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New York Times, Thursday, March 2, 2017

Author:
Peter Gordon
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1119/5/198912/4/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
839231411619
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.5891611
Peter Gordon

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 98 for Mr. Gordon. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter Gordon notes:

Getting the clues to conform to the meter was terribly difficult. Sooner or later you start to sound Seussian.

Jeff Chen notes:
You had to look up DOUBLE DACTYL too? Whew, glad it wasn't only me! It's a poetic form, with six syllables ... numbers one and four ... read more

You had to look up DOUBLE DACTYL too? Whew, glad it wasn't only me!

It's a poetic form, with six syllables ... numbers one and four stressed? Appropriate for a poet's full name, EM-I-LY DICK-IN-SON.

So glad to get Peter's note. I had a sense something felt a hair unusual about the clues, but I couldn't place my finger on it. And overall, I thought the puzzle felt thin, like a quote puzzle with not a huge payoff.

I have much more appreciation for it, after learning that Peter made EVERY clue fit that double dactyl pattern! I wrote a single double dactyl for the tooltip (mouse over Dickinson's pic), and that took me 10 minutes. And it's not very good.

What still feels off to me is that the double dactyl is also know as a verse form; a specific pattern of … well, an example from Wikipedia better explains it:

Higgledy piggledy,
Benjamin Harrison,
Twenty-third President
Was, and, as such,

Served between Clevelands and
Save for this trivial
Idiosyncrasy,
Didn't do much.

EM-I-LY DICK-IN-SON seems to be more just the "dactylic dimeter." Jim assures me that technically, "double dactyl" refers to either the single line or the whole verse. (That's what I get for trusting Wikipedia.)

Nice and smooth grid, with bonuses in OSTEOPATH, ARGYLE SOCK, and USAIN BOLT. Sometimes (often) I have trouble with Peter's Fireball puzzles because of an esoteric person or two he allows in his fill, but everyone ought to know the fastest man on the planet.

I wonder if the MESSI / TBILISI crossing is going to cause problems. Not being a soccer fan, my forehead wrinkled when my friend Parker Lewis said he couldn't wait to debut MESSI in a grid. But solvers ought to know world capitals.

Loved the clue for THERE. Apt, for a poetry-themed puzzle: [Starter of limericks].

There once was a crossword about poetry … (any takers on completing this?)

I liked the touch of all the clues being in that same pattern; a task much harder than it might seem. It would have been nice to have some hint built within the grid to make that clear, though — I worry that many people are going to completely miss it. (Jim and I both did, at first.)

BTW, Peter has a Kickstarter campaign going (ending on Sunday night) for Fireball Newsflash Crosswords, a biweekly news-based crossword. Get "All the News That Fits Symmetrically" delivered by email. Check it out, and help push it over the edge!

Jim Horne notes:

Trivia question: Besides Benjamin Harrison, name two other former White House denizens whose names are double dactyls. You'll know them when you get them.

1
S
2
P
3
A
4
E
5
S
6
T
7
O
8
D
9
E
10
B
11
R
12
A
13
H
U
T
14
S
15
S
H
I
A
16
I
D
L
E
S
17
O
S
T
E
18
O
P
A
T
H
19
S
K
U
N
K
20
W
H
A
T
F
A
M
O
U
21
S
P
O
E
T
22
N
Y
C
23
U
N
A
24
L
U
C
25
H
26
A
S
A
N
27
A
28
M
E
T
H
29
A
30
T
31
S
32
T
33
H
E
R
E
34
C
O
P
E
35
R
U
E
36
A
I
D
E
37
T
38
A
R
O
T
39
L
G
B
T
40
T
N
T
41
T
A
X
I
42
S
A
Y
A
H
43
A
D
O
44
U
B
L
E
D
45
A
46
C
T
Y
L
47
N
I
L
48
R
A
E
49
E
50
V
51
A
52
E
53
M
I
L
Y
54
D
55
I
C
K
I
56
N
S
O
N
57
H
A
I
T
I
58
U
S
A
I
N
B
O
L
T
59
E
S
S
E
S
60
M
E
D
E
61
A
C
T
S
62
M
E
S
S
I
63
P
E
E
R
64
K
A
Y
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0302 ( 24,586 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1
Place known for pampering : SPA
4
Idaho motto word : ESTO
8
Winger of "Shadowlands" : DEBRA
13
Dwellings for castaways : HUTS
15
Muslim minority : SHIA
16
Doesn't do anything : IDLES
17
Muscle maneuverer : OSTEOPATH
19
Bad-smelling animal : SKUNK
20
Start of a question is ... : WHATFAMOUSPOET
22
SoHo's metropolis : NYC
23
A, in Iberia : UNA
24
Ice hockey's Robitaille : LUC
25
More of the question is ... : HASANAMETHATS
32
Starter of limericks : THERE
34
Handle adversity : COPE
35
Feel some repentance for : RUE
36
Paraprofessional : AIDE
37
Deck with a Justice card : TAROT
39
Letters for Out readers : LGBT
40
Blasting material : TNT
41
Rainy day rarity : TAXI
42
Checkup imperative : SAYAH
43
End of the question is ... : ADOUBLEDACTYL
47
Zero, in soccer scores : NIL
48
Issa of comedy : RAE
49
Youngest Gabor sister : EVA
52
Here's what the answer is ... : EMILYDICKINSON
57
Country with voodooists : HAITI
58
Fastest Olympian : USAINBOLT
59
Cornering challenges : ESSES
60
Ancient Iranian : MEDE
61
Emulates Nicholson : ACTS
62
Argentine footballer : MESSI
63
One in a jury box : PEER
64
Wife in "The Godfather" : KAY
Down
1
Proven as accurate : SHOWN
2
Brash and belligerent : PUSHY
3
Really quite taken with : ATTACHEDTO
4
Andalucía's land : ESPANA
5
Medical sorcerer : SHAMAN
6
Yugoslav dictator : TITO
7
Island with Diamond Head : OAHU
8
Quarrel or fight about : DISPUTE
9
"How'm I doin'?" pol : EDKOCH
10
Color like indigo : BLUE
11
Payment for tenancy : RENT
12
Pose in an interview : ASK
14
Part of a tennis match : SET
18
Having a benefit : OFUSE
21
Conquered insomnia : SLEPT
26
Make, in arithmetic : ARE
27
Pungently odorous : ACRID
28
Sound from a meadowland : MOO
29
Footwear with lozenges : ARGYLESOCK
30
Oompah-pah instrument : TUBA
31
Thomas the clockmaker : SETH
32
"Toodles," in Twickenham : TATA
33
In the posterior : HIND
37
Total for scorekeepers : TALLY
38
Tool for a lumberjack : AXE
39
Troubadour offering : LAY
41
Caucasus capital : TBILISI
42
Mug in a rathskeller : STEIN
44
Blends or conglomerates : UNITES
45
Place to play Centipede : ARCADE
46
Having more clumpiness : CAKIER
50
Physics class eponym : VOLTA
51
Nervous and fidgety : ANTSY
52
Effortless quality : EASE
53
Notice the absence of : MISS
54
Garbage disposal site : DUMP
55
Words of enlightenment : ISEE
56
Org. for the Pelicans : NBA
57
Speak indecisively : HEM

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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