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New York Times, Monday, June 15, 2015

Author:
Mike Buckley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
138/17/200910/5/20150
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0433300
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1.60001
Mike Buckley

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Buckley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Mike Buckley notes:
Ever had a great idea only to learn that someone had already thought of it? I was pleasantly surprised when this puzzle was approved ... read more

Ever had a great idea only to learn that someone had already thought of it? I was pleasantly surprised when this puzzle was approved in February. It didn't seem likely that I would be the first to submit a Magna Carta theme when the year of its 800th anniversary was well under way, but I was lucky this time. I was asked to revise both the grid and the content so that it could appear on June 15, Magna Carta Day, a Monday. Two rewrites (and two "cheater squares") later, the puzzle was accepted. It then went through the editorial process: sixteen clues were unchanged but 28 were modified to varying degrees and 32 were new and improved, all in the spirit of greater Monday-friendliness.

Nicholas Vincent, author of "Magna Carta: A Very Short Introduction," said that "John really was an absolute rotter through and through; the worst king in English history." Even A.A. Milne wrote "King John was not a good man," and Robin Hood had no respect for him according to Disney. To make John behave, he was forced by the barons to seal the "Great Charter," but as soon as he was away from Runnymede, he asked Pope Innocent III to have it annulled. The charter, later named Magna Carta, was pretty well ignored by everyone at the time and no English king was ever again named John.

Here's something for physics buffs to ponder. Living at the same time as Pope Innocent III was Antipope Innocent III. One wonders, had the pope and antipope ever met, would they have annihilated each other in a burst of photons and gluons?

Hope you enjoyed the puzzle and are having a jolly good octocentenary.

Jeff Chen notes:
Timely puzzle. Interesting facts too — I hadn't realized DUE PROCESS derived from the MAGNA CARTA, nor had I known that Pope ... read more

Timely puzzle. Interesting facts too — I hadn't realized DUE PROCESS derived from the MAGNA CARTA, nor had I known that Pope INNOCENT issued an annulment. That surely makes him famous — or at least infamous. (Note: it's a little weird that it was Pope INNOCENT III, while the entry led me to believe it was INNOCENT I. Harrumph.)

Not so INNOCENT, eh, trey?

RUNNYMEDE isn't quite as interesting to me, as it doesn't have any trivia tidbits that go with it. I'm sure others will disagree. It is sort of cool how it interlocks into MAGNA CARTA and DUE PROCESS — never an easy task to achieve fortuitous interlock — but to me, the other themers had greater interest and impact.

That interlock also puts huge constraints on the grid, forcing big corners in the grid and not allowing very many long pieces of fill. Mike does well in the lower left, with SOLOMON / SO THERE adding to the quality of the solve. Those two nice answers at the price of only ESSO (which is still a big brand up in Canada)? Yes please! And SAMOVAR and PICASA are pretty nice as well.

In the lower right, I hitched on IN A SUIT. It takes up a precious 7-letter slot, and it felt arbitrary to me at first. Does that open the door for IN SLACKS, IN VELOUR, IN A THONG? Ultimately I decided I was being too picky though, as the phrase gets plenty of Google hits.

ULRIC crossing RUNNYMEDE is likely to give some people fits. I think it's more fair than not, as RUNNYMEDE felt familiar-ish to me, but that won't stop some people from grumbling.

Generally, it's a pretty clean puzzle, aside from a few RATER / AIRER things. I like to have all my gluey bits from different categories so they don't stand out as much, so it's too bad that these are both of the "add an -ER" variety.

I really liked the clue for OEDS. Funny to think of having a magnifying glass included in the sale! Again, an interesting piece of trivia to learn.

All in all, I liked the trivia. Those tidbits helped the puzzle stand out from other tribute puzzles.

