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New York Times, Monday, June 23, 2014

Author:
Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1838/7/19964/28/201916
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1.635213
Brendan Emmett Quigley

This puzzle:

Rows: 14, Columns: 15 Words: 75, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QVX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 163 for Mr. Quigley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Brendan Emmett Quigley notes:

I can do every trick in this puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
I love weeks like this. Hardly a puzzle that I didn't consider for the Puzzle of the Week. This snappy Monday was no exception. ... read more

I love weeks like this. Hardly a puzzle that I didn't consider for the Puzzle of the Week. This snappy Monday was no exception.

It's a rare Monday that brings the joy of "oh hey, that's cool!" and that's what I got today. I used to be quite the yo-yo master (surprising I wasn't more popular in school, huh?) and getting the YOYO TRICKS revealer after wondering what the heck all these nice long answers had in common = cool. I didn't recognize FLYING TRAPEZE at first, but a little Googling made me remember what that was.

BEQ's skills are impressive. Putting together a crossword with five long them answers (10/13/14/13/10) is a Herculean task. There is no way to avoid a ton of answers crossing two or more theme answers, and when you have multitudes of constraints all in close proximity, it's bound to cause problems. BEQ goes to an unusual 15x14 grid (one shorter than a normal 15x15) in order to accommodate the central AROUND THE WORLD. And he does a great job placing his themers (down, like a yo-yo string!) and his black squares in order to spread around his constrained sections. Note that there isn't one big block of white space that stands out as bigger than others.

A word count of 75 might seem audacious, but for a 15x14, you'd except a maximum of 75 words. Consider the bottom row of the puzzle: three words. If you were to extend the puzzle to 15x15, you'd add three more words to 78.

You might think the west and east sections would be the hardest to fill? I actually think the NE and SW hold that honor. Those two single black squares floating out in space help break up the west and east a bit, giving BEQ more flexibility in those regions. And the results are smooth. I'm not a huge fan of ARTY, but it's legit. Both the west and east come out so nice

Where a few blips crop up are in those NE and SW corners. BEQ does well to place two sets of cheater squares to relieve some pressure, but when you have so many crossings to take care of in an open corner, there are bound to be issues. The ORONO / ORSAY crossing is going to be very tough for some Monday solvers, and there's the MDI / UP MY and YWCA / ASSN region in the opposite corner. Very difficult to fill with total smoothness.

That reminds me of a thoughful note I got from Erik Agard a few weeks ago. I tend to be persnickety about reducing partials to (ideally) zero, but he reminded me that they can actually be a positive, especially for a Monday solver. And certainly, I can see how ["Nothing ___ sleeve"] could help a novice solver gain traction. I still prefer reducing partials to zero, but I'll think twice when it comes down to A TRIP or ATRIA.

Enjoyable solve, neat that BEQ was able to find four common YOYO TRICKS that could be disguised as other things.

1
M
2
A
3
J
4
O
5
R
6
F
7
A
8
D
9
Y
10
W
11
C
12
A
13
A
M
I
N
O
14
E
R
R
15
F
O
A
L
S
16
S
O
F
T
C
17
Z
O
O
18
L
U
L
U
S
19
O
K
20
D
21
U
P
22
M
Y
23
K
E
N
24
E
25
G
26
Y
P
T
I
27
A
N
28
D
I
29
E
T
S
30
L
O
O
31
H
A
N
D
32
I
N
C
H
33
M
A
Y
34
B
E
35
E
T
36
C
37
G
R
E
38
T
39
A
40
S
T
O
I
C
41
W
H
O
42
T
U
D
O
R
43
T
A
R
44
A
45
E
M
46
I
R
47
O
U
T
48
O
R
S
A
Y
49
W
A
S
A
50
N
G
R
Y
51
F
R
I
52
D
E
53
C
O
54
A
P
E
55
L
O
C
56
A
L
57
I
R
58
K
59
E
P
60
S
61
O
62
M
63
A
N
K
L
E
64
A
L
I
65
Z
A
P
P
A
66
P
O
S
T
67
O
D
D
68
E
L
A
T
E
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0623 ( 23,603 )
Across
1
College concentration : MAJOR
6
Craze : FAD
9
Ladies' service org. since the 1850s : YWCA
13
___ acid (building block of biology) : AMINO
14
Flub : ERR
15
Newborn horses : FOALS
16
The fourth (but not the first) letter of "cancel" : SOFTC
17
It has lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) : ZOO
18
Real corkers : LULUS
19
Green-lighted, as a project : OKD
21
"Nothing ___ sleeve" : UPMY
23
Baseball's ___ Griffey Jr. : KEN
24
Cairo native : EGYPTIAN
28
Weight-loss programs : DIETS
30
London bathroom : LOO
31
What a card player is dealt : HAND
32
Ruler unit : INCH
33
Perhaps : MAYBE
35
And so on: Abbr. : ETC
37
Van Susteren of Fox News : GRETA
40
Unflinching in the face of pain, say : STOIC
41
"Guess ___!" : WHO
42
Architectural style named after a British royal family : TUDOR
43
"Gone With the Wind" plantation : TARA
45
Dubai ruler : EMIR
47
What three strikes make : OUT
48
Paris's Musée d'___ : ORSAY
49
Saw red : WASANGRY
51
When most movies open: Abbr. : FRI
52
Art ___ (1920s-'30s architectural style) : DECO
54
Gorilla, e.g. : APE
55
Train that makes all stops : LOCAL
57
Get under the skin of : IRK
59
English racetrack site : EPSOM
63
Joint sometimes twisted when running : ANKLE
64
___ G (Sacha Baron Cohen persona) : ALI
65
Musician Frank with the Mothers of Invention : ZAPPA
66
Blog entry : POST
67
Not even : ODD
68
Thrill : ELATE
Down
1
Pas' mates : MAS
2
___, amas, amat : AMO
3
Rival of Peter Pan or Skippy : JIF
4
Winning : ONTOP
5
MTV competitive reality show featuring children of pop stars : ROCKTHECRADLE
6
Hat with a tassel : FEZ
7
Where Phileas Fogg traveled "in 80 days" : AROUNDTHEWORLD
8
Plummet : DROP
9
"___ wanna take this outside?" : YOU
10
Do a chore with a pet : WALKTHEDOG
11
Things hidden in treasure hunts : CLUES
12
The "A" of 9-Across: Abbr. : ASSN
15
Circus act above a net : FLYINGTRAPEZE
20
Day: Sp. : DIA
22
The year 1501 : MDI
24
O'Neill's "Desire Under the ___" : ELMS
25
Animal that butts : GOAT
26
What 5-, 7-, 10- and 15-Down all are : YOYOTRICKS
27
All over again : ANEW
29
Neutral color : ECRU
34
Editorial slant : BIAS
36
Senseless state : COMA
38
What some bands and just-published authors do : TOUR
39
Affectedly cultured : ARTY
44
Matey's yes : AYE
46
"Yes, there ___ God!" : ISA
48
Maine town bordering Bangor : ORONO
50
Katmandu's nation : NEPAL
51
Envelope part : FLAP
53
Italian goodbye : CIAO
56
Ctrl-___-Delete : ALT
58
25-Down offspring : KID
60
Baden-Baden, for one : SPA
61
Make a decision : OPT
62
West who wrote "Goodness Had Nothing to Do With It" : MAE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?