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RECORD OF THE YEAR

New York Times, Sunday, January 3, 2016

Author: David Woolf
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1711/15/20137/31/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2322332
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55310
David Woolf

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 79 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Woolf. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Woolf notes: I started writing this puzzle a long time ago and was convinced that 1) with 12 rebus squares, I couldn't fill it, and 2) couldn't keep it resembling a calendar while keeping the word count beneath 140 words. So ... more
David Woolf notes:

I started writing this puzzle a long time ago and was convinced that 1) with 12 rebus squares, I couldn't fill it, and 2) couldn't keep it resembling a calendar while keeping the word count beneath 140 words. So I set it aside for a better part of a year before picking it up again. When I did, I found a layout where each month was relatively the same size, relatively rectangular, and not-too closed off from one-another, and forged ahead.

There ended up being three major challenges to filling this puzzle. First, the many straight edges. Constructors know that it is way easier to fill puzzle sections that have diagonal edges rather than straight edges. With straight-edges, it becomes difficult to avoid words that have terminal non-RSTLNE letters, so one ends up with a lot of fill that is, shall we say, STRUCTURAL. Second, there are very few three-letter entries in the grid, which are a constructor's best friend in otherwise hard-to-fill sections. Finally, I didn't want any of the rebused entries to share a common root with their corresponding month. This was particularly hard for July, which comes from Julius, as do just about every word and name you can think of that starts with JUL besides JULEP. BANJUL, then was my only other JUL-containing option, which as a world capital, is fully legit, but as a city of only 30,000 people, is pretty small potatoes. But so it goes!

I hope this Sunday puzzle — my first! — kicks off your new year on the right foot.

Jeff Chen notes: Normally I don't care for grids that segment puzzles into sections, but this design was so appropriate for the theme. Cool idea to have twelve 'boxes' — just like a calendar! Great a-ha moment when I first ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Normally I don't care for grids that segment puzzles into sections, but this design was so appropriate for the theme. Cool idea to have twelve "boxes" — just like a calendar! Great a-ha moment when I first uncovered (JAN)GLE and TRO(JAN)S, turning my initial grousing about the puzzle's (quasi-)segmentation into compliments.

The wise Latina!

We've seen a lot of rebus puzzles now, one with the exact same rebus strings and another one still. But David's calendar-looking layout gives it a unique execution. Even though I knew what the rebus square would be in each box, I still had to work to uncover it. Nice balance of deviousness and solvability.

A puzzle like this which uses so many short themers is hard to build — due to word count maximums, if your themers aren't long, your fill has to be. David did well here, with DIETITIAN, RAW SCORE, BEER STEIN, CROSSBAR, etc.

Usually I prefer entries with rebus strings to be long — LIFEBLOOD, SOTOMAYOR, CARL JUNG — but I enjoyed BAN(JUL)'s NYT debut, as I traveled to the Gambia in 2009 with a non-profit org. I learned a ton traveling upcountry for two weeks. The Gambia is a little snake-like country that the British carved out of (French) Senegal, specifically to claim the Gambia River. Crazy colonialists.

I didn't enjoy I(MAR)ET as much. I find it so much more satisfying to uncover something even like (DEC)OCT than I(MAR)ET, wondering if the latter is a valid word. I happen to know it from crosswords, but I liked the WI(N OV)ER / CASA(NOV)AS discovery much better, for example. Personal taste.

ONEK is such an odd entry. The first time I encountered it, I was sure it had to be wrong. It does parse to ONE K, but 1.) it's rare to have a 1-K race, and 2.) it's even more rare to see a race written out as a Five K or a Ten K. Personal preference, but I much prefer entries that one sees in real life. To me, that one sticks out much more so than INTRA or ETATS or even IAL or BRRR.

Very neat effect today with the calendar-looking grid.

