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New York Times, Thursday, December 24, 2015

Author:
Derek Bowman
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
88/27/20096/1/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1000520
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57121
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
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A
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L
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E
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H
E
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C
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27
W
C
U
T
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I
S
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L
A
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O
H
I
O
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A
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R
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H
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A
N
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E
V
E
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S
P
A
R
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C
O
N
C
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O
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C
T
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M
M
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M
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B
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O
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P
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W
E
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C
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D
E
M
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H
E
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P
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N
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A
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A
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T
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P
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59
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K
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A
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1224 ( 24,152 )

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Students & seniors
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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