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New York Times, Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Author:
David J. Lieb
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
24/7/20157/29/20150
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0011000
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1.63000
David J. Lieb

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Lieb. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David J. Lieb notes:
It's exciting enOUGH to have my first puzzle in the Times, but all the more on my 50th birthday! I wish my grandmother were alive to ... read more

It's exciting enOUGH to have my first puzzle in the Times, but all the more on my 50th birthday! I wish my grandmother were alive to enjoy this. As a kid growing up in the Sacramento, CA area, I started solving crosswords with her when she visited from Baltimore. I helped her with the sports clues and let her take the opera ones. (Neither of us specialized in Malayan apes or Assam silkworms.) Today I am a database developer and aspiring bioinformatician in the Boston area. I caught the construction bug when I attended my first American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in 2010.

The theme of this puzzle was inspired by a collection of early Dr. Seuss writings and cartoons entitled "The Tough Coughs as he Ploughs the Dough." I always wondered why they didn't name it "… Ploughs Through the Dough" to include a fifth pronunciation of "OUGH." I have attempted to rectify that with this puzzle.

The first version I submitted in June 2012 included the theme entries (in order): TOUGH CROWD, COUGH MEDICINE, PLOUGH THROUGH, and DOUGH HOOKS, with SEUSS as a bonus in the center. Will asked if I could make PLOUGH THROUGH the last theme entry since it has two OUGHs. I submitted the revised version in December 2012 and it was accepted in January 2013. Alas, I wasn't able to keep SEUSS in the grid, but I'm glad I could include him in these notes.

Thank you to Will and Joel for their editing. I'm pleased that half of my clues made it in with another 20% only moderately changed. I'd also like to thank Brendan Emmett Quigley for his suggestions and encouragement.

Jeff Chen notes:
Debut! Really interesting find; five different –OUGH endings, all pronounced differently. Great way to end the puzzle too; an ... read more

Debut! Really interesting find; five different –OUGH endings, all pronounced differently. Great way to end the puzzle too; an in-the-language phrase incorporating TWO of them. PLOUGH THROUGH, indeed!

Great to see David's ambition here. Sometimes debut NYT puzzles can feel like the author was simply happy to get the grid to work. Completely valid feeling when you're starting out. But David goes way beyond most debuts, incorporating a huge quantity of long fill. MALE MODEL, PIE CRUST, BEDEVILED added a lot of color to my solve — much appreciated.

McGruff always made me toe the line. And hungry.

It's so tough to find the balance between snazziness and cleanliness. Personally, RADIANTS didn't do much for me, and those parallel down arrangements (RADIANTS/PIE CRUSTS and ANO NUEVO/NANOGRAM) often cause trouble in surrounding fill. David does amazingly well in those direct regions, but they do sort of propagate around to cause a little of ISR/MSU/OSE/ISH sort of glue.

Finally, I might have liked a little more consistency in the themers. Although TOUGH ON CRIME is a beautiful answer, it's the only themer with three words. And DOUGHNUT HOLE is an equally snappy answer, but it stuck out for me in a different way, as the only themer where the –OUGH ending didn't actually end the word. David's original themers could have worked well, or something like DOUGH MIXER and TOUGH BREAK could work too.

Then again, some people argue that consistency is overrated. And given my strong liking of the final themer — the only one with two -OUGH enders — I might even agree. I sure do like my DOUGHNUT HOLEs.

Interesting theme, solid execution. Some solvers might complain about the preponderance of esoteric names — CYD, RAMOS, EKBERG — but all the crossings felt fair to me. I like learning a little something in my crosswords.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0407 ( 23,891 )
Across
1. Wolf (down) : SCARF
6. Lawman Wyatt : EARP
10. Apple since 1998 : IMAC
14. Platforms for medal winners : PODIA
15. "The Bridge on the River ___" : KWAI
16. Like candles : WAXY
17. Double-clicked images : ICONS
18. Gave fits : BEDEVILED
20. Robitussin or Vicks product : COUGHMEDICINE
22. "Let's ___!" : EAT
23. El Al destination: Abbr. : ISR
24. "Come as you ___" : ARE
25. Ed.'s stack : MSS
28. Petite sweet treat : DOUGHNUTHOLE
31. Emulate Bing Crosby : CROON
34. The "I" of T.G.I.F. : ITS
35. Biblical figure often depicted with a fig leaf : ADAM
36. Eastern princess : RANI
37. Existential uneasiness : ANGST
39. ___ Strauss & Co. : LEVI
40. "Hear, hear!" : AMEN
41. Slangy denial : NAH
42. Those women of Paris : ELLES
43. Advocating long sentences, say : TOUGHONCRIME
47. Parapsychologist's study : ESP
48. Lennon's love : ONO
49. Sugar suffix : OSE
50. Spare tire contents : FAT
53. Complete without a break, as a labour : PLOUGHTHROUGH
57. Find childishly amusing, say : SNICKERAT
59. Less likely to waver : SURER
60. What's held in hold'em : HAND
61. Low-lying area : VALE
62. Layer in the stratosphere : OZONE
63. Nestful : EGGS
64. Foreboding sign : OMEN
65. 90 degrees from oeste : NORTE
Down
1. Nutmeg, e.g. : SPICE
2. Hot drink sometimes served with nutmeg : COCOA
3. Possible score before a service break : ADOUT
4. Pre-engagement purchase : RING
5. Subject of Vogue : FASHION
6. Anita of "La Dolce Vita" : EKBERG
7. Left slack-jawed : AWED
8. Sources of heat or light : RADIANTS
9. Edible shell : PIECRUST
10. Counterpart of "You lose" : IWIN
11. Many an Abercrombie & Fitch employee : MALEMODEL
12. Log splitter : AXE
13. Dancer Charisse : CYD
19. ___ Cong : VIET
21. East Lansing sch. : MSU
26. Toil (away) : SLAVE
27. Tournament round before the finals : SEMIS
28. "Nothing ___!" ("I refuse!") : DOING
29. Accomplishment for a soprano : HIGHC
30. Oscar winner Berry : HALLE
31. Container for oranges : CRATE
32. Aquino's successor in the Philippines : RAMOS
33. Besting : ONEUPPING
37. Spanish New Year : ANONUEVO
38. One-trillionth of a kilo : NANOGRAM
42. Leader of the Transcendentalism movement : EMERSON
44. Catchy part of a song : HOOK
45. No-good : ROTTEN
46. Suffix with fool or ghoul : ISH
50. Uproar : FUROR
51. F.B.I. employee : AGENT
52. A crowd, they say : THREE
54. Some digital clock readouts, for short : LCDS
55. Robust : HALE
56. Anise-flavored liqueur : OUZO
57. That woman : SHE
58. Say "Take out the garbage" again and again, maybe : NAG

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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