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New York Times, Thursday, February 13, 2020

Author:
Amanda Chung and Karl Ni
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
96/17/20182/13/20209
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1133100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60030
Amanda Chung
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
96/17/20182/13/20209
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1133100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60030
Karl Ni

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 9 for Ms. Chung. This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Ni. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
We're so excited to be back in the New York Times after what feels like forever! We kept busy during that time with our now ... read more

We're so excited to be back in the New York Times after what feels like forever! We kept busy during that time with our now 16-month-old son, Clark, and trying to think of fun puzzle ideas.

As is often the case, constructors think alike and David Steinberg's great Sunday puzzle last year employed a similar theme concept with balls vs dice in ours. It looked like David had beaten us to the punch for this particular "trick" and so we were very pleasantly surprised that our puzzle was accepted as well.

Some memorable things about this puzzle:

  1. When we couldn't find enough theme entries in our word list, we did it the "old-fashioned" way by searching the good ol' world wide web, which resulted in a few debut entries.
  2. It worked out nicely that the DICE entries rotated in a progression (though that was probably more luck than skill.
  3. Given the theme density and the fixed placement of the DICE, we're happy that not too much crosswordese was needed.
  4. Karl's thrilled his Star Trek shout-out at 31-A survived.
  5. Amanda prefers the editing team's clue at 24-D — parenthood has given new meaning to Seuss-isms (and Mr. Rogers).

To any aspiring constructor, feel free to contact us at amandakarlxword@gmail.com. We'd be happy to talk shop.

Jeff Chen notes:
Amanda Chung and Karl Ni ROLL THE DICE today, placing D I C E into dice-like visuals. At first, I wondered how an up-right-down ... read more

Amanda Chung and Karl Ni ROLL THE DICE today, placing D I C E into dice-like visuals. At first, I wondered how an up-right-down movement was a "roll," but that led down a long Chidi-like internal debate of moral existentialism, and I had to slap myself upside the head.

I enjoyed several elements today:

  • Each of the D I C E roll clockwise (see, I told you, they're rolling. Okay, maybe not physically but in a metaphysical sense ... although one wonders — SLAP, STOP THAT!)
  • There are four instances, each starting with a different position, to cover all four possible clockwise permutations.
  • It's so neat to get entries that are longer than 15 letters. We rarely see something like REVERSE DICTIONARY; excellent themer choice.
  • Each DICE breaks across a phrase, and each phrase is exactly two words.

I've seen many up-right-down motion puzzles, so I appreciated all the elegant touches.

I could have used more polish in the grid, though. There was so much EAN EINE HAI MEIN RGS STS. Even taking out the worst one — EAN, a weird suffix — would have made a big difference. Perhaps a black square at the H of HEIDI would have been a quick fix, though it's hard to say if the opposite side would cooperate.

A lot of bonuses did help to balance out some of the infelicities — I love stately VALHALLA and, of course, my man, ARISTOTLE. Hmm. What would he say about the roll issue? Would he consider the ethical ramifications of --

*sound of "Nichomachean Ethics" dropped onto my head*

BTW, if you haven't done the Patrick Berry suite from 2011, I highly recommend it. I won't say why I thought of it today. Just do it.

1
C
2
C
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B
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A
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G
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F
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P
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H
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A
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© 2020, The New York TimesNo. 0213 ( 25,664 )
Across
1
Loops in, in a way : CCS
4
Marjoram, for one : HERB
8
Theater : STAGE
13
Japanese affirmative : HAI
14
Home's edge : EAVE
15
Relative of a jaguarundi : OCELOT
16
___ chart : ORG
17
Times when teachers go to school but students don't : INSERVICEDAYS
19
Had : OWNED
21
Where the lord's work is done? : FIEF
22
"___, do not think I flatter": Hamlet : NAY
23
Vessel for dipping at a dinner table : SAUCEDISH
26
First: Lat. : PRIMA
28
Fair : EXPO
29
"___ Nacht in Venedig" (operetta) : EINE
31
"___ that order!" ("Star Trek" command) : BELAY
34
Onetime "Truth in engineering" sloganeer : AUDI
35
"Haven't the foggiest!" : NOIDEA
36
Reference that arranges words by concept rather than alphabetically : REVERSEDICTIONARY
41
On the house : GRATIS
42
Text-displaying technology for Kindles and Nooks : EINK
43
Stows (away) : SALTS
44
Something found on a neck : FRET
45
For the ages : EPIC
49
Kind of yoga : HATHA
51
Cousin of a sno-cone : SHAVEDICE
53
Traveler's text message, maybe : ETA
55
Swear words : OATH
57
Admitted : LETIN
58
Take a chance ... or a hint to the letters in the shaded squares : ROLLTHEDICE
62
Buses and taxis have them nowadays : ADS
63
"I Am ___" (2013 best-selling autobiography) : MALALA
64
Pants, in slang : TROU
65
Brooklyn-based sch. : LIU
66
Saying : ADAGE
67
Confer, as power : VEST
68
People profiled in hagiographies: Abbr. : STS
Down
1
Tap : CHOOSE
2
Substance applied with a chamois : CARWAX
3
Enlist : SIGNUP
4
Classic children's heroine once played in film by Shirley Temple : HEIDI
5
Suffix with Euclid : EAN
6
Campers : RVS
7
Complaint : BEEF
8
Many an Arthur C. Clarke work : SCIFIBOOK
9
___ Conference : TED
10
Co-star of 2019's "Marriage Story" : ALANALDA
11
Noted painter of scenes of the Napoleonic Wars : GOYA
12
Place for unique gifts : ETSY
15
Finished : OVER
18
As good as it's going to get? : RIPE
20
Prefix with tourism : ECO
24
Children's author who wrote "There is no one alive who is you-er than you!" : SEUSS
25
Stash : HIDE
27
German possessive : MEIN
30
Less deserving of coal in one's stocking : NICER
32
___ Lingus : AER
33
"Woo-hoo!" : YAY
34
Pioneer in syllogistic logic : ARISTOTLE
35
Like I Samuel among the books of the Old Testament : NINTH
36
Some offensive linemen, for short : RGS
37
Ruth's was 2.28 : ERA
38
Locale in Wagner's "Das Rheingold" : VALHALLA
39
Singer James : ETTA
40
Popular Father's Day gifts : TIES
44
Kismet : FATE
45
Palindromic response to "Madam, I'm Adam" : EVE
46
Sources of attar : PETALS
47
"Go me!" : IDIDIT
48
Count : CENSUS
50
"Fooled you!" : HAHA
52
Dweller on the Bering Sea : ALEUT
53
Humorist Bombeck : ERMA
54
Super Mario Bros. character with a mushroom head : TOAD
56
Good resolution provider : HDTV
59
Video game annoyance : LAG
60
Red state : IRE
61
Counterpart of sin : COS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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