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LITERARY CIRCLES

New York Times, Sunday, May 10, 2015

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/25/20131/2/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3449640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.597100
Jacob Stulberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 80 Missing: {JQZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Stulberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes:
Shortly after I taught 'The Locust Tree in Flower' to a class of undergraduates, it crossed my mind that Williams' thirteen one-word lines might be a good fit for a 15x15 crossword grid. ... read more

Shortly after I taught "The Locust Tree in Flower" to a class of undergraduates, it crossed my mind that Williams' thirteen one-word lines might be a good fit for a 15x15 crossword grid. At first, I considered making each word an individual answer on a separate row, but this posed a problem: what to do with that cryptic "of," too short to be a standalone answer? Finally, I settled on concealing all thirteen words inside longer answers, which meant expanding the grid to 21x21. Doing so had the unexpected side effect of opening up just enough room for the title, the poet's name, and all four stanza breaks — a small miracle, or so it felt.

Where possible, I tried to use theme answers unrelated to the poem's words. (Hence MASTIFF instead of, say, STIFFLY.) OVERAGAIN would have been UPAGAINST, but that section just wouldn't fill properly until I shifted AGAIN to the right. Special thanks to Will for his clue at 60-Across, which brought back fond memories of classical-music broadcasting in college. (Never assume you can fake your way through the name "Władysława Markiewiczówna" on live radio.)

Jill Denny notes:
First question: did you know the poem? I didn't. William Carlos Williams is familiar to me — his short story 'The Girl With The Pimply Face' contains one of my favorite lines* ... read more

First question: did you know the poem? I didn't. William Carlos Williams is familiar to me — his short story "The Girl With The Pimply Face" contains one of my favorite lines* — but I didn't know this poem.

One of Williams' most famous poems, "This is Just To Say," makes me hungry for plums

Second question: does it matter? Not as much as I would have thought. Although familiarity would have made the solving experience easier (and the aha moment more crystalline), discovering the poem word by word was a charming process in its own right. Even if the puzzle contained a unknown poem from a unknown poet, I probably still would have enjoyed the puzzle. It's just fun to see a poem emerge from a grid, like happening upon a particularly beautiful garden during a walk.

I loved one of Jacob's previous puzzles for similar reasons. Crosswords as a vehicle for art, whether visual, musical, or literary — right up my alley. Jeremy Newton's "Ode to Joy" puzzle from 2011 was another beautiful example of this idea. Either I am reminded of something beautiful or I learn something new. Win-win.

*"Boy, she was tough and no kidding but I fell for her immediately. There was that hard, straight thing about her that in itself gives an impression of excellence."

Jim Horne notes:
My kind of puzzle — a fun NORWAY fact, a reference to a great Mike Leigh film, and a poem. Poetry is all about economy. You might have thought his First Version was stripped to the ... read more

