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New York Times, Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Author: Bernice Gordon
Editor: Will Shortz
Bernice Gordon
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1472/19/19538/11/20142
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927223627215
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.50101126

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 146 for Ms. Gordon. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Will Shortz notes: Bernice Gordon turned 100 last Saturday. This puzzle makes her the first known centenarian ever to have a crossword in the Times ... more
Will Shortz notes: Bernice Gordon turned 100 last Saturday. This puzzle makes her the first known centenarian ever to have a crossword in the Times (or anywhere else for that matter).

I had the honor of attending a beautiful birthday party for Bernice in Philadelphia on Sunday — an elegant affair at the Four Seasons hotel downtown. About 70-80 people attended, mostly family and friends. I was the only puzzle person besides Bernice herself. The event was covered by the AP, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the local ABC station. The Inquirer reporter asked me why I published Bernice's puzzles — what makes them special? Well, I said, first, she still constructs a mean puzzle. I think today's is one of her best. Second, a lot of solvers know Bernice's story and are thrilled every time they see her byline. And, third, I just revere Bernice and want to honor her 60+ year record of making crosswords for The Times. I hope to keep publishing her when she's 101 and beyond.

Jeff Chen notes: Bernice's 100th NYT crossword in our database! How appropriate for her recent 100th birthday, yes? She actually has more than 140 NYT ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Bernice's 100th NYT crossword in our database! How appropriate for her recent 100th birthday, yes? She actually has more than 140 NYT puzzles, a fact not reflected in our database since David Steinberg's Pre-Shortzian Puzzle Project is only back to 1979 so far. I'd love a chance to pick her brain when it comes to secrets of longevity, as I personally have a goal to set the world record for the 400m run in the 95 and older category (currently 2:17.45).

What, that seems like a weird goal? Don't get me started on all the other strange goals I have...

Anyway, nice Wednesday, consisting of four long answers ending with a homonym of a single letter (AFTERNOON T, for example) plus two bonus theme answers smack dab in the middle (ONLY U and WELL G!). Bernice uses the "pinwheel" construction (look at how the four longest answers are arranged) but adds a layer of difficulty with those two extra themers. Typically I think it's inelegant to have short theme answers hidden like this, because they're not the longest entries in the puzzle or don't have asterisks to distinguish them, but the theme concept was easy enough that I thought it was fair, even lending a positive "added bonus" feel. GEOGRAPHY B did throw me off since spelling bees seem to be much more common (or at least get more media coverage), but it's a fair term.

Nice job balancing the usual trade-off of snazziness vs. cleanness in the fill. I love that Bernice includes OMG (I'm very curious if she's ever used it), and SHOEBOX / LIPSYNCS / VOLTAIRE / CAPE HORN add a lot of zing to the puzzle. I did notice the COS / ON IN / OSIER type entries during my solve, though. Adding the two middle themers added constraints, so it's not a surprise to see a smattering of subpar entries.

It's great to see the diversity within the constructor community, each person bringing something different to the table. Here's to 100 more, Bernice! (both puzzles and years)

JimH notes: AP has a nice video about Ms. Gordon, her birthday, and her work.
1
J
2
A
3
C
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O
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B
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C
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O
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D
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A
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B
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A
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B
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A
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A
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P
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G
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B
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O
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M
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B
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O
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W
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N
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C
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V
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A
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I
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M
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M
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A
D
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L
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Y
U
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A
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D
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L
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B
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D
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H
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F
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B
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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,444
Across Down
1. Furrier John ___ Astor : JACOB
6. Musical closing : CODA
10. Rum-soaked cake : BABA
14. Bouquet : AROMA
15. Request under deadline : ASAP
16. Not many : AFEW
17. It's all about location, location, location : GEOGRAPHYB
19. Kansas City daily : STAR
20. Sustenance for aphids : SAP
21. Farm cry : BLEAT
22. Reverent quality : PIETY
23. Narrow wood strip : LATH
24. Willow tree : OSIER
26. Glowing coal : EMBER
29. Admit : OWNUP
31. White House advisory grp. : NSC
34. Philosopher who wrote "It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere" : VOLTAIRE
36. "Angela's Ashes," for one : MEMOIR
38. West of "Batman" : ADAM
39. 1955 hit for the Platters : ONLYU
41. Tops : AONE
42. Trickery : DECEIT
44. Pretends to be singing : LIPSYNCS
46. Rocky Mountain ___ : ELK
47. Insignia : BADGE
49. Causes of glowers : HATES
50. Expunge : ERASE
52. Wacko : LOON
54. Lobby : FOYER
56. Inner circle : CADRE
58. Pool tool : CUE
61. Neck and neck : EVEN
62. Environs for Blackbeard : CARIBBEANC
64. Hwy. safety org. : MADD
65. "Come ___!" : ONIN
66. Have because of : OWETO
67. Home of the Brenner Pass : ALPS
68. Kind of party : STAG
69. Arc lamp gas : XENON
1. Sprees : JAGS
2. Vicinity : AREA
3. Chicken's place : COOP
4. "Horrors!," in texts : OMG
5. Newswoman Walters : BARBARA
6. Southern tip of South America : CAPEHORN
7. Factory-inspecting org. : OSHA
8. City near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base : DAYTON
9. Manhunt letters : APB
10. Count of music : BASIE
11. Occasion for sandwiches and scones : AFTERNOONT
12. Shellac : BEAT
13. Off-balance : AWRY
18. Cover girl Carol : ALT
22. Hookah, e.g. : PIPE
23. "Step aside, I can handle this" : LETME
25. Recap : SUMUP
26. Circumvent : EVADE
27. Poser : MODEL
28. Soul food ingredient : BLACKEYEDP
30. "Hmm, imagine that!" : WELLG
32. Inasmuch as : SINCE
33. Salad green : CRESS
35. Bits : IOTAS
37. Like some ancient pyramids : MAYAN
40. Soft to the touch : YIELDING
43. Building unit with flanges : IBAR
45. Line of greeting cards billed as "a tiny little division of Hallmark" : SHOEBOX
48. Pour, as wine : DECANT
51. Rips apart : RENDS
53. Sphere : ORB
54. Org. that prepares flood maps : FEMA
55. Elliptical : OVAL
57. Andrea Bocelli offering : ARIA
58. Battle of Normandy locale : CAEN
59. Golden rule preposition : UNTO
60. One of the social sciences, for short : ECON
62. N.Y.S.E. listings : COS
63. 21-Across crier : EWE

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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