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New York Times, Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Author:
Patrick Berry
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2297/11/199911/4/20182
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
741241679512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980
Patrick Berry

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 80, Blocks: 39 Missing: {KQZ} This is puzzle # 204 for Mr. Berry. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: We asked some favorite Times crossword contributors, "What would you like to do in a daily Times crossword that has never been done before?" This week's puzzles, Monday to Saturday, are the result.
Patrick Berry notes:
The basic idea for this puzzle came from a wordplay list I'd compiled much earlier: two-word phrases where the words were the same ... read more

The basic idea for this puzzle came from a wordplay list I'd compiled much earlier: two-word phrases where the words were the same length and only differed by a few letters. (Actually, the original list was a little broader—it included phrases of three or more words that broke into equal pieces, like WARREN G / HARDING and THICK AS / THIEVES.) I compile a lot of lists like this, usually without knowing exactly what I'm going to do with them. In many cases, seeing the finished list helps me decide.

In this case, I finished compiling the list and didn't do anything with it. (I'm easily distracted sometimes.) Then Will asked me to make a puzzle for this twisty theme week, and I dug the list out of mothballs to see if I could get a 15x15 out of it. Overlapping the two parts and turning the nonmatching letters into two-letter rebus squares seemed like an interesting way to render the entries. For extra consistency, I limited myself to two-word entries of length 7. I also decided to nix entries with only one rebus square (like CULTURE VULTURE) or a hyphen between the words (like TRACTOR-TRAILER). My grid ended up slightly exceeding the usual black-square and word-count maximums, but I'd managed to sandwich in six theme entries, which seemed like an acceptable trade-off.

Jeff Chen notes:
Two-word phrases, where most of the letters in each word are the same at the corresponding spot. Beautiful example is CRAYOLA CRAYONS, ... read more

Two-word phrases, where most of the letters in each word are the same at the corresponding spot. Beautiful example is CRAYOLA CRAYONS, which only differ in their last two letters. Additionally, the crossing answers use both two of the differing letters, i.e. the final A and S of CRAYOLA and CRAYONS get integrated into CEASES.

(FL)(OE)GHORN

A picture explains the idea so much better. See the grid below for a visual representation.

I really liked Patrick's top two theme answers, CRAYOLA CRAYONS and FOGHORN LEGHORN. It's neat how the two special cells are right next to each other. I'm not sure why, but that seems elegant. Same goes for HERMANS HERMITS.

Patrick makes a good point about trying to tighten up the theme. The other themers still feel a little haphazard to me though, especially the ones with three special cells. Seems like it'd be much easier to find examples with three differing letters than with only two. Having only super-constrained ones like FOGHORN LEGHORN — only two special adjacent cells — would have been my preference.

Just like all of Patrick's work, it's ultra-smooth, adhering to his exacting standards. This is not at all an easy construction, especially in the bottom corners. Having three patterns fixed into place—the WM, the SC, and the GE special squares — highly constrains the area. That ??WM?? pattern especially … what else besides LAWMAN works? Only LAWMEN, BOWMAN, BOWMEN, NEWMAN. Talk about very little flexibility! To fill this crazy of a grid with virtually no gluey short entries is amazing.

As with great PB puzzles, his clever cluing shines:

  • SNOW gets the bizarre-looking [Fall in winter], not needing a giveaway question mark.
  • A little shout-out to Barbara Bush with [Barb in a bush] for THORN.
  • [You might put a fist through it] feels aggressively violent … except when it refers to an ARMHOLE.

We've seen concepts similar to this one before, so for a "breaking the mold" theme week, it didn't go as far as I would have liked. Still though, a well-executed puzzle.

