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UPSIDES

New York Times, Sunday, March 22, 2015

Author:
Jeremy Newton
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
186/15/20081/29/20202
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
13012200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.78663
Jeremy Newton

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 142, Blocks: 77 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Newton. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeremy Newton notes:
My first 'Upsides' submission was a 15x15 grid. Will Shortz said he really liked it, but he pointed out a glaring flaw. The Across answers along the left side were actually scaling *down* ... read more

My first "Upsides" submission was a 15x15 grid. Will Shortz said he really liked it, but he pointed out a glaring flaw. The Across answers along the left side were actually scaling *down* the wall, before continuing to the right. Like with STUNG hiding STUNGUN, here:

S
T
U
N
G U N

I'd convinced myself early on in construction that my left-side Across answers were climbing, in that they were *overflowing upwardly* against the wall. I immediately saw the goof when Will said he didn't understand the left side. So, back to the grid, I made sure the direction you'd read the climbers was going up:

W B A L E
A
R
T
S

But fixing the left side was insurmountable in a 15x15 grid, so I upgraded to Sunday-size. Which meant the chance to expand some climbers into longer, juicier answers. As well as smooth over some of the subpar fill from the smaller grid.

The southeast DIARY formation was the first set of climbers to go in, interlocking relatively fast. By far, the WARTS group in the opposite corner was the most difficult to nail down. I guess it's easier to start with the back parts of answers? The most enjoyable construction challenge was getting the TETON climbers to avoid repeated words. NO TAX, NOT EVEN A LITTLE, NOTE TO SELF were carefully chosen as to not share the same beginning word.

Really pleased how this turned out. Hope the solve was fun and a nice mystery!

Jeff Chen notes:
As a crossword commentator, I live for days like today. I initially was disgruntled by (what I thought were) gibberish rebus squares all along the walls of the puzzle. On my average solver ... read more

As a crossword commentator, I live for days like today. I initially was disgruntled by (what I thought were) gibberish rebus squares all along the walls of the puzzle. On my average solver days, I would have set it aside without another thought.

Thank goodness I analyzed it afterward, because what an amazing a-ha moment! It's my favorite puzzle of the year in any venue so far, and I hope to convince any haters out there why it's so incredible. I struggle to think of a single puzzle in the past several years that I've liked better.

Like me, there will be many solvers out there who entered "STRAW" in the first square, "STRA" in the one below it, "STR" in the one below that, etc. Made no sense why [Targets of some cryosurgery] was a bunch of nonsense rebus squares. It took me a couple of minutes to realize that each of these answers is literally CLIMBING / THE WALLS, i.e. the STRAW of STRAW BALE actually starts at the square marked "30"! Similarly, that square starts the STRA of STRAINED, and the STR of STRONG DRINKS, all "borrowing" from the WARTS entry.

Deal with the devil. J'accuse!

Sometimes a puzzle is awesome from a solver's perspective, sometime it's incredible from a constructor's view, but rarely do I find both in spades. The aspect I appreciate the most as a constructor is that Jeremy found a way to innovate without relying on rebus squares — squishing multiple letters into a single square in different ways. Jeremy's approach of using a "turning answers" approach to the nth degree is amazing, all while sticking with a single letter in each box.

And the technical challenge of it! Sure, each of the six instances is somewhat separated so he could build each one independently, but he still needed to stick to crossword symmetry. To balance STRONG DRINKS with DIGESTIVE AID, and NOT EVEN A LITTLE with TASMANIAN DEVIL … I did figure out how to arrange things to get some computer assistance, but it's still a wickedly difficult task to pull off so cleanly.

As if all that weren't enough, Jeremy keeps at it with great mid-length fill like ME FIRST, SCRAP HEAP, HAS A SMOKE, etc. Pure RAPTURE on my part.

I can't remember when I've been this elated to have the chance to gush about a crossword. I've always looked forward to seeing Jeremy's byline, and this enforces my notion that he's one of the best in the business.

Jim Horne notes:

Outstanding puzzle!

