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New York Times, Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Author:
Andrew Zhou
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1611/11/20109/23/20180
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3021532
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1.64241
Andrew Zhou

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {GQXZ} This is puzzle # 10 for Mr. Zhou. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Zhou notes:
This puzzle went through an interesting transformation in the editing process. While the similarities between Halal and Kashrut are ... read more

This puzzle went through an interesting transformation in the editing process. While the similarities between Halal and Kashrut are plentiful, there are notable differences that preclude strict "synonymity" (and thus strict opposition between "halal" and "nonkosher.") Two examples: camel is halal, but also not kosher (kashrut requires animals to chew cud and have cloven hooves). Halal foods cannot contain alcohol of any kind; kashrut allows for alcohol, provided it be, of course, made under kosher laws.

The original conception of the theme plays on the fact these answers "contain" ham, pork, lard, and bacon, rather than the circled things being nonkosher themselves, which I thought gave the puzzle its raison d'être. This idea of ham/pork, etc. sneaking their way into things reflects the concern many kosher/halal-keeping folks have in determining whether they can have certain prepared meals, say. In that conception, the answers (AHAMOMENT, NBACONFERENCE, etc.) are both, with this wordplay, nonkosher and not halal. I had wanted to avoid the opposition of nonkosher and halal in and of themselves b/c of the specificities listed above. But Will felt that this was somewhat confusing since the long answers were not foods.


In further discussion with Will regarding the clue for 65A, he notes that while "opposite" might not be the "perfect word," brainstorming sessions with others made him feel it was the best option, and as he noted, they apply equally to the pork products I hid in the grid. So I've happily complied with his well-reasoned judgment on this.

In this way, the theme ended up quite different from the initial idea. (CHOPS in the opening corner, clued not as food, by the way, prefigures the theme.) But it preserves the original spirit of multiculturalism, and appropriately ushers us into the Thanksgiving holiday, whatever we choose to eat.

Jeff Chen notes:
Pig parts hidden within phrases. Some delicious (*rim shot*) finds, LARD in POPULAR DEMAND a great discovery — it's difficult to ... read more

Pig parts hidden within phrases. Some delicious (*rim shot*) finds, LARD in POPULAR DEMAND a great discovery — it's difficult to stretch non-short words (four or more letters) across a phrase, so I liked this one a lot. BACON across NBA CONFERENCE is also an interesting find, not at all easy to work with that five-letter BACON string, but NBA CONFERENCE isn't nearly as snappy a phrase as POPULAR DEMAND in my eyes, though.

Everything was tied together with the revealer NON KOSHER (and HALAL as well). I hitched a little when I uncovered that, as I was expecting something PIG related. I do like being surprised by revealers, but this one felt slightly off. I'm still trying to think of another revealer that would have tickled me more — if only THE INSIDE PIG or PIG ACROSS were a real phrase. (Doesn't it seem like PIG SPREAD should be a real thing?)

Andrew's notion of themers reflecting worry about whether or not something contains pork is so much fun. I wonder if the clue for NONKOSHER could have conveyed that notion, somehow.

Andrew is so good with his long bonus fill. Today, he uses the approach I favor, relying heavily on long down answers that are spread out and staggered as best as possible. To get AMOS N ANDY / PIN NUMBER / PINOCHLE / TRADE WAR / MARKSMEN / MINNESOTA / FIELD MICE is quite MAJESTIC.

There's usually a cost to incorporating such a huge assortment of strong bonus fill, but today it's only the very small price of a little AER, AFIRST (feels like a six-letter partial), SOTS (outdated term). It's clear to me how much Andrew must have worked on each section of the grid, tearing out a long down answer if it forced him to complete a region with something unsavory, and trying something else. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Ugh, not a fan of the BOYS clue. Yes, BOYS will be BOYS is a common saying, but it's invoked as an excuse for so many things. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Overall, some really nice "hidden words" finds, with a revealer that didn't quite hit for me. But excellent gridwork, as per usual for Andrew.