1
S
2
E
3
I
4
S
5
M
6
I
7
C
8
M
9
A
10
N
11
E
12
T
13
S
14
A
R
M
H
O
L
E
15
C
L
O
T
H
E
16
S
17
C
R
A
Y
O
LN
AS
18
FL
OE
G
H
O
R
N
19
H
O
G
20
N
E
E
21
D
Y
22
E
R
G
O
23
A
R
E
24
S
25
S
S
E
26
A
27
L
L
N
E
W
28
H
29
I
S
30
J
31
A
N
E
32
A
33
S
34
W
A
N
35
P
A
S
T
E
36
B
37
O
38
A
39
C
H
A
RP
L
40
I
EN
41
H
E
R
42
M
AI
NT
S
43
T
E
X
44
O
R
A
45
T
E
46
A
U
T
O
S
47
V
I
L
E
48
E
T
C
49
D
50
O
51
W
52
S
E
S
53
A
54
L
T
55
H
56
A
57
M
58
S
59
E
R
I
E
60
O
M
A
H
61
A
62
M
I
A
63
LH
IE
L
L
64
IM
65
A
N
66
WM
A
SC
67
H
I
N
GE
68
I
N
C
L
U
D
E
69
A
N
O
I
N
T
S
70
T
O
S
S
E
S
71
N
E
T
C
O
S
T
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1013 ( 24,080 )
Across
1. Earthquake-related : SEISMIC
8. Some Impressionist paintings : MANETS
14. You might put a fist through it : ARMHOLE
15. Things to wear : CLOTHES
17. Art supplies since 1903 : CRAYOLACRAYONS
18. Looney Tunes character with a strong Southern accent : FOGHORNLEGHORN
19. Gluttonous sort : HOG
20. Requiring constant reassurance : NEEDY
22. As a result : ERGO
23. Belligerent son of Zeus : ARES
25. NNW's opposite : SSE
26. Never-before-seen : ALLNEW
28. "___ Last Bow" (Sherlock Holmes story) : HIS
30. Plain ___ : JANE
32. Egypt's ___ Dam : ASWAN
35. Kindergartner's stickum : PASTE
36. Flapper accessory : BOA
39. Director with three films on A.F.I.'s list of 100 greatest movies, all of them silent : CHARLIECHAPLIN
41. "I'm Henry VIII, I Am" band : HERMANSHERMITS
43. Cowboy nickname : TEX
44. Give a speech : ORATE
46. Coupes and sedans : AUTOS
47. Repulsive : VILE
48. List-ending abbr. : ETC
49. Uses a divining rod : DOWSES
53. PC key : ALT
55. Unsubtle performers : HAMS
59. Southernmost Great Lake : ERIE
60. Nebraska's largest city : OMAHA
62. Farrow of "Zelig" : MIA
63. "The Little Foxes" playwright : LILLIANHELLMAN
66. Laundromat fixture : WASHINGMACHINE
68. Make room for : INCLUDE
69. Sanctifies with oil : ANOINTS
70. Discards : TOSSES
71. Actual amount paid : NETCOST
Down
1. Ali G portrayer ___ Baron Cohen : SACHA
2. Ballgame bobble : ERROR
3. Public relations concern : IMAGE
4. Reticent : SHY
5. Project Apollo destination : MOON
6. Reason for missing work : ILLNESS
7. Stops : CEASES
8. "Back to the Future" hero Marty : MCFLY
9. Lotion ingredient : ALOE
10. Yuletide quaff : NOG
11. "I Love Lucy" role : ETHEL
12. Barb in a bush : THORN
13. Fabric used for suits : SERGE
16. Fall in winter : SNOW
21. ___ vu : DEJA
24. Quick on the uptake : SHARP
26. Start the pot : ANTE
27. Ogle : LEERAT
29. Smitten : INLOVE
31. Arthur of tennis : ASHE
32. Parliamentary output : ACT
33. Ship, to its captain : SHE
34. Stuff rubbed on skis : WAX
35. "In the ___ Colony" (Kafka story) : PENAL
36. Fisherman's purchase : BAIT
37. Not fooled by : ONTO
38. Blockhead : ASS
40. Eye piece : IRIS
42. A lot : MUCH
45. Uniform-wearing group : TEAM
48. Component of natural gas : ETHANE
49. Indira Gandhi International Airport site : DELHI
50. Show the ropes to : ORIENT
51. Radioer's "I'll do it" : WILCO
52. Doesn't stay on the shelves : SELLS
54. Badge wearer : LAWMAN
56. ___ acid : AMINO
57. Bowlful next to a restaurant's cashier : MINTS
58. Most prudent, as advice : SAGEST
60. Dollar bills : ONES
61. Foppish neckwear : ASCOT
64. "___ in the Morning" (radio show) : IMUS
65. Fruit drink suffix : ADE
67. Fruit drink brand : HIC

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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