1
W
2
B
3
A
4
L
5
E
6
F
7
L
8
A
9
P
10
H
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A
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M
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T
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V
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D
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A
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D
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A
I
N
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D
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R
O
S
A
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A
C
E
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B
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A
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S
E
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R
O
N
G
D
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R
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K
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S
H
A
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R
E
O
N
E
S
B
26
T
L
E
O
I
I
27
G
A
T
28
A
E
N
E
I
D
29
D
A
U
30
S
A
X
31
E
D
32
G
I
N
E
33
S
S
34
T
I
N
35
Y
O
U
T
36
B
E
37
A
D
E
D
38
C
L
I
M
39
B
I
N
G
40
O
W
L
41
S
S
T
42
A
43
R
E
44
M
O
O
T
45
T
M
N
T
46
T
47
A
48
N
Y
A
49
P
O
K
Y
50
N
51
C
A
A
52
T
53
O
54
S
E
L
F
55
P
56
H
O
N
E
57
C
O
L
D
M
58
E
59
A
60
L
61
E
V
E
N
A
L
62
I
T
T
L
E
63
B
O
R
E
64
A
V
A
I
65
T
A
X
66
S
T
R
U
M
S
67
M
A
M
M
A
68
L
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A
N
V
70
O
R
T
71
H
72
E
A
R
L
73
T
A
S
M
A
N
I
74
A
N
D
E
75
N
Y
S
E
76
N
A
T
E
77
S
I
C
K
O
78
L
E
S
S
E
R
79
L
A
M
E
80
B
C
C
S
81
N
82
S
Y
N
C
83
O
84
D
E
S
85
M
O
R
K
86
A
S
H
87
A
88
C
89
T
90
U
R
N
91
T
92
H
E
W
A
L
93
L
S
94
O
95
O
96
M
P
A
H
97
F
T
E
A
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O
A
F
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P
E
A
C
100
H
P
I
E
101
R
E
102
D
103
A
L
S
104
P
O
L
I
105
S
H
106
P
R
U
107
L
E
108
G
A
L
I
109
C
I
S
110
I
O
N
T
R
E
E
111
D
I
G
112
E
S
T
I
V
E
A
113
E
N
U
D
E
S
114
S
R
A
115
O
B
E
Y
116
U
N
A
F
R
117
D
E
P
O
T
118
T
A
P
119
G
E
R
E
120
P
A
N
T
Y
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0322 ( 23,875 )
Across
1
Seat at a hoedown : STRAWBALE
6
Brouhaha : FLAP
10
___ it up : HAM
13
Cliff Huxtable or Ward Cleaver : TVDAD
18
Like some muscles and baby food : STRAINED
19
Parks staying put : ROSA
20
One for war? : ACE
21
Like the veal in osso buco : BRAISED
22
They can knock out lightweights : STRONGDRINKS
24
Sleep (with) : SHAREONESBED
26
Pope during the rule of Emperor Constantine IV : STLEOII
27
Ghetto blaster? : GAT
28
Virgil epic : AENEID
29
Slapped on, as paint : DAUBED
30
Jazz band instrument : SAX
31
Quality that's a bit unsettling : EDGINESS
34
Whitesmith's medium : TIN
35
Watched some online videos : YOUTUBED
36
Like sweat and some moccasins : BEADED
38
With 91-Across, super-antsy ... or like 24 Across answers in this puzzle? : CLIMBING
40
Mole hunter : OWL
41
Retired runway model : SST
42
"Right you ___!" : ARE
44
Open to debate : MOOT
45
2007 film featuring Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo : TMNT
46
Country singer Tucker : TANYA
49
Slow : POKY
50
Final Four org. : NCAA
52
"I must remember this for later ..." : NOTETOSELF
55
Ring : PHONE
57
Dinner that was prepared hours ago, say : COLDMEAL
61
Opposite of totally : NOTEVENALITTLE
63
Drill (into) : BORE
64
