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New York Times, Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Author: Greg Johnson
Editor: Will Shortz
Greg Johnson
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512/16/20131/7/20150
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0301001
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1.64110

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {FQXZ} There are unchecked squares This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Johnson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: When this puzzle is done, the circled letters, reading from top to bottom, will spell something that belongs in the center square.
Greg Johnson notes: My original submission for this puzzle included a maze drawn with black bars (see right). That did not survive, unfortunately. ... more
Greg Johnson notes:

Original concept My original submission for this puzzle included a maze drawn with black bars (see right). That did not survive, unfortunately. The maze began at the top of the grid and ended at the center, spelling M-I-N-O-T-A-U-R along the correct path. Will changed the circles and the cross-referenced clues — dare I say . . .

A-MAZE-INGLY.

Jeff Chen notes: As a kid, I spent many hours, many days, many weeks, poring over 'D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths.' I love Greek mythology. I ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

One of my childhood favorites As a kid, I spent many hours, many days, many weeks, poring over "D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths." I love Greek mythology. I mean, I REALLY love Greek mythology. So it was fun to see the legend of the MINOTAUR featured in today's puzzle.

I like that Greg was able to work in quite a bit about the myth. One compelling feature of this story for me was the THREAD that ARIADNE gave THESEUS, which helped him find his way back through the LABYRINTH. I still picture with fascination a hero winding his way through the world's most complicated maze, a ball of thread in one hand, a sword at the ready in the other.

And with all the constraints, I liked that Greg managed to keep everything pretty clean. There's an A DAY and an ITS AT, plus RINSERS to accompany LOADERS, but given how much theme is worked in, that's really not much at all. KING MINOS did come easily for me thankfully, since that ABIDJAN / KING MINOS crossing would be rough for someone not familiar with the legend. THESEUS or the MINOTAUR, yes, those are names I think the NYT solving population really ought to know. KING MINOS is pushing it, so I would have liked to see fair crossings on all of those letters.

Wondering about ABIDJAN, listed in Wikipedia as the second-largest French-speaking city? Will and Frank and I had a long exchange about that, deciding that the "metropolitan area" definition of city is better here than "administrative city center." Seems odd to say that Paris has only two million residents, yeah? So although some reliable sources say differently due to their implied definition of "city," the best order seemed to be 1.) Paris, 2.) Kinshasa, 3.) Abidjan.

Overall, I wish there was a better visual representation of the legend — it's too bad Greg's original was just too different from the crossword mold. And the poor MINOTAUR, penned into a single square like a cow.

Finally, great clue for LEGOS. Getting all of the Greek mythology was a treat in itself, but to get the misdirection of thinking about which kids might stick together in a playroom was another highlight.

JimH notes: This is an important myth for crossword solvers. We get our word "clue" from the "clew" (ball of thread or yarn) that Ariadne gave Theseus to help him find his way out of the labyrinth.
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MINOTAUR
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0107 ( 23,801 )
Across Down
1. Blubber : SOB
4. Smartphone relative, for short : PDA
7. Allergy sufferer's concern : ASTHMA
13. Maze runner? : THESEUS
15. Item used by 13-Across to navigate the 22-Across : THREAD
16. Visibly upset ... or happy : INTEARS
17. Slangy word of regret : SHOULDA
18. Pink-colored, to Pedro : ROSA
19. Org. for seniors : AARP
21. Late TV newsman Garrick : UTLEY
22. Home of the [circled letters] : LABYRINTH
25. -like : ISH
28. Registered workers? : CLERKS
29. Poli-___ : SCI
32. Like some breaking news, nowadays : TWEETED
34. Goes on and on : YAMMERS
37. "Me, too" : SOAMI
38. Sharon of Israel : ARIEL
39. Announcement at an airport : ARRIVAL
42. Worker with a béret, maybe : ARTISTE
44. QB's goals : TDS
45. First-timer : NEWBIE
47. Began a relationship : MET
48. Ruler of 30-Down : KINGMINOS
51. Spatter catcher : APRON
54. 5:2, e.g. : ODDS
55. "My bad!" : OOPS
59. Front-___ (some washing machines) : LOADERS
61. JFK-based carrier : JETBLUE
63. Avoid, as the [circled letters] : ESCAPE
64. Daughter of 48-Across who helped 13-Across : ARIADNE
65. Plan so that maybe one can : SEEKTO
66. White House advisory grp. : NSC
67. Motor oil choice : STP
1. Kool-Aid packet direction : STIR
2. "I'm in for it now!" : OHNO
3. They're placed in Vegas : BETS
4. Soup veggie : PEA
5. Resistant to wear and tear : DURABLE
6. Analyzed : ASSAYED
7. Sports dept. : ATH
8. "Give me a ___" : SHOUT
9. Tell it to the judge : TRUTH
10. Dante's "Inferno" : HELL
11. Constructed : MADE
12. Old TV's "Queen for ___" : ADAY
14. Circus balancer : SEAL
17. Like some punk rockers' hair : SPIKY
20. Basics of education, colloquially : RRR
23. End of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," e.g. : ACTIV
24. Intel org. : NSA
25. Where ___ (a happening place) : ITSAT
26. Weapon used to slay the [circled letters] : SWORD
27. Catches word of : HEARS
29. Earthquake : SEISM
30. Home of the [circled letters] : CRETE
31. Key : ISLET
33. U.K. record label : EMI
35. San ___ : MATEO
36. Hosp. scan : MRI
40. Many a girl's middle name : ANN
41. They stick together in the playroom : LEGOS
42. Third-largest French-speaking city in the world [hint: it's in Ivory Coast] : ABIDJAN
43. Some salon workers : RINSERS
46. Iraq war subj. : WMD
48. Big name in the film industry : KODAK
49. Bumbling : INEPT
50. Japanese noodles : SOBA
51. Quaffs in pints : ALES
52. Sit (for) : POSE
53. Campaign : RACE
56. 88, e.g., familiarly : OLDS
57. Give up, at least for now : PUNT
58. Ooze : SEEP
60. ___ Speedwagon : REO
62. Constantly twirling a lock of hair, e.g. : TIC

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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