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THAT'S ANOTHER STORY

New York Times, Sunday, March 17, 2019

Author:
Sophia Maymudes and Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
212/6/20183/17/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1000100
RebusCirclePangram
100
Sophia Maymudes
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1027/5/20108/29/201961
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2678182698
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.637222
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 78 Missing: {QZ} Grid has mirror symmetry. This is puzzle # 2 for Ms. Maymudes. This is puzzle # 96 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Will Shortz notes:
Sophia Maymudes is a junior at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., studying computer science and math. She's been making crosswords since high school. For this one, her first Sunday ... read more

Sophia Maymudes is a junior at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., studying computer science and math. She's been making crosswords since high school. For this one, her first Sunday puzzle, she teamed up with fellow Seattle resident Jeff Chen, who writes a daily crossword blog, XWordInfo.com. They jointly brainstormed theme examples. Jeff laid out the grid. Sophia did the fill. They each wrote half the clues. Sophia says, "The entire puzzle took nearly a hundred emails back and forth to create."

Constructor notes:
SOPHIA: Jeff and I connected after I sent him a crossword I'd written about our other mutual passion: bridge. When we decided to try co-constructing, I sent him this theme. It's one I'd ... read more

SOPHIA:

Jeff and I connected after I sent him a crossword I'd written about our other mutual passion: bridge. When we decided to try co-constructing, I sent him this theme. It's one I'd been kicking around since a friend and I came up with the 23-Across clue/answer pair while solving a different puzzle, but I'd never found a set of theme answers I liked for a 15x15. Jeff was the one who suggested making a Sunday puzzle, which I'd never even attempted to create before, but Jeff was great about helping me out when I got stuck, and I learned a lot.

Thanks so much to Jeff for working with me on this puzzle and pushing me to make the grid the best it could be. Ironically, even though we live in the same Seattle neighborhood, we've yet to meet in person — I was studying abroad in Hungary during the entirety of this puzzle's construction!

Jeff Chen notes:
Great fun to help Sophia develop this idea. When she came to me with a couple of themers, I wasn't sure there would be enough material. Or whether it'd be more fun to have VENUS DE MILO in ... read more

Great fun to help Sophia develop this idea. When she came to me with a couple of themers, I wasn't sure there would be enough material. Or whether it'd be more fun to have VENUS DE MILO in the clue or as the grid entry! A lot of unknowns.

Our spreadsheet for book titles and possible "biography" subjects extended into the hundreds. After narrowing it down, it was unfortunate to discover that the winners didn't pair up at all for crossword symmetry. Fie on thee, crossword gods!

But I've done enough mirror symmetry puzzles that it felt like things had a chance to work out that way. After realizing that THE ONCE AND / FUTURE KING could split out 10/10, I decided I might have been too hasty shaking my fist at the crossgods. Then, finding the fortuitous intersections of A GAME OF THRONES / GONE GIRL and LORD OF THE FLIES / LIFE OF PI made me stand up and say I'm a believer!

Word lists aren't nearly as important as grid-building experience, but (shameless plug alert) the XWord Info lists sure helped with this one. It's incredibly hard to create a clean and colorful 140-word puzzle, what with all the huge white spaces you have to work with. Sophia got stuck several times, and twice, a single entry helped me get her unstuck: ETOUFFEE in the NE, and BODY SURFS in the SW. Building this puzzle with only entries that come with a standard dictionary-based list would have been possible, but only with severe compromises.

