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# BINARY CODE

## New York Times, Sunday, December 27, 2015

 Author: Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1211/13/20129/19/201712
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3151200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58131
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5611/13/20129/21/201819
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
519165452
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281

## This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 72 Missing: {KQX} This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Gagliardo. This is puzzle # 24 for Ms. Burnikel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: DON: What started me on this theme was ONION RINGS — I just happened to notice that the O's were described by RINGS. I thought if we simply write OO, one could literally say they are ONION RINGS. I ... more
Constructor notes:

DON:

What started me on this theme was ONION RINGS — I just happened to notice that the O's were described by RINGS. I thought if we simply write OO, one could literally say they are ONION RINGS. I started to think of other possibilities. DD came easily, DEAD ENDS. Enlisting the help of a co-constructor is very profitable in this situation. Zhouqin came up with some great ones, like AA: NCAA FINALS, NN: MINNESOTA TWINS.

We got too ambitious with the grid design. With nine theme answers, one needs to be very careful. We had too many short answers that were unacceptable. The puzzle was accepted for the theme, but we needed to clean it up. We decided the best route was to start over completely. It paid off well because in a reasonably short time we were able to construct a grid that was acceptable. This is another case where having a co-constructor is ideal, because starting over completely may seem overwhelming by oneself, but much easier with some assistance.

C.C.:

I love when Don's theme proposal clicks with me immediately! I had fun finding LEADOFF DOUBLE, NCAA FINALS, JAZZ DUET & WINDOW FRAME. The other few (MARRIED COUPLE, SHOPPING CENTER & MINNESOTA TWINS) are just there waiting for us.

Don designed both our grids. I still have difficulty making 140-worder (maximum word count) happen.

Thanks for the new title, Will and Joel!

Jeff Chen notes: Loved this puzzle. C.C. (Zhouqin) and Don's wide range of plays on double-letters is really cool. I vaguely remembered NN as MINNESOTA TWINS from somewhere, but most of the others felt fresh. OO = the Os in ONION ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Loved this puzzle. C.C. (Zhouqin) and Don's wide range of plays on double-letters is really cool. I vaguely remembered NN as MINNESOTA TWINS from somewhere, but most of the others felt fresh. OO = the Os in ONION RINGS ("rings" within ONION) is such a clever find. PP = the central letters of SHOPPING CENTER. AA = NCAA FINALS, i.e. the final letters of NCAA. So many different discoveries, all using in-the-language phrases!

LEADOFF DOUBLE did throw me for a second — shouldn't "leadoff" mean that the double letters are at the front of the word? — but after thinking about it, it's just that the FF is a "double" within LEADOFF. It works, but the unintentional mislead made me feel like it was the weakest of the bunch.

But I'll pause here to repeat how much I loved the idea and the nine themers.

The execution was very nice, too. A 140-word puzzle is so tough to cleanly and snazzily fill, especially when you have nine themers. Not much long fill, but what great usage of their 7-letter slots. HALFCAF, AIR FARE, OH GREAT, LUDDITE, NATASHA (with a clue from "Rocky and Bullwinkle"!) = all wonderful entries. I wasn't sure what SANGRITA was (sangria, anyone?) but I don't drink much besides beer and scotch these days.

A great majority of the time, I see too much glue in NYT Sunday crosswords for my taste. It's understandable, as a 140-word puzzle is just really darn hard to put together without some glue. So to keep it to really minor ENS, EST, INTL, SPEE kind of stuff is excellent work. I really dislike DNAS, since it and RNA are rarely pluralized outside crosswords, but that's the only real standout.

Again, incredibly fun idea with a wide range of findings for those double letters. One of my favorite Sunday puzzles of the year.

 1S 2I 3P 4O 5N 6A 7B 8A 9S 10E 11S 12T 13E 14A 15M 16O 17U N L O A 18D 19N A T A S H 20A 21A V I A N 22S 23S H O P P I 24N G C E N T E R 25G A R R E T 26S A W 27A G E L O N G 28R U 29T S 30F R A Y 31E L M 32I R O N 33R 34H Y M E 35C A I R N 36D E A 37D 38E N D S 39D I A L 40S 41P A R E M E 42S N O R T S 43I N T L 44E L A T E D 45M A O 46N C A A F 47I N A L S 48C 49O 50T 51B 52L O T 53F O E S 54C B S 55A U 56R O R A 57L E E 58O 59S L O 60A A A 61S T P A U L S 62I C A 63N 64W I N 65D 66O W F R 67A M E 68S P E E 69S O D A 70P O P 71C H E 72M U S 73H 74L A D 75L O O T E R 76B O G 77A 78L O T 79E 80V E N 81E L F 82O N 83I O N R 84I N G S 85G I L 86F 87A R I N A 88E N T S 89C A N A 90L 91S 92A 93D D L I N G 94B A A S 95J A Z Z D U E 96T 97B O O L A 98O 99D E T S 100R U D E 101D V R 102B L U R 103P T A S 104E 105V E R E S 106T 107D E Y 108A L B I 109N O 110M I 111N N E S O T A T 112W I N S 113S A L S A S 114E D A S N E R 115T O O T A T 116R E E S E 117E V E N T S 118P O E M S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1227 ( 24,155 )