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New York Times, Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Author:
Queena Mewers and Alex Eaton-Salners
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
12/6/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48000
Queena Mewers
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
262/2/20179/28/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
125410013
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54240
Alex Eaton-Salners

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 39 Missing: {JQZ} This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Mewers. This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Eaton-Salners. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Note: This was published as a uniclue puzzle in print.
All the clues appear in a single list, combining Across and Down.
When two answers share a number, they also share a clue.
Constructor notes:
The theme of this puzzle was largely hashed out over dinner at Red Robin. The most important decision was which pairs of words to ... read more

The theme of this puzzle was largely hashed out over dinner at Red Robin. The most important decision was which pairs of words to include. We wanted the Spanish to be fair and recognizable to a large portion of the solving population. Luckily, only one of us speaks Spanish. Therefore, we leveraged the perspective of the non-Spanish speaker to help make that determination.

Of course, all pairs of widely-recognizable English and Spanish words that start with the same letter don't necessarily work in this type of crossword puzzle. This is especially true with 16 crossing theme entries totaling 68 of the 186 white squares.

Some of the other combinations with well-known Spanish words that didn't make the cut were: BATHROOM/BAÑO, PLEASE/POR FAVOR, and RIVER/RÍO. Ultimately, the requirements of grid symmetry and theme interlock (e.g., the shared "O" between FUEGO and HELLO) dictated which themers worked the best. We tried to get DAY/DÍA to fit in the upper-left corner so we could start with DAY and end with NIGHT, but the resulting fill options weren't good enough. Instead, we went with SUN/SOL.

We're happy to see almost all of our clues kept as-is or only slightly modified. Queena has been trying to get a "The Baby-Sitters Club" reference into one of her published crossword puzzles for a long time, so we were especially pleased to see that come to pass.

One final trivia question. Four of the eight semantically-paired Spanish words have appeared in the NYT crossword puzzle more often than their English equivalents. Which words are they? To find the answer, click on "Analyze this puzzle" at the bottom of the page.

Jeff Chen notes:
Uniclue! There have been enough of these, that the NYT production team seemed a bit blasé about it when I got pre-release ... read more

Uniclue! There have been enough of these, that the NYT production team seemed a bit blasé about it when I got pre-release notes. What a pleasant surprise to get a twist, a raison d'etre that I doubt I'd have ever thought of. Every single square that starts both an across and a down answer shares a clue — but the across entry is in ENGLISH, and the down is in ESPANOL.

I've tried my hand at Uniclue constructions, and they're a bear. Not only do you have paired themers everywhere, but some of them have to intersect. And on top of all that, because most of the themers are short, you're going to need some long fill to stay within the max word count of 78.

I have a feeling some solvers will complain about the crossword glue, and I acknowledge that the slurry of ALTE IRT ASCH OCS etc. isn't fantastic. Nor is ADORER or NIBBLERS. HALLOO, HELLO?

But the direct experience of working with this theme type (and failing miserably, I might add) makes me appreciate Queena and Alex's execution. It's not realistic to expect a Uniclue puzzle to be perfectly clean, and for me, the payoff was worth the prices I had to pay during my solve.

Not to mention, they even managed to work in a couple of strong bonuses. I NEED A NAP + TELESCOPE + RING TOSS isn't a total KNOCK OUT, but that's pretty darn good long fill for the limited long slots available.

Hilarious clue on TEAPOT, too. Left holding the bag, indeed. *rimshot*

When working with an established tricksy theme type, it's important to do something a little different. I count this one a success.

Jim Horne notes:

I'm so impressed with this puzzle, because of its bilingual novelty, and its relative smoothness despite significant constraints.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0206 ( 25,292 )
Clues
1
It emerges at dawn : SUN / SOL
2
Sch. with a campus in Providence : URI
3
Dainty eaters : NIBBLERS
4
Prometheus' gift : FIRE / FUEGO
5
N.Y.C. subway letters : IRT
6
Rapping sound : RATATAT
7
Runs off to a justice of the peace : ELOPES
8
May honoree : MOTHER / MADRE
9
"Awake and Sing!" playwright Clifford : ODETS
10
Bygone Pan Am rival : TWA
11
Call to the hounds : HALLOO
12
Port up the lake from Cleveland, O. : ERIEPA
13
Clarify, as butter : RENDER
14
"Either you do it ___ will" : ORI
15
Russia's ___ Mountains : URAL
16
Source of some pop-ups : ADWARE
17
Contribution of Gilbert, but not Sullivan : LIBRETTO
18
Seminary subj. : REL
19
Give a hand to : DEALIN
20
Implore : BEG
21
"___ from that ..." : APART
22
Old person, in Oldenburg : ALTE
23
Presided over : LED
24
Word of greeting : HELLO / HOLA
25
Notable stretches : ERAS
26
Help for a star witness? : TELESCOPE
27
Sadistic : CRUEL
28
Underground rock : ORE
29
Dawn's direction : EAST / ESTE
30
Sound from a rowdy crowd : ROAR
31
Like Ganymede among Jupiter's moons : LARGEST
32
"Somebody That I Used to Know" singer, 2011 : GOTYE
33
Byron's "before" : ERE
34
Light beige : ECRU
35
Alternative to a cup : CONE
36
Dungeons & Dragons, for one, in brief : RPG
37
Classify by type : ASSORT
38
"Otello" and "Pagliacci" : OPERAS
39
Carnival game with bottles : RINGTOSS
40
Author Sholem : ASCH
41
Drinking game penalty, perhaps : SHOT
42
Many a character in Ann M. Martin's "The Baby-Sitters Club" : TEEN
43
"Peter Pan" dog : NANA
44
Language of the answers to this puzzle's uniclues : ENGLISH / ESPANOL
45
Urban area : CITY / CIUDAD
46
Good place to be during a blizzard : INSIDE
47
It might be left holding the bag : TEAPOT
48
British bottom : ARSE
49
Annoy : RANKLE
50
Cpl. or sgt. : NCO
51
Comment made while yawning : INEEDANAP
52
One practicing self-help, informally : DIYER
53
Declares with confidence : AVERS
54
Prime-time time : NIGHT / NOCHE
55
___ factor : ICK
56
Miley Cyrus's "Party in the ___" : USA
57
One of Donald Trump Jr.'s parents : IVANA
58
World Smile Day mo. : OCT
59
Hair-coloring technique : DIPDYE
60
Dr. of rap : DRE
61
Fight finisher : KNOCKOUT
62
Facility at Quantico, Va.: Abbr. : OCS
63
News inits. since 1958 : UPI
64
Line on a receipt : TAX
65
Any of the Magi : ADORER
66
Nessie's home : LOCH
67
Where you might get into hot water : SPA
68
Dissuades : DETERS
69
"When all ___ fails ..." : ELSE
70
How many feet are in a fathom : SIX

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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