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New York Times, Monday, March 4, 2019

Author:
Ellis Hay
Editor:
Bill Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
13/4/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0100000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54000
Ellis Hay

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQXZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Hay. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ellis Hay notes:
I'm excited to make my New York Times Crossword debut and to write constructor notes on XWord Info. I started making crosswords around ... read more

I'm excited to make my New York Times Crossword debut and to write constructor notes on XWord Info. I started making crosswords around 18 months ago and have found this site quite useful, both in finding entries and in reading constructors' comments, so it feels cool to now contribute my own notes.

I made this puzzle around 11 months ago, and theme first theme entry was BEAARTHUR, as she seemed to be the only BEA known well enough to be included in a crossword. After searching for possibilities for the other themers of various lengths, I decided upon BMINORMASS. This, and rotational symmetry knocked out options for the other theme answers like BEEHIVESTATE or BESTILLMYHEART, but, as a music major, I couldn't waste the opportunity to include Bach.

In filling the grid, I decided not to use the letter B outside of its four theme appearances and tried to find entries which could be clued smoothly. I ran into trouble in the northeast, with the weird combination of FLC in AFLCIO, but I'm happy with how it turned out. In the northeast, the editing team replaced SISI with YETI, which is a far better and stronger piece of fill and works just as well with the crosses. Additionally, DONE/DOLES became PONE/POLES.

I'm glad to see that many of my better clues were kept while all my weaker "Baccalaureate receiver"-type clues were replaced. As a (Detroit) Tiger's fan, the only clue I miss is the one referencing LOU Whitaker, but I suppose he may not be nationally known enough for a Monday.

It feels great to have a New York Times Crossword puzzle and I hope it makes for a smooth and enjoyable solve.

Jeff Chen notes:
Oh, B-have yourself! Letter / sound homophones have been done over and over in crosswords, including a similar idea from just three ... read more

Oh, B-have yourself!

Letter / sound homophones have been done over and over in crosswords, including a similar idea from just three months ago, so you have to execute perfectly in order to be noticed. This debut did nearly that:

  • Using every possible word homophone of B – B, BEA, BEE, BE – made for a tight theme set.
  • Great picks for themers. If you haven't heard the B MINOR MASS, it's worth a listen.
  • Strong bonuses. MATHLETE, IS THAT OK, AFL CIO, GINSBURG!
  • Silky smooth short fill. Wow, Ellis took great care in assembling this one. Fantasic work, and from a newb!

With just four themers of moderate length, I expect a ton of bonuses, plus virtually no dabs of crossword glue to hold it all together – that's almost always possible, unless you have a lot of rare letters to work around. It's inspiring to see a debut constructor rise to my expectations.

Did you notice the "Bill Shortz" byline? I like the idea of doing something different, but this didn't do much for me.

ADDED NOTE: apparently all the clues start with B. Nice added touch, but I must admit I missed it, even after reviewing the puzzle.

The one hitch in my solve: PASS AWAY. What a downer, especially in the symmetrical spot to GINSBURG. Don't waste your valuable long slots, and more importantly, don't harsh solvers' buzz. A neutral entry, some everyday word, would have been much better.

Outstanding gridwork, especially for a new constructor. It's tough for me to award POWs! for theme types that feel overdone, so I couldn't go there. But if an equal level of craftsmanship had been applied to a more interesting theme, it would have easily garnered POW! consideration.

Jim Horne notes:

Messages have been hidden in clues before, of course. Here's a list of the other examples we could think of.

