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New York Times, Thursday, October 30, 2014

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

This puzzle:

Rows: 16, Columns: 16 Words: 76, Blocks: 54 Missing: {JX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Woolf. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Woolf notes:
So I like the idea of rebus squares that have a purpose. In this case their purpose is to make a picture! A few thoughts about this puzzle's ... read more

So I like the idea of rebus squares that have a purpose. In this case their purpose is to make a picture! A few thoughts about this puzzle's construction: at 16x16 and with two rebused grid spanners and chopped off corners (so it looked cookie-ish), there were limited options for the grid layout. The result included a tricky center (with a lot of thematic material and many interlocking 6+ letter answers) and four fairly large corners. There's some fill in here that I'll avoid in future puzzles, but I'm happy with how the rebus squares are hidden. As always, there are trade-offs in everything.

I do wish my original clue for 16 A [Thonged throng?] had made the cut, though I suppose it was a bit oblique. Anyway, hope you enjoyed the puzzle. Until next time!

Will Shortz notes:
In the print edition (and maybe some other versions) of today's puzzle, the six squares in each corner of the grid, which would usually be ... read more

In the print edition (and maybe some other versions) of today's puzzle, the six squares in each corner of the grid, which would usually be black, have been removed instead — to accentuate the cookie's roundness visually. This sort of effect used to be common in grids in crossword magazines, but it's a rarity in newspapers.

Jeff Chen notes:
Neat idea for a visual puzzle, a representation of a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. Nice use of cheater squares in the four corners to make a ... read more

Neat idea for a visual puzzle, a representation of a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. Nice use of cheater squares in the four corners to make a circle-ish shape out of the normal crossword square. And a fun time searching for those rebus squares, CHIPs dotted around the puzzle. Everyone has their favorite puzzle type, and visual puzzles tend to do it for me. Dare I say... CHIPs ahoy! (groan)

CHOCOLATE (CHIP) COOKIE being 16 letters necessitated expanding the grid past the normal 15x15 shape. I like how the circularity of the cookie is preserved by going up to 16x16, although there is something nice about cookies fresh out of the oven being a bit imperfect, even ovoidal. Going to a 16x16 grid does mean that the revealer has to be at the bottom of the puzzle, with a matching entry at the top. Nice find in (CHIP)PENDALES DANCERS, a snappy phrase in itself.

Cookie idea

Visual puzzles are tricky. I find that the ones tickling me most have a visual very closely resembling what it's supposed to be. I had a hitch with this one in that those 1x3 rectangular black bars around the perimeter disrupted the cookie image for me. I doodled around to see if it would be possible to make a cookie image (left) without long "chips" on the perimeter. I'm not sure how hard it would be to fill — probably doable but also somewhat to extremely hard to fill cleanly — so it's hard to say if something like this would fly or not. Those long answers all around the perimeter would make filling very tough, and would likely necessitate fewer CHIPs. David hits the nail on the head — as always, trade-offs.

It might have been nice to get more CHIPs dispersed throughout the puzzle (I'm that guy who "accidentally" spills three times as many chocolate chips into cookie dough), but it's a good balance between theme density and smoothness. The fill was solid, with a good combination of CHIP as a single word as well as part of a longer word. And for those of you solving electronically, take a peek at the grid below — I was surprised at how much clearing out those corners made a difference in terms of cookie-ness. Enjoyable solve.

