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MATCHING WITS

New York Times, Sunday, June 30, 2013

Author:
Alex Vratsanos and Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
176/13/20115/23/20193
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3142313
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60040
Alex Vratsanos
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1047/5/201011/27/201963
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2678192798
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.637242
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 134, Blocks: 92 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Vratsanos. This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:

Jeff:

Alex came to me with the idea of a giant M and W made of black squares, and I thought it was clever. However, he had been working with a 15x grid which made for an extremely challenging layout. After playing with it for a while, I felt like it was going to result in too many three-letter words and too much compromise in the fill.

I suggested going to a 21x which would be somewhat more flexible plus it would give us a bigger palette with which to work. It proved to be slightly easier than a 15x but was still extremely challenging. The biggest difficulty was finding a way to place enough M-W theme answers without constraining the grid so much that the surrounding fill would be badly compromised. Luckily, we came upon the crossing pattern of MINUTE WALTZ, MIRACLE WORKER, MONEYS WORTH, and MINIMUM WAGE; a small miracle.

It ended up taking us several months of back and forth iterations before we settled upon the final grid. There were many places we had to work and rework in order to attain a reasonable fill we were both happy with. Quite a challenge!

Jim Horne notes:

Vertical theme answers are each two words starting with M and W. Blocks form an M at the top of the grid and a W at the bottom.

