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RIGHT ON, RIGHT ON!

New York Times, Sunday, November 22, 2015

Author: Samuel A. Donaldson and Jeff Chen
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2910/2/20086/12/20187
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6146516
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64120
Samuel A. Donaldson
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
897/5/20109/19/201851
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2467171988
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.634192
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 73 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Donaldson. This is puzzle # 45 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: SAM: I like collaborating with Jeff because he thinks through every detail of a puzzle throughout the construction. It's as if his mantra is 'How can we make this better?' JEFF: What can I say? I like to make ... more
Constructor notes:

SAM: I like collaborating with Jeff because he thinks through every detail of a puzzle throughout the construction. It's as if his mantra is "How can we make this better?"

JEFF: What can I say? I like to make butter.

SAM: I first wrote to him with the idea for this puzzle. In my original pitch I proposed that the theme entries start by running Down and then turn into Across entries on the word(s) that could also go with "right on." I wanted his help in building the grid because of his skills in grid engineering. He wisely proposed that the answers should start as Across entries and then pivot into Down entries on the "right on" words.

JEFF: Speaking of engineering, that stupid engineer inside my head just couldn't let go of the idea that vertical answers going down and turning to the east would be TURNING LEFT, NOT RIGHT. See, you have to look at it from the point of view of the little guy traveling down the answer. Frame of reference, people! He would start by going downward, then making a left-hand turn--

(insert sound of that stupid engineer being throttled)

SAM: After a few emails about how the theme entries should work and what they should be, Jeff did his magic and produced a terrific grid. My entire contribution to the fill consisted of saying, "Yep, that looks good." So I took the lead on the clues. If you ever need to kill six or seven hours, by the way, write clues for a Sunday-sized puzzle.

JEFF: In case anyone is curious, for this magic, I chose a 9 ¾" wand made of yew, with a dragon heartstring core.

Or rather … the wand chose me.

SAM: Will and Joel liked the idea, but they asked for a few tweaks to the grid. Shortly thereafter, Jeff had some alternate versions from which to pick. Et voila.

JEFF: Easy as churning butter!

Jeff Chen notes: Sam Donaldson is the man. Excuse me — The Man. (Whichever is the good one.) We finalized the last revisions for this puzzle during the 2015 ACPT, where Sam provided no end of entertainment with his crazy ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Sam Donaldson is the man. Excuse me — The Man. (Whichever is the good one.) We finalized the last revisions for this puzzle during the 2015 ACPT, where Sam provided no end of entertainment with his crazy bets. 70-1 odds that he could pick seven names, one of which would win the ACPT? Sure, he'll put $10 on that! (He won.) 300-1 odds that Lynn Lempel didn't write Puzzle #5? Heck yeah, he put $10 on that too! (He won that as well.)

He was able to go back home and tell his wife that he won an easy $20. But man oh man, was he sweating it when 1.) Kiran Kedlaya showed up, finishing fourth and 2.) Puzzles 1-4 were NOT written by Lynn Lempel. I would have paid Will pretty much any sum of money for him to announce that Lynn wrote Puzzle #5.

Writing a puzzle with Sam is almost as fun as watching him squirm. Good times, good times.

P.S. Grid was pretty hard — trying to figure out how to squeeze in all those long, turning answers was a bear. But once I hit on SHOW ME THE MONEY intersecting PAID THROUGH THE NOSE, it was only a matter of (many dozens of) hours after that.

P.P.S. I've fixed up the answers so they appear in the database correctly — SNOOKERC to SNOOKERCUE and CUE to RIGHTONCUE, e.g. Hope everyone figured out that the "RIGHT ON, RIGHT ON!" title was a good hint!

