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New York Times, Monday, February 16, 2015

Author: David J. Kahn
Editor: Will Shortz
David J. Kahn
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1793/15/19946/3/20185
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4451222571326
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5514190

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QVZ} This is puzzle # 159 for Mr. Kahn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: The last names of eight U.S. presidents are hidden in this puzzle's completed grid, reading across, back, up, down and diagonally, word-search style. Can you find them all?
David J. Kahn notes: I've written a number of crosswords for The Times about U.S. presidents, including a Sunday puzzle in 2004 to celebrate the ... more
David J. Kahn notes:

I've written a number of crosswords for The Times about U.S. presidents, including a Sunday puzzle in 2004 to celebrate the opening of Bill Clinton's library in Little Rock and one just after Obama was elected president the first time. (My wife and I were invited to the Clinton Library opening so that puzzle is especially memorable for me.)

I also spent the better part of 2014 writing a book of puzzles for Sterling (called "White House Crosswords"); that one will be out this October. The idea for Monday's crossword popped into my head during the writing of that book. I guess if I can't be a presidential historian, the next best thing is writing puzzles about presidents!

Jeff Chen notes: I get such a feeling of satisfaction when I fill in the last box of a crossword and get 'Mr. Happy Pencil.' Finishing a word search ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I get such a feeling of satisfaction when I fill in the last box of a crossword and get "Mr. Happy Pencil." Finishing a word search is more a feeling of relief. I had to scan through the entire grid three times, go through the full list of presidents, scan through the grid an additional three times, and finally go letter by letter with the list of presidents up against the screen. But I found those last two, dangnabit! (Highlighted below in blue and red against the white grid background.)

  • Time it took me to finish the puzzle: 5 minutes
  • Time it took me to find the first six presidents: 10 minutes
  • Time it took me to find the last two: 45 minutes (I (stupidly) hate to give up on anything)

The elusive John Tyler

Pretty clever, the way David hid NIXON and especially TYLER. I originally hadn't thought about words "crossing" diagonal lines of black squares, and then the idea of TYLER crossing TWO of those lines blew my mind. Hopefully most other solvers didn't burn quite as much time as I did. But hey, what an appropriate diversion for Presidents Day.

Overall, I liked the construction. With so many constraints, I expected to see more gluey fill. I also expected that the diagonal presidents would be located smack dab in the middle of those gluey bits. (BOURG helped me locate NIXON, and I was SO sure something had to be hidden around the odd ODORED.) So a good trade-off, packing a reasonable number of presidents into the grid without many compromises.

P.S. DOLE (SE corner) and Robert E. LEE (NE corner)? There is no such thing as a coincidence!

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0216 ( 23,841 )
Across Down
1. Fudd of cartoondom : ELMER
6. Site of the 1968 Democratic convention, informally : CHI
9. Foster of "Taxi Driver" : JODIE
14. "That's cool!" : NEATO
15. Campaigned : RAN
16. Nobles above viscounts : EARLS
17. Imprint on a dirt road : TIRETRACK
19. Nearly vertical, as a cliff : STEEP
20. Instrument for Bill Clinton, informally : SAX
21. Lacking taste : TACKY
22. ___ Party (modern political group) : TEA
23. Pig cries : OINKS
24. Skin-related : DERMAL
27. Quantity : AMOUNT
30. Veal ___ : MARSALA
31. French market town : BOURG
32. Poet William Butler ___ : YEATS
34. ___-ray Disc : BLU
35. National Medal of ___ (honor bestowed by the president) : ARTS
36. Many a Lawrence Welk dance tune : POLKA
37. Cleared, as a garden : HOED
38. N.F.L.'s Manti ___ : TEO
39. Jack who played Napaloni in "The Great Dictator" : OAKIE
40. Way overcharge : GOUGE
41. Compel observance of, as laws : ENFORCE
43. Like "All the President's Men," originally, per the M.P.A.A. : RRATED
44. Idle drawing in a margin : DOODLE
45. Lip-puckering, as kraut : SAUER
47. Sushi eggs : ROE
48. Japanese cartoon art : ANIME
49. Many an Israeli : JEW
52. Six-time Tony winner McDonald : AUDRA
54. Flirt with disaster : TEMPTFATE
56. Primp : PREEN
57. ___ kwon do : TAE
58. 1%-ers : ELITE
59. Eagles and such : BIRDS
60. Subtract's opposite : ADD
61. Apportioned, with "out" : DOLED
1. Docs with little flashlights : ENTS
2. "Star Wars" princess : LEIA
3. Harpo, Zeppo or Groucho : MARX
4. Summer in Somme : ETE
5. Going bad, as fruit : ROTTING
6. Solve, as a code : CRACK
7. Political ___ (partisan sorts) : HACKS
8. Jet-black : INKY
9. Entertainers for kings : JESTERS
10. Westerns, in old lingo : OATERS
11. Have fantasies of : DREAMABOUT
12. Suffix with percent : ILE
13. Mind-reading skill, for short : ESP
18. Tirade : RANT
23. Opposite of theirs : OURS
24. Polling figures, e.g. : DATA
25. State without proof : ALLEGE
26. Eulogized : LAUDED
27. Quieted down : ABATED
28. Oscar-winning Rita : MORENO
29. Not working : OUTOFORDER
30. Concoct : MAKE
32. Oxen connector : YOKE
33. ___ Lilly & Co. : ELI
36. Tempo : PACE
37. Winter frost : HOAR
39. New ___, site of the 1988 Republican convention : ORLEANS
40. Shook hands with, say : GREETED
42. Scented : ODORED
43. Where a horse's tail is : RUMP
45. Golf's Sam : SNEAD
46. Pointed, as a gun : AIMED
48. Lead-in to boy or girl : ATTA
49. Monopoly space that says "Just Visiting" : JAIL
50. Suffix with disk : ETTE
51. Unwanted garden growth : WEED
52. Urgent police message, for short : APB
53. Pseudopsychic Geller : URI
55. Rapper ___ Rida : FLO

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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