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New York Times, Thursday, February 7, 2019

Author:
Morton J. Mendelson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
35/19/20162/7/20190
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0001200
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1.61000
Morton J. Mendelson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Mendelson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Morton J. Mendelson notes:
I started this puzzle simply thinking about breaking the constraints of the 15 x 15 grid and looking for expressions that would ... read more

I started this puzzle simply thinking about breaking the constraints of the 15 x 15 grid and looking for expressions that would motivate doing that. OUTSIDE THE BOX was an obvious possibility, but I couldn't figure out where to take it. OVER THE EDGE was also obvious, and I considered using expressions with OVER dangling over the edge. It was simple enough finding possibilities ending in OVER that don't carry the meaning of OVER — e.g., FOUR-LEAF CLOVER — but the same isn't true for expressions that start with OVER. So I dropped the idea and let it simmer in the background. Then, one day during my walk to the gym, when I was mulling over OVER THE EDGE, I had an aha moment — actually more like a forehead-slapping duh moment: I could use GOES OVER THE EDGE to motivate words and expressions that begin or end with GO hanging over the edge.

Of course, there isn't necessarily a direct route from an idea to seeing one's puzzle in print. My first submission included GOES OVER THE EDGE as the reveal, which I liked, because it has 15 letters and captures the idea that there is more than one GO over the edge. But Will saw it differently and thought GO OVER THE EDGE would be "much more elegant." Although I didn't fully agree, I wasn't in a position to argue with "much more elegant," so I completely redid the puzzle, resubmitted it, tweaked it a bit more, and finally hit the mark.

I hope the puzzle doesn't send anyone over any edges, other than ones in the 15 x 15 grid.

Jeff Chen notes:
Darn it, Morton stole my punchline! It's been a while since we've had a 'letters outside the grid' theme. I appreciate that Will ... read more

Darn it, Morton stole my punchline!

It's been a while since we've had a "letters outside the grid" theme. I appreciate that Will spaces them out for bigger impact.

I had a dickens of a time even finishing the puzzle, as the random GO positions made it so tricky. I usually love tricksiness, but wow, was this the uber-tricksiest. Several themers gave a great payoff – CHICA(GO), TAKES TWO TO TAN(GO), (GO)SLINGS in particular. But as a whole, I was left with a feel of inelegance.

Why? Some themers formed regular words/entries without GO, like (GO)SLINGS. Some didn't, like AGESA(GO). GOODNIGHT IRENE didn't resonate with me, not nearly as much as CARMEN SANDIEGO. And why eight GOs? Why some in long answers, some in shorties?

I know, I overthink things way too much. But it is what it is.

This would have been POW! material for me if the grid had looked innocent, all full of themers like SLINGS and CHICA. As it was, it felt a bit haphazard.

Still, a great mental workout, trying my darnedest to remember where those GOs were. Probably will play much more strongly to paper solvers who don't need a square in which to type GO. Kind of nice when a puzzle comes along that makes you appreciate pencil and paper!

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0207 ( 25,293 )
Across
1
Wrangler, for one : JEEP
5
Things kids sometimes draw : LOTS
9
Carriages in Kew Gardens : PRAMS
14
Band with a slash in its name : ACDC
15
Occur to, with "on" : DAWN
16
___ Cinemas, second-largest theater chain in the U.S. : REGAL
17
Be hot under the collar : BOIL
18
Snap, Crackle and Pop, e.g. : TRIO
19
Dweller on the Arabian Sea : OMANI
20
"No one can get in a fight by himself," informally : TAKESTWOTOTANGO
23
Rum cocktail : ZOMBIE
25
Robert Burns's "since" : SYNE
26
Starting point for a platypus : EGG
27
Steam : IRE
28
Some Windows systems : NTS
30
Is nostalgic for : MISSES
32
Classic song with the lyric "I'll see you in my dreams" : GOODNIGHTIRENE
36
What you may call it? : NOUN
37
S. Amer. land : ECU
38
Air condition? : WIND
42
World traveler since 1985 : CARMENSANDIEGO
47
What's honed on the range? : GOLFGAME
50
Put pressure on : TAX
51
Downed a sub? : ATE
52
Goethe's "The ___-King" : ERL
53
Like the German article "der": Abbr. : MASC
56
Welled (up) : TEARED
58
Flip out ... or a hint to eight answers in this puzzle : GOOVERTHEEDGE
61
Diamond datum : ATBAT
62
Adjutant : AIDE
63
Progenitor of the Edomites, in the Bible : ESAU
66
Old Scottish title : THANE
67
What optical readers do : SCAN
68
Staples of "Poor Richard's Almanack" : SAWS
69
Sir William ___, medical pioneer : OSLER
70
Far from subtle actors : HAMS
71
Pro side : AYES
Down
1
Dig, in a way : JAB
2
Writer Umberto ___ : ECO
3
Where Copy and Paste appear : EDITMENU
4
School tech class site : PCLAB
5
Some expensive dental work : GOLDTEETH
6
Rows : OARS
7
Jerks : TWITS
8
Having a white blanket : SNOWY
9
Body building block : PROTEIN
10
San ___, Italy : REMO
11
Banded stones : AGATES
12
Get along : MANAGE
13
Babies in a pond : GOSLINGS
21
Powerful checker : KING
22
"I'll spring for it" : ONME
23
National park in Utah : ZION
24
Latin word on a dollar bill : ORDO
29
Pipe part : STEM
31
Basted, e.g. : SEWN
33
Indigenous Peruvian : INCA
34
Whack : ICE
35
Littlest piggy : RUNT
39
"My assumption is ..." : IDARESAY
40
Time of day, in ads : NITE
41
Archived document : DEED
43
Current device : AMMETER
44
Delivery door location, often : REAR
45
Silky cottons : SATEENS
46
Fired : AXED
47
Opposite of staccato : LEGATO
48
Foams : FROTHS
49
Universal : GLOBAL
54
Supply that no one's supposed to find : STASH
55
Second-longest-running Broadway musical ever (after "The Phantom of the Opera") : CHICAGO
57
A very long time back : AGESAGO
59
Provider of directions to a farmer : VANE
60
Mild cheese : EDAM
64
Wow : AWE
65
___ Constitution : USS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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