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New York Times, Monday, June 5, 2017

Author:
Paul Coulter
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
36/5/201712/2/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1110000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59010
Paul Coulter

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {QVX} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Coulter. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Paul Coulter notes:
The inspiration for this puzzle was the phrase, 'I'm Tired.' My son Dan is a new father — he and his wife Emily don't get much ... read more

The inspiration for this puzzle was the phrase, "I'm Tired." My son Dan is a new father — he and his wife Emily don't get much sleep, so they're often yawning. (Could be my frequent subject of the crosswords I'm constructing, of course, or other people's grids that blew me away.) Emily and Dan are patient with my chatter, but you know how it is — friends and family are either into crosswords or they're not. But when I realized "I'm Tired" could be a phrase said by cars, it was, ahem, off to the races. That would have been the title if this went to a publication that used them, and the revealer would have been something other than TIRE, such as TREAD.

I'd been trying to think of something interesting you could do with circles besides highlighting words. I'd played around with various ways to do eyes — dots, dashes, etc., but they weren't working. Then it struck me it would be a cute theme to have circled letters that look like tires, hence the Os. I usually do tricky, Fireball type puzzles — it was Will who saw this could make an early-week puzzle with a unique twist. He sent back my first crack because it had MERCURYSEVEN — Will wanted all the car makes to be current. LINCOLNLAW matching GERALDFORD also stalled out, but LINCOLNPENNY/ HARRISONFORD finally ran smoothly. I tried various grid designs, making sure to have no bumps in the road (blocks) between the pairs of circled Os. Much appreciation to Joel Fagliano, who was a tremendous help in improving the fill.

I'm a retired Biology professor, keeping busy now babysitting my one-year-old granddaughter Adeline, and setting a world record for most novels never published (35 and counting.) Long interested in cryptic crosswords, particularly of the fiendishly difficult British sort, I only recently began constructing American-style grids. I compete each year in ACPT and play in an over-the-hill soccer league on Sundays.

Jeff Chen notes:
Congrats to Paul on his NYT debut! I've seen his name in other venues, so it's great to welcome him into the NYT fold. Circled ... read more

Congrats to Paul on his NYT debut! I've seen his name in other venues, so it's great to welcome him into the NYT fold.

Circled Os, representing wheels, support a TESLA, FORD, LINCOLN, and a DODGE. I've prettied up the picture below, the same as what we did when this same idea ran a few years ago. It's a shame that Paul got scooped. Very common for two people to come up with the same idea independently, but the previous one sure takes away from the novelty.

Nice selection of themers, all of them snazzy. I hadn't realized that a TESLA COIL was a radio transmitter — fun fact to learn. Every themer does a good job disguising the car make, too. Minor nit: I would have liked all four makes to be at the front of their phrase; a little wonky to have FORD be the only one at the end.

It's not easy to work in those eight Os in fixed places. I liked how Paul balanced each of the four cars so nicely, each wheel exactly one square away from the end of the car. But it sure created some compromises.

Take the west section, for example. It's not easy to work with two long entries atop each other in LINCOLN PENNY and TOESHOE. Add in the fact that there's a pretty big white space to fill above them, and it's not a surprise to get CII (random Roman numeral) and CANIO (such a tough name for a Monday).

And check out the lower left. Neat revealer in TIRE — that was necessary to make this a Monday-easy puzzle — but TOR is a heavy price to pay. (I'm an avid rock climber and a regular crossword solver, and TOR is barely familiar to me.) Along with ALOES, an odd plural (made even more so by the presence of INDIGOS and YOOHOOS), it should have been reworked.

Sometimes I curse my stupid brain. In this case, Liz's puzzle came immediately to mind, and it took away from my solving enjoyment today. Perhaps more time separating these two puzzles would have helped, but a better solution would have been to ask Paul to rework with some new layer or feature. Not sure what that would be ...

Admirable to hear how hard Paul worked both on this crossword and on his 35(!) novels!

