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New York Times, Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Author:
Matthew E. Paronto and Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
22/11/20142/25/20142
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0020000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59000
Matthew E. Paronto
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
917/5/201011/15/201853
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2467172188
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.635192
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Paronto. This is puzzle # 24 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
Matthew: I attended the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament for the first time in 2011. Roz Chast was the awards presenter that ... read more

Matthew:

I attended the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament for the first time in 2011. Roz Chast was the awards presenter that year. Before handing out the awards, she read a short essay. The essay humorously highlighted many of the entries that frequently appear in crosswords, commonly referred to as crosswordese. A year or so later, I returned to this essay and the idea of taking a set of common crossword entries and turning them into a puzzle. My idea was to make the crosswordese words the clues, and what would typically be the clues for these words, the answers.

I compiled a list of crosswordese words, but soon realized there needed to be more to this theme than just selecting a subset of these words and then developing theme answers that were of the appropriate length. So I revisited the list, and noticed a lot of these words began with the letter E. It then occurred to me that if all the words began with "E", a revealer for the puzzle could be CROSSWORDESE, which not only was a pun but also an apt description of the theme answer clues.

I passed the idea by Jeff, and he really liked it. One improvement he suggested immediately was to change one of the original theme clues — EEE (wide shoe spec) — to EMIR, as EEE was the only theme clue of the set that was not four letters long. Over time, there were further adjustments made in order to get theme answers to match up by length, which ultimately resulted in one of the original clues, the ever-popular EWER, being replaced by the equally crowd-pleasing ETUI.

In terms of filling the rest of the puzzle, we felt it was important to keep the crosswordese to a minimum. In general this is a good approach to take, but even more so when you're already drawing attention to crosswordese in the puzzle's theme. I think for the most part we were successful in this, the occasional ONO, ANAT, and OBOE notwithstanding.

Thanks for reading. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to work on my next puzzle: lesser-known, four-letter European rivers.

Jeff Chen notes:
And now for our next installment of JEFF VS. DAN, where Jeff feebly attempts to solve his own puzzles faster than ACPT champion Dan ... read more

And now for our next installment of JEFF VS. DAN, where Jeff feebly attempts to solve his own puzzles faster than ACPT champion Dan Feyer. Seeing as how Dan spanked me silly in our last round, I decided to give myself a significant advantage: not only did I look at the answers beforehand, but I STUDIED them. I tried to memorize as many as I could so I'd be able to fill answers in just based on letter patterns. My time was a personal best: 2:25. Check back in to see what times Dan and the other speedsters clock in at.

ADDED NOTE: Drat it! David Plotkin, aka Bug Out, checked in at 1:57... ON PAPER. That's almost 30 seconds faster than me, using a slower solving medium (I solve on computer). Sigh.

Matthew contacted me with this idea, and I thought it was hilarious, and insider's nod to the crosswordese that often must be used to glue a puzzle together. And to have all common E words that were all "four-letter words" just tickled me. We went to work trying to figure out appropriate definitions, and given my distaste for entries that sound like they're from a dictionary (I just don't find them fun to uncover in a crossword), we batted around many phrases until we arrived at ones we felt like we'd be fine with seeing in a normal xw.

The fill was especially challenging, especially because if we incorporated a single piece of crosswordese (outside of the themers), the puzzle just wouldn't seem elegant. Not to mention, we'd leave ourselves open to all sorts of chop-busting from our crossword friends. So it took a long, long time figure out an arrangement of those five themers which would allow us to produce a relatively clean fill. I don't like that we had to leave in REE or ANAT or the singular TAPA, but almost every crossword with five themers is bound to have something.

Now, if we could have just fit in FOUR LETTER WORDS...

Jim Horne notes:
A more extreme example of this kind of reverse crosswordese can be found in this 2009 puzzle by Arthur Schulman where the theme clues ... read more

A more extreme example of this kind of reverse crosswordese can be found in this 2009 puzzle by Arthur Schulman where the theme clues were "Ais", "Ocas", "Moas", "Eri", "Ara", and "Ers".

