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New York Times, Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Author:
Ross Trudeau
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
242/9/20172/5/20202
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5394300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61041
Ross Trudeau

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 71, Blocks: 45 Missing: {JQZ} Grid has mirror symmetry. This is puzzle # 22 for Mr. Trudeau. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ross Trudeau notes:
This puzzle is scheduled to run on the day of my 7th surgery stemming from a rare genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis. The main ... read more

This puzzle is scheduled to run on the day of my 7th surgery stemming from a rare genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis. The main hallmarks of NF are benign tumors that grow in the nervous system. (It's also a coincidence that the word CYST, near and dear, can be found at 54-Down.) Today's procedure will hopefully be a piece of cake, but like many that suffer from NF, I've had spinal cord surgery and managed chronic pain my entire adult life. If you appreciated today's puzzle, please consider donating to my NF fundraising page. Proceeds benefit the Children's Tumor Foundation.

Also, if you're looking to get into crossword constructing, and especially if you identify as non-male and/or LGBTQ+ and/or POC, I'd be thrilled to offer whatever assistance I can to help you get your puzzles published. Contact me via Instagram (@rosstrudeau) or Twitter (@trudeauross).

Jeff Chen notes:
Grid art made of black squares is the best kind. It stands out so well, unlike pictures formed by circled letters or connect-the-dots. ... read more

Grid art made of black squares is the best kind. It stands out so well, unlike pictures formed by circled letters or connect-the-dots. I immediately take notice when a crazy-looking grid like this breaks the monotony of the normal grids we see every day.

Great aha effect on the TOP HAT, too. I had other ideas on how SCROOGE MCDUCK and WILLY WONKA might be related (rich cartoon characters, perhaps?), and even after ABRAHAM LINCOLN, I didn't see their commonality. Beards? Can ducks have beards?

I'm often not a fan of interlocking themers since this causes all sorts of filling problems, but there was something elegant about Ross's layout today. After some study, I realized it wasn't just that Ross wanted to show off. He had to use this interlock!

Why? With mirror symmetry, a long, unpaired answer can run horizontally. No problem … except when you then need to work in a pair of entries longer than seven letters. Those need to go vertically, and that creates a problem because of the long horizontal answer.

Why?

WHY SO MANY QUESTIONS!

Fine, try to lay out WILLY WONKA and ABE LINCOLN horizontally, using in this mirror symmetry arrangement. I'll wait.

See? Can't do it, can you? Mirror symmetry is great for certain theme sets, but it sure makes others tricky.

It's so fortuitous that Crucivera shined her glory upon Ross today, allowing for such beautiful interlock. More often than not, there is gnashing of teeth and promises of animal sacrifices if she would just cooperate.

As I mentioned above, filling around interlocked themers is tough. See: the AGT / OMN region. It's a fine product overall, though, a testament to Ross's skills.

Me and my long memory immediately flashed to Liz Gorski's FROSTY masterwork after solving this puzzle. Hers headlined the TOP HAT, which made it stand out so impressively. Still, I like that Ross gave me a fun aha by making me think about what connected these four individuals.

1
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B
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1119 ( 25,578 )
Across
1
Feeling at the Grand Canyon, say : AWE
4
Curse : SWEARAT
11
Music sales largely replaced by streaming, in brief : CDS
14
Get along well (with) : GEL
15
Scuba diver's need : AIRTUBE
16
MSN alternative : AOL
17
Roadside assistance org. : AAA
18
Grounder that squeezes between two infielders, in baseball slang : BLEEDER
19
Genetic inits. : RNA
20
E.M.T.s may insert them : IVS
21
"Treasure Island" writer's monogram : RLS
22
American ___ (beetle target) : ELM
23
Chronic drinker's ailment, informally : DTS
24
Salary after deductions : NETPAY
26
Book after Song of Solomon : ISAIAH
28
Narrow waterway : RIA
29
Had a base, as a runner in baseball : WASON
33
Courtroom V.I.P.s : DAS
34
*Cartoon billionaire : SCROOGEMCDUCK
37
Bronzer in a bottle : SUNTANOIL
38
Cliff's edge : BRINK
40
Grassy plain : LLANO
43
Lingua ___ (common tongue) : FRANCA
44
Swimming : NATANT
46
Something an opera singer and a rancher have : RANGE
47
Pace : TEMPO
48
Lab eggs : OVA
49
:'-( : SADFACE
55
"The Raven" writer's monogram : EAP
56
Sport that takes place in a dohyo : SUMO
58
Kind of vote for a shareholder : PROXY
59
10th grader, informally : SOPH
60
Easy pace : TROT
61
Trims : PARES
62
Fit for military service : ONEA
63
Gabs : YAKS
64
Small silvery fish : SMELT
65
Sassy : PERT
Down
1
Not for the first time : AGAIN
2
Finchlike birds that build intricate nests : WEAVERS
3
Like a bungee cord : ELASTIC
4
Hummus and guacamole brand : SABRA
5
*1971 role for Gene Wilder : WILLYWONKA
6
You are, in Spain : ERES
7
Had : ATE
8
"Great manners you've got!" : RUDE
9
*U.S. leader who said "Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?" : ABELINCOLN
10
Contract details : TERMS
11
Heart-related : CARDIAC
12
Terse response to "Rough day?" : DONTASK
13
Mark separating lines of poetry : SLASH
25
Dissecting grammatically : PARSING
27
Put on a pedestal : ADULATE
30
F.B.I. worker: Abbr. : AGT
31
Home of the kraken : SEA
32
Every, in an Rx : OMN
35
Roughly 1.5, in a standard shot of alcohol : OUNCES
36
Widen : DILATE
38
Great technical skill : BRAVURA
39
Went wild : RANAMOK
41
"Oh yeah? Give me a single example!" : NAMEONE
42
Theoretically : ONPAPER
43
*"A jolly happy soul," in a holiday song : FROSTY
45
Something worn by the answer to each starred clue, as represented graphically in this puzzle's grid : TOPHAT
50
iPhone purchases : APPS
51
Apothecary's weight : DRAM
52
"Heads up!," to a golfer : FORE
53
Skating leap : AXEL
54
Skin abnormality : CYST
57
"Fifth quarters," in sports: Abbr. : OTS
59
Soak (up) : SOP

Answer summary: 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?