1
G
2
M
3
A
4
T
5
G
6
M
7
C
8
S
9
H
E
U
R
E
10
E
11
R
12
M
13
A
14
T
15
H
16
O
17
M
18
L
O
O
T
19
S
20
A
N
D
R
E
21
S
O
O
T
22
R
E
P
O
23
A
D
L
E
R
24
M
O
D
E
S
25
P
L
U
S
26
I
R
A
N
27
M
E
D
E
A
28
S
A
Y
A
H
29
T
O
T
E
30
M
P
O
L
E
31
O
R
A
L
S
32
W
R
I
33
T
E
34
H
A
I
L
E
35
Y
36
A
R
N
S
37
A
38
B
A
39
R
O
S
40
S
I
41
R
E
S
42
I
S
T
43
W
I
44
K
45
I
46
M
O
T
47
T
O
T
H
E
48
M
A
X
49
T
W
O
50
F
A
C
E
D
51
P
O
E
52
M
S
53
E
R
I
C
54
A
D
O
55
A
R
E
N
A
56
E
Z
R
A
57
M
58
M
E
59
S
L
60
A
V
61
R
62
O
O
F
63
D
E
S
K
64
M
I
N
65
U
T
E
W
A
66
L
T
Z
67
A
68
M
69
A
70
S
71
I
72
M
I
N
73
K
I
W
I
74
E
H
S
75
R
A
R
E
76
C
77
H
78
I
N
A
79
I
80
T
E
81
O
N
82
T
O
83
S
E
L
M
A
84
T
A
N
G
R
85
A
M
S
86
A
R
G
O
N
87
A
88
U
T
89
T
O
M
90
S
T
E
W
91
M
U
K
92
L
U
K
93
B
E
T
T
E
94
W
R
Y
95
C
H
96
A
S
M
97
E
N
E
98
R
O
99
H
E
A
100
T
H
101
P
102
E
S
O
S
103
W
104
E
N
T
R
O
G
105
U
E
106
M
O
I
107
S
108
T
109
O
T
T
O
S
110
A
L
T
I
111
A
G
R
A
112
B
O
S
O
M
113
S
H
A
P
E
114
G
A
T
E
115
S
A
D
R
116
A
N
K
L
E
117
T
A
S
E
R
118
E
N
O
S
119
T
N
U
T
120
T
I
E
O
N
121
N
Y
E
T
122
H
E
Y
S
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0630 ( 23,245 )
Across
1
Coll. senior's exam : GMAT
5
Some S.U.V.'s : GMCS
9
1/24 of un jour : HEURE
10
___ Franklin, Grammy-nominated gospel/R&B singer : ERMA
14
First name in footwear : THOM
18
Robs : LOOTS
20
Onetime wrestling great ___ the Giant : ANDRE
21
Shade of black : SOOT
22
Forced return? : REPO
23
Woman in Conan Doyle's "A Scandal in Bohemia" : ADLER
24
Most common elements : MODES
25
Asset : PLUS
26
Target of 2006 United Nations sanctions : IRAN
27
Euripides play : MEDEA
28
Opening words? : SAYAH
29
Heads of a Northwest tribe? : TOTEMPOLE
31
Endings of some courses : ORALS
32
Compose : WRITE
34
___ Selassie : HAILE
35
What whalers may bring back : YARNS
37
"Defending liberty, pursuing justice" org. : ABA
39
Carlo ___ wine : ROSSI
41
Go kicking and screaming : RESIST
43
Collaborative Web site : WIKI
46
Bon ___ : MOT
47
Fully : TOTHEMAX
49
Duplicitous : TWOFACED
51
They may be epic : POEMS
53
Actor Roberts : ERIC
54
Trouble : ADO
55
The Superdome, e.g. : ARENA
56
Biblical figure whose name means "help" : EZRA
57
___ de Pompadour (figure in Fr. history) : MME
59
Many a person behind the Iron Curtain : SLAV
61
Dome, e.g. : ROOF
63
Secretary, e.g. : DESK
64
Piece longer than its name suggests : MINUTEWALTZ
67
Second of a Latin trio : AMAS
71
Gang member's "O.K." before a job : IMIN
73
Bird or fruit : KIWI
74
Canadian interjections : EHS
75
Like a sighting of an ivory-billed woodpecker : RARE
76
Where 84-Across were invented : CHINA
79
Suffix with favor : ITE
81
Catching ___ : ONTO
83
Seat of Dallas County, Ala. : SELMA
84
Seven-piece puzzles : TANGRAMS
86
Adventurer of Greek myth : ARGONAUT
89
Big gobbler : TOM
90
Dish that may be ladled : STEW
91
Eskimo boot : MUKLUK
93
Hollywood legend Davis : BETTE
94
Crooked : WRY
95
Bridge spot : CHASM
97
It has 31 días : ENERO
99
___ bar (Hershey product) : HEATH
101
Some dinero : PESOS
103
Disobeyed orders, say : WENTROGUE
106
Dewy : MOIST
109
Four Holy Roman emperors : OTTOS
110
Certain singers : ALTI
111
Noted mausoleum site : AGRA
112
___ buddy : BOSOM
113
Women's Health competitor : SHAPE
114
Terminal information : GATE
115
Baghdad's ___ City : SADR
116
___-length : ANKLE
117
You may be shocked by it : TASER
118
Baseball's Slaughter : ENOS
119
Carpentry fastener : TNUT
120
Affix, in a way : TIEON
121
Word before and after "Tovarich" in a "Doctor Zhivago" number : NYET
122
Informal greetings : HEYS
Down
1
Columbus's home : GENOA
2
"Hoochie Coochie Man" singer : MUDDYWATERS
3
In ___ (late, in law) : ARREAR
4
They may be shot at basketball games : TEESHIRTS
5
Star quality : GLAMOR
6
West Point subject : MODERNWARFARE
7
Frigid : COLDASICE
8
1943 penny composition : STEEL
9
The Three Stooges, e.g. : HAMS
10
Clairvoyant's hurdle : ESPTEST
11
Caramel candy brand : ROLO
12
Shooting off more : MOUTHIER
13
Flummoxed : ATSEA
14
Like porn films : TRIPLEX
15
Purple Heart recipients, e.g. : HEROES
16
It's worn by many Libras : OPAL
17
Bang for one's buck : MONEYSWORTH
19
Many S.A. women : SRAS
30
1962 movie for which Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won Oscars, with "The" : MIRACLEWORKER
33
Likewise : TOO
36
___ Z : ATO
37
Jazzed : AMPED
38
Still dripping? : BOOZE
40
Gloss : SHEEN
42
"___ be a real shame ..." : ITD
44
"Toy Story 3" role for Michael Keaton : KEN
45
Muckraker Tarbell : IDA
48
Peruvian volcano El ___ : MISTI
50
___ Schwarz : FAO
52
Euphemism used often on "The Newlywed Game" : MAKINGWHOOPEE
54
Frank Sinatra's second : AVA
57
Year the iPod came out : MMI
58
Money raised by members of Congress? : MINIMUMWAGE
60
Stupefying : AWING
62
72 in a six-pack, often: Abbr. : OZS
65
Don Ho's instrument, informally : UKE
66
Sierra ___ : LEONE
68
Dewar's product : MALTWHISKEY
69
Medieval museum exhibit : ARMOR
70
Lowdown : SEAMY
72
Nick, maybe : MAR
76
They're beside the point: Abbr. : CTS
77
Magician's prop : HAT
78
Blissed out : INECSTASY
80
Tut's relative : TSK
82
Racing vehicle : TOBOGGAN
83
Where one might be in the hot seat? : STEAMBATH
85
Mornings, for short : AMS
86
Some baby sitters : AUNTIES
87
Fundamentally : ATHEART
88
Beehive State native : UTE
92
Gave for a time : LENTTO
96
Posit : ASSERT
98
Where one might be in the hot seat? : ROAST
100
Bimetallic Canadian coin : TOONIE
101
Writing on the Wall? : POST
102
A Coen brother : ETHAN
104
Joie de vivre : ELAN
105
Language of Lahore : URDU
107
They're always done by one : SOLOS
108
Feds : TMEN

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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