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New York Times, Friday, April 4, 2014

Author:
Martin Ashwood-Smith and Joe Krozel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
866/5/19913/29/201910
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
000246416
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.520017
Martin Ashwood-Smith
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
877/7/20066/14/201815
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4147242621
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48057
Joe Krozel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 31 Missing: {JKQW} Spans: 8, (2 quad stacks) This is puzzle # 74 for Mr. Ashwood-Smith. This is puzzle # 68 for Mr. Krozel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
Martin: I like to think of today's double-quad-stack puzzle having a long-lost triple stack little brother from 1996. Do you see ... read more

Martin:

I like to think of today's double-quad-stack puzzle having a long-lost triple stack little brother from 1996. Do you see any similarity between the grids? In reality, any similarity is just a coincidence, but an intriguing one, nonetheless.

When I started constructing the top stacks for this puzzle, I though it would be fun to use a 15-letter word/phrase that is commonly seen at the very bottom of stacked puzzles: SATELLITE STATES, and placing it at 1-Across, at the very top. In this position, its abundance of low-point (useful word-ending) Scrabble letters, normally an advantage, would be all but useless.

After I finished what looked like a promising top stack, I then contacted my friend Joe Krozel to see if he had an "orphan" stack or two, that we could meld into a finished puzzle. By luck he did. Our first draft had 10-D SLUG, and FAIN in its mirror position. Luckily we were able to open the grid up more (and reduce the word count to 66) by extending both entries to SLUG IT OUT and SAMMY FAIN. We got lucky that day!

Joe:

When constructing my first dual quad-stack puzzle around 2010, I assembled a library of half-filled grids containing a single quad stack at the top or the bottom. So, I had numerous potential matches when Martin presented his upper quad stack to me; I just had to search my library for the closest matches, then Martin and I would move squares around to unite the two puzzle halves with the proper symmetry.

I started the lower quad stack with the lively seed entry AMIGLADTOSEEYOU. The vowels at the front and back ensured that 55-D and 60-D would be words rather than some all-consonant letter strings like SSSS or SSTS.

Jeff Chen notes:
Oh man, it's so cool that two of the quad-stack masters joined forces on this one! I love collaborating with other constructors, so I ... read more

Oh man, it's so cool that two of the quad-stack masters joined forces on this one! I love collaborating with other constructors, so I can only imagine the awesome back-and-forths MAS and Joe must have had. (Please tell me there were some tickle fights?) In particular, I enjoyed hearing about one constructor taking an unpaired quad-stack and matching it up with another's. A true peanut-butter and chocolate moment.

Quad-stacks by nature tend to require common letters (RSTLN E), so it's important to choose the entries with those letters that happen to be snappy. (At least so I'm told, since I've never successfully completed one quad-stack, much less two.) I loved getting AM I GLAD TO SEE YOU, an entry I would be happy to encounter in any themeless, much less a quad-stack. What with SACRIFICIAL LAMB on top of it, that bottom section was a mighty treat.

I liked the top one as well, although I didn't know ADELAIDE'S LAMENT so wasn't able to appreciate it as much. After looking it up (it's a Guys and Dolls song), I was happy to have listened to it. Catchy!

Inevitable to get some less-than-optimal crossing answers in a quad-stack. I did love seeing the longer ones like EXORCIST and SCARLET A (much, much better than the usual RED A we usually see in crosswords) and I DIG IT. But not may solvers will like a TENTER or an arbitrary TEN HOURS or SMOOT in their puzzle. I am very interested in the SMOOT-Hawley tariff's effect in intensifying the Great Depression, but we've already established that I'm strange.

It surprises me to hear every once in a while that a solver will enjoy the likes of ENCE or STER. I would prefer not to see those types of crossword glue, but some solvers breathe a sigh of relief because just one answer like this can help them grab a toehold in a puzzle. Go figure!

I appreciate MAS and Joe working hard to put together a puzzle which connects well in the center, something very important to keep it from feeling like two completely separate mini-puzzles. Not only are there plenty of connection points, but SNEER AT and GUESS SO make for some very nice junctions in the middle of the grid.

I wouldn't want every themeless to be a quad-stack because of their unique qualities (I'm looking at you, ENCE and STER), but I sure enjoy getting them every once in a while. A final note, my favorite answer in the puzzle? SLUG IT OUT. What a snappy phrase, and so impressive how it runs straight through that top stack.