1
C
2
H
3
O
4
P
5
S
6
S
7
O
8
T
9
S
10
A
11
F
12
A
13
R
14
R
A
N
I
T
15
B
O
R
A
16
M
I
C
A
17
I
R
E
N
E
18
A
H
A
M
19
O
M
E
N
T
20
S
P
U
N
21
M
R
E
D
22
M
A
L
E
S
23
P
O
P
U
24
L
A
R
D
E
25
M
A
N
D
26
M
O
J
O
27
W
A
N
28
M
29
A
30
V
31
U
32
S
33
A
B
L
E
34
J
A
R
35
M
I
R
E
36
H
O
M
E
37
S
38
P
O
R
K
39
I
C
E
S
40
O
D
O
R
41
T
I
E
42
S
43
A
N
E
S
T
44
H
A
S
45
M
I
N
46
A
M
E
N
47
N
48
B
A
C
O
49
N
F
E
R
E
50
N
51
C
52
E
53
S
54
P
A
I
N
55
C
O
I
N
56
S
E
A
M
57
N
O
N
K
O
58
S
H
E
R
59
P
O
P
P
A
60
O
L
D
E
61
I
L
L
S
62
A
T
A
R
I
63
B
O
Y
S
64
B
E
S
T
65
H
A
L
A
L
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1122 ( 24,486 )
Across
1. Musical talent, informally : CHOPS
6. Drunkards : SOTS
10. Quite a ways away : AFAR
14. Rehearsed a piece through from start to finish, in theater lingo : RANIT
15. When doubled, a South Seas island : BORA
16. Mineral in layers : MICA
17. Memorable 2011 hurricane : IRENE
18. When you get it : AHAMOMENT
20. Like yarn : SPUN
21. Talking horse of 1960s TV : MRED
22. Cock and bull : MALES
23. Something might be brought back by this : POPULARDEMAND
26. Voodoo spell : MOJO
27. Ashen : WAN
28. Dallas cager, informally : MAV
31. In working order : USABLE
34. Marmalade container : JAR
35. Mud : MIRE
36. "Where the heart is" : HOME
37. Versatile eating implement : SPORK
39. Decorates, as a cake : ICES
40. Scent : ODOR
41. Knot : TIE
42. Most sensible : SANEST
44. Possesses : HAS
45. Max's opposite : MIN
46. Grace ender : AMEN
47. Eastern or Western, for hoopsters : NBACONFERENCE
53. "Carmen" setting : SPAIN
55. The Canadian loonie or toonie, e.g. : COIN
56. Meeting point for tailors? : SEAM
57. Like the four things named in the shaded squares : NONKOSHER
59. Momma's partner : POPPA
60. Shoppe descriptor : OLDE
61. Woes : ILLS
62. Onetime arcade giant : ATARI
63. Word before and after "will be" : BOYS
64. Casual sign-off in a letter : BEST
65. Opposite of 57-Across, to Muslims : HALAL
Down
1. Cousin of a cobbler : CRISP
2. One of the Marx Brothers : HARPO
3. Outdo : ONEUP
4. What's punched into an A.T.M., redundantly : PINNUMBER
5. Sault ___ Marie, Ont. : STE
6. Pizza chain found in many food courts : SBARRO
7. Expressed amazement : OOHED
8. It might involve mutual raising of tariffs : TRADEWAR
9. Film character who was asked to "Play it" : SAM
10. Capital of Jordan : AMMAN
11. Dark brown rodents with long tails and large eyes : FIELDMICE
12. Proactiv target : ACNE
13. "Darn!" : RATS
19. Mideast's Gulf of ___ : OMAN
21. ___ Theater, venue of "The Phantom of the Opera," the longest-running production in Broadway history : MAJESTIC
24. "Haha, u r hilarious" : LOL
25. Crack shooters : MARKSMEN
29. Belligerent Greek god : ARES
30. Sweater ___ : VEST
31. "This doesn't look good" : UHOH
32. Coke or Pepsi : SODA
33. Old radio show set in Harlem : AMOSNANDY
34. MSNBC's "Morning ___" : JOE
35. Garrison Keillor's home state : MINNESOTA
38. Trick-taking game with a 48-card deck : PINOCHLE
43. ___ Lingus : AER
45. Hand, to Javier : MANO
46. Something record-breaking : AFIRST
48. Tour de France sights : BIKES
49. Carolers' repertoire : NOELS
50. Himalayan land : NEPAL
51. Frank who directed "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" : CAPRA
52. Kind of client : EMAIL
53. Elitist sort : SNOB
54. Preppy shirt : POLO
58. Bro or sis : SIB
59. Musical syllable after "oom" : PAH

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

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