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DOUBLE DOWN

New York Times, Sunday, April 19, 2015

Author:
Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1211/13/20129/19/201712
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3151200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58131
Don Gagliardo
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6511/13/20129/2/201919
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
621187472
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 75 Missing: {XZ} This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Gagliardo. This is puzzle # 16 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
DON: The German physician Franz Mesmer inspired this theme. The name MESMER has always intrigued me, and I noticed that it nearly repeats itself except for the last letter. I started ... read more

DON: The German physician Franz Mesmer inspired this theme. The name MESMER has always intrigued me, and I noticed that it nearly repeats itself except for the last letter. I started looking for other similar words. Then I came up with the theme idea to introduce the words into a puzzle. I asked Zhouqin to join me in the search. I can't remember who or how, but we decided to have half of the down theme words repeat the first two letters of a six-letter word, and half would repeat the last two letters. This made it much easier to find down theme answers and to fill the grid. Funny thing is, MESMER did not make it into the puzzle.

ZHOUQIN: I remember we rebooted several times in the filling process because of the dupes. So easy to dupe those little three words in our Down theme entries.

Jeff Chen notes:
C.C. and Don's Sunday debut! And what a devious idea, a rebus variant that I haven't quite seen before. There have been ones which require you to read the rebus answers twice (in different ... read more

C.C. and Don's Sunday debut! And what a devious idea, a rebus variant that I haven't quite seen before. There have been ones which require you to read the rebus answers twice (in different ways), some where the double letter rebuses were used to double both across and down answers, and many that require reading rebus squares differently across vs. down, but I can't remember anything quite like this.

Venus, the EVENING STAR

How to even describe it? Six-letter answers where letters #1 and #2 are identical to letters #4 and #5, i.e. PAYPAL, shown in the grid as PAYL. Perfect title, DOUBLE DOWN, describing the method in which those theme answers must be interpreted. It's tough enough to find a symmetrical set of themers answers that work, so it's impressive that Don and C.C. found such colorful ones as LAUNCH PARTY and PAPER TRAIL and EVENING STAR. HEART WARMING indeed.

As I've mentioned many times, puzzles using crossing themers are tough to fill. This one is even more difficult, because there's very little flexibility in choosing the three-letter answers. With less ambitious ideas, the constructor can often change what the crossing answer is, thus easing the way for smoother fill when necessary. Not so much here, as the entire grid is built around specific placements, i.e. the pair of DIRTY LINEN and PA(YL) are fixed into place like concrete. Alternates for DIRTY LINEN do exist (isn't DIRTY LAUNDRY much more common?), but there aren't many.

So, not a surprise to see that the gluiest bits came around those intersections. Wasn't sure what an AGON was for example, but I as I was solving, I was prepared to encounter that sort of oddball thing around the thematic crossings. ARB will get similar grumbling from some, but I actually love this particular answer. It makes me think about big-headed finance guys brag about driving their ARBs and QUANTs in order to pull off some crazy LBO. (And I smile when the deal fails miserably.)

I would have liked TACO SALAD and FREE RANGE to not be as long as DIRT(YL)INEN and PAPE(RT)RAIL, especially given the difficulty of sussing out the theme. Took me well over twice as long as usual to solve.

Very neat idea, excellent a-ha moment when I (finally) caught on. Definitely some compromises in filling, but some of it's to be expected given the construction's difficulty level.

