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# MIXED RESULTS

## New York Times, Sunday, March 26, 2017

 Author: Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
249/8/20106/12/20185
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6245610
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60431
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
877/5/20108/17/201850
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2467161888
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.634192

## This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 81 Missing: {FQX} This is puzzle # 20 for Ms. Gray. This is puzzle # 67 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: TRACY: It was so much fun to team up with Jeff again for our second collaborative NYT Sunday puzzle! I contacted Jeff last November with an idea I had been working on which crossed two colors through a shared ... more
Constructor notes:

TRACY: It was so much fun to team up with Jeff again for our second collaborative NYT Sunday puzzle!

I contacted Jeff last November with an idea I had been working on which crossed two colors through a shared rebus box to equal a third "mixed result" color, but I was struggling with how to represent the mixed result color in the grid that would make sense to the solver. I didn't want a lot of cross reference type clues, and a three-way rebus (has that ever been done before?) or a diagonally-running mixed result theme entry would be too confusing, IMO.

Not surprisingly, Jeff was able to think outside the proverbial (rebus) box concept and notice that certain pairs of colors shared a common letter where they could cross and "mix" with each other. For consistency, we picked four pairs of colors that included red, and from there, we came up with a list of colorful theme entries based on the final colors we had chosen. Lastly, we substituted the actual colors in the theme entries with one or the other mixing colors.

Jeff did the heavy duty grid work and placement of the theme entries, and we both shared in filling and cluing. The result, we hope, is a fun and lively Sunday puzzle. Enjoy!

JEFF: Such fun to work with Tracy! We went back and forth maybe 20 times before settling on this implementation. In case you missed it, an example is that RED + BLUE (RED crossing BLUE) = PURPLE, so you should interpret both crossing answers as the mixed color. Not RED PEOPLE EATER or BLUE HEARTS, but PURPLE PEOPLE EATER and PURPLE HEARTS! I've colorized the grid below to clarify.

It was hard to find enough well-known color mixes, and it turned out that almost all of them used RED. Both of us were worried about duplicating words in the puzzle, so I pushed us to use RED as a hidden word, i.e. within HIGHER EDUCATION, to avoid the outright duplications.

Thankfully, Tracy pushed back, pointing out that one way or another, we'd have duplicated answers — both the across and the down mixed color would be the same, i.e. PURPLE duplicated in (PURPLE) PEOPLE EATER / (PURPLE) HEARTS. If we're gonna have some duplication, why not go all out?

It took me a while to get used to that idea, but I liked it more and more every time I thought about it. Sort of a quantum duality. Very glad for Tracy's input there!

Jeff Chen notes: Oof, this grid was a bear. The skeleton alone nearly didn't come together, what with four pairs of long crossing answers needed. And we had to lay them out such that they didn't interfere with each other! Eight ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Oof, this grid was a bear. The skeleton alone nearly didn't come together, what with four pairs of long crossing answers needed. And we had to lay them out such that they didn't interfere with each other! Eight long themers is tough enough in a 21x21, but try intersecting pairs of them and cramming them all in. Not easy.

And then there was stupid old crossword symmetry to worry about. Tracy put together a good set of theme answer pairs to start, but we quickly realized that having to intersect answers at the E of RED each time was going to give us a symmetry nightmare. Specifically, the placement of the letter E within BLUE vs. GREEN was not good.

A few days later, it occurred to me that if we pluralized GREENS, we could make everything work. Tracy disliked the pluralization, though, and rightly so — a lone plural themer is inelegant. My a-ha moment might have come when eating HASH GREENS — er, (BROWNS) — which is much more natural in the plural.

Once in a while, the crossword gods throw you a bone.

The grid came together fairly quickly after that. I laid out about 20 skeletons before landing on one I thought would work. It also looked like we might be able to go down to 136 words so we could add in a whole bunch of snazzy material. But after a lot of back and forth, we came to the conclusion that it just wasn't going to be worth the crossword glue needed to hold those (not-so-snazzy) long fill together. I hate giving up on a tough construction challenge, but we decided it was the right thing to do. Going up to 138 words allowed for much, much cleaner fill, and still a good amount of KOHLRABI, TEND BAR, STOPGAP, RAZOR WIT, CATSUIT, I DOUBT IT, etc. sort of bonuses.

Such fun when a collaboration comes together like this, where we have to work like the dickens and struggle through so many problems. Finally getting across the finish line hasn't felt so satisfying in ages.

JimH notes: Elizabeth Gorski had an interesting color mixing puzzle back in 2013.
 1W 2A 3S 4P 5T 6A 7N 8K 9U 10P 11L 12O 13L 14C 15H 16O 17P 18O S T E 19R 20S N O O T Y 21O D E 22H A L L 23W H I T E 24P A N T H E R 25S H O W 26O S L O 27S E C E D E 28E E L 29A T A R I 30W H I T 31S K Y C A 32M 33R 34A M E N 35S 36E D G E S 37A L O 38E 39A M I E 40D E R 41A 42S 43K 44E D 45B A 46D B A D L 47E 48R 49O Y R E 50D 51L E O N I 52R E I N 53R O U S S E A 54U 55E M A I L 56A L L 57D 58E 59C A N T 60N T H 61S I N G L 62E T 63T 64E A R A T 65A 66M 67U S E S 68M A L L 69C O P 70S T O 71P G A P 72A 73B 74B A C Y 75L I E 76G E S 77T E N D 78B 79A 80R 81P A L 82S 83P A D E R 84U 85S A 86D I R G E 87B R U 88I 89S E R S 90E 91R I E 92A K I R A 93R E D P E O P 94L 95E E A T E 96R 97R E G A L 98H O E 99L U T Z 100S A 101R I 102P 103S E U D 104O 105C A N S O 106J U N 107T 108A 109S 110A H A B 111K 112E A N U 113R 114C 115A 116D R Y I C 117E 118P A R T 119A C L O C 120K W O R 121K Y E L L O W 122A N T I 123P O M 124H E I N I E 125D E E R E 126W E S T 127I N S 128S A T N A V 129R Y E S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0326 ( 24,610 )

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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