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LITERARY CIRCLES

New York Times, Sunday, May 10, 2015

Author: Jacob Stulberg
Editor: Will Shortz
Jacob Stulberg
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2238640
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1.59770

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. At first, I ... more
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. 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* — but I didn't know this ... more
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* — 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."

JimH 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 essentials but you're not William Carlos Williams.
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0510 ( 23,924 )
Across Down
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
113. 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
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
4. Start of a reminiscence : ONCE
5. Where bills may accumulate : VAULT
6. Sullied : UNCLEAN
7. Extinct wingless bird : MOA
8. California's ___ Freeway : VENTURA
9. Common pizzeria name : ANGELOS
10. Blue shade : CYAN
11. Piece of Tin Pan Alley music : RAG
12. Midwest tribe : OTO
13. Ahab, e.g. : PEGLEG
14. Decorative border : EDGING
15. Writer of 3-Down : WILLIAMCARLOSWILLIAMS
16. Exist : ARE
17. Pay stub abbr. : YTD
20. Remove, in a way : DOFF
24. Mad magazine cartoonist Drucker : MORT
27. Like about 45% of human blood : TYPEO
32. Internet troll, intentionally : ANGERER
33. Cells that protect neurons : GLIA
34. Ransack : RIFLE
35. In conclusion: Fr. : ENFIN
36. Levi's Stadium athlete, informally : NINER
37. Some Pontiacs : GTOS
39. One who's much praised : ALLAH
42. Capt.'s inferiors : LTS
43. Clutch : GRAB
44. Cause déjà vu, perhaps : RECUR
45. ___ talk : IDLE
46. "Family Guy" daughter : MEG
50. Certain heiress : WIDOW
52. ___ Period, 1603-1868 : EDO
53. "___ Arizona Skies" (John Wayne movie) : NEATH
56. "Just a minute," in texts : BRB
57. Cousin of an aardwolf : HYENA
58. Army Rangers beret color : TAN
61. Branded footwear : CROCS
63. Circle : ORBIT
67. Cousins : KIN
68. Ones whose work is decreasing? : IRONERS
69. Severe penalty : BAN
71. Harp's home key : CFLAT
73. Liberal arts subj. : SOC
76. Da ___, Vietnam : NANG
77. Fright wig wearer : CLOWN
78. Comic impressionist David : FRYE
79. Lie in the hot sun : BROIL
80. Thick : MIDST
81. Group mailing tool : ELIST
83. "31 Days of Oscar" network : TCM
85. Mound : PILE
86. Code contents : LAWS
87. Barrier to some websites : AGE
90. River through Deutschland : RHEIN
93. What a cousin can be twice : REMOVED
94. Done : ATANEND
96. Flips : GOESAPE
98. What may make you duck down? : EIDERS
99. Certain salt : IODATE
100. Falafel holder : PITA
104. Steppes dwelling : YURT
105. "Beowulf" and others : EPICS
107. It might have an escalator : LEASE
108. Bias : SLANT
110. 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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