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New York Times, Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Author:
Alex Eaton-Salners
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
272/2/201711/14/20191
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1.54240
Alex Eaton-Salners

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Eaton-Salners. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Alex Eaton-Salners notes:
This puzzle was inspired by an issue of Spielbox, a magazine devoted to the German boardgaming scene. After reading about some Martin ... read more

This puzzle was inspired by an issue of Spielbox, a magazine devoted to the German boardgaming scene. After reading about some Martin Luther-themed games released to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Ninety-Five Theses, I thought, "if someone can make a board game out of this, then why not a crossword?"

Since the anniversary falls on a Tuesday, I decided that a straight-forward tribute puzzle would be appropriate (it was either that or wait until 2117 for the 600th anniversary, which falls on a Sunday).

Tribute puzzles require interesting theme entries, and I wanted to pack in as many as I could. Fortunately, MARTIN LUTHER breaks evenly into two 6-letter words, which are much easier to deal with than a 12-letter entry. Likewise, ALL SAINTS CHURCH is a constructor-friendly 15 letters long – thereby filling an entire row without forcing the placement of any black squares.

Still, after locking MARTIN and LUTHER into the corners and putting ALL SAINTS CHURCH in the 8th row (since it lacks an equal-length counterpart), I had limited flexibility in positioning the remaining theme entries (especially since PROTESTANT and REFORMATION had to be consecutive). Fill options were also somewhat constrained because more than half of the down answers had to cross multiple themers.

In my original manuscript, I clued DOOR non-thematically. Although this editorial change brings the theme square count to a hefty 73, my constructor's brain is bothered that the symmetrically placed 21-Across is not likewise thematic.

Finally, in my ideal world, the puzzle wouldn't assert that Martin Luther posted the Ninety-Five Theses on the door of All Saint's Church on 10/31/1517 since the only thing he did for sure that day was mail them to the Archbishop of Mainz. Per recent scholarship, the church door posting likely happened sometime later.

Jeff Chen notes:
Great catch, the 500th anniversary of MARTIN / LUTHER's posting of the 'Ninety-Five Theses.' Such a transformational point in history ... read more

Great catch, the 500th anniversary of MARTIN / LUTHER's posting of the "Ninety-Five Theses." Such a transformational point in history deserves commemoration. We get a listing of the PROTESTANT REFORMATION, ALL SAINTS CHURCH, where the theses were nailed onto the DOOR, and the banning of INDULGENCES.

That last one always amused me, INDULGENCES sort of a way to buy your place in heaven. I always imagine priests rubbing their hands together in a cigar smoke-filled back room, cackling about how much money they would make.

*ducking the oncoming lightning strike*

Clean grid, an achievement considering the high theme density. The NW and SE corners are especially difficult — when you have two theme answers running through an open space like this, the filling result is usually no bueno. Super tough to find a word that can fit in between MARTIN and PROTESTANT while making every one of the down crossings smooth. But Alex did it! Not a gluey bit up there.

The SE did suffer a little, what with NHU, but if that's your only gluey bit, it's a win. Some might even argue that Madame NHU of Vietnam should be fair game, as she was an important figure in politics.

A couple of great bonuses, too, in PASS RUSHER, PUGET SOUND, WINERIES, NOSE DIVE. Alex spread these out nicely to give himself a lot of filling flexibility while steering clear of the already crowded NW / SE. Beautifully done.

Tribute puzzles often fall flat, sort of like reading a Wikipedia page. (Which I didn't have to do to know what the PROTESTANT REFORMATION was, honest! Okay fine, I did. Okay fine, I didn't read it, and I'm pretending I know what it is. Are you happy now?) I would have loved something more playful, perhaps riffing on INDULGENCES?