Prove useful : AVAIL
65
Nice thing about purchases in Delaware and Oregon : NOTAX
66
Plays a ukulele : STRUMS
67
Moose or mouse : MAMMAL
69
One getting hammered : ANVIL
70
Part of two state names : NORTH
72
Authority over sheriffs in England : EARL
73
Down Under marsupial : TASMANIANDEVIL
75
Grp. that meets in Albany : NYSENATE
77
Perv, e.g. : SICKO
78
It's not so bad : LESSEREVIL
79
Flimsy : LAME
80
Secretly adds to emails : BCCS
81
"Tearin' Up My Heart" group : NSYNC
83
Feats of Keats : ODES
85
Sitcom alien : MORK
86
Something e-cigarettes lack : ASH
87
Seem : ACT
90
Coffee container : URN
91
See 38-Across : THEWALLS
94
Two notes from a tuba : OOMPAH
97
Cupful before sleep, maybe : DECAFTEA
98
Bungler : OAF
99
Popular dessert in Georgia : PEACHPIE
101
It's at one end of a rainbow : RED
103
Model add-ons : DECALS
104
Spiff up : POLISH
106
Boston skyscraper, with "the" : PRU
107
Driver's license, but not a credit card, e.g. : LEGALID
109
Chart for weighing options : DECISIONTREE
111
Food processor? : DIGESTIVEAID
113
Strips bare : DENUDES
114
Madeira Mrs. : SRA
115
"You must ___" (order to an earthling) : OBEY
116
Brave : UNAFRAID
117
Stopping point : DEPOT
118
Water source : TAP
119
Richard of "Shall We Dance?" : GERE
120
Old-fashioned fraternity activity : PANTYRAID
Down
1
Targets of some cryosurgery : WARTS
2
Facilities overseen by the C.D.C. : BIOLABS
3
Adds : ANNEXES
4
Playroom block : LEGO
5
Swirled : EDDIED
6
Turkey Day follower: Abbr. : FRI
7
Hi-fi sound? : LONGI
8
With suspicion : ASKANCE
9
Lavender or lilac : PASTEL
10
Lights up : HASASMOKE
11
Flu symptom : ACHE
12
Wasn't joking : MEANTIT
13
Tromped (on) : TROD
14
Morrison who sang "Brown Eyed Girl" : VAN
15
Subside : DIEDOWN
16
___ rifle : ASSAULT
17
It's a first : DEBUT
21
Entity : BEING
23
Rag on : RIDE
25
Pull (in) : REIN
32
Aussie "Mornin'!" : GDAY
33
Nina who sang "I Put a Spell on You" : SIMONE
35
Kind of joke : YOMAMA
37
When brunch might be served : ATTEN
39
"Whew!" : BOY
43
Pure bliss : RAPTURE
45
Pinch : TAD
47
"It's sad but true ..." : ALAS
48
Eagles or Ravens : NFLTEAM
49
Capitol insiders : POLS
50
Bellini opera : NORMA
51
Without a hitch : CLEANLY
52
"Grand" mountain : TETON
53
Source of eggs : OVARY
54
Some risqué communiqués : SEXTS
56
Many pages are written in it : HTML
57
Campus dining area : COMMONS
58
Captain America portrayer Chris : EVANS
59
"Duck Dynasty" network : AANDE
60
Source of bile : LIVER
62
Steamed : IRATE
63
Luxuriate : BASK
67
Apple Store display : MACS
68
There might be one on a car : LIEN
71
Capital that's the seat of Lewis and Clark County : HELENA
73
Amuse : TICKLE
74
Music-licensing grp. : ASCAP
76
"God's Son" rapper : NAS
77
Lot of junk : SCRAPHEAP
80
Show of respect : BOW
82
Cutting class? : SHOP
83
Sketch : OUTLINE
84
Get all decked out : DRESSUP
85
Selfish, as an attitude : MEFIRST
86
Credit (to) : ASCRIBE
88
Travel as a group, in a way : CARAVAN
89
Liberals : THELEFT
91
Saturday morning fare, informally : TOONS
92
"That's close enough!" : HALT
93
Peke or Pom : LAPDOG
95
Many Manets : OILS
96
Get together : MEETUP
97
Encountered : FACED
100
More epic : HUGER
102
Book before bedtime, maybe : DIARY
104
One seeking money for a meter? : POET
105
Vial liquids : SERA
108
Martin's wife on the 1990s sitcom "Martin" : GINA
110
"What'll ___?" : IDO
112
Closely monitor : EYE

Answer summary: 17 unique to this puzzle, 4 debuted here and reused later, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?

See NYT Crosswords for info.