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New York Times, Thursday, November 5, 2015

Author: Samuel A. Donaldson
Editor: Will Shortz
Samuel A. Donaldson
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2910/2/20086/12/20187
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6146516
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1.64120

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {KQ} This is puzzle # 20 for Mr. Donaldson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Samuel A. Donaldson notes: Three things: (1) The final grid I submitted had NEW SHOOTER instead of PEA SHOOTER at 11-Down (and RENT at 13-Down, in ... more
Samuel A. Donaldson notes:

Three things:

(1) The final grid I submitted had NEW SHOOTER instead of PEA SHOOTER at 11-Down (and RENT at 13-Down, in case you're wondering). My clue for NEW SHOOTER was [Croupier cry as dice are passed]. I still like NEW SHOOTER, but I agree that PEA SHOOTER is the better entry.

(2) Only 33 of my original clues made the final cut. (Happily, that includes [Column that's beside the point?] for TENTHS.) Another nine had to be edited for length or clarification, but poor Will and company had to completely re-write 31 of the clues (plus the clues for the revised entries discussed above). I'll try to do better.

(3) Did you notice that the NTH breaks at a different point in each of the three theme entries? ALL IN THE FAMILY breaks after the N, EVENT HORIZON breaks after the T, and ELEVENTH HOUR breaks after the H (well, okay, it doesn't really "break" there, but you get the idea). That was intentional, since I worried that if two entries broke at the same point it would look inconsistent for the third to break at a different point. Maybe I overthink these things.

Jeff Chen notes: I always enjoy hearing Sam's voice come through in his puzzles. Today brings us such nice colloquial clues: ['I'm right here, you ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I always enjoy hearing Sam's voice come through in his puzzles. Today brings us such nice colloquial clues: ["I'm right here, you know"] for AHEM and ["Am I the only one …"] for IS IT ME. Also great to get OH FUN, something I can imagine Sam saying.

ALL IN THE FAMILY cast

Onto the puzzle! Sam interprets HIGHER POWER as "phrases containing NTH; those three letters get raised above the answer." The bizarre-looking ALLIEFAMILY is actually ALL IN THE FAMILY, with the answer turning up, heading right, jogging back SW, and finishing out. Some nice themers, with ELEVENTH HOUR and EVENT HORIZON both strong.

(Minor ding for NTH and ELEVENTH being too similar for my taste.)

Pretty good execution considering the difficulties of filling around those themers. When you fold answers up like this, it creates many constraints in the crossings. The area around ELEVENTH HOUR is actually quite good, with the snappy PEA SHOOTER (I do like NEW SHOOTER as well) and CRIES UNCLE worked in there. Including those parallel long downs makes that region even tougher to fill cleanly and zestily, so only a NEG and an ATCO (and the arbitrary-ish AGE ONE) is a win.

The areas around the other two themers didn't come out quite as well, with the odd ENISLE up top and STOL (short take-off and landing) down below. Still, that's not bad considering how tough it is to work with these folded types of answers.

Some great clues:

  • The TENTHS column is indeed beside the (decimal) point! Gold star for this one.
  • [Beast of Borden] is ELSIE, Borden's "spokescow."
  • FLAGs get waved at the Olympics, but EPEEs do as well. Nice deception.

I did like seeing those NTHs raised one row, but I didn't quite buy HIGHER POWER as a solid rationale for the serpentine path each themer took. I'm probably taking it too literally, but to me, HIGHER POWER might have been NTH sitting on top of SQUARE and CUBE — powers of two and three — or FIRE, WILL, SOLAR and other different types of powers. It was fun to scratch my head as I tried to figure out the trick, though.

