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FOLLOW THE SUN

New York Times, Sunday, March 25, 2018

Author: Finn Vigeland
Editor: Will Shortz
Finn Vigeland
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1610/20/20103/25/20184
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7123012
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64230
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 77 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Vigeland. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Finn Vigeland notes: The seed for this puzzle (and its original title) was 'Sunrise, Sunset'—with the eastern theme entires featuring a rising S-U-N, and the western ones featuring a setting S-U-N. It was important to me ... more
Finn Vigeland notes:

The seed for this puzzle (and its original title) was "Sunrise, Sunset"—with the eastern theme entires featuring a rising S-U-N, and the western ones featuring a setting S-U-N. It was important to me that none of these entires—whether the across ones or the down answers containing SUN—use that letter string to mean the word "sun." This was a bit harder than expected! You may notice that I broke a fairly rigid crossword rule in that the theme entries are not symmetrically placed, but it would have been near impossible to do so, given that they each span several rows. I did try to put them in approximately symmetrical locations, for consistency's sake.

Because the themers take up a lot of real estate in both across and down directions, filling this grid was a beast. This is the third draft I submitted, and while I wish there were a bit more room for the grid to breathe, I think it's free of dreck (REE being the only real gross entry, IMO). Phrases like SUNK COST, PROM DATES, REAL TALK, NERF WAR, and MIC DROP are fun bonus fill. I tried for way too long to get YASQUEEN at 11D (it really almost worked for a long time) but finally let it go when it came at the expense of too much bad fill).

I'm quite happy that my original clue on I SEE IT made it through; it feels much more in-the-language than previous methods of cluing that entry (variations of [Response to "Look over there!"]). In general, I like to make my puzzles contemporary and conversational, which I think I've accomplished here.

Lastly, I'm honored to have a puzzle run on the Sunday of ACPT for the second time! It's a pretty cool thing to see 600+ of the most avid crossword solvers in the world digging into your puzzle. See you in Stamford!

Jeff Chen notes: Will has said that he's taking fewer 'turning' puzzles these days (puzzles where theme entries take 90 degree turns) because they've become overdone. I appreciate that constant drive to cut out stale theme ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Will has said that he's taking fewer "turning" puzzles these days (puzzles where theme entries take 90 degree turns) because they've become overdone. I appreciate that constant drive to cut out stale theme concepts. I even more appreciate the willingness to accept a few here and there, when they stand out as something a little different. I had to spend some time forming my opinion on this one, but ultimately, I thought it was really good.

What's going on with weird entries like MEGATS at 26-Across? It's actually MEGAT(SUN)AMI, with the entry turning at SUN, thus FOLLOWING THE SUN.

I scratched my head at why the answer wouldn't just keep on going down, though – why turn back to its original direction after running through SUN?

A-ha! Maybe it's like plants that follow the sun when the SUN goes behind a cloud (we have a few of those here in Seattle). Therefore, the answer SHOULD keep going in its original direction after running through the available SUN?

I think that makes sense. No?

And why do the themers on the right-hand side go up? That felt bizarre to me … until I realized that Finn was representing the SUN rising in the east (right side of puzzle) and setting in the west (left side)! Clever, made perfect sense and gave me a neat a-ha moment indeed.

Why three suns on each side? It must have been … the "three-body problem"? (A famous, intractable math/physics problem speaking to the effects of initial conditions.)

Sure, why not.

Slight theme reservations aside, such a pleasurable grid to run through. SO much great bonus fill, I almost appreciated it more as a themeless than a themed puzzle. All the ones Finn mentioned, plus more? (Some may not know the SUNK COST dilemma in economics, but it's fascinating.) Yes, yes, yes!

Even though I had initial reservations about the concept, I enjoyed that "rising in the east, setting in the west" a-ha moment so much. Along with such a delightful grid replete with fantastic fill, this puzzle ended up being a SUNny delight.

