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New York Times, Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Author:
Keiran King
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
24/11/201810/7/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0101000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.67000
Keiran King

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 42 Missing: {JX} Spans: 2 This is the debut puzzle for Mr. King. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Keiran King notes:
As they say, the tenth time's the charm. After a year of encouraging rejections from Will and Joel, I'm happy to make my NYT debut on ... read more

As they say, the tenth time's the charm. After a year of encouraging rejections from Will and Joel, I'm happy to make my NYT debut on a classical note.

I like themes that require two steps to find the solution. (For example, Trenton Charlson's 'Battleship' NYT puzzle, in which an answer like PTCRUISER becomes PTXXX.) Matt Gaffney's contest crosswords often depend on this kind of double deduction.

The theme clues I submitted began with: "The sounds of..." followed by the relevant Down entries. This led solvers first to the composer ("The sounds of BATE + HOE + VENN?"), and only then to the idea of a famous composition ("The sounds of Beethoven?"). Will's re-cluing flattens these two steps, which I worry makes it less satisfying to solve. But in Shortz I trust.

The big challenge was fitting the 11 phonetic entries. My sense of order demanded they run downwards, intersecting the Across themers. But with such a constrained grid (45% of the fill is theme-related), I paid a high price in cheater squares.

Shoutout to Nancy Salomon for her mentorship and generosity. In the same welcoming spirit, Raph Levien and I built a free online tool so anyone can try their hand at puzzle-making. It'll even print a Times submission when you're done. Enjoy at keiranking.com/phil. (And feel free to get in touch. I like people and job offers.)

Jeff Chen notes:
There's a lot to admire in this audacious debut. As a classical music lover and former cellist, I loved the notion of 'classical ... read more

There's a lot to admire in this audacious debut. As a classical music lover and former cellist, I loved the notion of "classical composers sounded out with single words." Here they are, in case you didn't bother to search for the individual elements:

ROWE + SCENE + KNEE = Rossini

PACK + ELLE + BELL = Pachelbel

SHOW + PAN = Chopin

BATE + HOE + VENN = Beethoven

Notice how all the pronunciations are pretty darn good. I didn't like Pachelbel at first, but I think I've been pronouncing his name wrong all these years – apparently, it is "Pack-el-bel," not "Pahk-el-bel." (Or maybe I'm too much of a joon pahk fan.)

Also, it's very cool that Keiran used almost all normal words. The only oddball was BATE. (I love Mike ROWE and "Dirty Jobs.") If only he'd found a way to work in BAIT, it would have been a perfect set.

Speaking of working things in, working in 11 extra pieces of theme? That's insane. I would have told him that it couldn't be done cleanly. I was wrong, as the fill is amazingly smooth for the level of difficulty. ABED, CIRC, DELE, HWY is about as much crossword glue as any other Wednesday puzzle, but the theme is MUCH harder to execute on than average.

As much as I appreciated the puzzle as a constructor, I didn't particularly enjoy the solving process. When Keiran showed me the concept way back when, I didn't bother to look up the individual words; felt like too much work. Same happened during my solve.

It's a shame that some people will piece together BARBER OF SEVILLE from the crossings, and not bother to find the playful homophones making up "Rossini."

I wonder if it would have been more enjoyable if the clue for BARBER OF SEVILLE had been [Composition by cigarette purchase + Vogue rival + Old AT&T symbol?]?

But overall, it's a rare debut that makes me think so much and probe my feelings. Looking forward to more from Keiran.

