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New York Times, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Author: Bruce Haight
Editor: Will Shortz
Bruce Haight
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261/3/20136/21/20171
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2884220
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1.55022

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 83, Blocks: 42 Missing: {FQ} This is puzzle # 23 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: The five rows of circled squares reveal an unusual feature of this puzzle.
Bruce Haight notes: I was surprised to learn that these are pretty much the longest words in the English language with their letters in alphabetical order (and ... more
Bruce Haight notes:

I was surprised to learn that these are pretty much the longest words in the English language with their letters in alphabetical order (and no repeated letters). I left out BIOPSY, for obvious reasons, and GHOSTY seemed like it was missing an L.

I originally submitted this theme two years ago with ALPHABETIC ORDER as the 15 letter reveal across the middle. Will and Joel wrote back that they liked the theme but couldn't get over the fact that it should be ALPHABETICAL ORDER. I wrote to Joel asking if they would consider a 15x17 puzzle and he said sorry, no.

However, he must have spent some time thinking about this because he came up with the current layout of the revealer phrases and told me all I needed to do was work in the six theme entries. Thank you, Joel!

BIJOUX and CHINTZ are not friendly words to squeeze into a tight grid, so there is some glue but apparently NOT SO MUCH as to be a dealbreaker. Expanding the grid to 15x16 (necessitated by IS IN) helped some.

I wanted RUMI at 26-Down, a Persian poet that Googles incredibly well, but he did not survive the final edit — I can imagine that as an editor you have to think long and hard before you allow a short two-vowel word like that because once it gets in everyone's word list you will be seeing it often.

My favorite entry is BZZT-- when I was growing up in Wisconsin they used to have big electrical bug zappers in the city park to control the mosquitos in that area, so BZZT brings back childhood memories...

Jeff Chen notes: The shaded answers say it all: every answer to a starred clue is a word with its letters in alphabetical order. I've highlighted them below in ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

The shaded answers say it all: every answer to a starred clue is a word with its letters in alphabetical order. I've highlighted them below in blue to help them stand out.

I had a tough time figuring out the "quote," as STARRED ENTRY didn't make sense at first. Seeing as the grid entries themselves are not starred — it's their clues that are starred — I struggled mightily to figure out what word could follow STARRED at 25-Across. Semantic and perhaps trivial, but I sure got stuck.

Not a lot of bonuses in the grid, but that's to be expected with so many "themers" to work around. Check out how interlocked the grid is, shaded or blue answers (below) crisscrossing all over the grid. I did enjoy RIYADH, such an odd *ADH ending. And BZZT! = one of my favorite short entries in recent memory. (I used to watch a lot — A LOT — of "Family Feud.")

An interesting combination of quasi-quote puzzle and word trivia. I would have loved to see some longer examples, but these six were pretty decent.

Hmm, it wouldn't be hard to write a script to see if there are longer words (or better yet, phrases) that follow this principle of alphabetized letters. How cool would it be if there were some that were of 8+ letters!

(Over the holidays, I got a neat wooden word puzzle from my mother-in-law. She thought it would keep me busy, given that there were 26^3 possibilities but only one solution. The next morning, I amazed her with the answer. A little Python script helped. Don't tell her that.)

1
E
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A
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0315 ( 24,599 )
Across Down
1. See blurb : EVERY
6. Batteries in mice : AAS
9. *Bonzo and others : CHIMPS
15. She went to Haiti in a Cole Porter song : KATIE
16. Ballpark fig. : RBI
17. Et ___ : CETERA
18. "The Lion King" soundtrack composer : ELTONJOHN
20. Hang on to : RETAIN
21. Boarding pass info : SEAT
22. Angsty music genre : EMO
23. Divest (of) : RID
24. Gesture that might be made with a wink : NOD
25. See blurb : STARREDENTRY
28. Opposed : AVERSE
32. "And how!" : SUREDO
33. *"And so it ___" : BEGINS
34. Patriotic women's org. : DAR
35. Jack who played Sgt. Friday : WEBB
39. Sound like a jackass : BRAY
40. See blurb : ISIN
42. PHX airport locale: Abbr. : ARIZ
43. Actress Kendrick of "Pitch Perfect" : ANNA
44. Summer hrs. in Chicago : CDT
45. *Fabric with a cheap-sounding name : CHINTZ
47. "CSI" workplace : DNALAB
50. Fresh gossip, with "the" : LATEST
51. See blurb : ALPHABETICAL
55. Long-snouted fish : GAR
56. Title for 18-Across : SIR
57. Au ___ (menu phrase) : JUS
58. Novelist Waugh : ALEC
62. "Star Wars" knight, informally : OBIWAN
64. Only a little : NOTSOMUCH
66. Fix, as a pump : RESOLE
67. ___ generis (unique) : SUI
68. Therefore : HENCE
69. *"You just missed!" : ALMOST
70. Item held by the king of diamonds : AXE
71. See blurb : ORDER
1. Barely manages, with "out" : EKES
2. Lowland, poetically : VALE
3. Singer James or Jones : ETTA
4. Thigh-slapper : RIOT
5. Nikkei index currency : YEN
6. Chocolatier's lure : AROMA
7. *Can't stomach : ABHORS
8. Go astray : SIN
9. 1950s-'60s hit with the lyric "Ah, you made me love you / Now, now, now, now your man is come" : CCRIDER
10. Paid attention to : HEEDED
11. "The Addams Family" cousin : ITT
12. Had in mind : MEANT
13. Previous arrest, on a rap sheet : PRIOR
14. Like some light hair : SANDY
19. Ballet leaps : JETES
23. Showed again : RERAN
25. Form 1040 ID : SSN
26. Newswoman Bakhtiar : RUDI
27. "Hold it - hang on!" : NOWAIT
28. "Fernando" group : ABBA
29. HGTV personality ___ Yip : VERN
30. Eddie ___, subject of "The French Connection" : EGAN
31. World capital whose name means "gardens" : RIYADH
36. Fish-eating raptor : ERNE
37. Stand-up's routines : BITS
38. [Wrong answer!] : BZZT
40. Couch potato : IDLER
41. "Right away!," in the O.R. : STAT
44. China holder : CABINET
45. Reunion group : CLASS
46. Rogue computer in "2001" : HAL
48. M and N, in pronunciation : NASALS
49. *Elegantly designed trinkets : BIJOUX
51. Greek marketplace of old : AGORA
52. Motown or Decca : LABEL
53. Light beam splitter : PRISM
54. Adorable one : CUTIE
58. AAA part: Abbr. : AMER
59. Ilsa ___, "Casablanca" character : LUND
60. "Behold!," to Caesar : ECCE
61. "Believe" Grammy winner, 1999 : CHER
63. Try to win over : WOO
64. Intel org. : NSA
65. Cry of discovery : OHO

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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