1
L
2
A
3
Y
4
E
5
R
6
W
7
R
8
A
9
P
10
M
11
I
12
F
13
F
14
A
L
E
V
E
15
H
O
R
A
16
A
S
E
A
17
M
U
T
E
D
18
O
N
E
S
19
T
A
R
T
20
B
M
I
N
O
21
R
M
A
S
S
22
H
A
M
S
23
S
N
A
P
24
A
25
F
L
C
I
O
26
D
27
E
28
M
O
E
D
29
H
30
O
W
I
E
31
A
D
O
32
B
E
A
A
R
T
33
H
34
U
35
R
36
U
G
L
37
I
38
G
O
D
R
Y
39
E
A
S
E
40
B
E
E
S
41
T
I
N
G
S
42
T
E
D
43
T
I
N
G
E
44
L
45
O
46
N
E
R
S
47
T
48
I
49
T
H
E
S
50
P
O
N
E
51
I
D
E
A
52
B
53
E
54
Y
O
U
R
S
55
E
56
L
57
F
58
P
A
N
T
59
U
R
A
L
60
U
T
T
E
R
61
S
H
O
O
62
R
I
L
E
63
S
L
A
T
E
64
Y
O
R
K
65
G
E
E
S
66
H
E
S
S
E
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0304 ( 25,318 )
Across
1
Birthday cake part : LAYER
6
Bundle up : WRAP
10
Bother : MIFF
14
Bayer brand : ALEVE
15
Bar mitzvah dance : HORA
16
Between ports : ASEA
17
Blocked, as sound : MUTED
18
Bills with George Washington's face : ONES
19
Bakery item with fruit : TART
20
Bach masterpiece, informally : BMINORMASS
22
Bad actors : HAMS
23
Break audibly : SNAP
24
Big workers' group : AFLCIO
26
Brought out to show, informally : DEMOED
29
Backstreet Boys member ____ Dorough : HOWIE
31
Bustle : ADO
32
Betty White co-star on "The Golden Girls" : BEAARTHUR
36
"Blemished" fruit : UGLI
38
Ban alcoholic beverages : GODRY
39
Bed of roses, so to speak : EASE
40
Benadryl might treat them : BEESTINGS
42
Bear in a hit 2012 comedy : TED
43
Bit of color : TINGE
44
Brooding sorts : LONERS
47
Bestows 10%, say, in church : TITHES
50
Bread in Southern cuisine : PONE
51
Brainstorm : IDEA
52
Bit of advice to the insecure : BEYOURSELF
58
Breathe rapidly : PANT
59
Border mountain between Europe and Asia : URAL
60
Blurt out, perhaps : UTTER
61
"Begone!" : SHOO
62
Bring to anger : RILE
63
Ballot listing : SLATE
64
British city after which the Big Apple is named : YORK
65
Baffled exclamations : GEES
66
Brecht contemporary in German literature : HESSE
Down
1
Baby sheep : LAMB
2
Bill Clinton vis-à-vis Georgetown and 54-Down : ALUM
3
Beast of the Himalayas : YETI
4
"But still ..." : EVENSO
5
Brand-new-looking : REDONE
6
Beat badly : WHOMP
7
Barrett of gossip : RONA
8
Battle god for the Greeks : ARES
9
Buy the farm, so to speak : PASSAWAY
10
Brainiac in a certain high school competition : MATHLETE
11
Biblical father of Jacob : ISAAC
12
Bomb architect Enrico : FERMI
13
Borgnine's "big" role in "From Here to Eternity" : FATSO
21
"Brilliant, dude!" : RAD
25
Balsam ___ (tree) : FIR
26
Besmear, as a canvas : DAUB
27
Border : EDGE
28
Beauty mark : MOLE
29
Betting strategy that reduces risk : HEDGE
30
Boaters' implements : OARS
32
Beer ___ (frat party item) : BONG
33
Bad blood : HATE
34
Buyer of drugs, e.g. : USER
35
Beaujolais and other wines : REDS
37
"Bother you at all?" : ISTHATOK
38
Brooklyn-born Supreme Court justice : GINSBURG
41
Bolo ___ (Western wear) : TIE
44
Baseball's Gehrig : LOU
45
Blitz : ONRUSH
46
Brand of chocolate : NESTLE
47
Boozed up : TIPSY
48
Boise's state : IDAHO
49
Barbershop quartet voice : TENOR
50
Battery's + and - : POLES
53
Buffalo's lake : ERIE
54
Bulldogs' school in the Ivy League : YALE
55
Brief announcements from pilots? : ETAS
56
Badminton do-overs : LETS
57
Bingo card's middle square : FREE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?