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New York Times, Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Author:
Keiran King
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
14/11/20180
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0001000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.71000
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
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B
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D
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B
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K
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G
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H
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N
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Q
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T
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H
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K
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M
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G
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© 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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