1
B
2
O
3
Z
4
O
5
D
6
E
7
A
8
N
9
J
10
I
11
L
12
T
13
A
R
E
S
14
E
L
M
O
15
W
A
D
E
S
16
T
E
S
L
17
A
C
O
I
L
18
E
B
O
O
K
19
H
O
T
O
I
L
20
D
E
21
L
L
22
E
S
S
23
D
A
24
B
25
S
I
L
26
E
27
N
28
T
29
I
30
H
A
R
R
31
I
S
O
N
F
O
R
D
32
C
33
I
I
34
E
E
C
35
N
O
F
O
O
L
36
M
A
N
G
37
Y
38
W
E
39
E
40
W
I
S
P
Y
41
O
N
A
H
O
42
P
43
U
P
44
I
45
G
E
E
46
L
I
N
C
O
L
47
N
P
E
N
48
N
Y
49
T
O
E
S
H
O
E
50
E
D
U
51
C
52
P
53
A
54
O
P
E
55
C
56
I
D
57
C
H
I
P
58
S
59
E
60
T
61
T
O
62
D
O
63
D
G
E
B
A
L
L
64
A
L
O
E
S
65
B
O
N
O
66
E
S
A
U
67
T
I
R
E
68
E
T
A
S
69
R
E
F
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0605 ( 24,681 )
Across
1
Doofus : BOZO
5
Campus bigwig : DEAN
9
Leave standing at the altar : JILT
13
Greek counterpart to Mars : ARES
14
"Tickle Me" doll : ELMO
15
Walks in water up to one's ankles, say : WADES
16
Early radio transmitter : TESLACOIL
18
Download for a Kindle : EBOOK
19
Deep-frying need : HOTOIL
20
"The Farmer in the ___" : DELL
22
Letter after "ar" : ESS
23
Apply gently, as cream : DAB
25
Part of "business," phonetically : SILENTI
30
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" star : HARRISONFORD
32
102, in ancient Rome : CII
34
Common Market letters : EEC
35
A sensible sort : NOFOOL
36
Like a sorry-looking dog : MANGY
38
Tiny : WEE
40
Very thin, as clouds : WISPY
41
How some ground balls are fielded : ONAHOP
43
Longtime news inits. : UPI
45
"___ whillikers!" : GEE
46
One-cent coin since 1909 : LINCOLNPENNY
49
Ballet footwear : TOESHOE
50
Email address ending for a student : EDU
51
Busy bee in Apr. : CPA
54
Oil cartel : OPEC
56
Useful item for finding a lost pet : IDCHIP
58
Brief brawl : SETTO
62
Common game in a school gym : DODGEBALL
64
Soothing succulents : ALOES
65
U2's lead singer : BONO
66
Biblical brother with a birthright : ESAU
67
Bad thing to blow ... or what each of the circled letters in this puzzle represents : TIRE
68
Greek H's : ETAS
69
Some whistle blowers : REFS
Down
1
Wash oneself : BATHE
2
Stackable cookies : OREOS
3
Citrus peels : ZESTS
4
Norway's capital : OSLO
5
Announce : DECLARE
6
"Xanadu" band, for short : ELO
7
In the thick of : AMID
8
At least : NOLESS
9
The "one" in a one-two : JAB
10
Vow from a bride or groom : IDO
11
Sign between Cancer and Virgo : LEO
12
"Shame on you!" : TSK
15
"Ver-r-ry interesting!" : WELLNOW
17
Elton John/Tim Rice Broadway musical : AIDA
21
11-Down symbol : LION
24
Prepare, as tea : BREW
26
Dummy at a protest march : EFFIGY
27
Lasso loop : NOOSE
28
Figure of speech : TROPE
29
Without purpose : IDLY
30
Hard-to-hit pitches : HIGHCS
31
Freeze : ICEUP
32
Tragic clown in "Pagliacci" : CANIO
33
Lacking sense : INANE
36
Shed old feathers : MOLT
37
Casual calls : YOOHOOS
39
Blade in a sporting match : EPEE
42
Alka-Seltzer sound : PLOP
44
Blue hues : INDIGOS
47
As required, after "if" : NEEDBE
48
Classic art subject : NUDE
51
Pursue, as in tag : CHASE
52
Rice dish : PILAF
53
Highest possible grade : APLUS
55
Geezer : COOT
57
Trucker on a radio : CBER
58
Never left the bench, say : SAT
59
Inventor Whitney : ELI
60
Craggy peak : TOR
61
Letter after 22-Across : TEE
63
Paternity identifier : DNA

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?