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New York Times, Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
471/3/20134/22/20194
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313139450
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59042
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 77, Blocks: 44 Missing: {Q} Grid has mirror symmetry. There are unchecked squares This is puzzle # 44 for Mr. Haight. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Haight notes:
I remember sending a punny Halloween puzzle to the NYT about a year ago. They replied that the puzzle was OK, but they already had a ... read more

I remember sending a punny Halloween puzzle to the NYT about a year ago. They replied that the puzzle was OK, but they already had a Halloween puzzle in mind for 2018 - sorry, Charlie. That was disappointing but then, a couple of months later, they wrote to say this CRYPT puzzle was accepted for Halloween, and I had never even thought of that possibility. You just never know, and the pun puzzle is running today in the LA Times.

I see the editors punked my crossword FILL again, at 12-Down, calling it "Truckload at a garbage dump". On 6/7/18 they rated my FILL "Dirt in a dump truck, perhaps", so really not much improvement....

I remember with this crypt puzzle I was having a lot of trouble finding room for five theme entries and still being able to fill it cleanly. I eventually added a couple of blocks above WHY ME, and it worked out. It wasn't till I was cluing it that I noticed that I had accidentally made a cross directly above the crypt, which brought back memories of touring crypts below cathedrals in Europe a few times. For Halloween, I guess it's more like a tombstone marker over a crypt in the graveyard — at midnight, with spider webs. It's useful to have a good word list and practice your construction a lot, but sometimes luck plays a huge role in puzzle production.

My son Ryan was laid to rest in 2001, but he is remembered in a small way today, at 59-Down. More importantly, the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008 (introduced by Dianne Feinstein and signed by George Bush) continues to save lives.

Jeff Chen notes:
I love it when constructors break rules (for a good reason.) There have been plenty of grids where one section is completely separated ... read more

I love it when constructors break rules (for a good reason.) There have been plenty of grids where one section is completely separated from the rest, including one TOMB, but I adored the image of the little CRYPT at the bottom of the puzzle, actually looking like a CRYPT straight out of an Indiana Jones movie.

(I gave the TOMB puzzle a POW! too ... might I be obsessed with burial sites? Hmm.)

The "letter homophones" concept has been done many times in crosswords, one in particular that I loved. Even though this notion been employed over and over, there's always room to innovate, by cleverly combining the well-worn idea with a different one to produce something more than the sum of its parts. It's neat that you can homophonically spell out a five-letter word in C R Y P T, and even neater to make the leap to use this to hint at a blocked-off region.

And the execution! Cross made out of black squares gives the grid an even creepier feel. Added bonuses in ROTARY CLUBS, KGB MOLE, GOMORRAH, ARAMAIC – lovely stuff. All with super-clean short fill? Yes!

I could have done without the stretch to clue THEME as sort of a quasi-revealer. But other than that, such a fantastic solving experience.

1
S
2
H
3
A
4
G
5
A
6
G
7
A
8
S
9
P
10
T
11
I
12
F
13
F
14
C
U
J
O
15
R
E
V
U
E
16
R
A
I
L
17
O
L
A
F
18
E
L
E
N
A
19
O
G
L
E
20
T
A
X
L
21
A
W
S
22
K
G
23
B
M
O
L
E
24
A
L
E
25
R
A
P
26
N
27
E
28
S
T
E
G
29
G
30
V
A
L
E
31
T
32
E
33
D
34
E
R
E
35
R
O
O
36
I
V
S
37
E
L
I
38
A
D
A
39
T
O
M
40
D
E
A
41
A
F
T
42
R
O
S
43
E
44
D
O
45
W
E
L
46
O
B
I
T
47
S
C
E
N
48
E
49
R
H
O
50
B
R
I
N
Y
51
R
O
T
52
A
R
Y
C
53
L
U
B
S
54
P
55
C
P
56
A
R
A
M
A
I
C
57
C
58
A
59
R
60
A
M
E
61
X
62
T
H
E
M
E
63
B
U
R
Y
64
P
O
N
Y
65
R
I
G
A
66
A
N
T
Z
67
C
R
Y
P
T
68
A
T
O
N
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1031 ( 25,194 )
Across
1
___ rug : SHAG
5
Audibly horrified : AGASP
10
Quarrel : TIFF
14
Stephen King title about a dog : CUJO
15
Cabaret show : REVUE
16
A transcontinental traveler might go by this : RAIL
17
Saint who lent his name to a Minnesota college : OLAF
18
Justice Kagan : ELENA
19
It's not a good look : OGLE
20
Listings in the Internal Revenue Code : TAXLAWS
22
C.I.A. infiltrator during the Cold War : KGBMOLE
24
Part of I.P.A. : ALE
25
Sound at a séance : RAP
26
Savings for a rainy day : NESTEGG
30
Not self-parked : VALETED
34
Afore : ERE
35
A. A. Milne character : ROO
36
Drips in the O.R. : IVS
37
Biblical judge : ELI
38
Nabokov title : ADA
39
___ turkey : TOM
40
Goddess: Lat. : DEA
41
Toward the most common part of a boat to fish from : AFT
42
Prize on "The Bachelor" : ROSE
44
Wooden rod : DOWEL
46
Story of a lifetime, for short? : OBIT
47
Public ruckus : SCENE
49
P, for Plato : RHO
50
Like the ocean : BRINY
51
Groups that typically meet weekly for lunch : ROTARYCLUBS
54
Drug also called angel dust : PCP
56
Language spoken by Jesus : ARAMAIC
57
Lincoln or Ford : CAR
60
Visa alternative : AMEX
62
Discovering the word at 67-Across, for this puzzle : THEME
63
Place underground : BURY
64
Pay (up) : PONY
65
Baltic capital : RIGA
66
Animated film of 1998 : ANTZ
67
Resting place hinted at by 28-, 5-, 45-, 9- and 31-Down, in that order : CRYPT
68
Oodles : ATON
Down
1
Macbeth, e.g. : SCOT
2
Dance with percussion accompaniment : HULA
3
Battler of Hector in the "Iliad" : AJAX
4
Lose carbonation : GOFLAT
5
"Do you still like me?" : AREWEGOOD
6
Comes together : GELS
7
N.Y.C.'s Park or Fifth : AVE
8
Destroyed, as an armada : SUNK
9
Walkway option in lieu of paving : PEAGRAVEL
10
___ l'oeil (illusion) : TROMPE
11
Rival of Cassio, in Shakespeare : IAGO
12
Truckload at a garbage dump : FILL
13
Get out of Dodge : FLEE
21
Tip off : ALERT
23
Material for Thor Heyerdahl's Kon-Tiki : BALSA
26
Becomes imminent : NEARS
27
Worker in a trauma ward, for short : ERDOC
28
Image on an ancient mariner's map : SEASERPENT
29
Symbol of depravity : GOMORRAH
30
Security device, informally : VIDEOCAM
31
Serving at a 4:00 social : TEABISCUIT
32
Pixielike : ELFIN
33
Jingle, e.g. : DITTY
43
"Music for Airports" musician : ENO
45
"What did I do to deserve this?" : WHYME
46
Image on the king of clubs : ORB
48
When one is expected, for short : ETA
50
Tampa Bay pro, informally : BUC
52
It is "either plagiarism or revolution," per Paul Gauguin : ART
53
Be horizontal : LIE
54
___ John : PAPA
55
"You're pulling my leg!" : CMON
58
Hit 2012 movie whose plot involves a plan to make a movie : ARGO
59
House leader after Boehner : RYAN
61
___ Affair : XYZ
63
Playtex product : BRA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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