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New York Times, Thursday, December 24, 2015

Author:
Derek Bowman
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
98/27/20091/10/20193
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1000620
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58121
Derek Bowman

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 14 Words: 67, Blocks: 34 Missing: {FJQXZ} This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Bowman. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Derek Bowman notes:
For this puzzle, the seed was solving the straightforward entry SOCRATES in another puzzle and seeing it as SO/CRATES and ... read more

For this puzzle, the seed was solving the straightforward entry SOCRATES in another puzzle and seeing it as SO/CRATES and wondering if other ancient Greek names had the same property. Then I came across HIPPO/CRATES and ARI/STOP/HANES. It took me a while to find DEMOS/THE/NES, and the two bonus entries were SAP/PHO and PIN/DAR, if solvers view them that way. GREEK and PLAYS also fit in nicely to include a tie-in to the theme.

This led to the NW and SE corners being wide open, with a lot of grunt work and different submitted versions going into finding the right fill for those areas. The only NW option I saw included MOPTOPS / MOSHED / TARPED / DEE DEE. I could not find TARPED in any dictionary, so I changed it to TOP COPS / TOSHES / CARPET / SEETHE. TOSHES is a plural name, but there are at least two famous TOSHES out there, so I figured I was good with that corner. The SE corner had SO many versions until the final one.

I hope that people enjoy the result. Happy puzzling!

Jeff Chen notes:
Neat findings, famous Greeks whose names can be split up for funny results. HIPPO CRATES reminds me of Bill and Ted calling ... read more

Neat findings, famous Greeks whose names can be split up for funny results. HIPPO CRATES reminds me of Bill and Ted calling Socrates "So-crates," so that was a nice laugh. ARI STOP HANES is such a cool one, and DEMOS THE NES is fun too. Pretty darn cool that Derek managed to find three examples that work so well — and fit into crossword-friendly symmetry!

ARISTOPHANES

I also (mostly) liked the idea behind GREEK PLAYS, i.e. wordplay. It's a real shame though that the clue for GREEK PLAYS referenced "Antigone," by Sophocles. Why not use one of ARISTOPHANES's plays? Granted, "The Birds" isn't nearly as famous as "Antigone," but given that ARISTOPHANES is right in the center of the puzzle …

Derek gives himself an audacious task with his grid — 67 words is very low. Granted, this 15x14 layout artificially lowers the word count by two or three, but still, it's easily in wide-open themeless territory. I worried when solving the NW and SE corners, as regions that big usually come with big compromises. To start with TOSHES isn't ideal (pluralized names are inelegant, and when there are only two of them ...), but the rest of the NW was all right. I don't remember TOP COPS — I couldn't find much about it (is it a cult classic?). There's nothing amazing up there, but nothing truly awful either.

I was pleasantly surprised by the SE, too. Hard not to like a puzzle with SEATTLE in it. Again, there's nothing that wowed me, but with only ESSES, TARE (which is a term we use in engineering all the time), and the outdated PESETA (man, that's a giant number of A, E, S, and Ts!), the corner works. I prefer more snazzy entries — the type you'd usually see in themelesses — but this very low word-count does work as a change of pace. It is pretty cool to have SO many 6- and 7-letter entries interlocking in those corners.

A very cool finding to discover three famous Greek people that have such fun wordplay.