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1122 ( 24,120 )
Across Down
1. Big gasbag? : BLIMP
6. Sex therapy subject : LIBIDO
12. Rap : HIPHOP
18. Cat and mouse : ANIMALS
20. First name among celebrity chefs : EMERIL
21. Achieve widespread recognition : ARRIVE
22. Warrior who follows "the way of the warrior" : SAMURAI
23. Charged (with) : TASKED
24. Part of a mob : RIOTER
25. Threshold of major change : TIPPINGPOINT
27. Heroic deeds : GESTS
28. Eritrea's capital : ASMARA
29. Small body of medical research : NANOBOT
31. Jack in the box, once? : PAAR
33. Attempt to debug? : SWAT
34. Soundly defeat, informally : SMOKE
38. Arthur Conan Doyle title : SIR
39. Catchphrase from "Jerry Maguire" : SHOWMETHEMONEY
42. Actress Larter of "Heroes" : ALI
43. A little light : PALISH
45. Homer's neighbor on "The Simpsons" : NED
47. ___ facto : IPSO
48. Winnie-the-Pooh greeting : HALLO
50. Jet black : ONYX
51. Like Nahuatl speakers : AZTECAN
54. Puffs : SWELLS
56. "31 Days of Oscar" channel : TCM
57. Hail or farewell : AVE
58. Crocodile tail? : DUNDEE
61. Latin lover's word : AMO
62. Dance class : TAP
63. They sit for six yrs. : SENS
65. Was a victim of price gouging : PAIDTHROUGHTHENOSE
70. ___ Lilly and Company : ELI
71. Struggles (through) : WADES
73. Dweller along the Wasatch Range : UTAHN
74. "That's lovely!" : OOH
75. Rush to beat a deadline : RACEAGAINSTTIME
80. Not aweather : ALEE
81. Penultimate countdown word : ONE
82. Messenger ___ : RNA
83. One of the Golden Girls of 1980s-'90s TV : SOPHIA
85. Nonexpert : LAY
86. Cubs' home : DEN
87. Surrounded by : AMIDST
90. Danced to Xavier Cugat, say : RUMBAED
92. "Supposing that's true ..." : IFSO
93. Modern spelling? : WICCA
94. Madame's "mine" : AMOI
97. Sites for R.N.s and M.D.s : ERS
98. Skedaddles : SCOOTS
100. Prince's inits. : HRH
101. Mark that's hard to hit : MOVINGTARGET
104. Red Cross work : AID
106. Where to find some ham : ONRYE
107. "___ in Calico" (jazz classic) : AGAL
109. It makes flakes : MICA
110. Biceps exercise : ARMCURL
113. Steamed dish that may be prepared in an olla : TAMALE
115. Rapper né Andre Young : DRDRE
117. British pool stick : SNOOKERCUE
122. Fort ___ National Monument : SUMTER
123. They'll make you blush : ROUGES
125. Reindeer relative : CARIBOU
126. "That makes sense now" : IGETIT
127. Early Mexicans : OLMECS
128. Up : ELEVATE
129. Businesswoman/philanthropist ___ Heinz Kerry : TERESA
130. Auto identifiers : PLATES
131. Launch dates : DDAYS
1. Sons of, in Hebrew : BNAI
2. Drooping : LIMP
3. Exasperated cry in the morning : IMUP
4. "A Few Good Men" men : MARINES
5. First option : PLANA
6. Rented : LET
7. Last stage of metamorphosis : IMAGO
8. Dogs : BESETS
9. Rankles : IRKS
10. Coke Zero, for one : DIETPOP
11. "Every dog has his day" and others : OLDSAWS
12. Zimbabwe's capital : HARARE
13. It's in the eye of the beholder : IRIS
14. Formal occasions : PROMS
15. Be unable to make further progress : HITAWALL
16. Part of a Mario Brothers costume : OVERALLS
17. Equity valuation stat : PERATIO
18. Prince Edward Isl. setting : AST
19. Talks with one's hands : SIGNS
26. Exact : RIGHTONPOINT
30. Newfoundland or Labrador : BREED
32. Singer Tori : AMOS
34. Weight room figure : SPOTTER
35. Board game popular throughout Africa : MANCALA
36. ___ Games : OLYMPIC
37. Puffed-grain cereal : KIX
40. Language that gave us "bungalow" and "guru" : HINDI
41. Exact : RIGHTONTHEMONEY
44. Really enjoy oneself : HAVEAGAS
46. Intimate apparel size bigger than C : DCUP
49. Jesus on a diamond : ALOU
52. Site of King Rudolf's imprisonment, in fiction : ZENDA
53. Santa ___ : ANA
55. Sour candy brand : WARHEADS
57. Nile River spanner : ASWANDAM
59. Typical end of a professor's address? : EDU
60. ___ Place (Butch and Sundance companion) : ETTA
64. Six, in Seville : SEIS
66. Berry of "Monster's Ball" : HALLE
67. Beneficial to : GOODFOR
68. The best policy, supposedly : HONESTY
69. Exact : RIGHTONTHENOSE
72. Winter-related commercial prefix : SNO
76. Hoffer or Holder : ERIC
77. Green garnish : SPRIG
78. Two past Tue. : THU
79. Exact : RIGHTONTIME
84. President Garfield's middle name : ABRAM
87. Tire pressure indicator : AIRGAUGE
88. "Let's Get It Started" rapper : MCHAMMER
89. "Rikki-Tikki-___" : TAVI
91. Reebok competitor : ASICS
92. "Positively Entertaining" network : ION
93. Thingamajig : WHATSIT
95. It might follow a showstopping performance, in modern lingo : MICDROP
96. Hot : ONAROLL
99. Not black-and-white : COLORED
102. Code of silence : OMERTA
103. Exact : RIGHTONTARGET
105. Conehead : DUNCE
108. Caffè ___ : LATTE
111. Sports star-turned-model Gabrielle : REECE
112. Author Dahl : ROALD
114. They go around heads around Diamond Head : LEIS
116. Russian legislature : DUMA
118. Big name in microloans : KIVA
119. Subject of the 2002 book "The Perfect Store" : EBAY
120. Turns bad : ROTS
121. Exact : RIGHTONCUE
124. Draft org. : SSS

Answer summary: 13 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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