Sophia's in college now, so doesn't have that much time for crossword construction. But after she graduates, I think she could rise to the top, if she decides to put more time into it.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0317 ( 25,331 )
Across
1
Most popular baby girl's name of the 1960s, per the Social Security Administration : LISA
5
Squealer : FINK
9
Inside info : POOP
13
For fear that : LEST
17
Juul, e.g., for short : ECIG
18
Old-time "The Price Is Right" announcer Johnny : OLSON
19
Bit of greenery : SHRUB
21
Palindromic boy's name : OTTO
22
Ward of cinema : SELA
23
Biography of Ebenezer Scrooge? : MARLEYANDME
25
"Castaway" director Nicolas : ROEG
26
Bond tightly : CEMENT
28
Colleague of Gorsuch : ALITO
29
Big name in chicken : PERDUE
31
Biography of Amelia Earhart? : GONEGIRL
33
"Decorates" on Halloween, say : TPS
34
Biography of Archimedes? : LIFEOFPI
36
Beep-booping droid, for short : ARTOO
37
Two-year degrees, briefly : AAS
39
Tricked : GOT
40
Took out : OFFED
41
Some endangered ecosystems : REEFS
42
One-fifth of the Jackson 5 : TITO
44
Jesus on the diamond : ALOU
45
Note taker : STENO
46
Tip-off for an exam proctor : PSST
47
What the "sans" refers to in Comic Sans : SERIF
48
Diaper : U.S. :: ___ : U.K. : NAPPY
50
Oil magnate Leon who once owned the New York Jets : HESS
51
"Girls" home : HBO
53
Only mildly sweet : SEMIDRY
55
Get a Venmo request, say : OWE
57
Go through a window? : SCROLL
60
Obvious answer : GIMME
61
Recreational sailboats : SKIFFS
64
Excelled : STOODOUT
66
British miler Sebastian : COE
67
Diner sign : OPENLATE
69
Shrewd : CANNY
70
Winged Greek goddess : NIKE
72
Highest hand value in baccarat : NINE
74
Capital of France's Côte d'Or : DIJON
75
High points : ACMES
76
Credit score, for short? : GPA
77
One side of the G.W. Bridge : NYC
78
Clever move : FEINT
79
___ monkey : RHESUS
81
Swimsuit material : SPANDEX
85
"Step on it!" : FASTER
86
Have a ___ for : YEN
87
Good name, informally : REP
89
Xenophobe's fear, with "the" : OTHER
90
Pro : FOR
91
Verb that's a homophone for a letter : ARE
92
Biography of the Venus de Milo? : AFAREWELLTOARMS
96
One using a heater, say : GANGSTER
99
Sound effects after some one-liners : RIMSHOTS
103
Dramatic award : OBIE
104
Pair of hearts? : ATRIA
107
Loudly project : BLARE
109
Adidas competitor : AVIA
110
With 112-Across, biography of Elvis? : THEONCEAND
112
See 110-Across : FUTUREKING
114
With passion : HOTLY
115
Gate expectations, briefly? : ETDS
116
Big dos : FROS
117
Quad/glute exercise : LUNGE
118
Wear away : ERODE
119
Dramatic rebuttal : NAY
120
Poetic conjunction : ERE
121
Lets go of : FREES
Down
1
Picasso's "___ Demoiselles d'Avignon" : LES
2
Some Antarctic samples : ICECORES
3
They create soft c's and g's : SILENTES
4
Biography of Thomas Crapper? : AGAMEOFTHRONES
5
Unvarying charge : FLATRATE
6
Its national anthem is "Hatikvah": Abbr. : ISR
7
Home to Bourbon St. : NOLA
8
Showed allegiance, in a way : KNELT
9
Some H.S. exams : PSATS
10
"Yikes!" : OHNO
11
Airport code for O'Hare : ORD
12
Elvis Costello hit that starts "I've been on tenterhooks / Ending in dirty looks" : PUMPITUP
13
Biography of Willie Mays? : LORDOFTHEFLIES
14
Cajun dish of shellfish over rice : ETOUFFEE
15
Increases in price : STEEPENS
16
Dress (up) : TOG
18
Prefix with present : OMNI
20
Major Argentine export : BEEF
24
Chihuahua's sound : YIP
27
Big features of reality TV : EGOS
30
Model T competitors : REOS
31
John Irving title character : GARP
32
Retreats : LAIRS
34
Like the signatures of outgoing people, it's said : LOOPY
35
Altar exchange : IDOS
38
Author Larsson : STIEG
39
Fiery look : GLARE
43
With 44-Down, biography of Walt Disney? : OFMICE
44
See 43-Down : ANDMEN
47
Star turn : SOLO
49
Hitch together : YOKE
52
Doesn't go overboard? : BODYSURFS
54
"You may not have asked me, but ..." : IMO
56
Certain green energy producers : WINDFARMS
57
Part of a Vandyke, informally : STACHE
58
The title characters of 1988's "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," e.g. : CONMEN
59
Iron ___ : LUNG
61
Kind of sheet : SPEC
62
Tex-Mex offering : FAJITA
63
Stereotypical High Times reader : STONER
64
Lovecraftian : SCARY
65
Pointers : TIPS
67
Inky stone : ONYX
68
Between: Fr. : ENTRE
71
Wham! : KAPOW
73
Nonreactive : INERT
80
Alaska Airlines hub : SEATAC
82
Suffix with doctor : ATE
83
Montreal is part of it: Abbr. : NHL
84
State on the Atl. coast : DEL
85
Onetime : FORMER
88
Like the phase ending after 12 : PRETEEN
90
Why parodies can't be sued for copyright infringement : FAIRUSE
92
Classic : AGEOLD
93
Corrigenda : ERRATA
94
Daniel Webster, notably : ORATOR
95
Artist with seven posthumous platinum albums : SHAKUR
96
___ distance : GOTHE
97
Detest : ABHOR
98
Grandchild: Sp. : NIETO
100
Like some flocks : OVINE
101
Blush, e.g. : TINGE
102
Seven ___ of Ancient Greece : SAGES
105
Midwest capital, informally : INDY
106
Revenue alternative to subscriptions : ADS
107
Bosom buddy : BFF
108
Anglerfish's light, e.g. : LURE
111
The Science Guy : NYE
113
Giant's opposite : ELF

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?