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New York Times, Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Author:
Matthew Sewell and Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
128/24/201611/27/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2105121
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64131
Matthew Sewell
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1047/5/201011/27/201963
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2678192798
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.637242
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 16, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 49 Missing: {JQ} Spans: 1 Grid has mirror symmetry. There are unchecked squares This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Sewell. This is puzzle # 104 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
MATTHEW: I'm afraid to look at how many iterations we went through on this puzzle. I think the germ of the idea (ha) was mine, but the ... read more

MATTHEW: I'm afraid to look at how many iterations we went through on this puzzle. I think the germ of the idea (ha) was mine, but the cool pots element — which took it from 'Hmm, maybe there's something there' to 'We have to find a way!' — was Jeff's.

We came up with a decent version and sent it in... and got a rejection from Will & Co. that said (as I recall) that they liked the idea, but pretty much nothing about our execution, including the revealer and most of the theme entries. Argh! Good thing neither Jeff nor I lack persistence.

It's a pleasure to see this one make the light of day at last, and I hope solvers enjoy the fruits (er... leaves?) of our efforts.

JEFF: Hopefully this puzzle grows on you ...

(Maybe that should have been "groans on you")

Jeff Chen notes:
We constructors talk about 'seed ideas' (for themed puzzles) or 'seed entries' (for themelesses). Why not actual seeds – or ... read more

We constructors talk about "seed ideas" (for themed puzzles) or "seed entries" (for themelesses). Why not actual seeds – or S E E Ds? It seemed like a natural way to seed a puzzle based on ornamental POTs made of black squares. Easy peasy!

Over two hundred e-mails back and forth later …

As a constructor, I try to steer clear of long "bonus fill" across entries that aren't part of the theme. These muddy up what is thematic and what is not. To our dismay, this grid layout – largely fixed by the four POT placements – required a long across at the bottom of the puzzle. Bah! No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't break it into pieces.

Wait. How about making it thematic? Of course! A perfect solution, let's just do that!

Several thousand searches on our Finder and onelook.com later …

We wanted to have each herb break across multiple words of a theme entry, but we eventually had to make a compromise. GROWTH POTENTIAL was a strong enough bottom revealer that we figured we could let MESSAGE BOARD slide by.

Many thanks to Will Shortz and the team for sticking with Matt and me as we struggled our way through this one!

1
S
2
P
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A
4
S
5
S
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U
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N
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C
9
A
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M
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P
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H
E
L
P
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C
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N
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P
L
E
A
16
A
C
M
E
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L
O
T
T
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U
P
S
Y
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S
C
O
W
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A
T
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I
A
21
S
I
S
I
22
T
A
N
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A
S
H
A
N
T
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I
25
N
A
N
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A
D
D
27
E
R
S
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E
M
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U
E
G
G
30
I
P
E
C
A
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C
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T
R
I
F
L
E
33
S
L
A
S
H
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H
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A
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N
O
O
B
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S
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A
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I
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H
A
V
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D
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C
O
T
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V
A
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G
O
G
H
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G
A
G
46
K
E
E
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N
E
N
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N
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49
W
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R
A
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S
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S
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D
O
Z
E
D
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F
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A
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E
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G
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R
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O
W
T
H
P
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O
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T
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I
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A
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L
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A
H
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A
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O
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M
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P
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T
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X
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P
E
W
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1127 ( 25,586 )
Across
1
Rejuvenating resorts : SPAS
5
Energy source for plants : SUN
8
Word after base or space : CAMP
12
Pitch in : HELP
13
Subtitle preceder, often : COLON
15
Courtroom claim : PLEA
16
Zenith : ACME
17
Singer/actress Lenya : LOTTE
18
"___-daisy!" : UPSY
19
Ungainly boat : SCOW
20
Central courtyards : ATRIA
21
Enthusiastic Spanish assent : SISI
22
Former M&M's color : TAN
23
R&B singer with the 2002 hit "Foolish" : ASHANTI
25
Tandoori bread : NAN
26
Venomous vipers : ADDERS
28
Delicate surface for Aboriginal art : EMUEGG
30
Syrup of ___ : IPECAC
32
Pittance : TRIFLE
33
Fractional part? : SLASH
34
"You wish!" : HAH
36
Inexperienced gamers, in slang : NOOBS
38
Ice Bucket Challenge cause, for short : ALS
39
"Eureka!" : IHAVEIT
42
Forest female : DOE
43
Foldable bed : COT
44
See 32-Down : VANGOGH
45
Kind of gift : GAG
46
One of the Wayans brothers : KEENEN
48
Period that's "ushered in" : NEWERA
50
Payroll dept. IDs : SSNS
52
Catch 40 winks : DOZE
53
Diktat : FIAT
54
Son of Aphrodite and Ares : EROS
55
Ability of a company to expand ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme : GROWTHPOTENTIAL
62
"Eureka!" : AHA
63
Clamor : ADO
64
Entrepreneur's deg. : MBA
65
Herb garden vessel ... as depicted four times by black squares in this puzzle : POT
66
Classic cowboy nickname : TEX
67
Place of worship : PEW
Down
1
Peak that's the home of California's longest glacier : SHASTA
2
Minor indiscretions : PECCADILLOES
3
Bear claw filling : ALMONDPASTE
4
Vent violently : SPEW
5
Truth, to Shakespeare : SOOTH
6
Extremely : ULTRA
7
Away at the moment : NOTIN
8
Apple cores, for short : CPUS
9
Après-ski quarters : ALPINELODGE
10
Where trolls may lurk : MESSAGEBOARD
11
Remunerative : PAYING
13
Like some shares and baseball teams : CLASSA
14
Comparatively tidy : NEATER
23
Where records of old web pages can be accessed : ARCHIVESITE
24
Declaration from someone on a hot streak : IMINTHEZONE
27
Many Caltech grads, for short : EES
29
Sci-fi sighting : UFO
31
Jackie of "Shanghai Noon" : CHAN
32
With 44-Across, Dutch art dealer who supported his artist brother : THEO
33
Fire : SACK
35
Stock market fig. : AVG
37
Dreamcast maker of old : SEGA
40
Palindromic woman's name : HANNAH
41
Overlook : IGNORE
47
[Warning: explicit content] : NSFW
49
Direction that wagon trains headed : WEST
51
Annual parade honoree, familiarly : STPAT
52
Do a juice cleanse, say : DETOX
55
Disparity : GAP
56
Fraternity letter that's a homophone of where fraternities might be found : RHO
57
Feedbag tidbit : OAT
58
Salute in stanzas : ODE
59
Little hellion : IMP
60
Prez in a stovepipe hat : ABE
61
Bar code? : LAW

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle.

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