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TRAFFIC INTERSECTIONS

New York Times, Sunday, June 19, 2016

Author:
David Woolf
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1711/15/20137/31/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2322332
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55310
David Woolf

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 144, Blocks: 73 Missing: {QX} This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Woolf. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: We recommend using the PDF, or alternatively one of the other available electronic versions, for solving this puzzle, as it contains elements that the software cannot reproduce.

Specifically, six squares which normally would be black instead each have their four edges colored, alternating between green and red. These colored squares occur at the intersections of 31A/11D, 34A/5D, 46A/26D, 62A/45D, 92A/67D and 98A/75D.
David Woolf notes:
This theme idea arose when I started picturing the crossword grid as intersecting streets. I tried to think of a way to represent a stop light in the grid somehow, and have certain answers ... read more

This theme idea arose when I started picturing the crossword grid as intersecting streets. I tried to think of a way to represent a stop light in the grid somehow, and have certain answers stop on RED in one direction and continue through on GREEN in the other. I realized I couldn't have the stoplight squares as rebus squares without some unconventional cluing or grid numbering, so I settled on hiding stoplights in the black squares.

I then found a number of phrases where GREEN could be represented by a black square while the subsequent letter string would still be a perfectly acceptable crossword entry (such as BERG in HANK GREENBERG). Finally, I decided that this puzzle could use a revealer that might give an assist to any solvers who were stupefied by the theme. (Note: Will et al. decided to obviate the intersections, replacing the black squares with red and green colored squares. While I sense that this will make the puzzle eminently more solvable, I wonder if it doesn't also remove a certain aha moment from the solve.)

Symmetry for all six stop lights was impossible, though some ended up with a symmetric partner anyway, mostly because that's where I could fit them. The North and South open sections were the most challenging to fill, though no part of this puzzle filled easily. In spite of the challenges, I was pleased to be able to include CASH BAR (after having CASH BARS in my debut a few years ago), NON-EVENT, and SANTA CON.

This puzzle went through two revisions for the fill (getting rid of things like TA-DAH and HEY MA (crossing at the H) and HEALEY and YGRITTE (crossing at the Y) before it officially was accepted.

I hope everyone enjoyed the puzzle and that the challenge/payoff ratio was worth it.

Jeff Chen notes:
Such a cool graphic in the pdf. The red/green ellipses are simple, but they provide a cool traffic light image. Really neat when I realized all the GREEN phrases are going through the ... read more

Such a cool graphic in the pdf. The red/green ellipses are simple, but they provide a cool traffic light image. Really neat when I realized all the GREEN phrases are going through the green lights, and all the RED phrases stop — except for the RUNNING A RED LIGHT revealer! I normally like perfect consistency in themes, but that exception was fantastic.

Hammerin' HANK GREEN(BERG)

I missed how this puzzle worked at first. 11-Down, the Detroit Tiger whose #5 is retired ... I thought he was just HANK GREEN. It confused me that the second half of that entry — BERG — formed another word. It is pretty cool that every GREEN themer worked this way, but that was a big source of bafflement for me.

Sometimes the second half of this type of themer gets a [no clue] or a [-], which is a dead giveaway that something odd is going on. I often think that makes things too easy. But today, I would have appreciated it, since I missed the full extent of the theme at first.

It's a tough balance — you don't want to make the puzzle too easy, but you also want to make sure lots of solvers actually understand the theme when they finish. I'm curious how many "Who is Hank Green"? questions I'll get, or how many people will think [Symbol of Washington State] is simply EVERGREEN, rather than the full answer, EVERGREEN TREE. We've fixed up all the answers below, if you want to make sure you didn't miss anything.

My first impression was that it was too bad that the themers were asymmetrical, but I think it's perfectly fine now. It might be one of those rare cases where asymmetry is actually better, since it more accurately reflects the non-regular layout of some city's streets. It also gave David a ton of more freedom in selecting colorful (pun intended) theme answers.

I found it to be an extremely difficult solve, with somewhat choked off grid flow (perhaps appropriate for a traffic-jammed city?) and some rough patches necessitated by all the restrictions of the themers. Still, a couple of awkward EDATES and SLEAZO (not SLEAZE?) kind of things didn't stop me from enjoying this one. Memorable, for sure.