Off to find my cigars …

1
M
2
A
3
R
4
T
5
I
6
N
7
A
8
W
9
L
10
P
11
A
12
R
13
S
14
A
P
I
E
C
E
15
L
I
E
16
U
T
A
H
17
P
R
O
T
E
S
18
T
A
N
T
19
G
A
T
E
20
L
I
T
E
21
T
A
M
E
22
P
E
R
S
E
23
E
L
S
24
R
E
F
O
R
25
M
A
T
I
O
N
26
P
E
A
T
27
I
A
M
S
28
H
29
I
30
J
A
B
31
A
E
R
32
O
33
A
34
T
35
S
36
A
L
L
S
A
37
I
38
N
T
S
C
39
H
U
R
C
H
40
T
K
O
S
41
D
O
E
42
A
N
I
M
E
43
R
44
B
I
S
45
S
46
C
A
D
47
I
48
N
49
D
U
L
G
E
50
N
C
E
S
51
F
52
A
53
R
54
B
O
O
S
T
55
D
O
O
R
56
O
L
G
A
57
S
I
G
H
58
W
I
T
T
E
59
N
B
E
R
G
60
E
S
M
E
61
A
V
E
62
A
H
I
S
E
E
63
N
E
A
R
64
Y
E
S
65
L
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H
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1031 ( 24,829 )
Across
1
With 65-Across, author of the "Ninety-Five Theses," posted on 10/31/1517 : MARTIN
7
Leatherworker's tool : AWL
10
Numbers on a golf course : PARS
14
Each : APIECE
15
Tell a tall tale : LIE
16
Home of Zion National Park : UTAH
17
With 24-Across, movement resulting from the "Ninety-Five Theses" : PROTESTANT
19
Flight board info : GATE
20
Lo-fat : LITE
21
Not wild : TAME
22
Intrinsically : PERSE
23
Ernie of the World Golf Hall of Fame : ELS
24
See 17-Across : REFORMATION
26
Contents of a bog : PEAT
27
Pet food brand : IAMS
28
Muslim woman's head covering : HIJAB
31
___ Lingus : AER
32
Breakfast bar bits : OATS
36
Building where the "Ninety-Five Theses" were posted : ALLSAINTSCHURCH
40
Boxing stats : TKOS
41
Bambi's mother, for one : DOE
42
Genre for the "Pokémon" series : ANIME
43
What sac flies produce : RBIS
45
Whole bunch : SCAD
47
Practice condemned in the "Ninety-Five Theses" : INDULGENCES
51
Distant : FAR
54
Give a leg up : BOOST
55
Part of the 36-Across where the "Ninety-Five Theses" were posted : DOOR
56
___ Korbut, 1970s Olympic gymnastics star : OLGA
57
[Ugh, here we go again] : SIGH
58
City where the "Ninety-Five Theses" were written : WITTENBERG
60
J. D. Salinger title character : ESME
61
"___ Maria" (hymn) : AVE
62
"It's all clear to me now!" : AHISEE
63
Not distant : NEAR
64
"With pleasure!" : YES
65
See 1-Across : LUTHER
Down
1
Kind of syrup : MAPLE
2
Easter's month, usually : APRIL
3
Runs amok : RIOTS
4
French bean? : TETE
5
Freezer buildup : ICE
6
Lipton rival : NESTEA
7
"Remember the ___!" : ALAMO
8
Many Napa establishments : WINERIES
9
Give permission to : LET
10
Body of water bordering Seattle : PUGETSOUND
11
Company that made Pong : ATARI
12
"Midnight Cowboy" role : RATSO
13
Charlie of "Two and a Half Men" : SHEEN
18
Only U.S. president also to serve as chief justice : TAFT
22
Cooking spray brand : PAM
24
Singer McEntire : REBA
25
Painter Chagall : MARC
26
Sack seeker : PASSRUSHER
28
Bowler or boater : HAT
29
Type : ILK
30
Self-titled #1 pop album of 2001 : JLO
31
Cleaned the dishes? : ATE
33
NPR host Shapiro : ARI
34
Channel with an annual month-long Oscar celebration : TCM
35
"That's all ___ wrote" : SHE
37
"That's cool with me!" : IDIG
38
Plummet : NOSEDIVE
39
Actor Lukas of "Witness" : HAAS
44
Three-layer sandwich, for short : BLT
45
Person whose name might start with Mc- : SCOT
46
Post production? : CEREAL
47
"Hedda Gabler" playwright : IBSEN
48
Static, e.g. : NOISE
49
Something taken on faith : DOGMA
50
Memos : NOTES
51
Edible part of a fruit : FLESH
52
Concur : AGREE
53
Wild party, in slang : RAGER
56
Newspaper piece that always starts at the end? : OBIT
58
Course of action : WAY
59
Madame ___ of 1960s Vietnam : NHU

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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