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New York Times, Monday, March 19, 2018

Author:
Michael Wiesenberg and Andrea Carla Michaels
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
54/6/20133/19/20181
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0100031
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56000
Michael Wiesenberg
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
676/12/20003/2/202037
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74792200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63217
Andrea Carla Michaels

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JKQX} This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Wiesenberg. This is puzzle # 59 for Ms. Michaels. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
MICHAEL: The idea for the puzzle first came to me in 2007. I tried unsuccessfully to fit seven entries that had all the colors of ... read more

MICHAEL:

The idea for the puzzle first came to me in 2007. I tried unsuccessfully to fit seven entries that had all the colors of the rainbow, plus RAINBOW as the reveal. I looked at the puzzle from time to time, but couldn't manage to get eight entries into one puzzle. I concluded it couldn't be done, but then I was trying to fit all entries horizontally. I revisited the idea and came up with something I could make work by making two of the entries vertical.

I had had four unthemed puzzles published in the NYT by this time, but, although I've had many themed puzzles published, none in the NYT. My efforts were an inconsistent mix of easy and difficult entries and clues.

I contacted Andrea Carla Michaels because I felt I needed help with devising an early-week puzzle from someone who has a lot of experience with them. In a lengthy exchange (70) of emails, we honed the puzzle till we got something we felt worth submitting. We considered ROYGBIV as the reveal ("Mnemonic for remembering a list of seven of which the starred entries all contain elements") but went back to RAINBOW. For ?APPY, we went back and forth with HAPPY, NAPPY, SAPPY, YAPPY, and settled on HAPPY as the best word for early week.

FWIW, we think the final version contains a minimum of difficult entries.

ACME:

Was in awe that Michael could get eight theme entries into a Monday! (I warned him that regardless of the difficulty WE thought this was, it would be slotted for a Monday!) That necessitated many iterations, to get the fill "simple." How nice at the end of all this to see a rainbow!

Jeff Chen notes:
Neat bit of trivia: the Shortz era began with a great tribute to ROY G. BIV, the colors of the rainbow, in order. This theme concept ... read more

Neat bit of trivia: the Shortz era began with a great tribute to ROY G. BIV, the colors of the rainbow, in order. This theme concept has been revisited many a time — such great crossword fodder.

It is, however, difficult to fit in all seven colors into a 15x15 grid. (The average number of themers is about five these days.) Michael and Acme accomplish it today, and also stick in RAINBOW as a revealer. Impressive to work in eight themers, fairly smoothly.

Excellent use of interlock, INDIGO GIRLS crossing BLUEBIRDS, and YELLOW LIGHT crossing VIOLET RAY. In some cases, constructors use this sort of interlock to show off, more for themselves than for the solver. But here, it's almost necessary, to squeeze everything in. I highlighted the themers below, to demonstrate how tight a fit it is.

Oh, if it hadn't been for VIOLET RAY — all the other themers are so colorful (ha ha). What a curious grid entry. (I usually see SHRINKING VIOLET for this theme type.) It was interesting to learn about this antique piece of medical equipment, but electrotherapy seems so barbaric.

It's tough for a science nerd like me to see all the colors spread out willy-nilly, instead of in proper ROY G. BIV order. I'm not entirely sure it could have been done without more compromises (LIII, ITI, ACS — I ASEA you), but here's one case where I would have been okay with a higher price to pay in order to get proper color order.

THINGS NEED TO BE PROPER, SHOUTED THE OCD DORK!

My poor kids.

Hear me out. Put RED TAPE in row 3, all the way to the left. ORANGE PEEL all the way to the right, in row 4 or 5. Keep alternating until you reach RAINBOW, down in row 13. Or take out RAINBOW if you need to.

Heck, even if you needed to go asymmetrical, I'd accept that. ANYTHING TO ACHIEVE ORDER! THE WILLY-NILLINESS IS SO DISTRACTING!

I should probably find them a therapist sooner rather than later.

But overall, still an impressive feat to fit eight themers in. If in a disorderly fashion.

1
A
2
B
3
B
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E
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Z
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N
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G
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P
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D
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Y
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0319 ( 24,968 )

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Across
1
Radical Hoffman who wrote "Steal This Book" : ABBIE
6
Stimulating quality : ZING
10
Huff and puff : BLOW
14
John who married Pocahontas : ROLFE
15
On the briny : ASEA
16
Opposite of "on tape" : LIVE
17
*Garnish for a cocktail : ORANGEPEEL
19
Takes advantage of : USES
20
The "A" of A.D. : ANNO
21
Zipped along : SPED
22
Tin Man's desire : HEART
23
*Bureaucratic rigmarole : REDTAPE
25
Place for drinks : PUB
26
*"Closer to Fine" folk-rock duo : INDIGOGIRLS
32
How some home videos are stored : ONDVD
36
Disney World transport : MONORAIL
37
53, in old Rome : LIII
38
Father, to Li'l Abner : PAPPY
40
Russian legislature : DUMA
41
Dole out : ALLOCATE
43
Bit of land in the ocean : ISLET
44
*Caution to slow down : YELLOWLIGHT
47
Very long time : EON
48
What the starts of the answers to the seven starred clues constitute : RAINBOW
53
Fountain drinks : MALTS
56
Letters suggesting "I'll just go ahead and throw this out" : FWIW
58
Anise-flavored liqueur : OUZO
59
Taiwanese computer brand : ACER
60
*DC Comics superhero with the sidekick Speedy : GREENARROW
62
"30 Rock" star Fey : TINA
63
Shipwreck site, perhaps : REEF
64
Chili con ___ : CARNE
65
Circular water current : EDDY
66
Exerciser's sets : REPS
67
Did a blacksmith's job on : SHOED
Down
1
Loud, as a crowd : AROAR
2
Carried : BORNE
3
Flavorless : BLAND
4
"Otherwise ..." : IFNOT
5
Hosp. readout : EEG
6
Heated in a microwave : ZAPPED
7
"Uh-huh" : ISEE
8
Requirement : NEED
9
Cowpoke's sweetie : GAL
10
*Symbols of happiness : BLUEBIRDS
11
Simpson with a high I.Q. : LISA
12
So last year, as a fad : OVER
13
Sunset's direction : WEST
18
"Monday Night Football" channel : ESPN
22
Victor who wrote "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" : HUGO
24
Earthquake relief, e.g. : AID
25
Small equine : PONY
27
Louvre Pyramid architect : IMPEI
28
Lincoln was its first successful standard-bearer, for short : GOP
29
___ Julia, actor who played Gomez Addams : RAUL
30
Tart, green fruit : LIME
31
Shutter strip : SLAT
32
Neutrogena rival : OLAY
33
Cairo's river : NILE
34
It's in a pickle : DILL
35
*Antique medical device used for electrotherapy : VIOLETRAY
38
Lowly chess piece : PAWN
39
Home of the Braves: Abbr. : ATL
42
Dove sounds : COOS
43
"Lord, is ___?": Matthew 26:22 : ITI
45
Intense sorrows : GRIEFS
46
Actress Goldie : HAWN
49
"Don't Know Why" singer Jones : NORAH
50
Beast of burden : BURRO
51
Layer of the upper atmosphere : OZONE
52
Superimpressed : WOWED
53
One sock, to another : MATE
54
Gastric ___ : ACID
55
Supply temporarily : LEND
56
They say there's no such thing as this kind of lunch : FREE
57
Shed tears : WEEP
60
Watchdog's warning : GRR
61
Cooling units, for short : ACS

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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