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New York Times, Thursday, June 13, 2019

Author:
Michael Blake and Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
141/28/20086/13/201910
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0831200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64003
Michael Blake
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1037/5/201010/31/201962
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2678182798
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.637232
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 39 Missing: {FJQZ} This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. Blake. This is puzzle # 99 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
MICHAEL: Funny to be submitting a comment to Jeff Chen about this, but I had an idea for a puzzle and needed help with the grid, and ... read more

MICHAEL: Funny to be submitting a comment to Jeff Chen about this, but I had an idea for a puzzle and needed help with the grid, and everyone told me I should ask ... Jeff Chen! That was good advice. Jeff was able to design a fillable grid and we did it all through email in a few days.

Our only disagreement was over whether the words under the hidden HAND should have a surface sense of their own. I thought they should, although that greatly limited the number of choices. Jeff thought it was fine to have nonsense words in those entries, I conceded the point, and Will liked the puzzle. Okay, Jeff — you were right!

JEFF: It can be tough for any two constructors to see eye to eye on any given project. When Michael approached me with this concept, my immediate thought was that it would be interesting to see IWORK or YMEN in one's puzzle; mystifying, flipping into hopefully a solid a-ha moment.

Turns out Michael had a very different idea, wanting only regular-seeming words that simply didn't seem to work with their clues (think: LED clued as HANDLED). He felt strongly that this would produce a better a-ha moment, whereas I worried that solvers would gloss over them, potentially finishing without understanding the concept. That would be impossible with something kooky like ICAPS taunting you.

How to resolve the logjam? My secret weapon is Jim, who gives great second opinions. And if I don't like his input, I simply ignore it and tell people he said something different.

Seriously though, I hope we came to the right decision. It's always so difficult to predict what will produce the best a-ha moment possible.

Jeff Chen notes:
Such a tough grid to construct. It's usually not THAT hard to work with stacked themers, if some of them are shorties. But we had such ... read more

Such a tough grid to construct. It's usually not THAT hard to work with stacked themers, if some of them are shorties. But we had such little flexibility – the partial word had to start directly under the H in each HAND, and we only had a few to choose from.

Besides IWORK, ICAPS, YMEN, there was only the less interesting IER, ILY, LER, EDIN. I would have loved a fourth that was more interesting, but of the less ideal candidates, EDIN seemed at least interestingly kooky – something you'd never see in another (reasonably good) crossword.

Took me a couple dozen tries to arrive at a skeleton that tested out reasonably well, and I counted myself very lucky that BADPR existed to satisfy that tough -DP- letter combination, as well as DNA LAB. What else is going to fill a DN???? pattern?

I don't like using "corner blacks" (in the very SW / NE), as they are visually unappealing to my eye (Rich Norris at the LAT likes them even less than I do). But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. With an already biggish SW corner, and the ultra-constraining DNA LAB, we could barely escape with a SABE / OCULI.

Not the most elegant corner in the world, but sometimes you have to accept compromises in the service of a theme. Hope it didn't pull down people's solving experiences.

Every puzzle's a struggle. So many aspects to balance out. Hope we arrived at the right one for you.