1
C
2
A
3
B
4
A
5
L
6
S
7
M
8
A
9
R
10
I
11
N
12
A
13
S
14
A
S
A
T
E
A
15
M
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O
L
D
N
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C
K
17
L
I
N
O
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U
T
18
S
T
A
N
L
E
Y
19
M
A
G
N
A
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A
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R
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A
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O
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D
S
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C
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Y
23
U
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R
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A
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T
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A
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Y
29
L
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S
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E
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34
E
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A
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36
E
L
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O
37
O
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K
39
N
S
Y
40
N
C
41
T
R
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G
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M
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P
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P
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G
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B
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P
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67
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68
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0615 ( 23,960 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Groups plotting coups : CABALS
7. Places where yachts are docked : MARINAS
14. Not individually, in sports : ASATEAM
16. The Devil, informally : OLDNICK
17. Relative of a wood engraving : LINOCUT
18. Hockey's ___ Cup : STANLEY
19. Document issued on June 15, 1215 : MAGNACARTA
21. Ref. books sometimes sold with magnifying glasses : OEDS
22. Break into tears : CRY
23. German prelate who was the first person to be canonized, A.D. 993 : ULRIC
25. Movie critic, often : RATER
28. "___ questions?" : ANY
29. Minimum amount : LEAST
33. Before, in poetry : ERE
34. Bring in, as a salary : EARN
36. Pacific weather phenomenon : ELNINO
37. Pig sound : OINK
39. Justin Timberlake's boy band : NSYNC
41. Prerequisite for calculus, informally : TRIG
42. Step down from a position : RESIGN
44. Cow sounds : MOOS
46. Smog-fighting govt. group : EPA
47. Actress Close : GLENN
48. Church seating : PEW
49. After: Fr. : APRES
51. Much-photographed figure outside Buckingham Palace : GUARD
53. Ascap alternative : BMI
54. Key of Beethoven's "Fidelio" Overture: Abbr. : EMAJ
57. Heart of the U.S. legal system, with roots in the 19-Across : DUEPROCESS
62. Biblical wise man : SOLOMON
64. Tropical grassland : SAVANNA
65. "What'd I tell ya?!" : SOTHERE
66. Dressed for the office, say : INASUIT
67. Contents of a Sunkist crate : ORANGES
68. Preliminary versions of a paper : DRAFTS
Down
1. Not windy : CALM
2. Home of India and Indonesia : ASIA
3. Word repeated before "You're dead!" : BANG
4. Right away : ATONCE
5. John who wrote "A Perfect Spy" : LECARRE
6. Cheeky : SAUCY
7. Pretty much : MOSTLY
8. Where couples get hitched : ALTAR
9. Abbr. on old vitamin bottles : RDA
10. Pope who issued an annulment of the 19-Across : INNOCENT
11. World's longest river : NILE
12. Scored 100 on : ACED
13. "The ___ the limit" : SKYS
15. Kingston Trio hit that inspired the CharlieCard for Boston commuters : MTA
20. Where the 19-Across was sealed : RUNNYMEDE
24. Unhealthy : ILL
25. Corp. shuffle : REORG
26. Disney mermaid : ARIEL
27. Future perfect, for one : TENSE
28. Horace's "___ Poetica" : ARS
30. Broadcaster : AIRER
31. Take a potshot : SNIPE
32. Ancient Roman garments : TOGAS
35. Beach Boys' "Barbara ___" : ANN
36. Environmental prefix : ECO
38. He sealed the 19-Across : KINGJOHN
40. Right away : NOW
43. Wildebeest : GNU
45. Russian urn : SAMOVAR
48. Dried plums : PRUNES
50. Google's image organizer : PICASA
52. Be wild about : ADORE
53. Mark on a steer's rear : BRAND
54. Canadian gas station : ESSO
55. Tie up, as a boat : MOOR
56. Ski resort next to Snowbird : ALTA
58. Trident-shaped Greek letter : PSI
59. Ample, informally : ENUF
60. Peeved state : SNIT
61. Exams for coll.-bound kids : SATS
63. Ryan of "Sleepless in Seattle" : MEG

Answer summary: 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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