1
F
2
L
3
U
4
I
5
D
6
R
7
O
8
B
9
E
10
P
E
A
R
C
E
11
A
S
O
N
12
E
13
S
I
N
U
S
E
S
14
W
H
O
A
M
15
I
16
CHIP
P
E
N
D
A
L
E
17
S
D
A
N
C
E
R
18
S
19
P
Y
R
E
S
20
R
C
A
21
T
E
A
T
22
E
C
O
L
23
P
24
O
T
A
T
25
O
26
CHIP
27
R
N
A
28
W
A
G
29
CHIP
I
N
30
R
A
P
M
31
U
S
I
C
32
A
R
I
33
Z
O
N
I
34
A
N
35
P
U
P
36
E
T
E
37
V
E
38
R
O
N
I
39
Q
40
U
41
E
42
A
43
R
44
CHIP
E
L
A
45
G
O
46
A
S
K
47
U
N
C
48
S
I
S
49
E
L
O
C
50
U
T
E
51
L
I
P
O
52
E
C
H
53
O
54
K
E
N
55
S
O
C
A
L
56
C
H
O
C
57
O
58
L
A
T
E
59
CHIP
60
C
O
O
K
I
E
61
E
T
C
H
E
R
62
S
P
O
R
T
E
D
63
S
A
I
N
T
64
C
E
N
T
E
R
65
M
O
S
S
66
O
R
E
A
D
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1030 ( 23,732 )
Across
1
Moving : FLUID
6
Wizard's wear : ROBE
10
Actor Guy of "Memento" : PEARCE
11
Indivisibly : ASONE
13
They may be blocked in the winter : SINUSES
14
Last line of many a riddle : WHOAMI
16
Entertainers with something to get off their chests? : CHIPPENDALESDANCERS
19
Funeral masses : PYRES
20
___ Dome (old Colts home) : RCA
21
Milk source : TEAT
22
Green sci. : ECOL
23
Wise one? : POTATOCHIP
27
Transfer ___ : RNA
28
Jokester : WAG
29
Contribute : CHIPIN
30
Focus of The Source magazine : RAPMUSIC
32
John McCain, for one : ARIZONIAN
35
Baby seal : PUP
36
Summer abroad : ETE
37
French woman's name meaning "bringer of victory" : VERONIQUE
42
The Bahamas, e.g. : ARCHIPELAGO
46
Word before an advice columnist's name : ASK
47
Tar Heels' sch. : UNC
48
A tot may have a big one : SIS
49
Engage in oratory : ELOCUTE
51
Slimming technique, briefly : LIPO
52
What a well may produce : ECHO
54
Burns with a camera : KEN
55
O.C.'s home : SOCAL
56
Treat represented visually by this puzzle's answer : CHOCOLATECHIPCOOKIE
61
One using acid, say : ETCHER
62
Wore : SPORTED
63
Good Samaritan, e.g. : SAINT
64
Arena, maybe : CENTER
65
Development on the north side? : MOSS
66
Mountain nymph : OREAD
Down
1
Anise relative : FENNEL
2
Hails : LAUDS
3
Major figure in space? : URSA
4
NATO member with the smallest population: Abbr. : ICEL
5
Hot spot : DESERT
6
Spreadsheet input : RAWDATA
7
Lab safety org. : OSHA
8
Benefit : BOON
9
Pass : ENACT
10
Popular Polish dish : PIEROGI
12
Mideast chieftains: Var. : EMEERS
13
Aston Martin DB5, for 007 : SPYCAR
15
Qom resident, e.g. : IRANI
16
Tribe of the Upper Midwest : CHIPPEWA
17
Writer John who was an authority on cards : SCARNE
18
Abbr. on a music score : STAC
23
Kind of gland : PINEAL
24
Covert maritime org. : ONI
25
Fight against : OPPOSE
26
Nonhuman singer of a 1958 #1 song : CHIPMUNK
29
Fast-food chain named after a spice : CHIPOTLE
31
News inits. : UPI
33
Last thing learned in kindergarten? : ZEE
34
Long-billed wader : AVOCET
38
Teller? : RAT
39
Like liquor, in an Ogden Nash verse : QUICKER
40
Like volunteer work : UNPAID
41
Place for un instituteur : ECOLE
42
"Wait ___!" : ASEC
43
Nouveau ___ : RICHE
44
They may be made with pitching wedges : CHIPSHOTS
45
Vehicles that often have unlicensed drivers : GOKARTS
50
Group associated with many tourist destinations : UNESCO
51
Took stock? : LOOTED
53
Philosopher William of ___ : OCCAM
55
"... ish" : SORTA
57
Lima's place : OHIO
58
Eye part : LENS
59
Upbeat : CHIPPER
60
Eye part : CONE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?