1
T
2
O
3
P
4
C
5
O
6
P
7
S
8
G
9
R
10
E
11
E
12
K
13
O
N
E
A
C
R
E
14
C
R
I
S
T
O
15
S
H
O
R
T
I
E
16
S
A
P
P
H
O
17
H
I
P
P
O
C
R
18
A
T
E
S
19
E
R
L
E
20
I
S
L
A
M
21
A
22
L
23
I
24
S
E
E
T
25
H
E
26
C
R
E
27
W
C
U
T
28
I
S
29
L
A
30
O
H
I
O
31
A
32
R
33
I
S
T
O
P
34
H
35
A
N
E
S
36
E
V
E
N
37
S
P
A
R
38
C
O
N
C
39
O
40
C
T
41
M
M
42
M
43
B
44
O
45
P
46
O
W
E
47
C
A
T
48
E
S
49
T
A
R
E
50
D
E
M
O
S
T
51
H
E
N
E
S
52
P
53
I
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N
D
A
R
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S
E
A
T
T
L
E
56
A
L
B
A
N
Y
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E
A
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N
E
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T
58
P
L
A
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S
59
S
K
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A
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1224 ( 24,152 )
Across
1
Early 1990s CBS series about the exploits of real-life police officers : TOPCOPS
8
With 58-Across, "Antigone" and others ... or, when reinterpreted, a hint to 17-, 31- and 50-Across : GREEK
13
Sizable plot : ONEACRE
14
Dumas's "The Count of Monte ___" : CRISTO
15
Nickname for a little person : SHORTIE
16
Whom Plato called "the tenth Muse" : SAPPHO
17
Packing boxes for heavyweights? : HIPPOCRATES
19
First name in mystery : ERLE
20
Faith for 21-Across : ISLAM
21
Noted American follower of 20-Across : ALI
24
Be furious : SEETHE
26
Buzz : CREWCUT
28
"La ___ Bonita" (Madonna hit) : ISLA
30
Home of the first full-time automobile service station : OHIO
31
Order to Onassis to block a brand of underwear? : ARISTOPHANES
36
Flush : EVEN
37
Sail support : SPAR
38
Come up with : CONCOCT
41
1997 #1 hit with a nonsense title : MMMBOP
46
"I ___ you" : OWE
47
"Gremlins" co-star Phoebe : CATES
49
Empty container's weight : TARE
50
Shows a Sega Genesis rival at an expo? : DEMOSTHENES
52
Noted writer of victory odes : PINDAR
55
Where Nordstrom is headquartered : SEATTLE
56
Duke of ___ ("King Lear" character) : ALBANY
57
Serious : EARNEST
58
See 8-Across : PLAYS
59
Place where you might be asked "Need a lift?" : SKIAREA
Down
1
Comedy's Daniel and reggae's Peter : TOSHES
2
Available to work, in Britain : ONHIRE
3
Time Inc. publication : PEOPLE
4
Nap site : CARPET
5
Numerical prefix : OCTO
6
Least affordable : PRICIEST
7
Good investor types, you'd think : SEERS
8
Golfer McDowell, 2010 U.S. Open champion : GRAEME
9
Castigates : RIPS
10
Clairvoyant's letters : ESP
11
Landlocked African country: Abbr. : ETH
12
"Rock and Roll, Hoochie ___" (1974 Rick Derringer hit) : KOO
14
Red giant type : CSTAR
18
Cartoonist whom John Steinbeck said "may very possibly be the best writer in the world today" : ALCAPP
21
Not just smart : ACHE
22
San ___ (Argentine province or its capital) : LUIS
23
"What was ___ do?" : ITO
25
Half of a matching set : HIS
27
Came out on top : WON
29
Was bested by : LOSTTO
31
Pledge : AVOW
32
Russo of "Thor: The Dark World" : RENE
33
Company closing? : INC
34
Slab from the meat counter : HAMSTEAK
35
Weaponize : ARM
36
Prefix with system : ECO
39
Loads and loads : OCEANS
40
Apt anagram of MY CAR : CAMRY
42
One blowing off steam in Italy? : MTETNA
43
Some back-and-forth : BANTER
44
"Otherwise ... !!!" : ORELSE
45
Coin minted until 2001 : PESETA
48
Slalom paths : ESSES
50
Decisive time : DDAY
51
Mata ___ : HARI
52
Drivel : PAP
53
"___ Be Home for Christmas" : ILL
54
Org. in which big Bucks earn big bucks : NBA

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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