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New York Times, Monday, November 5, 2018

Author:
Roland Huget
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
123/20/201511/5/20180
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0110028
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1.52012
Roland Huget

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {FJQXZ} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Huget. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Roland Huget notes:
This puzzle has an unusual history. It was first constructed in August 2017. In October Will et al. said that they liked the theme, ... read more

This puzzle has an unusual history. It was first constructed in August 2017. In October Will et al. said that they liked the theme, but that one of the themers was too obscure. After settling on a replacement, I was given the challenge of coming up with a polished Monday fill.

I ran into a snag in the W and NW. After several attempts, I couldn't come up with a grid that didn't have either trite short fill or longer answers that were inappropriate for a Monday puzzle, or both. Finally, Sam Ezersky stepped in and fixed it. I suggested we share construction credit, but Sam declined. The puzzle was accepted for publication almost exactly a year ago.

Editors have made significant changes to my grids twice. Both times I learned a valuable lesson. In this case, I learned that when you paint yourself into a corner, as I did here, you have to go back far enough to revisit key decisions made earlier in the fill. Often, a less preferred option for a word slot ends up opening up the grid later on, resulting in a more successful fill overall.

Jeff Chen notes:
There's something wickedly clever about SOUND BITES imagined as 'foods with a sound in their name.' CAPN CRUNCH and GINGER SNAP are ... read more

There's something wickedly clever about SOUND BITES imagined as "foods with a sound in their name." CAPN CRUNCH and GINGER SNAP are just perfect — not only do they fit that description, but the noise in their name is exactly the noise they make. I can just hear the cereal crunch crunch crunch in my teeth, and the cookies snap snap snap in my hands.

TOOTSIE POP didn't work as well for me since it doesn't actually make a popping sound. It's more of a lick lick crack munch CRUUUNCH OOOOOOWWWW MY FILLING BROKE!

I think I'm eating it wrong.

POP ROCKS would have been better for me, since there's that distinctive POPping sound as they melt the lining of your mouth.

I used to enjoy candy so much. Sigh.

Of course, POP ROCKS (8) and SOUND BITES (10) don't match lengths. Bah! Though, it would have been possible to use mirror symmetry in a 16x15 grid, with POP ROCKS and SOUND BITES horizontal, CAPN CRUNCH / GINGER SNAP vertical.

With just four themers of length = 10, I'd expect a jazzy, smooth grid. I love that Roland worked in a bunch of long downs – ON THE DL, PAPER CUT, CAROUSEL, BAD SIDE check off that first criterion. The second was close, but a bit too much poeticality in ANON / ETERNE / ERE. You cheeky ROUE, Roland! It's an acceptable quantity of crossword glue, but it would have been better if it all hadn't all been drawn from the same well.

Fun theme idea that came close to super-cleverosity. If only TOOTSIE POPs actually popped! False advertising, that.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1105 ( 25,199 )
Across
1. Pulsate, as with pain : THROB
6. What a red traffic light means : STOP
10. Container for soup or cereal : BOWL
14. ___ acid (protein builder) : AMINO
15. "Very funny!" : HAHA
16. Eye layer : UVEA
17. Chocolaty candy on a stick : TOOTSIEPOP
19. 500 sheets of paper : REAM
20. Realtors' showings : HOMES
21. Endless, in poetry : ETERNE
23. Guard at an entrance : GATEMAN
26. Length x width, for a rectangle : AREA
27. Desertlike : ARID
28. Breakfast cereal with a naval officer on its box : CAPNCRUNCH
33. Put through a blast furnace, say : SMELT
35. Dissolute sort : ROUE
36. Rope-a-dope boxer : ALI
37. ___-relief : BAS
38. Two marks in "résumés" : ACCENTS
41. Easy-to-chew food : PAP
42. It ends with diciembre : ANO
43. Danny who co-starred in "White Christmas" : KAYE
44. Make red-faced : ABASH
46. Brittle, spicy cookie : GINGERSNAP
50. Besides : ALSO
51. Hilarious person : RIOT
52. Plan going forward, as for peace : ROADMAP
54. As originally placed : INSITU
57. Constantly rising things in gentrifying neighborhoods : RENTS
58. Where Hartford is: Abbr. : CONN
59. Broadcast news snippets ... or an apt description for 17-, 28- and 46-Across? : SOUNDBITES
64. Grand-scale production : EPIC
65. ___ Krabappel, teacher on "The Simpsons" : EDNA
66. Love, love, love : ADORE
67. Meyers of late-night : SETH
68. Most mammals have four of them : LEGS
69. Core belief : TENET
Down
1. Tit for ___ : TAT
2. Care provider, briefly : HMO
3. 2016 Olympics host, informally : RIO
4. Hush-hush, slangily : ONTHEDL
5. ___ buddy : BOSOM
6. "For Your Eyes Only" singer Easton : SHEENA
7. Water spigots : TAPS
8. "Look what I found!" : OHO
9. Slice from a book? : PAPERCUT
10. The "B" of F.B.I. : BUREAU
11. On top of : OVER
12. Withdraw gradually (from) : WEAN
13. Unfunny, as a joke : LAME
18. Apple desktop : IMAC
22. Mother canonized in 2016 : TERESA
23. Long-winded sort : GASBAG
24. Italian designer Giorgio : ARMANI
25. Attaches using string : TIESON
26. Unknown author, for short : ANON
29. Fuss in front of the mirror : PREEN
30. Incendiary weapon used in the Vietnam War : NAPALM
31. Category for a minor-league team : CLASSA
32. Rap, by another name : HIPHOP
34. "Grab this!" : TAKEIT
39. Amusement park ride that goes around and around : CAROUSEL
40. Growth under the skin : CYST
45. Unflattering angle of one's face : BADSIDE
47. Christmas stealer in a Dr. Seuss book : GRINCH
48. Stadiums : ARENAS
49. Duck's habitat : POND
53. Hitter's turn to hit : ATBAT
54. Helps reduce the swelling of, say : ICES
55. Slangy refusal : NOPE
56. Foul mood : SNIT
57. Step on a ladder : RUNG
60. Poem of praise : ODE
61. 2,000 pounds : TON
62. Before, poetically : ERE
63. "On your mark, get ___ ..." : SET

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

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