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New York Times, Thursday, June 4, 2015

Author: Joe Krozel
Editor: Will Shortz
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1.48057
Joe Krozel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 37 Missing: {JKQXZ} This is puzzle # 80 for Mr. Krozel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: This puzzle seemingly has more than one solution ... but only one is "correct."
Joe Krozel notes: I had been collecting companion entries, e.g. MOIL and TOIL, for making the Schrodinger category of puzzle for what seemed like ... more
Joe Krozel notes:

I had been collecting companion entries, e.g. MOIL and TOIL, for making the Schrodinger category of puzzle for what seemed like ages. Much of that search was facilitated by Matt Ginsberg's clue database which displays alternate entries with the same clue. (For instance, if I were to look up SIT, one of the clues [Meet] would also apply to FIT ... which differs by a single letter). Short-entry pairs like that were easy to come by, so I scratched my head to find something longer and stumbled upon 10-D and 25-D ... which differ by two letters. Good enough, I said.

Oddly enough, the placement of those long Schrodinger entries into a thematic presentation came only gradually; I initially thought the puzzle would be themeless. Even so, it quickly made sense to place a single entry vertically because of the orientation of these CAVERN growths in nature. From there it took a long while before I decided to depict them as two distinct entries. First, it seemed redundant, but the other mental block was having two, long, nearly-the-same, single-word entries in a puzzle: very taboo. Eventually the theme notion struck me, and it carried the day.

Now, having said all that, I should point out that the puzzle isn't the sort of Schrodinger puzzle where either theme entries is correct in either location: they make the best sense with one particular arrangement ... and I'm so naughty for this sly prank: Someone should look up what percentage of the population doesn't know which is which.

Jeff Chen notes: Here's one where I appreciated the puzzle much more after corresponding with the author. I like how Joe always pushes the envelope, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Here's one where I appreciated the puzzle much more after corresponding with the author. I like how Joe always pushes the envelope, virtually none of his puzzles using a standard crossword theme. After I solved this one, I didn't get the point of having STALAGMITE and STALACTITE being Schrodingers — there's only one correct answer, right?

Some beautiful stala??ites

Bingo! This puzzle is Joe's way of tripping up those solvers, making them see a Schrodinger when there really isn't one. An optical illusion, if you will. I like the concept.

The choices on Schrodinger entries … I really enjoyed CUT/GUT for [Undermine, as a government program] and GAPS / CAPS for [Features of some front teeth]. Those work so well, because either entry perfectly answers the clue. And GAPS is the obvious answer ... or so you think!

MOIL/TOIL isn't as good to me. They both fit the [Work hard] definition perfectly, but TOIL is so much more commonly used that MOIL didn't even occur to me. I plunked in TOIL and didn't look back — the trickery was totally lost on me, and I have a feeling I won't be the only one.

And while ISTS/ISMS both work as a [Plural suffix with organ], it's a shame that a feature entry of the puzzle would depend on it being defined as a suffix. I'd much rather a different Schrodinger pair be used; two normal words as with GAPS / CAPS. It would probably call for the lower left corner to be redone more simply, with shorter words, but I'd prefer that trade-off. Sorry, TORI AMOS!

A lot of strong entries like PAPER THIN, DIRT STAINS, ADMIT ONE — appreciated in a theme-light puzzle. But again, I would have liked a less wide-open puzzle, one where the puzzle didn't kick off with the type of ADELES, MISSAY and MCCI entries. That upper left corner tends to set impressions that are hard to overcome. It is pretty neat that Joe managed to execute this in a very low word count (70), but that often causes trade-offs involving gluey fill.

1
C
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A
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V
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D
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0604 ( 23,949 )
Across Down
1. Location containing 10-Downs and 25-Downs : CAVERN
7. Red sky at morning, to a sailor : BADSIGN
14. Astaire and Adkins : ADELES
15. What a ticket may do : ADMITONE
16. Pronounce "nuclear" as "nucular," e.g. : MISSAY
17. One sending a message in a bottle, maybe : CASTAWAY
18. Kind of test : PATERNITY
20. Fight tooth and nail : CLAW
21. Start of the 13th century : MCCI
22. "I see it now!" : AHA
23. "I can only ___ much" : DOSO
26. Rushes : HIES
28. *Features of some front teeth : CAPS
32. They're often found on baseball uniforms : DIRTSTAINS
34. *Work hard : TOIL
35. Deferred payment, say : RANATAB
36. Ordinary : VANILLA
38. Alkene derivative : ENOL
39. Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, e.g. : COMEDYTEAM
41. Grist for a statistician : DATA
42. Taylor Swift, for one : IDOL
43. Underling of yore : SERF
44. *Undermine, as a government program : GUT
46. ___ Morris, signature on the Declaration of Independence : ROBT
48. *Plural suffix with organ : ISMS
50. Like walls in a cheap motel, it seems : PAPERTHIN
55. Singer with the 1994 double-platinum album "Under the Pink" : TORIAMOS
57. Judge John who was Time's 1973 Man of the Year : SIRICA
58. Times Square and Columbus Circle, in New York City : STATIONS
59. Lose one's reserve : OPENUP
60. Gently slipped past : EASEDBY
61. Fly in a jungle : TSETSE
1. Overly theatrical, maybe : CAMP
2. 1998 Sarah McLachlan hit : ADIA
3. One of three pieces : VEST
4. "Anything ___?" : ELSE
5. Like the aft sails : REARMOST
6. "Girlfriend" group, 2002 : NSYNC
7. Present time, informally : BDAY
8. Morns : AMS
9. Intentionally lose : DITCH
10. 1-Across sight : STALACTITE
11. Name repeated in ___ City, ___ : IOWA
12. Badly bother, with "at" : GNAW
13. Actor Richard of "Mrs. Miniver" : NEY
15. Part of many plays, but not "Waiting for Godot" : ACTIII
19. Schoolmaster in a Washington Irving tale : ICHABOD
22. Syrian V.I.P. : ASSAD
23. Mythical huntress : DIANA
24. "... unless I'm wrong" : ORNOT
25. 1-Across sight : STALAGMITE
27. Go around : ENVELOP
29. Many an early Internet adopter : AOLER
30. Rice ___ : PILAF
31. Big pan? : SLAM
32. Historic Scott : DRED
33. Understood : TACIT
37. Steakhouse offerings, for short : NYSTRIPS
40. Bog : MORASS
45. Humanitarian org. : USAID
47. Stupefy : BESOT
48. Not one ___ : IOTA
49. Some doñas: Abbr. : SRAS
50. Little horse on the prairie? : PONY
51. Every family has one : TREE
52. Bit to go on? : HINT
53. Where cc's may be delivered : ICUS
54. What a collar may cover : NAPE
55. K'ung Fu-___ (Confucius) : TSE
56. Approach en masse : MOB

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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