1
C
2
A
3
N
4
S
5
G
6
L
7
A
8
D
9
A
10
L
11
M
12
S
13
E
D
I
E
14
O
E
N
O
15
B
I
O
T
16
A
17
O
O
H
A
18
N
D
A
A
H
19
B
O
W
E
D
20
I
W
O
R
K
21
B
A
N
G
E
D
22
S
23
A
L
A
M
I
24
V
25
I
A
26
E
L
L
E
27
E
X
I
T
28
C
29
H
A
N
D
30
E
L
I
E
R
31
W
I
S
E
32
R
33
I
C
A
P
S
34
S
T
R
E
35
S
S
36
B
R
A
37
V
38
E
39
S
40
M
A
S
41
A
I
42
S
A
Y
H
43
I
44
H
45
A
46
N
47
D
Y
N
A
S
T
48
Y
49
N
E
O
N
50
Y
M
E
N
51
D
T
S
52
E
53
D
I
S
O
N
54
P
I
R
A
55
C
Y
56
S
M
A
S
H
57
O
C
U
L
I
58
U
59
P
P
E
R
H
A
60
N
61
D
62
S
U
D
A
N
63
S
E
A
N
64
E
D
I
N
65
S
A
B
E
66
A
N
T
I
67
S
E
X
Y
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0613 ( 25,419 )
Across
1
Gives the boot : CANS
5
Tickled : GLAD
9
Welfare : ALMS
13
___ Sedgwick, 1960s "It Girl" : EDIE
14
Wine: Prefix : OENO
15
Regional life : BIOTA
17
React to pyrotechnics, say : OOHANDAAH
19
Showing humility, say : BOWED
20
*Needlepoint, e.g. : HANDIWORK
21
Closed violently : BANGED
22
Layer of an Italian muffuletta sandwich : SALAMI
24
Through : VIA
26
___ Style Awards (annual honors since 1997) : ELLE
27
Info on a highway billboard : EXIT
28
Lights up? : CHANDELIER
31
Partner of older : WISER
33
*Sets the odds for : HANDICAPS
34
Accent : STRESS
36
Team with home games at SunTrust Park : BRAVES
40
East African native : MASAI
42
Greet someone, informally : SAYHI
44
Preceder of the Three Kingdoms, in Chinese history : HANDYNASTY
49
Superbright : NEON
50
*Plumber/carpenter types : HANDYMEN
51
Rehab woes, for short : DTS
52
Westinghouse rival : EDISON
54
Concern for shipping and software companies : PIRACY
56
Big hit : SMASH
57
Round windows : OCULI
58
Advantage ... or what the answer to each starred clue has? : UPPERHAND
62
Country that lost a quarter of its territory in 2011 : SUDAN
63
Parker who was the first president of Facebook : SEAN
64
*Submitted : HANDEDIN
65
"Quién ___?" ("Who knows?": Sp.) : SABE
66
Con : ANTI
67
Close to 10, say : SEXY
Down
1
Title also held by many a co. president : CEO
2
Commotion : ADO
3
One whose guiding philosophy is "What does it matter?" : NIHILIST
4
Input in a desalination plant : SEAWATER
5
Gryffindor who founded Gryffindor House at Hogwarts : GODRIC
6
Concern for a plumber or government official : LEAK
7
Big carrier to Tokyo : ANA
8
"Dumb, dumb, dumb!" : DOH
9
"Mamma Mia!" group : ABBA
10
Soccer star Messi : LIONEL
11
"The Jungle Book" protagonist : MOWGLI
12
Michael ___, onetime Republican Party chairman : STEELE
16
Snake that's good with numbers? : ADDER
18
Jules or Juliette : NOM
21
Cause for damage control : BADPR
22
Singers do it : SEW
23
Line of symmetry : AXIS
24
Hoover, e.g., for short : VAC
25
Shortly : INABIT
29
Give a catlike warning : HISSAT
30
Those niñas : ESAS
32
Name on a Cognac bottle : REMY
35
Good name for a beachcomber? : SANDY
37
Goes poof! : VANISHES
38
Stereotypical wear for an accountant : EYESHADE
39
"Git!" : SHOO
41
Ending with kick or smart : ASS
43
Stopover : INN
44
Big shots at a hospital, informally? : HYPOS
45
Kind of brief in court : AMICUS
46
Pablo ___, Nobel-winning poet : NERUDA
47
Where crime evidence is analyzed : DNALAB
48
Dweller on the Arabian Peninsula : YEMENI
53
___ es Salaam : DAR
55
Art house theater : CINE
56
Set-to : SPAT
58
Women's World Cup powerhouse : USA
59
Slammer : PEN
60
Shoot down : NIX
61
Letters after Chuck Schumer or Kirsten Gillibrand : DNY

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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