1
M
2
O
3
M
4
A
5
O
6
R
7
B
8
S
9
I
10
B
11
I
12
S
13
S
N
A
R
14
K
15
R
E
A
M
16
T
A
P
A
17
G
O
T
T
I
18
A
F
R
O
19
A
N
A
T
20
F
E
21
N
C
I
N
G
22
B
L
A
D
E
23
U
24
N
25
C
I
V
I
L
26
L
I
N
27
R
O
L
L
28
N
E
29
E
30
D
31
L
E
C
A
32
S
33
E
34
S
T
O
M
35
P
36
M
U
T
E
37
S
E
X
38
U
F
W
39
S
40
E
41
A
B
I
R
D
42
P
E
P
43
L
A
N
44
A
X
L
E
45
S
46
A
L
S
A
47
A
R
A
48
B
L
E
A
D
49
E
50
R
51
M
I
T
T
52
R
U
M
53
L
E
54
A
N
T
O
S
55
C
56
R
O
S
S
57
W
58
O
59
R
D
E
S
E
60
Z
E
U
S
61
O
B
O
E
62
I
S
63
I
64
A
65
H
66
A
N
N
E
67
R
E
V
S
68
S
I
N
G
E
69
R
O
D
S
70
N
Y
E
T
71
A
N
E
W
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0225 ( 23,485 )
Across
1. Where Matisses hang in N.Y.C. : MOMA
5. Sun and moon, poetically : ORBS
9. Sacred Egyptian bird : IBIS
13. Sarcasm, informally : SNARK
15. Paper quantity : REAM
16. Madrid tidbit : TAPA
17. John known as the "Teflon Don" : GOTTI
18. Big do : AFRO
19. Med. student course : ANAT
20. EPEE : FENCINGBLADE
23. Discourteous : UNCIVIL
26. Asian-American basketball sensation Jeremy : LIN
27. "Let's ___!" : ROLL
28. ETUI : NEEDLECASE
34. Foot-pound? : STOMP
36. Remote button : MUTE
37. Driver's license datum : SEX
38. Tomato and lettuce pickers' org. : UFW
39. ERNE : SEABIRD
42. Energy : PEP
43. Computer-connecting system, for short : LAN
44. Wheel connector : AXLE
45. Tortilla chip dip : SALSA
47. EMIR : ARABLEADER
51. Barack's re-election opponent : MITT
52. Pirate's quaff : RUM
53. Makeshift shelters : LEANTOS
55. What this puzzle's capitalized clues are, both by definition and pun : CROSSWORDESE
60. Jupiter, to the Greeks : ZEUS
61. Relative of a bassoon : OBOE
62. N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer Thomas : ISIAH
66. Actress Hathaway : ANNE
67. Guns, as an engine : REVS
68. Burn a bit : SINGE
69. Reels' counterparts : RODS
70. Putin put-down? : NYET
71. Once more : ANEW
Down
1. Abbr. on Chinese menus : MSG
2. Lennon's love : ONO
3. Gymnast's surface : MAT
4. Highbrow theater screening : ARTFILM
5. Seer : ORACLE
6. New mortgage deal, informally : REFI
7. Place for an owl : BARN
8. What can take your breath away in L.A.? : SMOG
9. Bold alternative : ITALIC
10. Fountain treat with cherries on top : BANANASPLIT
11. Apple tablet : IPAD
12. Fill to excess : SATE
14. Chicken ___ : KIEV
21. Diarist Anaïs : NIN
22. Runs, as a color : BLEEDS
23. Bond girl Andress : URSULA
24. Relatively near : NOTFAR
25. Be a goof : CLOWNAROUND
29. Many a Persian Gulf war correspondent : EMBED
30. It makes MADD mad : DUI
31. Photocopier setting: Abbr. : LTR
32. Takes care of : SEESTO
33. Yanks living abroad, e.g. : EXPATS
35. Sacred songs : PSALMS
40. Computer file extension : EXE
41. Pie ___ mode : ALA
46. Overused plot device in soaps : AMNESIA
48. Hearty kisses : BUSSES
49. Firstborn : ELDEST
50. Riddle-me-___ : REE
54. Yard sale caveat : ASIS
55. Peter the Great or Ivan the Terrible : CZAR
56. Clinton attorney general Janet : RENO
57. Threadbare : WORN
58. Follow orders : OBEY
59. Wander about : ROVE
63. Holiday ___ : INN
64. Grow long in the tooth : AGE
65. Chop : HEW

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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