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STOLEN PRODUCE

New York Times, Sunday, November 3, 2013

Author:
Andy Kravis and Victor Barocas
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1311/3/20131/13/20198
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4122112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64040
Andy Kravis
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
102/9/20111/21/20186
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4012300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62022
Victor Barocas

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 71 Missing: {QZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Kravis. This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Barocas. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
Andy: Victor and I met at ACPT 2012, where he sat at the table behind me. We sat in the same seats at ACPT 2013, and he pitched the idea of this puzzle to me. I loved it, but he was ... read more

Andy:

Victor and I met at ACPT 2012, where he sat at the table behind me. We sat in the same seats at ACPT 2013, and he pitched the idea of this puzzle to me. I loved it, but he was still a theme entry short. Eventually, I came up with DATE BOOKS, and the rest is history!

This puzzle is a great example of collaboration in constructing gone right. Victor put together the symmetrical theme entries, then I designed the grid and took the first crack at the fill. We traded maybe eight or nine versions of the fill back and forth until we had something we were satisfied with. Then Victor clued it, and we sent notes back and forth on ways to improve the clues. The whole process took us about three months, and I think letting the puzzle gestate for that long really paid off. Victor is a really creative and skilled constructor, and it was a real pleasure working with him!

Will Shortz notes:
A fresh theme, elegantly done. DATEBOOKS did give me pause, because I'm just barely familiar with the usage of 'book' meaning 'to leave' — but it's legitimate. You might be ... read more

A fresh theme, elegantly done. DATEBOOKS did give me pause, because I'm just barely familiar with the usage of "book" meaning "to leave" — but it's legitimate. You might be interested to know that the constructors' manuscript had F-BOMB at 1A, which I edited out. It was a close call, but I wasn't sure this met the Times's standards of good taste.

Jeff Chen notes:
What a perfect use for a Sunday-size grid today! Sometimes the bigger palette can feel like a weekday puzzle simply stretched out, but Andy and Victor use the extra space for a great ... read more

What a perfect use for a Sunday-size grid today! Sometimes the bigger palette can feel like a weekday puzzle simply stretched out, but Andy and Victor use the extra space for a great payoff. It took me a while to cotton to the trick, and when I finally figured out that each phrase on the right hand side told you what letters to take out for the corresponding answer, I thought it was pretty cool. But then when I realized that each of the "removal phrases" were fruit-related and FRUIT FLIES tied them all together, I stood up and cheered. A true WITT (Wish I Thought of That).

Ten theme answers makes for a difficult construction. Sure, one might think because the lengths are relatively short that this is equivalent to five grid-spanners (answers of 21 letters), but it's more difficult than that. With grid-spanners you have the advantage that they use no black squares, thus allowing you to deploy your black squares elsewhere, breaking up difficult spots. Today's arrangement places several black squares right off the bat, making the construction less flexible.

The fill is generally good given all the constraints. In terms of long fill, there's GO DUTCH, NAVY YARD, ID LOVE TO, and MISS JAPAN, which at first seemed a bit arbitrary, but I've decided I like. Some really good stuff. However, as with most Sunday-size grids and their inherent challenges, the crossings of DEKE/HEKATE and ESME/ESTES and DNIEPER/ADEN are going to be a real challenge for some. I don't mind seeing a random European river here or there, but somehow having two in one puzzle feels (to me) like one too many (ARNO, I'm looking at you). I don't think any of these crossings are necessarily unfair, but I'd say they aren't ideal.

Finally, I'd like to express another note of amazement that Andy and Victor were able to come up with 1.) five "fruit"+"synonym for leave" pairs and 2.) found enough entries so that they were symmetrically paired. I really enjoyed this puzzle; a close second for the POW. Brilliantly conceived and executed.

P.S. You may recognize Andy from "Million Second Quiz". Incredible accomplishment to have won it all! If you're into such capitalist notions as money. (insert proletarian harrumph here)

