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IF THE SPIRIT MOVES YOU

New York Times, Sunday, July 16, 2017

Author: Andrea Carla Michaels and Pete Muller
Editor: Will Shortz
Andrea Carla Michaels
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
576/12/20007/16/201730
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
63892200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63117
Pete Muller
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
184/18/20067/16/20177
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6042501
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60250

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 72 Missing: {Q} This is puzzle # 57 for Ms. Michaels. This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Muller. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: ACME: Back in 2010 I met Pete, and inspired by his Jack in the box puzzle, came up with the idea ORDERSAROUNDOFDRINKS 21 and in six quadrants have a drink name in circles (TOMCOLLINS, VODKATONIC, etc). Pete ... more
Constructor notes:

ACME: Back in 2010 I met Pete, and inspired by his Jack in the box puzzle, came up with the idea ORDERSAROUNDOFDRINKS 21 and in six quadrants have a drink name in circles (TOMCOLLINS, VODKATONIC, etc). Pete thought this could work: "DRINKSALLAROUND 15 [Generous patron's offer and a clue to this puzzle's theme] or AROUNDOFDRINKS 14 for a 20x20 ... could get cute and put OLIVE on top of the MARTINI circle etc. ..." and thus started a 50 email exchange, countless grids, almost seven year odyssey towards a Sunday puzzle!

Pete will tell you I finally cornered him at the 2017 ACPT and said next grid you send me, I'm filling it, cluing it and NO MORE IMPROVEMENTS! (He is a multi-talented creative genius and kept thinking he could do better!)

(response from Pete: "Andrea is too kind to mention that after she had clued the grid I sent her, I found something I couldn't live with it and redid it one more time ...so she had to clue it twice!")

Because Pete got the reveal in the puzzle (crossing with COCKTAILLOUNGES!) we also needed to come up with a title, which of course, as a namer, is my favorite part of constructing!

We needed drinks with 4 8 and 12 letters to make it work... It's a little ironic as I have never been a drinker and had never even heard of a TIAMARIA nor PINKLADY, but I love it! Bottoms up! Skoal! CHEERS and all that!

PETE: My last published NY Times puzzle was in 2013, the year after I started doing the MMMM (Muller Monthly Music Meta). Thirteen crosswords a year is right at the limit of what I can create, so I reluctantly had to stop submitting puzzles to other venues.

Andrea had invited me to collaborate with her on this idea seven years ago (!), and I had started in on it but ultimately gave up because I didn't love the fill enough. I guess sometimes I can be overly picky (Andrea liked some of the grids I came up with just fine.) She gently sent regular reminders to me and encouraged me to keep at it. I promised her that I would definitely get to it within a year. That was in 2015.

I studiously avoided Andrea at the 2016 ACPT, but she managed to track me down anyway and extract another promise that I would finish within a year. Only an extra year late, and seven years after we originally started, I took another shot at a collection of theme entries that we liked, and made it a lot better. Andrea did almost all the cluing (I changed a handful of her clues).

Hope you like it!

I do miss having crosswords in the Times and hope to find time to start submitting a puzzle or two per year going forward.

Jeff Chen notes: Acme and I hung out at ACPT years ago, catching up, when she suddenly smacked me. (I get that a lot.) One of my puzzles had just run, scooping her and Pete of an idea they had been working on. Neat to finally see ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Acme and I hung out at ACPT years ago, catching up, when she suddenly smacked me. (I get that a lot.) One of my puzzles had just run, scooping her and Pete of an idea they had been working on. Neat to finally see it finished and in print. I appreciate that Will spread them out, so solvers got a chance to forget mine.

(Between them, there was another one in a similar vein, but it didn't use the same revealer.)

I liked the visual aspect of this one, the circled-up drinks looking a bit like bubbles in champagne. Fun to get a lot of variety, from a DIRTY MARTINI to a COSMOPOLITAN to a PINK LADY. Very upscale!

I'm more of a BEER guy myself, so, on the one hand, it was nice to get that and WINE too. But on the other, they weren't nearly as cool as the long drinks forming big bubbles. Would have been great to get two other mixed drinks to make the set tighter.

So, so difficult to fill around those circled-up drinks. Any time you fix letters in place, you create inflexibility for yourself. And to set so many letters in place right next to each other is nutso. Acme and Pete did well to put black squares in the middle of the biggest drinks, absolutely crucial to filling around COSMOPOLITAN. Still, they ended up with a FLOR, oddball ALARUM, and a GOW. Hmm.

That's not too bad, but there are similar costs throughout the rest of the puzzle. As if the six circled-up drinks weren't hard enough, putting in DRINKS ALL AROUND and COCKTAIL LOUNGES was bound to cause serious pain points. Not surprising to see some oof-worthy BETO, DUC crossing DORR, TO SAM, HIED right where those two long themers cross. And ORLE is one of those Maleskan-era words I'd like to see elevated to "puzzle-killer" status.

