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New York Times, Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Author: Joel Fagliano
Editor: Will Shortz
Joel Fagliano
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5510/22/200911/8/20174
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
12810710224
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65351

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 35 Missing: {QVXZ} This is puzzle # 37 for Mr. Fagliano. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Joel Fagliano notes: The idea for a theme of seven-letter phrases where the first and last three letters are the same came after glancing at my phone ... more
Joel Fagliano notes:

The idea for a theme of seven-letter phrases where the first and last three letters are the same came after glancing at my phone when the Daft Punk song "Giorgio By Moroder" came on. It's always fun when a cool idea like this comes completely by accident.

I agonized over whether the revealer BILATERAL/SYMMETRY was accurate enough, because I could see the argument that it more aptly describes a palindrome like RACE CAR. But if you think of the three-letter strings as chunks, it works. Also, I couldn't think of something that would better describe it.

Finally, I'm of the opinion that some in the crossword world have taken the whole 'grid dupe' thing way too far — I remember an early puzzle of mine receiving a negative review just for having two UPs crossing each other. First, I don't think most solvers notice this sort of thing. But even if they do, I'm not sure how it detracts from the enjoyment of the puzzle that much. Every rule should have a good reason behind it, and this one has always seemed a little too dogmatic for not enough cause.

All of this to say, the MADE MAD/MAD MEN dupe doesn't bother me at all. MADE MAD was fixed by the theme, and MAD MEN is a fresh, modern answer that's particularly nice now that the final season is airing. If they were crossing, I'd probably have to lean against it, but otherwise I don't mind it all.

Jeff Chen notes: I had to look up BILATERAL / SYMMETRY, wondering if it really described entries like MADEMAD (MAD is identical on either side of the ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I had to look up BILATERAL / SYMMETRY, wondering if it really described entries like MADEMAD (MAD is identical on either side of the middle E). To Joel's point, wouldn't MADEDAM be more descriptive of BILATERAL SYMMETRY? According to one dictionary, though:

BILATERAL SYMMETRY: the property of being divisible into symmetrical halves on either side of a unique plane.

Fair enough!

It did confuse me a bit that BUTTERFLY and TAJ MAHAL, while also adhering to BILATERAL SYMMETRY, don't seem consistent with MADEMAD. It did make me imagine what a BUTTERFLY with one wing flipped would look like, i.e. the outer edge of one wing attached to its body. Kooky.

Aside from my OCD wonderings, another solid construction from Joel. During a fun chat at the ACPT, I really appreciated hearing his perspective about variety in shorter answers. Especially for every-day puzzlers, it's cool to see less-often used entries like BAD SPOT, UM OKAY, MAD MEN and even BRYAN, which can be clued in so many different ways. I like the fresh feel of Joel's grids. (I didn't notice the "dupe" of MAD until Joel mentioned it, and I agree with him that it doesn't matter.)

Joliet Jake on the right

I did feel like it was odd that some seven-letter across answers — especially ONEOFUS and CHALUPA — weren't themers. Similarly, I originally missed that GIORGIO was a themer. Maybe shading instead of clue starring would have helped. Or, placing the themers so that they were bilaterally symmetric in the grid (using left-right mirror symmetry) would have been particularly nice.

Finally, some great clues:

