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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
987/5/20105/16/201959
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2578172498
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.636212
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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?