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New York Times, Thursday, November 14, 2013

Author:
Tom McCoy
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3211/14/201310/7/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
17815100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61362
Tom McCoy

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {FJZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. McCoy. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom McCoy notes:
Since cross-referential clues are a staple of crosswords, I liked the idea of clues that refer not to other clues but rather back to ... read more

Since cross-referential clues are a staple of crosswords, I liked the idea of clues that refer not to other clues but rather back to themselves. Some other theme answers that I considered were ENGLISH, ADJECTIVAL, and HORIZONTAL. My first act after adding the black squares and the theme answers was to find a place for a Q, since Q is the most intriguing letter to me. Strangely, when filling the grid, I had much more trouble in the NW and SE corners than in the more wide-open parts of the puzzle.

This is my crossword debut. Special thanks to the people who have fostered my interest in crosswords: my mom, who has helped me solve many, many crosswords over the years; my dad, who solves jumbles and cryptograms entirely in his head; Mike Boehnke, a family friend whose visits always bring about group crossword sessions; and Jason Mohr, my European History teacher who kindly pre-solved my earliest attempts at construction.

Will Shortz notes:
For some reason, this puzzle could have had a lot of cross-referenced clues, like REPS/DEM/ROMNEY, ALIAS/AKA, APPTS/TRYSTS, AGE/ERA, ... read more

For some reason, this puzzle could have had a lot of cross-referenced clues, like REPS/DEM/ROMNEY, ALIAS/AKA, APPTS/TRYSTS, AGE/ERA, and others. But since the four theme clues "cross-referenced" themselves, I thought it would be distracting to have cross-references elsewhere, so I didn't use any.

Jeff Chen notes:
Tough Thursday challenge. Any time the theme answers are largely unclued, it takes time to uncover letters one by one through the down ... read more

Tough Thursday challenge. Any time the theme answers are largely unclued, it takes time to uncover letters one by one through the down crossings. Today's theme is an interesting one, entries than can describe themselves. I had a hard time figuring out how they all related to each other, but generally appreciated the fact that each answer was self-referential.

Outside of the theme, nice construction. Fairly standard grid layout, with a couple of long downs and solid fill throughout. QUESTING tickled me, thinking about Sir Pellinore (of The Once and Future King) pursuing the Questing Beast and its fewmets. I love it when a single clue or answer can bring to mind such pleasant images. Very nice work in the overall construction, painstakingly executed. When REL, ALEE, APPTS are your worst entries, that's pretty good. And given that this is Tom's debut, it's doubly impressive.

After finishing the solve, I sat back to figure out why I felt a little unsatisfied with the theme. It was pretty neat that the four themers described themselves, but I would have loved to see them tie together somehow, as the universe of self-descriptors seems large, especially when you throw in possibilities like PRONOUNCEABLE (SPELLED CORRECTLY, TWO WORDS, LEFT TO RIGHT, etc.). Not every theme has to neatly tie together with an elegant bow, but I would have liked a little more specificity out of this one.

Good Thursday workout, cleanly constructed, especially for a debut.

1
C
2
A
3
R
4
O
5
B
6
R
7
E
8
P
9
S
10
T
11
V
12
A
13
D
14
A
G
A
P
E
15
O
X
E
N
16
H
I
K
E
17
M
O
D
E
M
18
M
E
T
E
19
E
D
A
M
20
P
R
O
N
O
21
U
N
C
E
A
22
B
L
E
23
S
A
N
24
A
G
E
25
K
O
M
O
26
D
27
O
28
U
N
H
Y
29
P
30
H
E
N
A
T
E
D
31
A
32
L
33
I
A
S
34
H
E
R
D
35
A
M
O
36
P
O
N
E
37
Q
38
U
A
Y
S
39
S
P
U
R
40
P
E
T
41
O
U
R
S
42
T
I
E
R
S
43
T
W
E
44
L
V
E
L
E
45
T
46
T
E
R
47
S
E
R
I
E
S
48
R
E
L
49
A
50
H
51
A
52
P
E
N
T
53
A
54
S
Y
L
L
55
A
B
I
C
56
H
57
E
L
D
58
I
L
L
S
59
A
R
E
N
T
60
E
R
A
T
61
N
E
A
T
62
L
E
T
G
O
63
M
A
Y
O
64
G
E
M
S
65
L
A
S
E
R
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1114 ( 23,382 )
Across
1
Ersatz cocoa : CAROB
6
Works as an agent (for) : REPS
10
It may run during a campaign : TVAD
14
Slack-jawed : AGAPE
15
The yoke's on them : OXEN
16
Trek : HIKE
17
Signal converter : MODEM
18
Dole (out) : METE
19
Eponymic Dutch city : EDAM
20
Like 20-Across : PRONOUNCEABLE
23
Start of the names of three of the 10 most populous U.S. cities : SAN
24
Something often guessed : AGE
25
Island that's home to the world's largest lizard : KOMODO
28
Like 28-Across : UNHYPHENATED
31
007, e.g. : ALIAS
34
Cowboy's charge : HERD
35
Part of a common Latin conjugation : AMO
36
Johnnycake : PONE
37
Wharves : QUAYS
39
Sidetrack? : SPUR
40
Favorite : PET
41
"One of ___" (1923 Pulitzer-winning novel by Willa Cather) : OURS
42
Levels : TIERS
43
Like 43-Across : TWELVELETTER
47
October event, informally, with "the" : SERIES
48
Obituary listing: Abbr. : REL
49
Kind of moment : AHA
52
Like 52-Across : PENTASYLLABIC
56
Contained : HELD
58
Troubles : ILLS
59
"___ we all?" : ARENT
60
Quod ___ demonstrandum : ERAT
61
Cool : NEAT
62
"Gimme it!" : LETGO
63
Spread out in the kitchen? : MAYO
64
Sparklers : GEMS
65
PowerPoint pointer : LASER
Down
1
Roughs it, say : CAMPS
2
Greek marketplace : AGORA
3
Home inspector's concern : RADON
4
Dentist's request : OPEN
5
Laments : BEMOANS
6
2012 newsmaker : ROMNEY
7
High-up in a corp. : EXEC
8
Officemate of Don and Peggy on "Mad Men" : PETE
9
Jordans, e.g. : SNEAKERS
10
Pat Nixon's given name : THELMA
11
Outmoded rental : VIDEOTAPE
12
Otherwise called : AKA
13
Blue: Abbr. : DEM
21
Big thumbs-down : UGH
22
007 : BOND
26
Show reluctance : DEMUR
27
Some trails : ODORS
28
OPEC member: Abbr. : UAE
29
Stage : PHASE
30
"What's the big idea?!" : HEY
31
Meetings entered in P.D.A.'s: Abbr. : APPTS
32
Lerner's partner on Broadway : LOEWE
33
Reciprocal action and reaction : INTERPLAY
37
Knight's activity : QUESTING
38
Site sight : URL
39
Knight : SIR
41
Rack locale : OVEN
42
Extremely juicy : TELLALL
44
Misled : LIEDTO
45
Meetings probably not entered in P.D.A.'s : TRYSTS
46
___ no. : TEL
49
Assists, in a way : ABETS
50
Bit of hardware : HINGE
51
Shakespeare, at times : ACTOR
53
Sheltered : ALEE
54
Dis : SLAM
55
Ground : AREA
56
Box (in) : HEM
57
Century 21 competitor : ERA

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

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