1
B
2
A
3
N
4
D
5
B
6
A
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C
8
K
9
S
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S
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H
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E
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A
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F
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E
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D
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S
E
R
I
A
L
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S
N
O
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P
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S
T
A
L
L
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N
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C
A
M
A
R
O
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I
T
C
H
Y
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T
E
N
Y
A
R
D
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A
K
A
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T
O
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M
G
I
R
L
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S
I
N
K
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G
U
S
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R
E
N
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T
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D
E
N
S
E
31
B
E
E
T
32
S
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C
A
R
E
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F
R
I
E
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D
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T
O
M
A
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T
O
E
S
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B
E
A
V
E
R
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N
O
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R
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R
O
T
O
R
S
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T
E
N
S
E
S
T
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M
44
A
D
L
I
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B
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G
O
D
S
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E
A
R
T
H
48
H
O
V
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O
V
I
50
D
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R
A
T
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E
D
P
G
53
B
54
E
55
S
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T
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E
T
E
58
R
E
G
I
59
S
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Y
A
Y
A
S
61
G
A
R
T
H
62
W
I
N
63
T
E
R
64
G
U
65
M
66
L
E
T
67
J
E
R
S
E
Y
68
T
O
G
A
S
69
H
I
R
A
70
M
71
S
E
72
W
O
N
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A
R
M
74
O
N
E
L
75
E
A
T
F
R
O
76
M
77
S
A
L
T
78
T
E
E
79
L
80
E
V
I
S
81
G
U
Y
82
S
83
S
L
E
84
A
Z
O
85
A
86
S
87
H
I
V
E
R
88
A
I
R
M
A
89
N
90
Y
E
S
91
N
O
O
N
E
R
92
R
U
N
N
I
N
G
93
A
94
L
I
95
G
96
H
97
T
98
T
U
R
N
S
99
H
O
T
S
100
S
T
U
N
101
G
102
S
O
A
R
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O
R
S
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T
O
G
O
105
S
T
A
Y
S
I
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N
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S
N
O
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I
S
I
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T
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T
R
U
E
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A
P
A
C
E
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A
C
113
C
O
S
T
114
N
O
N
E
V
E
N
T
115
Y
U
K
O
N
116
N
A
P
L
E
S
117
E
N
G
A
G
E
D
118
E
D
E
N
119
T
A
L
O
N
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0619 ( 24,330 )
Across
1
It's accommodating : BANDB
6
Comic cries of frustration : ACKS
10
Grouped for threshing, say : SHEAFED
17
Continuing story : SERIAL
18
Busybody : SNOOP
19
Sly one? : STALLONE
20
Many-time Indy 500 pace car : CAMARO
21
Pruritic : ITCHY
22
Goal on a first down : TENYARDS
23
Handle letters : AKA
24
Gender nonconformist : TOMGIRL
26
Ruin : SINK
27
Hazel's love in "The Fault in Our Stars" : GUS
28
Musical with the songs "Santa Fe" and "I Should Tell You" : RENT
30
