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New York Times, Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Author: Jean O'Conor
Editor: Will Shortz
Jean O'Conor
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Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 36 Missing: {Q} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 4 for Ms. O'Conor. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jean O'Conor notes: Although this is my fourth puzzle to be published in the New York Times, it is the first one that Will accepted. I was a little ... more
Jean O'Conor notes: Although this is my fourth puzzle to be published in the New York Times, it is the first one that Will accepted. I was a little nervous about looking at it again since it's been over a year since I constructed it. I hope I've learned a few things about grid-filling and clue-writing in that time. I really like the theme.

I had been thinking about doing a recipe puzzle for a while and finally started looking in my recipe collection for one that had only four or five ingredients. I had to play around with it to decide just how to word the various steps, but it all fell into place pretty nicely.

Will Shortz notes: It's not often you get a recipe in a crossword puzzle. And I love the low 72-word word count. That couldn't have been easy to do.
Jeff Chen notes: Fresh theme today, a recipe for making PESTO. I hadn't had freshly-made pesto until maybe ten years ago, and it changed my life (I ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Fresh theme today, a recipe for making PESTO. I hadn't had freshly-made pesto until maybe ten years ago, and it changed my life (I had a sad little life at that point). It's really cool that Jean was able to find a way to put a simple recipe into a crossword, figuring out how to get symmetrical answers.

And what an audacious challenge in construction! Not only does Jean have five theme answers plus a short revealer, but she uses a 72-word grid (top of the themeless range). In these cases, the fill often suffers greatly, but Jean has put together an expert construction. It took me a long time to finish this puzzle because my cooking skills are roughly limited to opening a jar of spaghetti sauce and eating it with a spoon. But after completing it, I sat back in admiration.

The long fill is awfully nice. SPONGE BOB is a great entry, and I admire how well Jean tucked LINGERIE in the across direction — between two theme answers! I've never attempted that because it's always seemed like it would produce too many compromises, but now I'm inspired to try. And although there isn't that much else in terms of long fill, Jean uses her sixes and sevens well, with MILORD, REBOOT, ARNIES army, and a REBIRTH.

As with almost every puzzle, not everything is shiny and clean. Thankfully, Jean did well to keep it to just a few bits that were pretty easy to ignore. The military awards (OBE, DSO, DSC) are hard to keep straight, ERB isn't quite the monogram JFK or even EAP is, and while a prefix or two is fine, a six-letter one, ENVIRO, is harder to gloss over. But it's amazing how clean everything else is, even finding a way to fill those biggish NE and SW corners with good stuff. Even appeasing our Canadian overlords with the inclusion of the ALCAN highway! (shout-out to Martin Ashwood-Smith and Jeffrey Krasnick in the northern hinterlands)

Recipe puzzles tend to be awfully tough for me, but I sure enjoyed this one, especially since the result was a favorite creation of mine. Well done, POW quality.

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1113 ( 23,381 )
Across Down
1. Beverages in the a.m. : OJS
4. 9-Across buy : TABLE
9. Company founded by a 17-year-old Swede : IKEA
13. Young boxer : PUP
14. Cry of fear or hilarity : SHRIEK
15. Housecat's perch : SILL
16. Foofaraw : ADO
17. Recipe instruction #1 : MINCEGARLIC
19. Slips and such : LINGERIE
21. Tony of "Taxi" : DANZA
22. Recipe instruction #2 : GRATEPARMESAN
25. Owners of an infamous cow : OLEARYS
27. Banshee's cry : WAIL
28. Slaps the cuffs on : NABS
29. Number of pecks in a 34-Down : FOUR
30. U.K. bestowal : OBE
33. Recipe instruction #3 : CHOPBASILLEAVES
38. Tarzan creator's monogram : ERB
39. Bell Labs operating system : UNIX
40. Nifty : NEAT
41. Seller's caveat : ASIS
42. Renaissance, literally : REBIRTH
45. Recipe instruction #4 : CRUSHPINENUTS
49. Tilter's weapon : LANCE
50. Renders unnecessary : OBVIATES
53. Recipe instruction #5 : ADDOLIVEOIL
56. An ex of Frank : AVA
57. Painter Mondrian : PIET
58. Term of address for a nobleman : MILORD
59. Altoids container : TIN
60. Impersonal letter starter : SIRS
61. What you get when you blend the results of this puzzle's recipe instructions : PESTO
62. Bugling beast : ELK
1. Gem of a girl? : OPAL
2. Dench who played Elizabeth I : JUDI
3. Squarish TV toon : SPONGEBOB
4. Minimum age for a U.S. senator : THIRTY
5. ___ Army (golf fans of old) : ARNIES
6. Muscle strengthened by curls, informally : BICEP
7. Van Cleef of "High Noon" : LEE
8. Heart test letters : EKG
9. Lost Tribes' land : ISRAEL
10. Ceramists' fixtures : KILNS
11. Pupil of 'enry 'iggins : ELIZA
12. ___ Highway (historic route to Delta Junction) : ALCAN
14. Lipstick slip : SMEAR
18. Be a fan of : ADMIRE
20. Get, as a concept : GRASP
23. Mil. truant : AWOL
24. Brother of Fidel : RAUL
25. As soon as : ONCE
26. Cowardly Lion portrayer : LAHR
29. Tough spot : FIX
30. Fudge, say : OVERSTATE
31. Patrolman's rounds : BEAT
32. O.T. book read during Purim : ESTH
34. Farmer's basketful, maybe : BUSHEL
35. Have ___ (surreptitiously imbibe) : ANIP
36. Emphatic assent, in Baja : SISI
37. "The Red Tent" author Diamant : ANITA
41. Items at a haberdashery : ASCOTS
42. PC start-over : REBOOT
43. "Green," in product names : ENVIRO
44. Physique : BUILD
45. Sounds of appreciation : CLAPS
46. Pizza cuts, essentially : RADII
47. Hypnotized : UNDER
48. Year-end airs : NOELS
51. Bad to the bone : EVIL
52. Put in the cup, as a golf ball : SANK
54. Mischievous sort : IMP
55. Contend : VIE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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