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K
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D
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0325 ( 24,974 )
Across Down
1. Government policy chief : CZAR
5. Assented : SAIDYES
12. Not empirical : APRIORI
19. Not natural-looking : POSED
21. Sometimes hard-to-find shirt opening : ARMHOLE
22. Drunkard : ROUNDER
23. Onetime co-host of "The View," informally : ROSIE
24. Contest once hosted by Bob Barker : MISSUSA
25. Makes reference (to) : ALLUDES
26. Catastrophic event that can be caused by a gigantic earthquake : MEGATSUNAMI
28. "Fer sher" : DEF
29. Folds, as a business : GOESUNDER
30. Headed for : ENROUTETO
34. Abbr. on mil. mail : APO
36. French painter of ballerinas : DEGAS
40. Injunction : BAN
42. How Hercule Poirot likes to address Hastings : MONAMI
43. Money in Malmö : KRONA
45. Headstone inits. : RIP
46. Stag : ALONE
48. Ones in rocking chairs, stereotypically : GRANNIES
50. Smartphone feature : CAMERA
53. Cherry variety : BING
54. Start to many bumper stickers : IHEART
55. Response to pointing out a resemblance between two people : ISEEIT
56. Hollywood labor groups : ACTORSUNIONS
59. See 71-Down : PLAYS
60. Plant stalk : PEDUNCLE
62. Crank (up) : REV
63. Chipotle choice : BURRITO
65. Nitwit : DOLT
66. 180s : UEYS
67. 2015 hit spinoff of "Despicable Me" : MINIONS
68. How someone in awe might describe himself : MONKEYSUNCLE
70. Pretty cool, in slang : DOPE
73. One of the Big Four accounting firms : KPMG
74. Deft touch : FINESSE
75. Placeholder letters : TBA
78. Better now : ENHANCED
80. Trivia fodder : FACTS
81. All ___ : THUMBS
83. Rough shelter : LEANTO
84. Hannah who coined the phrase "the banality of evil" : ARENDT
86. Largest city in the Baltics : RIGA
87. Planets like ours, in sci-fi : EARTHS
88. Hue lighter than lime : TEAGREEN
91. Per ___ (yearly) : ANNUM
92. Vintage film channel : TCM
93. Goody : TREAT
95. Like St. Augustine, among all U.S. cities : OLDEST
97. College, to a Brit : UNI
98. Amérique : ETATSUNIS
101. Immigrants' class, for short : ESL
102. Only words on the front of the Great Seal of the United States : EPLURIBUSUNUM
104. Really fresh : RUDE
106. Its hub at J.F.K. was designed by Eero Saarinen : TWA
108. Hubbub : FRENZY
110. Artistic, chatty sorts, it's said : GEMINIS
113. Draft : AIRFLOW
117. Testify : SWEAR
119. "I got the check" : ITSONME
120. Ancient, undeciphered writing system : LINEARA
121. Towel fabric : TERRY
122. Relatives of asters : TANSIES
123. Tony who won a Tony for "Angels in America" : KUSHNER
124. "It's a deal!" : DONE
1. E.M.T.'s training : CPR
2. Speed along : ZOOM
3. Print ad come-on : ASSEENONTV
4. Sit on the throne : REIGN
5. International conglomerate whose name means "three stars" : SAMSUNG
6. Cable news host Melber : ARI
7. Gchats, e.g. : IMS
8. Some A.L. players : DHS
9. Response to a surprising claim : YOUDO
10. "That's something ___!" : ELSE
11. Voyager : SEAFARER
12. Medieval Spanish kingdom : ARAGON
13. Sport last played in the Olympics in 1936 : POLO
14. Was awesome : RULED
15. Occupied : INUSE
16. Funny : ODD
17. Riddle-me-___ : REE
18. Qtrly. check recipient, maybe : IRS
20. "Stars above!" : DEARME
27. "___ soon?" : TOO
31. Smear : TAR
32. Writing in a window? : EMAILING
33. Paranoid sorts, in slang : TINHATS
35. Pushes back : POSTPONES
37. "Mamma Mia!" setting : GREECE
38. In a light manner : AIRILY
39. Outbreaks : SPATES
40. Anthropomorphic king of Celesteville : BABAR
41. "Still ___" (Julianne Moore film) : ALICE
43. Rios, e.g. : KIAS
44. Decisive assessment : ACIDTEST
47. Intl. Rescue Committee, e.g. : NGO
49. R&B singer with the hits "So Sick" and "Mad" : NEYO
51. Tempe sch. : ASU
52. Things in restaurant windows : MENUS
57. Sac fly result : RBI
58. Outlay that cannot be recovered : SUNKCOST
59. Some corsage wearers : PROMDATES
61. Grand Lodge group : ELKS
64. Ready ... or red, maybe : RIPE
65. "Let's keep this between us" : DONTTELL
67. Wasn't kidding about : MEANT
68. Stunt at the end of a powerful performance : MICDROP
69. Informal assent : YEH
70. Go back on one's word? : DELETE
71. With 59-Across, some works of Tennessee Williams : ONEACT
72. Big ___ (the drug industry) : PHARMA
74. Biter : FANG
75. Moment of liftoff : TMINUSZERO
76. Dangerous toy : BBGUN
77. "Same here" : ASAMI
79. Legal vowelless Scrabble play : NTH
80. Herculean act : FEAT
82. Bit of art pottery : URN
85. Preface to a heart-to-heart conversation : REALTALK
89. End of a George Washington address? : EDU
90. Safer alternative to paintball : NERFWAR
91. If you're lucky : ATBEST
94. Candy brand owned by Hershey : REESES
96. Word before and after "no" : SIR
99. Salt-N-Pepa and Ben Folds Five : TRIOS
100. Branch of Islam : SUNNI
102. Rakes in : EARNS
103. Not taken seriously? : UNWED
105. Tiniest change : DIME
107. Popular gaming console that sounds like two pronouns : WIIU
109. It's a long story : YARN
110. "Keep movin'!" : GIT
111. Info for a chauffeur, perhaps : ETA
112. Yahoo alternative : MSN
114. "Yuck!" : FEH
115. Grp. of connected computers : LAN
116. 1/100 of a 43-Across : ORE
118. Manhattan part ... or a suburb near Manhattan : RYE

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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