1
S
2
A
3
T
4
E
5
L
6
L
7
I
8
T
9
E
10
S
11
T
12
A
13
T
14
E
15
S
16
A
D
E
L
A
I
D
E
S
L
A
M
E
N
T
17
M
A
R
I
N
E
I
N
S
U
R
A
N
C
E
18
S
I
N
G
I
N
G
T
O
G
E
T
H
E
R
19
R
E
I
20
S
I
E
21
I
D
I
O
22
S
B
23
A
24
T
R
25
O
T
26
S
U
27
M
28
O
29
L
I
30
S
31
R
O
32
Z
33
R
A
H
34
S
35
N
36
E
E
R
A
37
T
38
G
U
E
39
S
S
S
O
40
H
E
X
41
E
M
I
42
T
A
C
43
A
Z
O
44
V
45
M
A
46
P
47
A
48
L
A
49
S
50
R
I
51
M
Y
52
A
R
53
M
54
R
T
55
S
56
S
57
A
C
R
I
F
58
I
C
I
A
59
L
L
A
M
60
B
61
A
M
I
G
L
A
D
T
O
S
E
E
Y
O
U
62
G
A
S
O
L
I
N
E
S
T
A
T
I
O
N
63
A
N
T
S
I
N
O
N
E
S
P
A
N
T
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0404 ( 23,523 )
Across
1
Romania and Bulgaria, once : SATELLITESTATES
16
Frank Loesser show tune : ADELAIDESLAMENT
17
It might cover an oil spill : MARINEINSURANCE
18
Doing the rounds? : SINGINGTOGETHER
19
Sporting goods chain with the slogan "Get outside yourself" : REI
20
Potsdam pronoun : SIE
21
Peculiar: Prefix : IDIO
22
Start-up helper: Abbr. : SBA
24
Pace at Pompano Park : TROT
26
Shoving matches? : SUMO
29
Relative of une tulipe : LIS
31
"Frasier" role : ROZ
33
Match cry : RAH
34
Pooh-pooh : SNEERAT
38
"You're probably right" : GUESSSO
40
Mojo : HEX
41
Sister co. of Virgin : EMI
42
Middle square, maybe : TAC
43
Sea of ___ (view from Crimea's eastern coast) : AZOV
45
Chart, in Cádiz : MAPA
48
Sol mates? : LAS
50
Frost-covered : RIMY
52
Crook's place : ARM
54
Many activists' concerns: Abbr. : RTS
56
One given up for good? : SACRIFICIALLAMB
61
"What a sight for sore eyes!" : AMIGLADTOSEEYOU
62
Its islands are not surrounded by water : GASOLINESTATION
63
Unease : ANTSINONESPANTS
Down
1
Some defensive weapons, in brief : SAMS
2
"Love and Death on Long Island" novelist Gilbert : ADAIR
3
Lead-tin alloys : TERNES
4
Unmarried, say : ELIGIBLE
5
Activist Guinier : LANI
6
Some claims : LIENS
7
"Cool, dude" : IDIGIT
8
Many a backpacker, at night : TENTER
9
62-Across option north of the border : ESSO
10
Go a couple of rounds : SLUGITOUT
11
Preweighed, in a way : TARED
12
Very rarely heard instruments : AMATIS
13
Long shift, perhaps : TENHOURS
14
Ending to prefer? : ENCE
15
Young or old follower : STER
23
Rich person's suffix? : AIRE
25
Alternative to .net : ORG
27
Rural parents : MAS
28
Cry of pleased surprise : OHO
30
Songwriters Hall of Fame member who wrote "April Love" : SAMMYFAIN
32
Get-up-and-go : ZEAL
34
Doo-wop syllable : SHA
35
Body part detecting odeurs : NEZ
36
One getting rid of possessions? : EXORCIST
37
"Third Watch" actress Texada : TIA
39
Hester Prynne wore one : SCARLETA
44
Labor Day arrivals, e.g. : VIRGOS
46
Conf. whose membership increased by two in 2011 : PACTEN
47
Melodic : ARIOSE
49
Not leave the house : STAYIN
51
Prefix with second : MILLI
53
Sticks in the brig? : MASTS
55
Utah senator who co-sponsored a tariff act : SMOOT
56
Potential serial material : SAGA
57
"___ in Full" (Tom Wolfe novel) : AMAN
58
Security figure: Abbr. : IDNO
59
Abrupt transition : LEAP
60
Some picnic supplies : BUNS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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