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New York Times, Friday, October 28, 2016

Author: Mary Lou Guizzo and Jeff Chen
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
214/17/20142/14/201810
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
31141641
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61230
Mary Lou Guizzo
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
907/5/201010/11/201852
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2467172088
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.634192
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 16 for Ms. Guizzo. This is puzzle # 60 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Constructor notes: MARY LOU: I approached Jeff about another Halloween puzzle using ALL HALLOWS EVE as a seed entry. He came up with the crossing LORD ... more
Constructor notes:

MARY LOU: I approached Jeff about another Halloween puzzle using ALL HALLOWS EVE as a seed entry. He came up with the crossing LORD VOLDEMORT and we were off. Jeff whipped out a few grid layout possibilities. We kicked ideas back and forth and proceeded on filling the grid once we agreed on the best design. If my memory serves me right, he came up with the entries LIFE HACK, EREADER and I WONT DO IT and I came up with LE FIGARO.

We did offer the possibility of linking the clue on the two seed entries, as ALL HALLOWS EVE was the night when LORD VOLDEMORT went on his murderous spree, killing Harry Potter's parents, Lily and James. I also liked the clue "Howl at the Moon, e.g." for PIANO BAR as I thought it in keeping with the holiday spirit, but these did not make the cut. I was pleased to see the connection between OYSTER and BAY retained. I have fond memories of trips to Long Island and visiting the former home of the Teddy Roosevelt family, Sagamore Hill, near the hamlet of OYSTER BAY.

As always, a pleasure and learning experience to work with Jeff. My appreciation to Will and Joel for accepting and editing this puzzle. I hope you enjoy your solving experince and the Halloween/ALL HALLOWS EVE holiday on October 31! Happy Howl-o-ween!

JEFF: After ML wrote me that ALL HALLOWS EVE would make for a fun Halloween mini-theme, we brainstormed on what might a good crossing answer. Scanning through my personal list, I couldn't help but stop at LORD VOLDEMORT, as I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. (The rumors that I run through parking lots at night with a broom between my legs, practicing my aim with quaffles, are completely false.)

(Mostly.)

And when ML found an article (this was back in 2015) entitled "Voldemort is polling better than many Republican presidential candidates," we knew we had to do it. Considering The Terminator, Darth Vader, and The Shark from Jaws was polling ahead every Republican candidate at the time, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named really should have thrown his hat into the ring.

We couldn't quite get the syntax perfect, but brainstorming our original clue for ARMPIT was awfully fun: [Worst city in a particular state, metaphorically]. (I tried to make a joke about Knockturn Alley being the ARMPIT of magical London, but no one laughed.)

Jeff Chen notes: I love mini-themes in themeless puzzles — they can be such a nice little treat. The crossing ALL HALLOWS EVE and LORD VOLDEMORT ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I love mini-themes in themeless puzzles — they can be such a nice little treat. The crossing ALL HALLOWS EVE and LORD VOLDEMORT did make for a constructing challenge, though, sort of breaking up the grid into four quadrants. We tried to equalize the quadrants, leaving mostly 8-letter slots all around, for ease of filling.

The SW and NE corners weren't so bad, especially after ML suggested the lovely LE FIGARO to fill the tough ??????RO slot we were working with. I put in LIFE HACK in the symmetrical slot, and both of those corners fell pretty quickly. We considered a few different options for the SW, since LENGTHS is a bit dry, but we both loved one of our first tries at the NE, with PIANO BAR / IDIOLECT / TED TALK and even ARMPIT / AD REP colorful pieces of language.

The opposite corners were much harder. They wouldn't have been, if we had broken up LASER BEAM and I WONT DO IT into two words apiece (with a black square at the B of LASER BEAM and the N of I WONT DO IT), but I just hated to lose that long slot.

