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New York Times, Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Author:
Daniel Landman
Editor:
Will Shortz
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43/18/20134/29/20150
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0102100
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1.50110
Daniel Landman

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 35 Missing: {FJQXZ} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Landman. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Daniel Landman notes:
The impetus for this puzzle was a desire to break something. I looked through the archive and discovered that hearts and promises had ... read more

The impetus for this puzzle was a desire to break something. I looked through the archive and discovered that hearts and promises had been broken before, in several different ways, and even "bad" had been broken multiple times (in other venues). So I settled on RECORD.

Almost immediately after I mailed this puzzle in, about a year ago, I experienced a severe case of constructor's remorse; I regretting submitting a puzzle with so much short ugliness and crosswordese, especially in the "theme rows" (all of my more recent puzzles are cleaner than this). But when I was notified that the puzzle was accepted, it was very instructive: Will didn't comment at all on the bad fill, but rather on how he liked some of the long Downs. It made me think, "Hey — I liked those long Downs too!" but I had forgotten that as I was brooding over the fill.

So I guess the point is that there are different ways to assess a crossword puzzle. (I think that was my point...) Anyway, enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
RECORD gets 'broken' across multiple entries today, with a BROKEN / RECORD revealer. I can see why Will pointed out the long down ... read more

RECORD gets "broken" across multiple entries today, with a BROKEN / RECORD revealer. I can see why Will pointed out the long down entries he liked — with HORSE CAR, BAT AN EYE punnily placed next to ROD CAREW, CHEERIO, TURN RED, VIAGRA with its fun Hef-related clue, that's a lot of added bonus material.

I liked the diversity in how Daniel broke up RECORD, too: RE / CORD, RE / COR (although I don't care much for this little bit of glue) / D, R / ECO / RD, REC / ORD. I can see how it would have been a challenge to figure out how to do this, and I appreciated the difficulty of the task. Some of the "theme answers" are pretty good, too: GRANDMERE was fun even though it reminded me of my five grueling years of high school French, of which I remember rien. It would have been nice to get a few sizzling "theme entries" though — perhaps something like CORD BLOOD or BUSH V GORE.

Sometimes I wonder if my stupid memory spoils puzzles for me. Around the time I first started dong puzzles, I ran into this tricky Thursday puzzle and was just blown away. It made me realize how clever crossword themes could be; how they could be a true expression of creativity, and how I badly wanted to become a part it. This puzzle unfortunately comes to mind every time I see a theme type with words broken across multiple entries, separated with a black square. It's completely unfair to today's puzzle, but it is what it is.

There are a lot of constraints Daniel had to work with. Five themers is hard enough. But when you split four of those themers and fix black squares into place like this (between EIRE COR DESERT, for example), you deplete your allotment of black squares much earlier than usual. Makes for big, wide-open spaces in the four corners. It's good to hear Daniel say he perseverated (my wife had to tell me what that meant) over the short fill, as I definitely noticed the globs of glue during my solve. I don't mind A BONE here (hey, ULNA is A BONE!), ORAMA there, etc. but it felt to me like there was quite a bit. And the partial TAKE ME… most editors these days disallow 6+ letter partials (Merl Reagle being the only one I can think of who's okay with them), so I was surprised to see the exception.

Nice to hear constructors aim for higher and higher standards. I love that type of continual quest to make oneself better.

JimH notes:
Actual errors in NYT crosswords are extremely rare but this puzzle has one. The clue at 20 Across reads: [Playwright who wrote 'What ... read more

Actual errors in NYT crosswords are extremely rare but this puzzle has one. The clue at 20 Across reads: [Playwright who wrote "What is originality? Undetected plagiarism"].

The answer was INGE, as in William Inge. But it wasn't the playwright William Inge who was responsible for the quote. It was the Anglican clergyman and author William Inge, better known as "Dean Inge," who said it. So the word "Playwright" in the clue is wrong.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1112 ( 23,745 )
Across
1. Now or never: Abbr. : ADV
4. Sounds from test cheaters, maybe : PSSTS
9. Bris officiant : MOHEL
14. Moo goo ___ pan : GAI
15. Erect : PUTUP
16. Have ___ to pick : ABONE
17. Nanette's nana : GRANDMERE
19. Parachute parts : CORDS
20. Playwright who wrote "What is originality? Undetected plagiarism" : INGE
21. "Bonne ___!" : ANNEE
23. Those, to José : ESOS
24. Geographical name that's another geographical name backward : EIRE
25. One of two N.T. books : COR
26. Leave in the lurch : DESERT
28. German town : STADT
30. World headquarters of LG Electronics : SEOUL
32. Civil War inits. : CSA
33. Wee bit : TAD
35. Numerical prefix : DECI
36. ___ Lingus : AER
37. With 40-Across, repeat offender? ... or something found, literally, in four rows in this puzzle : BROKEN
40. See 37-Across : RECORD
42. ___ Paulo : SAO
43. Like one for the ages : EPIC
45. Racket : DIN
46. Airport approximation, for short : ETD
47. Shade of brown : MOCHA
49. Mexican cigar brand : TEAMO
53. Less likely to be G-rated : RACIER
55. Car starter? : ECO
57. Vitamin amts. : RDAS
58. Uptight, informally : ANAL
59. "His/her" alternative : THEIR
61. Bone near the funny bone : ULNA
62. Georges who wrote "Life: A User's Manual" : PEREC
64. Making a father of : ORDAINING
66. Serengeti scavenger : HYENA
67. Name hollered in the "Flintstones" theme song : WILMA
68. See 69-Across : BEE
69. Participated in a 68-Across : SEWED
70. True : LOYAL
71. Ones who are so last year?: Abbr. : SRS
Down
1. Texas A&M team : AGGIES
2. "Rats!" : DARNIT
3. Product touted by Hugh Hefner : VIAGRA
4. Mail order abbr. : PPD
5. Poison ___ : SUMAC
6. They tend to be fast typists : STENOS
7. Flush : TURNRED
8. Graf ___ (ill-fated German cruiser) : SPEE
9. Buddy : MAC
10. Small section of an orchestra : OBOES
11. Transportation in Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A. : HORSECAR
12. Backed : ENDORSED
13. Cigarette ad claim : LESSTAR
18. Must : NEEDTO
22. Drew out : EDUCED
27. Draw out : ELICIT
29. Start to a baseball song : TAKEME
31. "The Star-Spangled Banner" preposition : OER
34. Send away for good : DEPORT
37. React, just barely : BATANEYE
38. Baseball Hall-of-Famer mistakenly listed in "The Chanukah Song" as a Jew : RODCAREW
39. Actor Cage, informally : NIC
41. Minimal baseball lead : ONERUN
42. High-ranking angels : SERAPHS
44. "Ta-ta!" : CHEERIO
48. With bitterness : ACIDLY
50. Does improv : ADLIBS
51. Way : MANNER
52. Plains Indians : OSAGES
54. Chaiken who co-created "The L Word" : ILENE
56. Slangy commercial suffix : ORAMA
60. Laugh uproariously : HOWL
63. No great catch : CAD
65. Confident finish? : IAL

Answer summary: 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?