Blockheaded : DENSE
31
Showing acute embarrassment, say : BEETRED
32
Anti-Communist fervor : REDSCARE
34
1991 film with the tagline "The secret of life? The secret's in the sauce" : FRIEDGREENTOMATOES
36
Symbols of audience disapproval : TOMATOES
38
Feller in a forest? : BEAVER
39
___'easter : NOR
41
Spinners : ROTORS
42
Most nail-biting : TENSEST
43
Fill-in-the-blanks diversion : MADLIB
46
The world, idiomatically : GODSGREENEARTH
47
Soil : EARTH
48
___ lane : HOV
49
Poet who wrote "Jupiter from on high laughs at lovers' perjuries" : OVID
51
Like "E.T." and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" : RATEDPG
53
Finish ahead of : BEST
57
Summer, in much of West Africa : ETE
58
Former "Live" co-host with Kathie Lee : REGIS
60
The Rolling Stones' "Get Yer ___ Out" : YAYAS
61
Sidekick in 1990s "S.N.L." skits : GARTH
62
Trident piece? : WINTERGREENGUM
64
Clog, with "up" : GUM
66
Call before reserving? : LET
67
Stadium store souvenir : JERSEY
68
Stolas : women :: ___ : men : TOGAS
69
Distiller Walker : HIRAM
71
Affix, in a way : SEWON
73
Bay, e.g. : ARM
74
First-year J.D. student : ONEL
75
Use, as a dish : EATFROM
77
Save, with "away" : SALT
78
Top choice : TEE
79
Brand with two harnessed horses in its logo : LEVIS
81
Dolls' counterpart : GUYS
83
Creepazoid : SLEAZO
85
Trembling : ASHIVER
88
Pilot : AIRMAN
90
"Success-s-s!" : YES
91
Meeting around lunchtime : NOONER
92
Illegal action shown literally in this answer? : RUNNINGAREDLIGHT
94
Not deep, as entertainment : LIGHT
98
Blushes : TURNSRED
99
Cinnamon-flavored candy : REDHOTS
100
Smarted : STUNG
102
What spirits may do : SOAR
103
Workplaces where gloves are worn, for short : ORS
104
Ordering option : TOGO
105
Has a quiet evening, say : STAYSIN
107
___-Caps : SNO
108
"For real?" : ISITTRUE
111
On the double : APACE
112
Confront aggressively : ACCOST
114
Incident not worth talking about : NONEVENT
115
Its capital is Whitehorse : YUKON
116
Starting point for Pompeii tourism : NAPLES
117
Busy : ENGAGED
118
Idyllic place : EDEN
119
Part of a kite : TALON
Down
1
Lab vessel : BEAKER
2
Noted name in suits : ARMANI
3
Long on screen : NIA
4
One going for a board position? : DART
5
Like the moon during a total lunar eclipse : BLOODRED
6
Designed to clear the air : ANTISMOG
7
Jerry Siegel or Joe Shuster, for Superman : COCREATOR
8
Department store eponym : KOHL
9
Busybody, maybe : SPY
10
Coronary ___ : STENT
11
Detroit Tiger whose #5 is retired : HANKGREENBERG
12
Cambridgeshire city : ELY
13
Mobile home: Abbr. : ALA
14
Accepted an apology : FORGAVE
15
Lasts : ENDURES
16
Calorie counter's temptation : DESSERT
17
Chow (down) : SCARF
18
Turin title : SIGNOR
19
Places to wallow : STIES
25
Crossed : MET
26
Is angry : SEESRED
29
Keep, as a garden : TEND
31
Youth detention center in England : BORSTAL
32
Over the moon : SENT
33
Feature of many a reception : CASHBAR
35
___ Umbridge, teacher of Dark Arts at Hogwarts : DOLORES
37
Now : TODAY
38
Something that might fall off the shelf? : BERG
40
1948 John Wayne film : REDRIVER
42
Chooses to lead : TAPS
43
Legal maneuver : MOTION
44
Requite : AVENGE
45
Cornell athletes : BIGRED
47
Tinder successes, say : EDATES
48
Strictly follow : HEWTO
50
Limbs' ends : DIGITS
52
Trips in the dark? : REDEYES
54
Fake : ERSATZ
55
Dual-channel : STEREO
56
Stuffing herb : THYME
59
Sound heard at a beach : SURF
61
Decorous : GENTEEL
63
Baltic capital : TALLINN
65
Pages have four of them : MARGINS
67
Frozen aisle icon : JOLLYGREENGIANT
69
Ginger feature : REDHAIR
70
Miss badly, say : MOURN
72
Lived : WAS
75
Symbol of Washington State : EVERGREENTREE
76
"Oops!" : MYMISTAKE
80
Cusps : EVES
82
Annual December pub crawl : SANTACON
84
Defects and all : ASIS
85
Fats Domino's real first name : ANTOINE
86
Grows sick of : SOURSON
87
Goofing (around) : HORSING
88
Kind of body : AUTO
89
Most common family name in Vietnam : NGUYEN
92
Webster shelfmate : ROGET
93
Key part: Abbr. : ANS
95
Break from a band, maybe : GOSOLO
96
Crime writer Joseph : HANSEN
97
Brings (out) : TROTS
99
Harass : HOUND
101
Fairy tale figure : GIANT
104
Evolutionary diagram : TREE
105
Pre-fries? : SPUD
106
Org. with Divisions I-III : NCAA
109
Social gathering : TEA
110
Like most children's programming : TVG
111
Something said repeatedly on a ship : AYE
113
Sgt.'s inferior : CPL

Answer summary: 13 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?