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New York Times, Thursday, January 30, 2014

Author: Dan Schoenholz
Editor: Will Shortz
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235/5/201012/7/20170
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1.64220
Dan Schoenholz

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FQXZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 11 for Mr. Schoenholz. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Dan Schoenholz notes: I remember when I saw 'Wordplay' how blown away I was by the genius of the famous BOB DOLE/CLINTON ELECTED crossword featured in ... more
Dan Schoenholz notes: I remember when I saw "Wordplay" how blown away I was by the genius of the famous BOB DOLE/CLINTON ELECTED crossword featured in the movie. When I started making puzzles myself a couple of years later, I thought it would be fun to try to construct one in the same vein. While this crossword is obviously nowhere near as intricate or brilliant as its progenitor, I'm glad to be able to add to the short list of "Schrodinger" puzzles that feature squares with more than one correct answer.

One other note: when I read on Xwordinfo a few months ago about a constructor who submitted a revision of a puzzle that had already been accepted, it prompted me to revisit this puzzle, which was one of my earlier efforts. What I saw — several entries that I no longer liked — convinced me to revamp it and send the update to Will, who graciously allowed me to substitute the new for the old. I hope solvers enjoy the final version.

Will Shortz notes: This is only the sixth Times crossword I've published that has two different 'correct' solutions (these are the other five). This ... more
Will Shortz notes: This is only the sixth Times crossword I've published that has two different "correct" solutions (these are the other five). This time, tho, the two different solutions hinge on just one square. The critical clue at 24D is quite pretty. I like the punchline at 63A, too.
Jeff Chen notes: Great use of the Schrodinger convention today, resulting in an amusing theme. This is the only puzzle in the NYT Shortz era with a ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Great use of the Schrodinger convention today, resulting in an amusing theme. This is the only puzzle in the NYT Shortz era with a single Schrodinger square, but it's used well for the theme, and the crossing answer isn't tortured at all for either answer, both SET and SEAT being perfectly fine answers for "Box ___". Well done!

I had a pause in the last two theme entries. I usually solve on computer, so ????NEWSPAPER baffled me for the longest time. I'd be very curious to know what percentage of people solve on paper still. I'll bet it's quite high, but dropping. Perhaps THIS NEWSPAPER will still be fine for the majority of solvers today, but I bet in ten years it won't. I personally tried to construct a xw with this exact same theme four years ago (I failed), and remember having real trouble coming up with a way to incorporate NEWSPAPER so it had a symmetrical entry.

And A SUNBURNED ZEBRA flows so much better to my ear than A SUNBURNED PANDA. Perhaps that's just the way I've always heard the joke, but I refused to take ZEBRA out of that space for the longest time. A thought: how cool would it have been if ZEBRA/PANDA had been five additional Schrodinger squares? Extremely hard to do, of course, if not impossible. Schrodinger squares are so difficult to pull off such that the clue works equally well for both possibilities, and when you stack five of them in parallel, it quickly becomes a Gordian knot.

Dan only has four theme answers, so he spices things up by adding in the very nice EPHEMERA, DOWAGERS, and JOHANNES. I'm not convinced BALL YARD is "a thing", but it's passable, and I bet many would disagree with me (vehemently!). Dan takes great care with the rest of his fill; I only really noticed TYRO, SSI, OKEY, etc. as lesser offenders.

Overall, a theme that comes across as a bit old-fashioned, but a well constructed puzzle. I love Dan's great attitude, going back to improve the puzzle even after puzzle acceptance. I want to see more constructors shooting for the stars, striving for perfection.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0130 ( 23,459 )
Across Down
1. ___ Beach, city near San Luis Obispo : PISMO
6. Hide : BURY
10. "It follows that ..." : ERGO
14. Totally stoked : AMPED
15. Metro ___ : AREA
16. Naughty look, maybe : PEEK
17. With 27-Across, an old riddle : WHATSBLACKWHITE
20. U.S. city known to some locals as Siqnazuaq : NOME
21. Girl's name that sounds like French for "she has it" : ELLA
22. Microscopic, informally : EENSY
23. Starting words at many a sporting event? : OSAY
25. Rich soil : LOAM
27. See 17-Across : ANDREADALLOVER
32. "To Kill a Mockingbird" author : LEE
33. One on probation, maybe : TYRO
34. In this matter : HERETO
37. Key of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7: Abbr. : AMAJ
39. Flop : DUD
41. What lemon adds to a dish, in food lingo : ACID
42. "I won't miss it" : NOLOSS
45. Take off : SOAR
48. Kerfuffle : ADO
49. Answer to one spelling of the riddle : THISNEWSPAPER
52. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA
53. Similar : AKIN
54. Author of the quote "I am not what you call a civilized man!" : VERNE
57. All the ___ : RAGE
59. Capital in 2004-05's Orange Revolution : KIEV
63. Answer to another spelling of the riddle : ASUNBURNEDPANDA
66. Locks in the stable? : MANE
67. Dark genre : NOIR
68. Where Rosalind becomes Ganymede, in Shakespeare : ARDEN
69. Plunks (down) : PUTS
70. Head-turning night fliers : OWLS
71. Detroit's county : WAYNE
1. Hostage : PAWN
2. Modern "methinks" : IMHO
3. Filter target : SPAM
4. Luminary in a late-night show? : METEOR
5. Has more than enough, briefly : ODS
6. Home is one corner in it : BALLYARD
7. Russian river : URAL
8. Special election : RECALL
9. Gab : YAK
10. Time-sensitive items : EPHEMERA
11. Santa's deer leader? : REIN
12. Savvies : GETS
13. ___-dokey : OKEY
18. Like a rat's eyes : BEADY
19. Drive drunkenly, say : WEAVE
24. Box ___ : SEAT
26. "Wow!" : OOH
27. One of the men on "Two and a Half Men" : ALAN
28. Fictional character who says "I am not what you call a civilized man!" : NEMO
29. Handled, with "with" : DEALT
30. No-goodnik : LOUSE
31. Sports segment that often includes highlights : RECAP
35. 'Bama, with "the" : TIDE
36. Cleaner's target : ODOR
38. Artist Vermeer : JOHANNES
40. Violet Crawley of "Downton Abbey," and others : DOWAGERS
43. Elvis's "Viva Las Vegas," recordwise : SIDEB
44. Fed. stipend : SSI
46. Established the price of : ASKED
47. Sch. near Albany, N.Y. : RPI
50. Constrained : NARROW
51. Site of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations : ANKARA
54. Seductress : VAMP
55. Genesis man : ESAU
56. Little sucker? : RUNT
58. Blue dye source : ANIL
60. May race, informally : INDY
61. Genesis place : EDEN
62. Weather indicator : VANE
64. Start for a Spanish count : UNO
65. Manhandle : PAW

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle.

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