1
T
2
R
3
O
4
JAN
5
S
6
L
7
I
8
FEB
9
L
10
O
11
O
12
D
13
A
14
D
15
O
16
N
17
I
18
S
19
H
A
N
G
E
20
R
21
A
M
R
A
D
I
O
22
M
I
N
I
MAR
T
23
A
M
E
L
I
E
24
D
A
I
K
O
N
S
25
P
E
S
T
E
R
26
T
A
K
E
N
U
27
P
28
C
L
E
R
K
E
29
D
30
T
E
S
T
S
31
E
N
D
32
U
S
E
R
S
33
O
34
B
I
T
35
C
36
APR
37
I
38
S
39
I
A
N
40
G
41
C
H
A
T
42
C
43
A
44
L
45
H
I
N
T
46
A
T
47
S
48
O
49
T
50
O
51
MAY
O
R
52
L
I
53
B
I
D
O
54
O
C
T
A
N
E
55
P
A
S
H
T
O
56
C
A
R
L
JUN
G
57
S
O
R
D
I
D
58
V
A
L
L
E
Y
S
59
O
N
R
I
C
E
60
E
T
A
T
S
61
W
E
L
C
O
M
E
S
62
I
N
63
R
A
T
S
64
E
65
P
E
E
66
B
A
Y
67
S
68
B
69
A
70
N
71
JUL
72
S
T
R
73
U
74
C
75
T
76
U
77
R
A
L
78
A
79
SEP
80
T
81
I
82
C
83
A
M
O
E
84
B
A
85
S
L
AUG
H
T
E
R
86
A
S
H
O
R
E
87
D
I
S
P
E
L
88
O
N
H
A
N
D
89
S
H
O
W
E
R
90
A
S
A
S
E
T
91
F
A
T
N
E
S
92
S
93
P
A
R
E
N
T
94
T
H
Y
95
R
E
96
E
F
S
97
I
98
C
I
99
A
L
E
S
100
M
S
R
P
101
R
102
A
103
W
104
S
C
O
R
105
E
106
I
107
D
108
B
E
T
109
A
110
N
111
G
E
L
I
C
112
T
A
P
113
E
114
DEC
115
K
116
S
117
P
E
E
R
E
118
D
119
C
A
S
A
NOV
A
120
S
121
T
O
K
E
N
S
122
A
C
A
C
I
A
123
A
L
A
M
E
D
A
124
E
D
G
I
E
R
125
D
OCT
R
I
N
E
126
A
T
W
O
R
S
T
127
E
S
T
E
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0103 ( 24,162 )
Across Down
1. Malicious computer programs : TROJANS
6. Essence : LIFEBLOOD
13. Chippendales dancer, e.g. : ADONIS
19. One in the closet : HANGER
21. Band that doesn't play much music nowadays : AMRADIO
22. Common gas station attachment : MINIMART
23. 2001 foreign film with five Oscar nominations : AMELIE
24. Radishes with long white roots : DAIKONS
25. Nag : PESTER
26. Accepted, as an offer : TAKENUP
28. Was behind a register, maybe : CLERKED
30. Battery parts : TESTS
31. For whom products are designed : ENDUSERS
33. Passing mention? : OBIT
35. Short pants : CAPRIS
39. McKellen of "The Hobbit" : IAN
40. Alternative to Facebook Messenger : GCHAT
42. Golden Bears' sch. : CAL
45. Suggest : HINTAT
47. Supreme Court justice who once said "I am a New Yorker, and 7 a.m. is a civilized hour to finish the day, not to start it" : SOTOMAYOR
52. Concupiscence : LIBIDO
54. Power, so to speak : OCTANE
55. Language of Afghanistan : PASHTO
56. "The Undiscovered Self" author : CARLJUNG
57. Filthy : SORDID
58. Low points : VALLEYS
59. How curry is often served : ONRICE
60. Divisions politiques : ETATS
61. Beckons through a portal : WELCOMESIN
63. "I hate when that happens!" : RATS
64. Cousin of a foil : EPEE
66. Dark horses : BAYS
68. Capital of Gambia : BANJUL
72. Like some building damage : STRUCTURAL
78. Sterile : ASEPTIC
83. One having a simple existence : AMOEBA
85. Blowout, in sports lingo : SLAUGHTER
86. To land : ASHORE
87. Drive off : DISPEL
88. Available : ONHAND
89. Spring forecast : SHOWER
90. How silverware is often sold : ASASET
91. Obesity : FATNESS
93. Rear : PARENT
94. Your of yore : THY
95. Some protective barriers : REEFS
97. "Vous êtes ___" : ICI
99. Tap things? : ALES
100. Fig. often discounted : MSRP
101. Pre-curve figure : RAWSCORE