My stubbornness led to all sorts of issues in terms of clean and colorful fill, and I debated greatly whether all those cheater squares (the black square in the very lower left, the one under ALL HALLOWS EVE, and the one after MINETA) was just too much. In the end, we decided that the visual effect wasn't too badly hurt, and it allowed us to retain LASER BEAM and I WONT DO IT. (Talk about WHOA WHOA and HARD SELL!)

JimH notes: They don't let me award POWs around here but this was my favorite puzzle this week. 'Certain logic gate' is a tough clue for NOT but ... more
JimH notes:

They don't let me award POWs around here but this was my favorite puzzle this week.

"Certain logic gate" is a tough clue for NOT but every once in a while it's nice that mathematicians, physicists, computer scientists or logicians get to have something to feel smug about.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1028 ( 24,461 )
Across Down
1. Like the national currency known as the tala : SAMOAN
7. Axilla : ARMPIT
13. "Hold on there now!" : WHOAWHOA
15. Chasm : DIVIDE
16. Powerful pitch : HARDSELL
17. Settled with : REPAID
18. London locale: Abbr. : ONT
19. Like the outer core of the earth : MOLTEN
21. Certain logic gate : NOT
22. One Direction member Payne : LIAM
24. The Flying Dutchman, e.g. : SHIP
25. Limb-entangling weapon : BOLA
26. One nearly cut Bond in half in "Goldfinger" : LASERBEAM
29. Rise up : REBEL
30. 1983 double-platinum album by Duran Duran : RIO
31. Everyday productivity enhancer, in modern lingo : LIFEHACK
33. Fictional character whose name is French for "flight of death" : LORDVOLDEMORT
36. Leading newspaper that took its name from a stage comedy : LEFIGARO
37. It's nothing, really : NIL
38. One making introductions : EMCEE
39. "You can't make me!" : IWONTDOIT
44. Queen dowager of Jordan : NOOR
45. Beyond repair : LOST
46. Ago, in an annual song : SYNE
47. Animal with horns : GNU
48. Norman ___, first Asian-American to hold a cabinet post : MINETA
50. Abbr. in an office address : STE
51. Princess cake and others : TORTES
53. Simply not done : VERBOTEN
56. Show disdain for, in a way : HISSAT
57. Subject of some PC Magazine reviews : EREADERS
58. Mixed forecasts? : SLEETS
59. N.F.L. Hall-of-Famer nicknamed "The Kansas Comet" : SAYERS
1. Singer Twain : SHANIA
2. Blood lines : AORTAS
3. "Are you ___?!" : MAD
4. Cries that might be made while hopping on one foot : OWS
5. Slight interruption : AHEM
6. Sure-to-succeed : NOLOSE
7. One with commercial interests, for short : ADREP
8. Nothing, in Nantes : RIEN
9. Chant often heard toward the end of an N.B.A. season : MVP
10. Rick's, for one : PIANOBAR
11. Speech habits unique to an individual : IDIOLECT
12. The first one was delivered in 1984 : TEDTALK
13. "___ Stop the Rain" (1970 hit) : WHOLL
14. Fright night? : ALLHALLOWSEVE
20. Pusillanimous : TIMID
23. More festive : MERRIER
25. Views : BEHOLDS
27. Hiker's climb : RIDGE
28. Six-time Hugo Award winner Ben : BOVA
29. Invoice word : REMIT
32. Actress Sherilyn who was an Emmy nominee for "Twin Peaks" : FENN
33. Common ingredient in furniture polish : LEMONOIL
34. "No doubt!" : OFCOURSE
35. NASA spacecraft designed for travel to Mars : ORION
36. Units at a horse race : LENGTHS
40. Whiskered animals : OTTERS
41. With 54-Down, longtime Long Island home of Theodore Roosevelt : OYSTER
42. Lays to rest : INTERS
43. Frigid temps : TEENS
45. They may have bullets : LISTS
48. Main thrust : MEAT
49. Field : AREA
52. The Nikkei 225 is one of its indexes: Abbr. : TSE
54. See 41-Down : BAY
55. Some lines of Milton : ODE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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