My kind of puzzle — a fun NORWAY fact, a reference to a great Mike Leigh film, and a poem. Poetry is all about economy. You might have thought his First Version was stripped to the essentials but you're not William Carlos Williams.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0510 ( 23,924 )
Across
1
Theater purchase: Abbr. : TKT
4
Fertility doctor's focus : OVUM
8
Little sucker? : VAC
11
Mountain-to-mountain transport : ROPEWAY
18
Sch. with a Manchester campus : UNH
19
Apple product : NANO
20
Fail to grant, in court : DENY
21
Showed humility : ATEDIRT
22
"Spoon River Anthology" poet Edgar ___ Masters : LEE
23
California's Rancho ___ : CUCAMONGA
25
Appeared amazed : GOGGLED
26
Tattler's threat : ILLTELL
28
At a high rate : OFTEN
29
"___ Folks," Charles Schulz's first strip : LIL
30
Scheme : PLOY
31
Visibly sad : TEARFUL
33
Making environmentally friendly : GREENING
38
No. expert : CPA
40
One in a jungle trail : ANT
41
Walk with swaying hips : ROLLINGGAIT
43
Arduous : GRUELING
46
Relative of a Great Dane : MASTIFF
47
6 letters? : MNO
48
Like cars in a used car lot : RESOLD
49
Source of feta cheese : EWE
51
Prominent parts : SALIENCES
54
Put-on : ACT
55
Clinton secretary of state : ALBRIGHT
59
Ingratiate : ENDEAR
60
Like the American pronunciation of many Polish names : BUTCHERED
62
7 1/2-foot Ming : YAO
64
Item extending over a gunwale : OAR
65
"Sesame Street" subjs. : RRR
66
An airbag can prevent it : BROKENRIB
70
Fixer-upper's need, for short : TLC
72
Counterpart of Aurora : EOS
74
Good part of a record : WIN
75
Diverge : BRANCHOFF
79
Look good on : BECOME
82
Citizen : NATIONAL
84
Camera option, for short : SLR
85
She's courted in "The Courtship of Miles Standish" : PRISCILLA
88
Shipping unit: Abbr. : CTN
89
Country that's won the most medals in the history of the Winter Olympics : NORWAY
91
+ or - thing : ION
92
How-to aid : DIAGRAM
95
Kind of omelet : EGGWHITE
97
1990 Mike Leigh comedy/drama : LIFEISSWEET
100
Maven : PRO
101
First word of Dante's "Inferno" : NEL
102
"E.T." boy and others : ELLIOTTS
103
"Would you let me take a look?" : MAYISEE
106
Plagues : ILLS
109
Funny : ODD
110
Coffee mate? : DONUT
111
Lady in "Lady and the Tramp," e.g. : SPANIEL
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Fix, as a braid : REWEAVE
117
From the top : OVERAGAIN
119
Battery size : AAA
120
Put forth : EXERTED
121
107-Down subject : RENT
122
Org. concerned with toy safety : SPCA
123
___ Search (Bing forerunner) : MSN
124
Renaissance fair wear : CORSETS
125
Put on : ADD
126
Road ___ : TEST
127
Where costumes are worn : SET
Down
1
Dutch pot contents : TULIP
2
Toll : KNELL
3
1935 poem with one word per line ... as spelled out by this puzzle's circled letters : THELOCUSTTREEINFLOWER
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Start of a reminiscence : ONCE
5
Where bills may accumulate : VAULT
6
Sullied : UNCLEAN
7
Extinct wingless bird : MOA
8
California's ___ Freeway : VENTURA
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Common pizzeria name : ANGELOS
10
Blue shade : CYAN
11
Piece of Tin Pan Alley music : RAG
12
Midwest tribe : OTO
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Ahab, e.g. : PEGLEG
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Decorative border : EDGING
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Writer of 3-Down : WILLIAMCARLOSWILLIAMS
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Exist : ARE
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Pay stub abbr. : YTD
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Remove, in a way : DOFF
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Mad magazine cartoonist Drucker : MORT
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Like about 45% of human blood : TYPEO
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Internet troll, intentionally : ANGERER
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Cells that protect neurons : GLIA
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Ransack : RIFLE
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In conclusion: Fr. : ENFIN
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Levi's Stadium athlete, informally : NINER
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Some Pontiacs : GTOS
39
One who's much praised : ALLAH
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Capt.'s inferiors : LTS
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Clutch : GRAB
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Cause déjà vu, perhaps : RECUR
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___ talk : IDLE
46
"Family Guy" daughter : MEG
50
Certain heiress : WIDOW
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___ Period, 1603-1868 : EDO
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"___ Arizona Skies" (John Wayne movie) : NEATH
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"Just a minute," in texts : BRB
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Cousin of an aardwolf : HYENA
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Army Rangers beret color : TAN
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Branded footwear : CROCS
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Circle : ORBIT
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Cousins : KIN
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Ones whose work is decreasing? : IRONERS
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Severe penalty : BAN
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Harp's home key : CFLAT
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Liberal arts subj. : SOC
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Da ___, Vietnam : NANG
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Fright wig wearer : CLOWN
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Comic impressionist David : FRYE
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Lie in the hot sun : BROIL
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Thick : MIDST
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Group mailing tool : ELIST
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"31 Days of Oscar" network : TCM
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Mound : PILE
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Code contents : LAWS
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Barrier to some websites : AGE
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River through Deutschland : RHEIN
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What a cousin can be twice : REMOVED
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Done : ATANEND
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Flips : GOESAPE
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What may make you duck down? : EIDERS
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Certain salt : IODATE
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Falafel holder : PITA
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Steppes dwelling : YURT
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"Beowulf" and others : EPICS
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It might have an escalator : LEASE
108
Bias : SLANT
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Artist Maar depicted in Picasso's "The Weeping Woman" : DORA
112
MCAT topic: Abbr. : ANAT
113
___ room : REC
114
Intro to biology? : EXO
115
Screen : VET
116
Lib. listings : EDS
118
Astronomer's std. : GST

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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