives' tale? : HUSBAND
22. Its postal codes start with K, L, M, N and P - but, oddly, not O : ONTARIO
23. Well-known octet : PLANETS
26. Old video game maker : ATARI
27. Coffee shop offering : DONUT
28. Hitches : SNAGS
29. Times when musicians don't play : RESTS
30. Leader of the pack : ALPHA
31. Ancient physician : GALEN
32. Pulling a prank outside a house : TPING
39. Out of bed, in a way? : AWEIGH
41. Cleaned just before drying : RINSED
42. Atomic clock components : MASERS
48. "Well, I guess" : OHOK
49. Marketer's start? : TELE
50. Gulf of ___ (waters off the coast of Djibouti) : ADEN
51. Voice-activated assistant : SIRI
52. Like Mr. X, but not Malcolm X : ANON
53. Dummy : DOLT
54. Where annoying things stick : CRAW
55. Arrest : NAB
56. Foozle : ERR
57. "If you ask me ...," in texts : IMO

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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