1
A
2
B
3
S
4
E
5
L
6
I
7
A
8
B
9
E
10
D
11
P
O
O
H
12
C
I
R
13
C
14
R
E
L
Y
15
B
A
R
B
E
16
R
O
F
S
E
17
V
I
L
L
E
18
A
C
T
A
L
O
N
E
19
M
I
S
L
E
D
20
S
K
A
21
T
W
O
22
G
E
N
E
23
P
E
E
24
C
A
N
O
N
25
I
26
N
27
D
28
V
29
I
30
C
A
R
31
S
H
U
T
S
32
C
I
A
33
E
A
R
N
34
S
C
A
N
S
35
H
O
L
Y
36
N
G
O
37
Q
U
E
S
T
38
Z
O
N
E
S
39
N
O
C
40
T
U
R
N
E
41
S
I
E
42
H
I
V
E
43
A
P
P
44
T
45
B
46
S
47
I
48
N
49
H
A
L
E
50
S
N
A
C
51
K
B
A
R
52
M
O
O
N
L
I
53
G
H
T
S
O
N
A
T
A
54
H
U
N
K
55
L
A
O
S
56
D
E
L
E
57
O
N
E
S
58
H
W
Y
59
E
E
L
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0411 ( 24,991 )
Across
1
Tummy muscles : ABS
4
Actor Wallach of stage and screen : ELI
7
Not up : ABED
11
Friend of Tigger : POOH
12
Newspaper sales fig. : CIRC
14
Depend (on) : RELY
15
Classic work by 16-, 31- and 51-Down, so to speak? : BARBEROFSEVILLE
18
Not have an accomplice : ACTALONE
19
Gave the wrong impression : MISLED
20
Jamaican music genre : SKA
21
Lowest broadcast TV channel : TWO
22
Wilder who played Willy Wonka : GENE
23
What makes ale pale? : PEE
24
Classic work by 11-, 9- and 8-Down, so to speak? : CANONIND
28
Bishop's deputy : VICAR
31
Closes : SHUTS
32
Grp. that once plotted against Fidel Castro : CIA
33
Deserve : EARN
34
Radiology procedures : SCANS
35
Sacred : HOLY
36
Greenpeace or the Red Cross, for short : NGO
37
Hero's mission : QUEST
38
Designated areas : ZONES
39
Classic work by 50- and 23-Down, so to speak? : NOCTURNE
41
"Sprechen ___ Deutsch?" : SIE
42
Where a comb may be found : HIVE
43
Snapchat or Pokémon Go : APP
44
Conan's TV home : TBS
47
Take a breath : INHALE
50
Adjunct to a sports facility : SNACKBAR
52
Classic work by 45-, 35- and 28-Down, so to speak? : MOONLIGHTSONATA
54
Dreamboat : HUNK
55
One of 14 lands neighboring China : LAOS
56
Cut, editorially : DELE
57
George Washingtons : ONES
58
Numbered rd. : HWY
59
Prey for a barracuda : EEL
Down
1
Lead vessel? : AORTA
2
___ Fett, "Star Wars" bounty hunter : BOBA
3
Refuge : SHELTER
4
Prefix meaning "cheap" : ECONO
5
Longest sentence? : LIFE
6
Tax org. : IRS
7
Up : ARISEN
8
Old AT&T symbol : BELL
9
Vogue rival : ELLE
10
Turned brunette, maybe : DYED
11
Cigarette purchase : PACK
13
Fixes in place : CEMENTS
15
___-relief : BAS
16
Mike who hosted "Dirty Jobs" : ROWE
17
Italian wines : VINOS
22
Emaciated : GAUNT
23
Give 0 stars : PAN
24
Citi rival : CHASE
25
Big "G" for Google, e.g. : ICON
26
It flows past Giza : NILE
27
___ Inn : DAYS
28
Kind of diagram : VENN
29
Parrot in "Aladdin" : IAGO
30
Cousin of a gator : CROC
31
"And ... ___!" (director's cry) : SCENE
34
Spy on : SURVEIL
35
Tool for tilling : HOE
37
Tool for telling? : QUILL
38
Closing part of an address : ZIPCODE
40
Word of good manners : THANKS
41
Places for pampering : SPAS
43
Anxious : ANTSY
44
Lowest level of Little League : TBALL
45
Diminish : BATE
46
Mrs., in Mexico : SRA
47
"Here's what I think," in textspeak : IMHO
48
Pluralizable thing : NOUN
49
Practice to improve : HONE
50
What must go on, proverbially : SHOW
51
Patella's place : KNEE
53
Sound of exasperation : GAH

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

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