1
C
2
H
3
E
4
A
5
P
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M
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H
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I
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N
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H
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I
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G
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L
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W
H
A
M
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H
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D
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YL
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H
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TW
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A
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F
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R
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L
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H
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L
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S
A
Y
40
I
D
O
41
R
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I
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F
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T
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S
O
M
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M
E
R
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A
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J
A
M
49
N
Y
U
50
K
51
E
N
D
O
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A
T
P
A
R
53
E
B
O
N
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A
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R
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N
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G
O
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DN
A
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T
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E
D
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F
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N
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A
LN
O
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I
C
E
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E
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O
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B
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Q
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K
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R
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A
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F
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L
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A
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HP
A
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E
V
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GS
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A
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R
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B
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G
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T
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I
93
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94
E
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A
95
R
A
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O
U
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96
D
E
A
N
97
B
A
A
98
B
A
A
99
T
100
R
E
E
101
N
E
S
102
G
103
O
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R
E
N
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A
S
W
106
E
107
E
A
R
108
L
109
M
110
I
111
K
A
D
O
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T
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A
C
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A
114
L
A
D
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A
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T
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R
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A
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S
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NW
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P
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RT
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R
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I
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O
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P
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T
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E
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G
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A
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0419 ( 23,903 )
Across
1
Penny-pinching : CHEAP
6
Place of business: Abbr. : MKT
9
Shoot the breeze : CHIN
13
Mini revelation? : THIGH
18
Requests a table for one, say : EATSALONE
20
Company behind the Hula-Hoop craze : WHAMO
21
Source of the line "They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind" : HOSEA
22
Private things that are embarrassing : DIRTYLINEN
23
Moving in a nice way : HEARTWARMING
25
Hungarian city : EGER
26
Not caged : FREERANGE
28
Things in cages : ROOSTS
29
Regarding : ASTO
31
Mal de ___ (French woe) : TETE
32
Pulitzer winner for "Seascape" : ALBEE
34
Mystifying Geller : URI
37
Canine command : HEEL
39
Get hitched : SAYIDO
41
Disagreement : RIFT
45
Actress Elke : SOMMER
47
Stuck, after "in" : AJAM
49
Three Stooges laugh sound : NYUK
51
Prefix with -morphism : ENDO
52
How some stocks are sold : ATPAR
53
A piano has 36 of them : EBONIES
55
Inverse trig function : ARCSIN
57
Friendly : GOODNATURED
59
Warning just before a cutoff of service : FINALNOTICE
62
Misdo something : ERR
63
Some grillings : ORALS
64
Quick cut : SNIP
65
Hair option : BUN
66
Was unfaithful : STRAYED
69
Bit of exercise, in Britain : PRESSUP
72
Iranian pilgrimage city : QUM
73
Aid to Zen meditation : KOAN
76
Flavor : SAPOR
78
Title TV character who was over 200 years old : ALF
80
Celebratory event for a new company or product : LAUNCHPARTY
83
Venus : EVENINGSTAR
86
Shakespearean king : ALONSO
87
Changes the placement of in a tournament bracket : RESEEDS
89
Neutral shade : BEIGE
90
Indian bread : ROTI
91
Long-tailed monkey : TITI
94
That girl, in Genoa : ESSA
95
Tell on : RATOUT
96
Graduation V.I.P. : DEAN
97
Ewe two? : BAABAA
99
Yew, too : TREE
101
Atari 7800 competitor, briefly : NES
102
Bridge writer Charles : GOREN
105
Life ___ know it : ASWE
107
Scruggs on a banjo : EARL
109
Bass role in a Gilbert & Sullivan opera : MIKADO
112
Order at a Mexican grill : TACOSALAD
115
Product with a Lubrastrip : ATRA
119
Plus-size model? : STATIONWAGON
121
Hard evidence a lawyer follows : PAPERTRAIL
123
Kind of pain : ROYAL
124
Prisoners' wear : IRONS
125
Hammed it up : OVERACTED
126
Investigation : PROBE
127
Whups : TANS
128
Something grown - or eaten - in rows : EAR
129
Powerhouse in African soccer : GHANA
Down
1
Give up : CEDE
2
Secretary of state under Reagan : HAIG
3
Peut-___ (perhaps: Fr.) : ETRE
4
Stars, in a motto : ASTRA
5
One way to complete an online purchase : PAYPAL
6
"Candle in the Wind" dedicatee : MONROE
7
Place for a brace : KNEE
8
Part of a platform : TENET
9
Number two of 43 : CHENEY
10
Den ___ (home of the International Criminal Court) : HAAG
11
"Let's do this thing" : IMREADY
12
Later : NOTNOW
13
Sharp pain : THROE
14
Old man? : HOMOERECTUS
15
Mideast grp. : ISIS
16
Hat tipper, maybe : GENT
17
Some Halloween costumes : HAGS
19
Ending with shop or weight : LIFTER
20
Question ending a riddle : WHATAMI
24
Hedge fund pro : ARB
27
Smooths over : RESANDS
30
Princess of Power : SHERA
33
Pro wrestler Albano : LOU
34
What an electric meter measures : USAGE
35
Fans have them : ROTORS
36
Certain trade barrier : IMPORTQUOTA
38
Many a Seeing Eye dog : LABRADOR
40
Living ___ : INSIN
42
Sly suggestion : INSINUATION
43
Initialism on a bank door : FDIC
44
Muscle ___ : TONE
46
Lunatic : MADMAN
48
Follower of 21-Across : JOEL
50
Big brand of dog food : KALKAN
53
Largest coastal city between San Francisco and Portland : EUREKA
54
Poor grades : EFS
56
Holds up : ROBS
58
Hula-Hoop, e.g. : TOY
60
Went for, puppy-style : NIPPEDAT
61
They come with strings attached : APRONS
67
Drinking now, paying later : RUNNINGATAB
68
Some movie theaters : AMCS
70
"___ tu" (Verdi aria) : ERI
71
One of 10 in Exodus : PLAGUE
74
Sunlit spaces : ATRIA
75
Big name in antiscience debunking : NYE
76
Fluctuates wildly : SEESAWS
77
Greetings of old : AVES
79
Bars of music? : FRETS
80
Pie crust ingredient, maybe : LARD
81
Staple of skin care : ALOE
82
Asian stew often eaten with a dipping sauce : HOTPOT
84
Pro hoopster : NBAER
85
"Go" preceder : GETSET
88
TV units : SEASONS
92
"May ___ frank?" : IBE
93
Bit of fanfare : TANTARA
95
Kindle, e.g. : READER
98
___ Rebellion (event of 1676) : BACONS
100
Farm machine : REAPER
103
"Swan Lake" figure : ODILE
104
Milne young 'un : ROO
106
Author of "MS. Found in a Bottle," for short : EAPOE
108
Conifer that loses its leaves in the fall : LARCH
109
Window sticker fig. : MSRP
110
"Click ___ ticket" : ITOR
111
Floor : KAYO
113
Ancient Greek contest : AGON
114
Coulee's contents : LAVA
116
"S'long" : TATA
117
"De ___" ("You're welcome": Fr.) : RIEN
118
Gershwin portrayer in "Rhapsody in Blue" : ALDA
120
Dunderhead : NITWIT
122
Motley : RAGTAG

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?