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THINK TWICE

New York Times, Sunday, June 11, 2017

Author:
Charles M. Deber
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
384/4/19826/11/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
36000110
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.4631118
Charles M. Deber

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 76 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 38 for Mr. Deber. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Charles M. Deber notes:
One of the most important steps in crossword construction is coming up with great clues. In this context, it is fascinating to observe how many words have more than one – often two ... read more

One of the most important steps in crossword construction is coming up with great clues. In this context, it is fascinating to observe how many words have more than one – often two or three – disparate meanings. For example, if a puzzle has the word "yen" in the answer grid, the clue could be "Desire" or the unrelated clue "Japanese currency". In another example: "bark" could be clued as "Trunk cover" or "Kennel cry".

As a long-time constructor, I thought this situation could make a fun crossword. So I set out in "Think Twice" to explore this concept (spoiler alert!) by placing not only the words but also their multiple definitions into the puzzle itself. The first draft of "Think Twice" had a number of such examples. Will Shortz and Joel Fagliano then suggested adding a further nuance, i.e., linking the examples of the dual-definition words into a circular chain. I think this greatly enhanced the puzzle; in effect, it became a puzzle within a puzzle, giving the solver the task of deciphering the interactive word/definition chain.

Here's hoping you'll enjoy this thought-provoking exercise.

Jeff Chen notes:
THINK TWICE played upon, giving a circle of objects linked together by commonalities. I couldn't keep up with all the cross-referencing, so here's a listing: BASEBALL TERMS: HOMER ... read more

THINK TWICE played upon, giving a circle of objects linked together by commonalities. I couldn't keep up with all the cross-referencing, so here's a listing:

BASEBALL TERMS: HOMER and DIAMOND

CARD SUITS: DIAMOND and SPADE

HAND TOOLS: SPADE and PLANE

MEANS OF TRAVEL: PLANE and TRAIN

BRIDAL THINGS: TRAIN and SHOWER

WEATHER WORDS: SHOWER and FROST

FAMOUS POETS: FROST and HOMER

There did feel like a lot of (minor) dabs of crossword glue — AGEES BOS ERE DES LIC ELL ALIE/AURI HEB HESA, etc. — the sheer quantity of which usually would make me wince. But this is a notoriously difficult construction, given how many "themers" there are. I've highlighted them below so you get a better picture of just how much real estate was inflexible. It's a constructor's nightmare!

Given that constraint, I think Charles did pretty well with his execution. Not sure that so many theme answers could have been filled around much more smoothly.

The question in my mind was, would this concept have been better in a non-crossword format? It's an interesting word circle (chain?), with some creative links. But I think an NPR on-air puzzle, $20,000 Pyramid format, or some other medium (NYT variety puzzle, perhaps?) would have served the idea much more strongly than a crossword.

Granted, I'm heavily biased against cross-referencing clues in general — x-refs break up my solving flow, forcing me to jump around all over the puzzle — but wow, this required SO much cross-referencing. I honestly tried to follow along for the first couple of theme clues, but I soon gave up.

