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DIME STORE

New York Times, Sunday, June 22, 2014

Author:
Elizabeth C. Gorski
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2197/31/19952/23/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6716363439243
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5430225
Elizabeth C. Gorski

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 71 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 212 for Ms. Gorski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Elizabeth C. Gorski notes:
When asked how he amassed his massive fortune, financier T. Boone Pickens said: 'the first billion is the hardest.' That's always been my philosophy ... and, coincidentally, that's our ... read more

When asked how he amassed his massive fortune, financier T. Boone Pickens said: "the first billion is the hardest." That's always been my philosophy ... and, coincidentally, that's our solving strategy for today's puzzle, "Dime Store."

There's a financial incentive in solving the puzzle: when you complete it, your net worth will increase by ten cents.

You'll make real money by intersecting the letters "C" and "I" in certain (undisclosed) squares. But remember what ol' T. Boone said: the first penny is the hardest. Once you find that first cent, you'll rake in the following nine. You'll soon make sense of the whole thing. Cha-ching!

But time is money — let's get off the dime and start solving. How about some think music? Rudy Vallee's uptempo rendition of this Depression Era classic is, to coin a phrase, right on the money. Enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
Nice concept today, ten theme entries containing the word CENT, with the C of CENT doubling as a cent sign. Additionally, the cent sign looks like an 'I' atop a 'C,' so crossing words use ... read more

Nice concept today, ten theme entries containing the word CENT, with the C of CENT doubling as a cent sign. Additionally, the cent sign looks like an "I" atop a "C," so crossing words use the vertical line within the cent sign as an I. Finally, the entry TEN CENTS ties everything together. Lots of layers! At first I didn't see that all the cent signs started the word CENT — neat a-ha moment when that snapped into place.

So many constraints today. It's hard enough to work with ten theme answers in a 21x grid. It wouldn't be any harder than a typical Sunday construction, except that Liz connects several of her theme answers. Check out how PAIN PILL runs through both VICENTE FOX and CENTRIST — nice touch. Liz could have put a black square on the second P of PAIN PILL, creating PAIN and ILL, along with HOT and LATE in the across direction. I like the extra touch, giving the solver some nice fill in PAIN PILL and HOT PLATE.

Speaking of long fill, I liked seeing STATE DEPT, too. What an odd sequence when unparsed: STATEDEPT. I usually don't like abbreviations, but this one's so crazy it's pretty neat. It was also nice to see HEALTH FOOD and NO RELATION in there too. Uncovering that bonus fill in a Sunday really helps keep my attention through a long solve.

As much as I liked having long theme entries in the down direction (WRITEUPS, I SWEAR, IRON ON, PAIN PILL), I was okay seeing shorter ones like TAIL, AIDE, IAN. The longer ones are so nice, but incorporating them requires so many constraints to be placed upon the puzzle, so much inflexibility, that there were a bit too many bumpy spots for my taste. I don't mind seeing an occasional ISLIP or POLA or AME, but there were enough of them that I noticed them during my solve. The IRAE / TAL / LURIE section in particular was rough for me — I know that musicians tend to think DIES IRAE is a freebie, chess players consider TAL as quality fill, and literati like LURIE, but all together they make for a tough trio.

[Times table?] tricked me — what a nice moment when I realized a MASTHEAD is a sort of table on the NYT front page. And [Mountains have developed over them] had to be CONTINENTS or LAND MASSES or something, right? Wrong! Over EONS = clever stuff. And my favorite of the day is [It may be a credit to you], where "credit" refers to a college credit. That's the stuff that keeps me JONESin for more.

It would have been fantastic if all the cent signs were arranged in the shape of a cent sign, but that would have likely caused all sorts of compromises. Still, a guy can wish for a neat visual element, especially when he sees Liz's byline.

Finally, it was a nice touch that Liz didn't put any other C's in the puzzle. Not sure that many people would even notice this, but it adds a layer of elegance that I appreciated.

Jim Horne notes:

Elizabeth Gorski's comments are always great and if you sign up at Crossword Nation you get her puzzles and her stories every week. Ravishly recently interviewed Ms. Gorski in their Ladies we Love section. And yes we do!