1
M
2
A
3
N
4
E
5
R
6
O
7
C
8
I
9
T
10
Y
11
P
12
C
13
T
14
P
L
I
N
T
H
15
A
S
I
A
16
E
R
A
17
A
L
L
I
E
F
18
A
M
I
L
Y
19
A
I
R
20
A
Y
E
S
21
U
N
I
T
22
S
E
T
23
L
24
O
N
G
25
M
26
O
27
N
28
T
H
S
29
H
30
O
E
D
31
E
32
L
E
V
E
H
O
U
33
R
34
D
O
Z
35
D
36
E
L
I
37
A
G
E
O
N
E
38
A
M
O
39
S
40
L
A
M
41
A
R
42
A
T
C
O
43
T
E
N
T
44
H
S
45
B
U
Y
46
S
47
E
L
S
48
E
V
E
O
R
I
49
Z
O
N
50
O
51
G
R
E
52
I
L
L
S
E
E
53
T
54
A
X
I
55
P
D
A
56
N
57
A
I
F
58
J
59
A
60
P
61
E
62
F
E
Y
63
H
64
I
G
H
E
R
65
P
O
W
E
R
66
F
O
E
67
E
P
E
E
68
O
T
E
L
L
O
69
T
S
R
70
F
O
R
M
71
S
A
S
S
E
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1105 ( 24,103 )
Across Down
1. Travolta's "Saturday Night Fever" role : MANERO
7. Word following Kansas or Oklahoma : CITY
11. Election night abbr. : PCT
14. Column base : PLINTH
15. Where many emerging markets can be found : ASIA
16. Part of B.C.E. : ERA
17. Groundbreaking 1970s sitcom : ALLINTHEFAMILY
19. Put on : AIR
20. For people? : AYES
21. Company, e.g. : UNIT
22. Three of a kind, in Texas hold'em : SET
23. Protracted : LONG
25. Threesome in a quarter : MONTHS
29. Was anti-weed? : HOED
31. Just before the deadline : ELEVENTHHOUR
34. Baker's qty. : DOZ
35. Supermarket section : DELI
37. Time to start walking, maybe : AGEONE
38. Book after Joel : AMOS
40. Missouri birthplace of Harry Truman : LAMAR
42. Big record label in 1960s pop : ATCO
43. Column that's beside the point? : TENTHS
45. Accepts : BUYS
47. Logical extremes? : ELS
48. Point beyond which light cannot escape from a black hole : EVENTHORIZON
50. People eater, perhaps : OGRE
52. "Maybe" : ILLSEE
53. Move on or off the runway : TAXI
55. Address book replacer, for short : PDA
56. Ingenuous one : NAIF
58. Practical joke : JAPE
62. Effeminate : FEY
63. Divine being ... or a hint to 17-, 31- and 48-Across : HIGHERPOWER
66. "Them" : FOE
67. It may be waved at the Olympics : EPEE
68. Opera with the "Willow Song" : OTELLO
69. Original D&D co. : TSR
70. Application to fill out : FORM
71. Gets smart with : SASSES
1. Org. associated with filmratings.com : MPAA
2. One of "us" : ALLY
3. Locale in Exodus : NILE
4. Strand, in a way : ENISLE
5. Mail abbr. : RTE
6. Sarcastic response to a dreaded task : OHFUN
7. Short negligee, for short : CAMI
8. "Am I the only one ...?" : ISITME
9. Up to, informally : TIL
10. Triumphant shout : YAY
11. Toy gun : PEASHOOTER
12. Admits defeat : CRIESUNCLE
13. Lemonlike : TART
18. First name in German politics : ANGELA
24. "How ___!" : ODD
26. Egg container : OVARY
27. -: Abbr. : NEG
28. Mother of Selene : THEA
29. Many camcorder recordings : HOMEVIDEOS
30. It's found all around the world : OZONELAYER
32. Bar entertainment? : LIMBO
33. Classic cars : REOS
34. Go with : DATE
36. Beast of Borden : ELSIE
39. Small-runway craft, in brief : STOL
41. ___ Anne's (pretzel company) : AUNTIE
44. Big hits: Abbr. : HRS
46. Pride of Boston, informally : SOX
49. John Peter ___, early American publisher and free press champion : ZENGER
51. U.S. soldiers, in slang : GIJOES
54. Heads of the black community? : AFROS
55. How a dud goes : PFFT
57. "I'm right here, you know" : AHEM
59. Punchers for a belt : AWLS
60. Scorer of 1,281 goals in 1,363 games : PELE
61. Greek matchmaker : EROS
63. Bunny's beau : HEF
64. Opening on Wall St. : IPO
65. Grp. concerned with class struggles? : PTA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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