I'm not sure I would have bothered to go back and look at the full word circle if I hadn't wanted to analyze it here, and that would have been a shame. The basic idea was an interesting twist on a standard word chain/circle.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0611 ( 24,687 )
Across
1
Zip along : GOFAST
7
Example of 22- and of 65-Across : HOMER
12
Conscience-stricken : ABASHED
19
Opposites of alphas : OMEGAS
20
It may be grand : FINALE
21
"Hah!" : SOTHERE
22
7- and 112-Across : BASEBALLTERMS
24
Flashing lights : STROBES
25
What scouts gather : INTEL
26
Intentions : AIMS
27
Donkey's call : HEEHAW
29
Naval engineer : SEABEE
31
Example of 65-Across and 39-Down : FROST
33
Subsides slowly : EBBS
37
Org. for ex-G.I.s : VFW
40
Diddley and Derek : BOS
41
Farewells in Florence : CIAOS
42
Take temporarily : BORROW
44
First lady before Bess : ELEANOR
47
116-Across and 96-Down : HANDTOOLS
49
Levin who wrote "A Kiss Before Dying" : IRA
50
Silver, for example, in the opening to TV's "The Lone Ranger" : REARER
51
Torah receptacles : ARKS
52
A professional may need one to practice: Abbr. : LIC
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Work unit : DAY
54
Intimates : GETSAT
55
Wash'n ___ (towelette brand) : DRI
56
Caribbean land whose capital is St. George's : GRENADA
59
It'll knock you out : ETHER
60
Ricochet : CAROM
62
Ambition for an actor : LEADROLE
64
In view : SEEN
65
7- and 31-Across : FAMOUSPOETS
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"So long," for short : TTYL
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Part of a machine assembly : DRIVEROD
71
Like Odin or Thor : NORSE
72
Titter : TEHEE
73
Some scratchy attire : WOOLENS
74
"Sprechen ___ Deutsch?" : SIE
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Lowest points : NADIRS
76
Car for which you "Listen to her tachin' up now, listen to her whine," in a 1964 hit : GTO
78
Land in the Seine : ILE
79
"I cannot tell ___" : ALIE
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"Nuh-uh!" : IDONOT
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Film critic Christopher : ORR
83
112-Across and 96-Down : CARDSUITS
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Dress adornment : SPANGLE
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Lathers (up) : SUDSES
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Not esos or estos : OTROS
90
Coiled killer : BOA
91
Nikon product, for short : SLR
92
"___ Rebel" (1962 #1 hit) : HESA
93
Example of 34-Down and 108-Across : TRAIN
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Dimes, essentially : TENTHS
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Straight : LINEAR
100
"Othello" traitor : IAGO
101
Milky gems : OPALS
105
Admit : ALLOWIN
108
93- and 116-Across : MEANSOFTRAVEL
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Example of 83- and 22-Across : DIAMOND
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"Little Women" author : ALCOTT
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Ruined : UNDONE
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Dead Sea Scrolls sect : ESSENES
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Example of 108- and 47-Across : PLANE
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"See ya!" : BYENOW
Down
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Desert crossed by the Silk Road : GOBI
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Gulf state : OMAN
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Celebration : FEST
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Writer/critic James and family : AGEES
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Animal with luxurious fur : SABLE
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Org. with a "3-1-1" rule : TSA
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Twenty-one words : HITME
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Give ___ all : ONES
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Damage : MAR
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Blight victim : ELM
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Film again : RESHOOT
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Money in the bank, e.g. : ASSET
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This and that : BOTH
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Razor brand : ATRA
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Example of 39- and 34-Down : SHOWER
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Lang. heard in Haifa : HEB
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Before, to a bard : ERE
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___ Moines : DES
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Bugs about the trash : FLIES
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Toil : LABOR
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Competitor of Petro-Canada : ESSO
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Scrub, as a mission : ABORT
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Squealer : FINK
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They may be high in a fallout zone : RADS
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93-Across and 15-Down : BRIDALTHINGS
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When repeated, a Polynesian getaway : BORA
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What trees do in fierce storms : SWAY
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Is on the brink : VERGES
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Passed quickly : FLEETED
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31-Across and 15-Down : WEATHERWORDS
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Len of stage and screen : CARIOU
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They're often pulled at night : BLINDS
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13 1/2" gold-plated figure : OSCAR
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Hall of fame : ARSENIO
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A mere stone's throw from : NEAR
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Upscale London retailer : HARRODS
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Fatty acid compound : OLEATE
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One of a pair of best friends in Greek legend : DAMON
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Heights of achievement : GLORIES
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Witherspoon of "Legally Blonde" : REESE
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Fussed over, as a grandchild : DOTEDON
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Like some diplomats : CAREER
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AOL alternative : MSN
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Skeptical response : EYEROLL
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Dudes : FELLAS
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Puts forward : POSITS
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Holt of NBC News : LESTER
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Part in an animated film : VOICE
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"Well, look what I did!" : TADA
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Lightly bite : NIPAT
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Word of wonder : GOSH
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"Really!" : TRUE
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Ear: Prefix : AURI
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Den denizen : LION
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___ the Explorer : DORA
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Guide to studying the night sky : STARMAP
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What "Mc-" means in a name : SONOF
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Richard Strauss opera : SALOME
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Sired, biblically : BEGOT
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Is disposed : TENDS
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Need for a professional designer : TASTE
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"Me So ___" (1989 rap chart-topper) : HORNY
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Example of 47- and of 83-Across : SPADE
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Excited cry in a casino : IWON
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Highest score in baccarat : NINE
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Privy to : INON
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___ Barksdale, drug dealer on "The Wire" : AVON
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Jay who preceded Jimmy : LENO
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Big bunch : SLEW
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Juice drink : ADE
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Fleur-de-___ : LIS
107
___ Palmas, Spain : LAS
109
90° bend : ELL
110
Obama health law, for short : ACA
111
Old, clumsy ship : TUB

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle.

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