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New York Times, Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Author:
Molly Young and David J. Kahn
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
26/17/201511/30/20161
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0002000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53000
Molly Young
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1843/15/19948/14/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4451326571326
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5514231
David J. Kahn

This puzzle:

Rows: 16, Columns: 15 Words: 81, Blocks: 42 Missing: {FQ} This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Young. This is puzzle # 160 for Mr. Kahn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
DAVID: Molly attended one of my crossword programs at the 92nd Street Y in NYC a few years ago and won the crossword-solving contest ... read more

DAVID: Molly attended one of my crossword programs at the 92nd Street Y in NYC a few years ago and won the crossword-solving contest at the end of the program. We've been brainstorming a bit since for good theme ideas and this puzzle is the result ... and Molly's first in the NYT!

MOLLY: I met David at the 92Y and he was kind enough to tutor me on my puzzlin'. A couple of previous submissions to Will Shortz on my part had been rejected (for sound reasons), so I thought it would be funny to submit a puzzle with the theme of rejection. (Har har.) In a confounding twist of events, this one was accepted. I'm grateful to Mr. Kahn for schooling me the dark arts of crossword puzzles!

Jeff Chen notes:
Debut! Fun facts about famous people who turned down awards, like I did with my Emmy Award and my Fields Medal. If anyone in Oslo is ... read more

Debut! Fun facts about famous people who turned down awards, like I did with my Emmy Award and my Fields Medal. If anyone in Oslo is listening, I'm pre-turning down my NOBEL / PRIZE too. So there.

I'll take Sartre's Nobel if he really doesn't want it ...

I didn't realize the brilliant JEAN PAUL SARTRE turned down a NOBEL / PRIZE. Or DAVID BOWIE a KNIGHTHOOD. Or GEORGE C SCOTT an ACADEMY AWARD. Crazy! And awesome.

The layout felt confusing to me, as all the cross-referencing discombobulated me. I finally realized that people and their turned-down awards were placed in symmetrical positions, so that helped ... until I got to JEAN PAUL SARTRE. I've color coded the answers below to help out.

It would have been helpful for the person and their award to be closer together in the grid, but I couldn't figure out how to make that happen with this set. Maybe if there had been a set of four people who had turned down the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony)? But with this collection, the presented layout seems like the only possible execution.

With seven themers spread throughout the grid, there are many places where across answers have to run through two themers — causes all sorts of constraints. I really like upper right, with JALOPIES and EYEBALLS running through JEAN PAUL SARTRE and NOBEL with just an ESS as a minor blip. Strong work there.

The middle is a perfect example of trade-offs that must be evaluated. With so many across answers running through two of DAVID BOWIE, JEAN PAUL SARTRE, and KNIGHTHOOD, it's going to be tough to get that center perfectly smooth. The I??L pattern is tough, IDOL one of the few good choices. But UNSOWN is already in the way. So ICEL it is, crossing the not-as-well-known-as-it-should-be NCR.

Overall, a tough set of constraints, especially for a debut puzzle. And I quite enjoyed the factoids about rejection — I'm thinking about pre-rejecting Will for a few puzzles of mine he's now considering.

JUST A JOKE HA HA HA! Please accept my puzzles, grovel grovel.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0617 ( 23,962 )

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Across
1
Pushed : URGED
6
Charming : WINSOME
13
Vacillate : SEESAW
15
Hardly luxury cars : JALOPIES
16
Develop over time : EVOLVE
17
Scrutinizes : EYEBALLS
18
1921 play that introduced the word "robot" : RUR
19
Rombauer of cooking : IRMA
21
Struck (out) : XED
22
Part of a geom. line : SEG
23
___ list : DEANS
25
Some jets : LEARS
29
Decline, as in popularity : EBB
31
Mother's Day destination, maybe : SPA
32
Riff, vocally : SCAT
33
Modern prefix with aggression : MICRO
35
Certain sealant : CAULK
38
Hot weather cooler : ADE
39
Like virgin soil : UNSOWN
41
Hot Japanese bowlful : UDON
42
Slight downturn : DIP
43
Yolk container : SAC
44
Home of the elves known as huldufólk: Abbr. : ICEL
46
Join the conversation : PIPEUP
48
"How was ___ know?" : ITO
49
Wipe, as a hard drive : ERASE
51
"I want that ... NOW!" : GIMME
52
Lousy eggs? : NITS
54
Easy April Fools' victim : SAP
55
Casual greeting : HEY
56
"Out of bed!" : GETUP
58
Dog biscuit, e.g. : TREAT
60
Surprising discovery at the Lascaux cave that's 17,000 years old : ART
63
Supporter of a sort : BRA
65
Programming pro, e.g. : TECH
66
Word with cry or crime : WAR
67
Quick quip : ONELINER
71
So far : TODATE
73
Vertical strip on a map : TIMEZONE
74
Grow tired of : SOURON
75
Takes up the slack? : TAUTENS
76
Failed to : DIDNT
Down
1
___ manual : USERS
2
Stage offering : REVUE
3
Actor who refused a 26-Down in 1971 : GEORGECSCOTT
4
Class for a future citizen, for short : ESL
5
Rock star who refused a 37-Down in 2003 : DAVIDBOWIE
6
Direction : WAY
7
Holly tree : ILEX
8
See 15-Down : NOBEL
9
Black suit : SPADES
10
Big Alaska resource : OIL
11
With 67-Down, Polo Grounds star : MEL
12
Suffix with count : ESS
14
"___ back" : WERE
15
Playwright who refused an 8-/57-Down in 1964 : JEANPAULSARTRE
20
Like some Fr. nouns : MASC
24
Mideast royal house : SAUD
26
See 3-Down : ACADEMYAWARD
27
Bygone component in luminous paint : RADIUM
28
Onetime home of the Huns : STEPPE
30
Dude : BRO
33
Often-idle thought : MUSING
34
How about one in three pro soccer games ends : INATIE
36
Cut off : LOP
37
See 5-Down : KNIGHTHOOD
40
Big A.T.M. maker : NCR
45
Big ___ : EAST
47
Faceful for a clown : PIE
50
Poker game? : EPEE
53
Apartment hunter's option : SUBLET
57
See 15-Down : PRIZE
59
Pulls the trigger, so to speak : ACTS
61
Finger : RATON
62
Council site of 1545 : TRENT
64
Not long from now : ANON
67
See 11-Down : OTT
68
Long of Showtime's "House of Lies" : NIA
69
Bird with calf muscles : EMU
70
Type units : ENS
72
Some bad P.R. for a celeb : DUI

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

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