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New York Times, Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Author: Bruce Haight
Editor: Will Shortz
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411/3/20137/27/20183
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1.58032
Bruce Haight

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 26 for Mr. Haight. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Bruce Haight notes: I don't remember the moment when I stumbled onto the butterfly images, but I do think they look best when they are bright orange. ... more
Bruce Haight notes:

I don't remember the moment when I stumbled onto the butterfly images, but I do think they look best when they are bright orange. We did go with solid bars around the edges on the final newspaper product, but we decided not to draw little "bodies" between the squares.

My first try at this puzzle had ELUSIVE as a theme entry, since "Elusive Butterfly" was a pretty big hit by Bob Lind in 1966. The melody and lyrics were very familiar to me when I listened to it, but it drew a blank for Will and Joel so they turned it down. I think I remember throwing a few more possibilities their way without success, but Pete Collins thought I should try ORIGAMI butterfly since it Googles well. If you want the full experience there is a nice video online showing you how to make one in no time flat.

Pete Collins also helped with the fill on this effort — I was hoping to be part of his 100th NYT puzzle publication but he turned down co-constructorship. He'll have to sit on 99 for a short while longer and make do with a big THANK YOU PETE!

Speaking of flying things, I am staying near Princeville on the Hawaiian island of Kaua'i this week and here is a picture of me with two nene. I talked to a local Hawaiian woman who confirmed that these are them. She told me they were rare thirty years ago but not any more since they are protected. I have read that nenes are nonos in crosswords because they are so scarce but I can tell that they are not that rare!

Jeff Chen notes: Butterflies in today's grid! Sort of. If you turn your head 45 degrees. And squint. And stretch your imagination. Sure, why not? ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Butterflies in today's grid! Sort of. If you turn your head 45 degrees. And squint. And stretch your imagination. Sure, why not?

Bruce has done a lot of grid art over the years, with A KITE and two bolts of ELECTRICTY the highlight for me. Just when you think grid art ideas have run dry … I'm curious what will come next.

Today's puzzle is a "word that can precede X" puzzle, a theme type that's gone by the wayside. But I do like the tie-in to the four butterflies in the grid, making MADAME Butterfly, SOCIAL butterfly, and MONARCH butterfly a little more interesting.

ORIGAMI butterfly didn't work for me, though. Having made a ton of origami, and even spending time at origami museums in Japan, the butterfly isn't at the top of the list of origami animals. I understand that the gods of crossword symmetry must be honored, but it would have been better to hide this entry in the center of the puzzle somewhere, rather than placing it at the featured 1-Across position.

Great fill, especially tough with big, wide-open corners. Working with so many seven-letter answers makes it tough to convert those slots into strong entries. NANOBOT, RUB IT IN, HOTLINE, I HAVE IT, GO VIRAL, PRO BONO = Bruce did very well.

Okay, ON DATES isn't great. ENDWAYS is a head-scratcher, but it does appear to be legit. If those are the prices to pay to get so much good bonus fill, I'm happy to pony up.

Good work on the short fill, too. I hitched on MUCKY, but that also has dictionary support. With just a bit of minor CDT and UHS (and I generally think those are fine), it felt like a smooth, well-polished solve.

Overall, I liked the creativity of the grid art, and I thought Bruce executed well on his grid. The theme didn't move me though; not different enough from the old "word that can precede" theme type. And those butterflies didn't look enough like butterflies to me — I wish the print version could have been artsified so those black squares actually looked like butterflies. Damn the crossword gods and their perfect little boxes!

