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New York Times, Thursday, October 30, 2014

Author: David Woolf
Editor: Will Shortz
David Woolf
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1511/15/201310/1/20160
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2212332
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54310

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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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 Down
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
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?