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New York Times, Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Author:
Bruce Haight
Editor:
Will Shortz
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461/3/20131/16/20194
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312139450
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58042
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
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J
O
15
R
E
V
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16
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A
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17
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L
A
F
18
E
L
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N
A
19
O
G
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20
T
A
X
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21
A
W
S
22
K
G
23
B
M
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24
A
L
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25
R
A
P
26
N
27
E
28
S
T
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29
G
30
V
A
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E
31
T
32
E
33
D
34
E
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E
35
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O
36
I
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S
37
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38
A
D
A
39
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40
D
E
A
41
A
F
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42
R
O
S
43
E
44
D
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45
W
E
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46
O
B
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T
47
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C
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48
E
49
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B
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51
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A
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C
53
L
U
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54
P
55
C
P
56
A
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A
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A
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57
C
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A
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A
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61
X
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63
B
U
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Y
64
P
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65
R
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66
A
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Z
67
C
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A
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© 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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