*ducking from the impending bolts of electricity*

1
O
2
R
3
I
4
G
5
A
6
M
7
I
8
M
9
A
10
D
11
A
12
M
13
E
14
N
A
N
O
B
O
T
15
R
U
B
I
T
I
N
16
D
I
S
R
O
B
E
17
I
C
E
C
O
L
D
18
A
N
T
E
D
19
M
20
A
C
K
21
K
N
E
W
22
T
H
O
S
E
23
N
A
Y
24
E
R
A
25
E
A
R
26
C
27
D
S
28
I
29
T
G
U
Y
30
S
T
E
31
M
32
D
A
W
33
G
34
L
O
O
N
S
35
B
36
U
T
T
E
R
37
F
L
Y
38
O
39
P
40
R
A
H
41
A
R
E
A
42
S
43
W
44
A
45
K
46
B
R
A
S
S
47
K
G
B
48
E
V
E
49
L
O
Y
50
S
51
H
E
52
C
53
H
A
I
N
54
I
B
O
55
S
56
M
A
Y
57
S
58
A
A
R
O
N
59
G
O
V
I
60
R
A
L
61
H
62
O
T
L
I
N
E
63
E
N
A
M
E
L
S
64
I
H
A
V
E
I
T
65
S
O
C
I
A
L
66
M
O
N
A
R
C
H
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0621 ( 24,697 )
Across Down
1. Insect made of paper : ORIGAMI
8. Puccini opera : MADAME
14. Microscopic machine : NANOBOT
15. Add salt to the wound : RUBITIN
16. Prepare for a physical : DISROBE
17. Phrase in beer ads : ICECOLD
18. Got in on the deal : ANTED
19. Vehicle company with a bulldog logo : MACK
21. Had down pat : KNEW
22. "___ were the days" : THOSE
23. Lead-in to sayer : NAY
24. Modern-___ : ERA
25. Site of a van Gogh bandage : EAR
26. Wares on a band's merch table : CDS
28. PC problem solver : ITGUY
30. Component not found on a digital watch : STEM
32. Hip-hop pal : DAWG
34. Whack jobs : LOONS
35. Word that must be added to 1-, 8-, 65- and 66-Across for their clues to make sense [with a visual hint in the grid] : BUTTERFLY
38. The "O" of the magazine O : OPRAH
41. Calculus calculation : AREA
42. Letters on love letters : SWAK
46. Much of a marching band : BRASS
47. Spy org. in Bond movies : KGB
48. Night before a big day : EVE
49. Myrna of "The Thin Man" : LOY
50. Seashell seller of a tongue twister : SHE
52. Applebee's or Subway : CHAIN
54. Some native Nigerians : IBOS
56. Willie who's #5 in career home runs : MAYS
58. Hank who's #2 in career home runs : AARON
59. Get millions of hits, say : GOVIRAL
61. Crisis center phone service : HOTLINE
63. Glossy finishes : ENAMELS
64. "Here's the solution!" : IHAVEIT
65. One going from party to party : SOCIAL
66. Orange, black and white flutterer : MONARCH
1. Like couples at movies, typically : ONDATES
2. Water-repellent headgear : RAINHAT
3. Yet to come : INSTORE
4. Wounds at Pamplona, say : GORES
5. Home : ABODE
6. Pitchfork-wielding assemblage : MOB
7. Brangelina, once : ITEM
8. Covered with sludge : MUCKY
9. Presidential nickname : ABE
10. Presidential nickname : DICK
11. In a single attempt : ATONEGO
12. Event that once had a four-minute "barrier" : MILERUN
13. Lengthwise : ENDWAYS
15. Costa ___ : RICA
20. Test grader's need : ANSWERKEY
26. OK summer hrs. : CDT
27. It may be stored on the cloud : DATA
28. Under the weather : ILL
29. Pole workers' creations : TOYS
31. Degrees for C.F.O.s : MBAS
33. Eldest of the Brady boys : GREG
36. Sounds of hesitation : UHS
37. Adjective for the Beatles : FAB
38. Binds legally or morally : OBLIGES
39. How legal aid lawyers work : PROBONO
40. Competitor of Duracell and Eveready : RAYOVAC
43. More bushed : WEARIER
44. Pertaining to aircraft technology : AVIONIC
45. Starr with a 1998 report : KENNETH
50. Pint-size : SMALL
51. Frans who painted "The Laughing Cavalier" : HALS
52. Settlement-building board game, informally : CATAN
53. Sesame-seed-and-honey confection : HALVA
55. ___ Valley (Reagan Library locale) : SIMI
57. Leveling wedge : SHIM
60. Stephen of "Citizen X" : REA
62. "How about that!" : OHO

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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