106. "Sounds likely to me" : IDBET
109. Exceptionally well behaved : ANGELIC
112. Boom box pair : TAPEDECKS
117. Looked (in) : PEERED
119. Lover boys : CASANOVAS
121. Sole representatives, maybe : TOKENS
122. Gum arabic source : ACACIA
123. Oakland's county : ALAMEDA
124. Like HBO and Showtime vis-à-vis basic cable : EDGIER
125. Something you can believe in : DOCTRINE
126. If everything fails : ATWORST
127. Blues musician known as Sleepy John : ESTES
1. Pointer's request? : THAT
2. Ending with Cine- : RAMA
3. Brief race, in brief : ONEK
4. What keys on a key ring do : JANGLE
5. Setting for van Gogh's "River Bank in Springtime" : SEINE
6. Sonny : LAD
7. Some desktops : IMACS
8. Running a high temperature : FEBRILE
9. Staples Center athlete : LAKER
10. Stinks : ODORS
11. Emanation from a pen : OINK
12. Doctor's recommendation : DOSE
13. Box in an arena? : AMP
14. One helping with servings : DIETITIAN
15. Start : ONSET
16. "You're missing a comma" and others : NITS
17. Turkish inn : IMARET
18. Orch. section : STRS
20. Together again : REUNITED
27. Something people do not want to see outside, for short : PDA
29. Cartoon exclamation : DOH
32. Young ___ : UNS
34. Setting not actually found in "Romeo and Juliet" : BALCONY
35. Opted for : CHOSE
36. Kind of orchard : APRICOT
37. Mural's beginning? : INTRA
38. Town: Ger. : STADT
40. Singer with the 2012 #1 hit "Somebody That I Used to Know" : GOTYE
41. It splits the uprights : CROSSBAR
42. Paramecium propellers : CILIA
43. Kind of professor : ADJUNCT
44. Some premium seating : LOGES
46. Licorice flavor : ANISE
48. Colorful gem : OPAL
49. Barber's supply : TALC
50. ___ Accords : OSLO
51. Keystone Kops-like scene : MAYHEM
53. Icy remark? : BRRR
58. Diverges : VEERSOFF
61. Besprinkle, say : WET
62. Suffix with conspirator : IAL
65. Church book : PSALTER
67. One of the Obamas : SASHA
68. Unable to do well : BADAT
69. Rural community : AMISH
70. Lack of influence : NOSAY
71. Kentucky Derby drinks : JULEPS
73. Ones up in arms? : ULNAS
74. No longer wanted : CAUGHT
75. More ___ enough : THAN
76. ___ Reader : UTNE
77. Most lipstick options : REDS
79. Big lipstick seller : SEPHORA
80. Dry (off) : TOWEL
81. Memorable 2011 hurricane : IRENE
82. Mint roll : CERTS
84. Rathskeller decoration : BEERSTEIN
86. Breathe in : ASPIRATE
92. Word often seen in brackets : SIC
96. Green grp. : EPA
98. Item in a tent : COT
100. Guy's thanks? : MERCI
101. Cut over, in a way : RESAW
102. Dollar competitor : ALAMO
103. Convince : WINOVER
104. A lot : SCADS
105. Horatian work : EPODE
106. Certain tablet : IPAD
107. Boil down : DECOCT
108. Handle : BEAR
110. Publisher of Champion magazine, for short : NCAA
111. "Who is John ___?" (question in "Atlas Shrugged") : GALT
113. Hosp. readouts : EKGS
114. Lies : DECEIT
115. Just above where 35-Across end : KNEE
116. They were wiped off the map in '91 : SSRS
118. Daniel ___ Kim, "Hawaii Five-0" actor : DAE
120. Remained in inventory : SAT

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?