  • [Passing concerns …] aren't transitory worries, but concerns for NFL QBs = TDS.
  • [Kings are part of it …] has nothing to do with the Bible or history, but the NBA's Sacramento Kings.
  • Chemistry! I know some solvers pull their hair out when seeing organic chemistry nomenclature, but I personally love it. Not that I know the structure of LSD off the top of my head, but it's fun to reason out what it possibly could be.
  • As a huge Blues Brothers fan, I ignored the given clue and pretended it was [___ Jake, the best of Belushi's many awesome roles].
1
L
2
E
3
F
4
T
5
J
6
A
7
B
8
J
9
O
10
L
11
I
12
E
13
T
14
A
L
L
Y
A
L
L
15
M
A
D
E
M
A
D
16
G
I
O
R
G
I
O
17
O
N
E
O
F
U
S
18
S
A
G
A
19
G
20
I
R
D
U
P
21
N
22
B
23
A
24
T
A
J
M
A
25
H
26
A
27
L
28
B
29
U
30
T
T
E
R
31
F
L
Y
32
R
A
R
E
33
A
M
O
34
G
A
E
L
35
M
36
A
D
M
E
N
37
S
O
T
38
H
E
B
Y
39
B
A
D
S
P
O
T
40
S
K
E
E
T
S
41
H
E
R
D
42
E
L
I
43
E
A
R
L
44
B
I
L
A
T
45
E
R
A
L
46
S
Y
M
M
47
E
48
T
R
Y
49
T
O
A
50
S
T
A
Y
A
51
T
52
R
53
A
54
G
55
E
56
C
57
H
58
A
L
U
P
A
59
I
60
L
61
L
W
I
L
L
62
D
I
N
E
D
I
N
63
D
O
S
I
D
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S
64
S
P
A
Y
E
R
65
E
N
D
G
A
M
E
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0415 ( 23,899 )
Across Down
1. It might be followed by a right hook : LEFTJAB
8. Illinois city about 40 miles SW of Chicago : JOLIET
14. *Southern pronoun : ALLYALL
15. *Angered : MADEMAD
16. *Designer Armani : GIORGIO
17. An ally : ONEOFUS
18. Story with many chapters : SAGA
19. Encircle with a belt : GIRDUP
21. Kings are part of it, in brief : NBA
24. Landmark that exhibits 44-/46-Across : TAJMAHAL
28. Insect that exhibits 44-/46-Across : BUTTERFLY
32. Of interest to a collector, say : RARE
33. "Ti ___" (Pavarotti album) : AMO
34. Scottish Highlander : GAEL
35. Four-time Emmy winner for Outstanding Drama Series : MADMEN
37. Auction house eponym : SOTHEBY
39. Predicament : BADSPOT
40. Clay targets, informally : SKEETS
41. Drove : HERD
42. The "E" of the REO Speed Wagon : ELI
43. Warren of the Warren Commission : EARL
44. With 46-Across, feature of the answers to this puzzle's six starred clues, in a sense : BILATERAL
46. See 44-Across : SYMMETRY
49. Ode title words : TOA
50. Visit overnight : STAYAT
52. Dernier cri : RAGE
56. Taco Bell offering : CHALUPA
59. *Animus : ILLWILL
62. *Enjoyed home cooking : DINEDIN
63. *Square dance moves : DOSIDOS
64. Vet, at times : SPAYER
65. King vs. king-and-pawn situation : ENDGAME
1. Streaming problems : LAGS
2. Director Kazan : ELIA
3. Beat : FLOG
4. "The only ___ I accept in this world is the still small voice within me": Gandhi : TYRANT
5. Spree : JAG
6. Iran's Ayatollah ___ Khamenei : ALI
7. WordPress or Tumblr page : BLOG
8. Tylenol producer, for short : JANDJ
9. Concert hall : ODEUM
10. Antelope stalkers : LEOPARDS
11. Org. that lends to countries : IMF
12. Poissons swim in it : EAU
13. Passing concerns, for short? : TDS
15. Encounter for a reef diver, maybe : MORAY
20. "___ just take a minute" : ITLL
22. Bring about : BEGET
23. Speedy steeds : ARABS
25. Impede : HAMPER
26. Part of the iris : AREOLA
27. Kind of soup : LENTIL
28. Back row of many a choir : BASSES
29. "So I guess that's a thing now" : UMOKAY
30. How a baby may be carried : TOTERM
31. Whimsically odd : FEY
35. French Revolution figure : MARAT
36. Complement : ADDTO
38. Businesswoman with the nickname Queen of Mean : HELMSLEY
39. Puccini's "Un ___ dì vedremo" : BEL
41. Casual greeting : HIYA
44. Cranston of "Breaking Bad" : BRYAN
45. Insect with pincers : EARWIG
47. Challenging exercise : ETUDE
48. Mammal with a flexible nose : TAPIR
51. It comes in waves : TIDE
53. Verdi classic : AIDA
54. Latch (onto) : GLOM
55. Computer coding keyword : ELSE
56. Tower Records offerings : CDS
57. Part of a rose : HIP
58. Japanese carrier : ANA
60. With 60-Down reversed, 1970s dictator : LON
61. C20H25N3O, commonly : LSD

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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