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0622 ( 23,602 )
Across
1
Letter-shaped opening in a machine shop : TSLOT
6
Sticky stuff : GOOP
10
Mature : RIPEN
15
Not playing with a full deck : DAFT
19
Goonlike : APISH
20
River that drains the western Pyrenees : EBRO
21
Hersey's "A Bell for ___" : ADANO
22
"House of Frankenstein" director ___ C. Kenton : ERLE
23
2014, for Doublemint gum : CENTENNIAL
25
Mexican president of the early 2000s : VICENTEFOX
27
Triangle part : LEG
28
Tyler Perry, to Katy Perry, e.g. : NORELATION
30
Churning, as the stomach : UPSET
31
Draw (from) : DERIVE
33
Kitchenette cooker : HOTPLATE
36
Happy refrain : TRALA
37
One with home protection? : SNAIL
40
Middle-of-the-road : CENTRIST
44
Like mother-of-pearl : IRIDESCENT
46
When repeated, White Rabbit's cry : IMLATE
48
Nonalcoholic brew : TEA
49
___ souci (carefree) : SANS
50
White-crested ducks : SMEWS
52
Game in a forest : ELK
53
Former political divs. : SSRS
54
Car ad fig. : MPG
55
Country whose name is an anagram of another country's capital : MALI
57
Part of i.o.u. : IOWE
59
Extra wager : SIDEBET
62
Took for booking : RANIN
63
Podiatrist's concern : TARSI
65
Southern university whose newspaper is the Hullabaloo : TULANE
66
Several days ago, say : RECENTPAST
70
Bugs that technically are misnamed : CENTIPEDES
72
Burn up : ENRAGE
73
Butler of book or film : RHETT
75
Prepares to be shot : POSES
76
Suggest : PROPOSE
78
"Dies ___" : IRAE
79
In : AMID
80
___-pitch : SLO
83
Mountains have developed over them : EONS
84
Soul: Fr. : AME
86
"Foreign Affairs" author Alison : LURIE
88
Whoop-de-do : STIR
89
Blood-typing letters : ABO
90
Bully : HARASS
93
Agent's cut : PERCENTAGE
96
Total value of the symbols created by the special crossings in this puzzle : TENCENTS
98
Doctor's orders : TESTS
100
"___ has no age": Picasso : YOUTH
101
Sand, maybe : SMOOTHEN
103
Fast crowd : JETSET
104
Floored : INAWE
107
Flaxseed or quinoa, e.g. : HEALTHFOOD
111
Opus ___ : DEI
113
Something square to eat? : DECENTMEAL
116
Defendant's cry : IMINNOCENT
118
Mythological subject of a Michelangelo painting : LEDA
119
Hair extension : WEAVE
120
Of Peter O'Toole's eight Oscar nominations, how many he won : NONE
121
Scruffs : NAPES
122
Broadway singer Linda : EDER
123
Venomous snake : ADDER
124
Cries (for) : ASKS
125
One for the books : ENTRY
Down
1
Dangerous part of an alligator : TAIL
2
Where many tickets are distributed : SPEEDTRAP
3
Not going away : LINGERING
4
German direction : OST
5
Agatha Christie mystery setting : THENILE
6
Type : GENRE
7
Theater award : OBIE
8
Kind of fixation : ORAL
9
Film legend Negri : POLA
10
Entree item with crimped edges : RAVIOLI
11
Chowderhead : IDIOT
12
Percocet, for one : PAINPILL
13
Suffix with ethyl : ENE
14
Partisan leader? : NON
15
More profound : DEEPER
16
Pounds' sounds : ARFS
17
Moving ice : FLOE
18
Message with an emoji, maybe : TEXT
24
Bright stars : NOVAS
26
"Così Fan ___" : TUTTE
29
Summer weather stat. : THI
32
Dangerous units : RADS
34
Blabs, say : LEAKS
35
Crawler on an M. C. Escher Möbius strip : ANT
37
It may be a credit to you : SEMINAR
38
Mobile-to-Birmingham dir. : NNE
39
Nervously excited : ATWITTER
41
"Things are not looking good" : ITSBAD
42
Untroubled : SERENE
43
Samples : TASTES
44
System of beliefs : ISM
45
Town on the south shore of Long Island : ISLIP
47
Reagan attorney general : MEESE
51
"___ man walks into a bar ..." : SOA
53
Youngest-ever French Open winner, 1990 : SELES
55
Fruit with a flat pit : MANGO
56
Pot collection : ANTES
58
Articles in a paper : WRITEUPS
60
Formal reply to "Who's there?" : ITISI
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Snookered : DUPED
62
Harvests : REAPS
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Two by two : INPAIRS
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Shampoo instruction : REPEAT
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Clothe : ENROBE
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Like some patches : IRONON
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Starts : SHIES
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Actress who co-starred in "The Lincoln Lawyer" : TOMEI
74
Chess champ Mikhail : TAL
77
Keep an ___ the street : EARTO
80
Hillary Clinton's domain, once: Abbr. : STATEDEPT
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Summer hair product : LIGHTENER
82
Some freight cargo : ORE
85
Times table? : MASTHEAD
87
Abbr. in many an officer's title : RET
88
N.B.A. coach Jackson and others : STUS
90
Muscle builders : HEMEN
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Year in Madrid : ANO
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One who's taking inventory? : STEALER
94
"Keep your ___ the prize!" : EYEON
95
Half-baked, maybe : NOTDONE
97
"Honest!" : ISWEAR
99
Make bigger: Abbr. : ENL
102
Emit, as a big sigh : HEAVE
103
Craving : JONES
104
Not lifting a finger : IDLE
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Craving : NEED
106
Right hand : AIDE
108
Funny Fey : TINA
109
Certain co. plans : HMOS
110
Informant : FINK
112
Wee, informally : ITSY
114
Pan Am rival : TWA
115
T-shirt size: Abbr. : MED
117
Actor McKellen : IAN

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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