I like seeing different implementations of a similar seed idea. The appearance of bubbles was cool. However, I tired of the experience maybe half way through — I wonder if it would have been better as a 15x puzzle with maybe three or four mixed drinks. Tough though, as that would have given Acme and Pete even less real estate to work with. The freedom of the huge Sunday 21x21 palette can be awfully tempting for constructors.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0716 ( 24,722 )
Across Down
1. Five Norwegian kings : OLAVS
6. Nighty-night wear : PJS
9. Bird bills : NEBS
13. Fancy-schmancy : POSH
17. Bottoms : NADIRS
19. O.K., in Okinawa : HAI
20. First name in courtroom fiction : ERLE
21. Bee-fitting? : APIAN
23. Overcome an embarrassment : LIVEITDOWN
25. Carolina ___ : WREN
26. Kind of question : YESNO
27. Med. school subject : ANAT
28. Traditional Chinese forces : YINANDYANG
30. Male duck : DRAKE
31. Author Anaïs : NIN
32. ROFL alternative : LMAO
33. Palm piece : FROND
34. Polish rolls : BIALYS
35. Get off at Grand Central, say : DETRAIN
37. Like most things in "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" : WEIRD
38. Bring home the bacon : EARN
39. Nary ___ : AONE
40. Make brighter, as a fading tattoo : REINK
41. Mufflers and such : KNITTING
45. "Anyhoo," e.g. : SEGUE
47. Architect Gehry : FRANK
48. "Thanks ___ God!" : BETO
49. One challenged by a sentry : FOE
50. Couturier Cassini : OLEG
51. U.S. rebellion leader of 1841-42 : DORR
52. Alternative to wind : SOLAR
54. Rhett Butler's final two words : ADAMN
56. Like some thinking : WISHFUL
58. "My ___" (1979 hit by the Knack) : SHARONA
60. Nail polish brand : CUTEX
61. Places to get looped : COCKTAILLOUNGES
64. As a joke : INFUN
67. Dried (off) : TOWELED
68. "Hidden Figures" actor : COSTNER
72. One of 16 works by Brahms : WALTZ
73. Roasted: Sp. : ASADA
74. Slept with, biblically : KNEW
76. Kvetch : MOAN
77. "___ Just Seen a Face" (Beatles tune) : IVE
78. DVD button : PLAY
79. ___ an independent (eschewed the party label) : RANAS
81. Geneva and Beirut : FONTS
82. "Miss Julie" opera composer, 1965 : NEDROREM
85. 19th-century French landscapist : COROT
86. Weisshorn and others : ALPS
87. "Beowulf" and others : EPOS
88. Bottle for oil or vinegar : CRUET
89. Excuse for not turning in homework : ILOSTIT
92. Nursery rhyme destination : STIVES
95. Ersatz : PHONY
96. Quarrel (with) : SPAR
97. Singer DiFranco : ANI
98. Actor Gillen of "Game of Thrones" : AIDAN
99. What you should do "if symptoms persist" : SEEADOCTOR
101. Artist who designed costumes for "Ben-Hur" : ERTE
102. Twosomes : ITEMS
103. 12.01, for carbon: Abbr. : ATWT
104. Ignorant : UNEDUCATED
106. Hang : DRAPE
107. Fifth-century pope known as "the Great" : LEOI
108. Son of, in Arabic names : IBN
109. Company lover? : MISERY
110. Captain von Trapp's betrothed : ELSA
111. Met soprano Berger : ERNA
112. Cpl., e.g. : NCO
113. Captain Nemo's creator : VERNE
1. Ashore : ONLAND
2. Actress Kazan of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" : LAINIE
3. Reasons to say yes : ADVANTAGES
4. Word before Cong or Minh : VIET
5. Mister, in New Delhi : SRI
6. 45 player : PHONO
7. Resident of Tatooine in "Star Wars" : JAWA
8. It's Irish for "We Ourselves" : SINNFEIN
9. Orange avenue in Monopoly : NEWYORK
10. Picking up a quart of milk, say : ERRAND
11. Recipe direction : BLEND
12. Hong Kong's Hang ___ Index : SENG
13. Nice thing to hit : PAYDIRT
14. Having an effect : OPERANT
15. Rope fiber : SISAL
16. It might absorb a blow : HANKY
18. Frustrate : STYMIE
22. Discouraging words : NOES
24. Gorilla watcher Fossey : DIAN
29. "It's on me!" ... or a hint to this puzzle's circled letters : DRINKSALLAROUND
32. Shipping route : LANE
34. Scott of "Joanie Loves Chachi" : BAIO
36. Partially edited version of a movie : ROUGHCUT
37. Erodes : WEARSAWAY
38. Bedazzles : ENTRANCES
40. Elementary school trio, briefly : RRR
41. Actor Reeves : KEANU
42. "___ first ..." : IFAT
43. Gold rush city of 1899 : NOME
44. Boomers' offspring : GENX
45. Plant : SOW
46. Bush or Clinton, collegiately : ELI
47. Oral tradition : FOLKTALES
48. Fly-fisher's line joiner : BLOODKNOT
51. French nobleman : DUC
53. Shield border : ORLE
54. Whizzes : ACES
55. Bunny chasers? : DUSTMOPS
57. 1970s TV cool dude, with "the" : FONZ
59. Rushed : HIED
62. "Life According ___" (Emmy-winning documentary) : TOSAM
63. Pai ___ (Chinese gambling game) : GOW
64. "Victory!" : IWIN
65. Place to pray : NAVE
66. Ran off : FLED
69. Awful idea : NONSTARTER
70. No longer fast? : EAT
71. Hosp. staffers : RNS
75. D.C. athlete : NAT
78. Whizzes : PROS
80. Dealer's query : AREYOUIN
81. Spanish bloom : FLOR
83. Overhauls : REVAMPS
84. Area far from port : OPENSEA
85. Zagreb's country : CROATIA
86. Old-style warning : ALARUM
88. Mull over : CHEWON
89. Apple debut of 2001 : IPOD
90. Summer position for a college student : INTERN
91. Stereotypical Deadhead wear : TIEDYE
92. Put into words : SAID
93. Concentration, to a British chemist : TITRE
94. As good as it gets : IDEAL
95. Lose steam, with "out" : PETER
96. Kind of pad : STENO
99. Presidents' Day event : SALE
100. "Mad Money" network : CNBC
101. Assuage : EASE
105. Western ___ (college course, informally) : CIV

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 10 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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