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THINK TWICE

New York Times, Sunday, June 11, 2017

Author: Charles M. Deber
Editor: Will Shortz
Charles M. Deber
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
384/4/19826/11/20170
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36000110
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.4631118

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 or three – ... more
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 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 and DIAMOND CARD SUITS: ... more
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 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 Down
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
53. 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
67. "So long," for short : TTYL
69. Part of a machine assembly : DRIVEROD
71. Like Odin or Thor : NORSE
72. Titter : TEHEE
73. Some scratchy attire : WOOLENS
74. "Sprechen ___ Deutsch?" : SIE
75. 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
81. "Nuh-uh!" : IDONOT
82. Film critic Christopher : ORR
83. 112-Across and 96-Down : CARDSUITS
86. Dress adornment : SPANGLE
87. Lathers (up) : SUDSES
89. 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
94. Dimes, essentially : TENTHS
97. Straight : LINEAR
100. "Othello" traitor : IAGO
101. Milky gems : OPALS
105. Admit : ALLOWIN
108. 93- and 116-Across : MEANSOFTRAVEL
112. Example of 83- and 22-Across : DIAMOND
113. "Little Women" author : ALCOTT
114. Ruined : UNDONE
115. Dead Sea Scrolls sect : ESSENES
116. Example of 108- and 47-Across : PLANE
117. "See ya!" : BYENOW
1. Desert crossed by the Silk Road : GOBI
2. Gulf state : OMAN
3. Celebration : FEST
4. Writer/critic James and family : AGEES
5. Animal with luxurious fur : SABLE
6. Org. with a "3-1-1" rule : TSA
7. Twenty-one words : HITME
8. Give ___ all : ONES
9. Damage : MAR
10. Blight victim : ELM
11. Film again : RESHOOT
12. Money in the bank, e.g. : ASSET
13. This and that : BOTH
14. Razor brand : ATRA
15. Example of 39- and 34-Down : SHOWER
16. Lang. heard in Haifa : HEB
17. Before, to a bard : ERE
18. ___ Moines : DES
20. Bugs about the trash : FLIES
23. Toil : LABOR
28. Competitor of Petro-Canada : ESSO
30. Scrub, as a mission : ABORT
31. Squealer : FINK
32. They may be high in a fallout zone : RADS
34. 93-Across and 15-Down : BRIDALTHINGS
35. When repeated, a Polynesian getaway : BORA
36. What trees do in fierce storms : SWAY
37. Is on the brink : VERGES
38. Passed quickly : FLEETED
39. 31-Across and 15-Down : WEATHERWORDS
41. Len of stage and screen : CARIOU
42. They're often pulled at night : BLINDS
43. 13 1/2" gold-plated figure : OSCAR
45. Hall of fame : ARSENIO
46. A mere stone's throw from : NEAR
47. Upscale London retailer : HARRODS
48. Fatty acid compound : OLEATE
55. One of a pair of best friends in Greek legend : DAMON
56. Heights of achievement : GLORIES
57. Witherspoon of "Legally Blonde" : REESE
58. Fussed over, as a grandchild : DOTEDON
60. Like some diplomats : CAREER
61. AOL alternative : MSN
63. Skeptical response : EYEROLL
65. Dudes : FELLAS
66. Puts forward : POSITS
68. Holt of NBC News : LESTER
70. Part in an animated film : VOICE
72. "Well, look what I did!" : TADA
75. Lightly bite : NIPAT
76. Word of wonder : GOSH
77. "Really!" : TRUE
79. Ear: Prefix : AURI
80. Den denizen : LION
84. ___ the Explorer : DORA
85. Guide to studying the night sky : STARMAP
86. What "Mc-" means in a name : SONOF
88. Richard Strauss opera : SALOME
90. Sired, biblically : BEGOT
93. Is disposed : TENDS
94. Need for a professional designer : TASTE
95. "Me So ___" (1989 rap chart-topper) : HORNY
96. Example of 47- and of 83-Across : SPADE
98. Excited cry in a casino : IWON
99. Highest score in baccarat : NINE
100. Privy to : INON
102. ___ Barksdale, drug dealer on "The Wire" : AVON
103. Jay who preceded Jimmy : LENO
104. Big bunch : SLEW
105. Juice drink : ADE
106. 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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