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1103 ( 23,371 )
Across
1
Winner of the 2005 and 2007 Grammys for Best Spoken Word Album : OBAMA
6
Relief for the snowbound : THAW
10
Seal words : MOTTO
15
Put one's hands together : CLAP
19
Setting for Henry James's "The American" : PARIS
20
Actress Chaplin of "Game of Thrones" : OONA
21
Company whose logo was, appropriately, crooked : ENRON
22
Burrow, perhaps : LAIR
23
Many service dogs, after 29-Across? : GERMANSHEPHERDS
25
Roi's wife : REINE
26
___ Stanley Gardner : ERLE
27
French colony until 1953 : LAOS
28
The Warrior Princess : XENA
29
They get stuffed at Greek restaurants : GRAPELEAVES
31
Rapper with the 2013 #1 album "Born Sinner" : JCOLE
33
Sees red : BOILS
34
Eighty-sixes : IXNAYS
35
Foil user's words : ENGARDE
38
Foreshadows : BODES
39
A/C measures : BTUS
40
Serious break, after 48-Across? : COMPOUNDFRACTURE
42
Author John Dickson ___ : CARR
43
Mao ___-tung : TSE
46
Harvests : GLEANS
47
"I don't know why ___ this way" : IACT
48
Schedule planners : DATEBOOKS
50
Years, for Cicero : ANNI
51
On the q.t. : INSECRET
53
Sail extender : SPRIT
54
She, overseas : ELLE
56
Greek goddess of witchcraft : HEKATE
59
Salinger title girl : ESME
60
Legendary Scottish swimmer, after 66-Across? : LOCHNESSMONSTER
66
Tart treats : LEMONDROPS
68
Potter's base : CLAY
69
Painted crudely : DAUBED
71
Gulf of ___ : ADEN
72
Marx without much to say : HARPO
74
Cruiser repair site : NAVYYARD
77
List component : ITEM
81
Circus founders, after 89-Across? : BARNUMANDBAILEY
84
"The Lion King" lioness : NALA
85
Overflowed : TEEMED
87
Swelled head? : ESS
88
Ice cream brand : EDYS
89
Ice cream treats : BANANASPLITS
91
Shield border : ORLE
92
Mastodon features : TUSKS
93
Clobber : SHELLAC
94
Jet Ski competitor : SEADOO
97
Forces from office : OUSTS
98
Begins to wake : STIRS
99
Where Margaret Thatcher studied chemistry, after 108-Across? : OXFORDUNIVERSITY
101
Winglike : ALAR
102
"The King and I" role : ANNA
106
Ulrich of Metallica : LARS
107
Obliterate : ERASE
108
Short-lived pests ... or an alternative title for this puzzle : FRUITFLIES
110
Prefix with -genarian : OCTO
111
Money holders : TILLS
112
Guam, e.g.: Abbr. : TERR
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Only inanimate zodiac sign : LIBRA
114
Lee of Marvel Comics : STAN
115
Beginning : ONSET
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Northeast vacation locale, with "the" : CAPE
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"The Lion's Share" author : AESOP
Down
1
Car with a lightning bolt in its logo : OPEL
2
The Tide : BAMA
3
River of Pisa : ARNO
4
Tokyo beauty, maybe : MISSJAPAN
5
Smokestack emission : ASH
6
Poe poem : TOHELEN
7
Tony winner Lena : HORNE
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All that ___ bag of chips : ANDA
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Second word of "A Tale of Two Cities" : WAS
10
"The more the ___" : MERRIER
11
N.B.A.'s Shaquille and Jermaine : ONEALS
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Psychedelic experiences : TRIPS
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Shape (up) : TONE
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Glenfiddich bottle size : ONELITRE
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Wipes off, say : CLEANS
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Caterpillar, for one : LARVA
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Dancer Alvin : AILEY
18
Iron : PRESS
24
Book in which Moses is born : EXODUS
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Split the check : GODUTCH
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They're way out : EXURBS
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Buds : CRONIES
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Ball game : BOCCE
35
Med. test : ECG
36
Saints' home, for short : NOLA
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Feds : GMEN
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Frederick's of Hollywood purchases : BRAS
39
Flutter, as one's eyes : BAT
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Adjusts carefully : FINETUNES
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Twin-hulled vessel : CATAMARAN
43
Many a broken statue : TORSO
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Tighten one's belt : SKIMP
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Politico Kefauver : ESTES
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Hockey fake : DEKE
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Phone button : OPER
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"Here's looking at you, kid" addressee : ILSA
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Mother, e.g.: Abbr. : REL
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Psychedelic drug : LSD
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Mary Lincoln, nee ___ : TODD
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Jackson-to-Birmingham dir. : ENE
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Earthy pigment : OCHRE
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Santa ___ : CLAUS
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Damages : HARMS
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"Law & Order: SVU" force : NYPD
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Many a collector's resource : EBAY
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Preacher, for short : REV
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Fourth-longest river of Europe : DNIEPER
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Powerful line : DYNASTY
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Puck's master : OBERON
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"Over There" soldiers : YANKS
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Word of woe : ALAS
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Does what George Washington couldn't? : TELLSALIE
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Oscar winner Jannings : EMIL
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Lead-in for physics ... and pieman? : META
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Enthusiastic reply : IDLOVETO
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Grease dissolver : LYE
85
Casual top : TSHIRT
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Medal awarded to MacArthur in W.W. I and W.W. II : DSC
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Superlative for Atlanta International Airport : BUSIEST
90
"Holiday Inn" co-star : ASTAIRE
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Favored against the field : ODDSON
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Scrap : TUSSLE
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Performs unaccompanied : SOLOS
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Perfect : EXACT
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Vessel with an arch : AORTA
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Some exams : ORALS
98
Drink loudly : SLURP
100
Andrews of Fox Sports : ERIN
101
Vicinity : AREA
103
Penpoints : NIBS
104
Great-grandson of Mark Antony : NERO
105
Quickly, quickly : ASAP
108
Org. "protecting America's consumers" : FTC
109
Marco Rubio's home: Abbr. : FLA

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 6 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?