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New York Times, Sunday, July 26, 2015

Author: Ellen Leuschner and Jeff Chen
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
87/11/201110/23/20167
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3210200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53010
Ellen Leuschner
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
897/5/20109/19/201851
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2467171988
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.634192
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 81 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 6 for Ms. Leuschner. This is puzzle # 40 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: Jeff is so patient with me and my crazy ideas. This puzzle was inspired by our previous 'Fire in the Hole' puzzle. As I was looking back through my notes, I noticed that it was about one year ago when we ... more
Constructor notes:

Jeff is so patient with me and my crazy ideas.

This puzzle was inspired by our previous "Fire in the Hole" puzzle. As I was looking back through my notes, I noticed that it was about one year ago when we first started discussing this idea. It took us over 30 revisions and a couple of months to reach a point of satisfaction with the fill.

I enjoy researching puzzle ideas, facts, clues and definitions. I've even been known to skim though a thesaurus. (To which my husband comments, "I wonder how it ends. Har! Har!") While I was researching the actual definition of a black hole, I realized it was way beyond my grasp. I think I'll just stick to the simplified version I know from Star Trek.

Thanks again to Jeff for his help and his sense of humor!

Jeff Chen notes: So much fun to work with Ellen. She came up with the idea to have a giant black hole in the middle of a grid; sort of a HOLE faux-rebus. I thought it was clever, so we went to work trying to find enough '___ HOLE' ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

So much fun to work with Ellen. She came up with the idea to have a giant black hole in the middle of a grid; sort of a HOLE faux-rebus. I thought it was clever, so we went to work trying to find enough "___ HOLE" phrases for the north and west, and "HOLE ___" phrases for the east and south.

That's one giant sucker

After banging my head for ages, I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't possible. There were relatively few "HOLE ___" phrases, and to group them into triplets such that all the crosses worked proved infuriating. Luckily, Ellen came up with another brilliant idea: all the answers adjacent to the black hole really ought to be "sucked inside," i.e. reversed. Not only was this a cool visual representation of what happens with a black hole, but it allowed us to take advantage of the huge arsenal of "___ HOLE" phrases we found.

Then it was a matter of adding theme density. I thought it would be amusing to have funny phrases around the perimeter like DISAPPEARING ACT, but I worried that there wouldn't be enough apt choices. Ellen came back a few days later with a huge list, most of them of the "wish I had thought of that" variety. (Sensing a pattern here?) Turns out that the hardest part was picking the best ones from the list! Ellen's a hard-working, creative person.

Our original title made us laugh: ONE SINGULAR SENSATION. To all the die-hard physicists out there, I realize SINGULAR isn't exactly the same thing as a SINGULARITY, but we thought the wordplay was too good to pass up.

Our original clue for BLACK (HOLE) was [Giant sucker in the middle of the puzzle].

We amuse ourselves; hope you were amused, too. And if you weren't, I have a few other "___ HOLE" phrases on the list ready for assignment. (WORMhole. Why, what were you thinking?)

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0726 ( 24,001 )
Across Down
1. Drug charge? : COPAY
6. Petition : PLEA
10. War ___ : CRY
13. Govt. health org. : CDC
16. Conductor's resistance : OHMAGE
17. Mark's replacement : EURO
18. Laugh syllable : HEE
19. Scenic drapery fabric : TOILE
21. Novella that served as the basis for "Apocalypse Now" : HEARTOFDARKNESS
24. Like dough after baking : RISEN
25. Actress Suvari of "American Beauty" : MENA
26. Mercedes-Benz competitor : LEXUS
27. Panama part : BRIM
28. Remove a piece from? : UNARM
29. "The Phantom Menace" in the "Star Wars" series : EPISODEI
31. Feminist of 1970s TV : MAUDE
32. "Silas Marner" girl : EPPIE
33. Chemical ending : ANE
34. ___ contendere : NOLO
37. Hooey : BUNK
39. Short lines at the checkout? : UPCS
40. To whom Dionne Warwick asked "What's it all about?" in a 1967 hit : ALFIE
43. Idol worshiper? : GROUPIE
45. From scratch : AFRESH
47. Idol worship : BAALISM
50. ___ of Abraham (place of comfort) : BOSOM
51. Asian capital : LHASA
52. Canadian N.H.L. team, on scoreboards : OTT
53. Lender's security : LIEN
55. Dearie : PET
56. Loped : CANTERED
59. Long, in Lahaina : LOA
60. Damage to a wall made in hanging a picture : NAILHOLE
62. Mouth, slangily : PIEHOLE
63. Comment that might start with 96-Across : ASIDE
64. Maui or Bali: Abbr. : ISL
65. Having more liabilities than assets : INTHEHOLE
66. Secret spot : HIDEYHOLE
68. Catch : NAB
69. Milan's La ___ : SCALA
71. Primitive kind of camera : PINHOLE
72. Fracking opening : BOREHOLE
73. Atlanta sch. : GSU
74. Some written rants : HATEMAIL
76. StubHub purchase: Abbr. : TKT
79. Like fine wine : AGED
81. It may be filled in with a No. 2 pencil : ANS
82. Postpone : TABLE
83. Paris's ___-Coeur : SACRE
85. Batting positions : STANCES
87. "Aargh!" : DARNIT
89. Drinking songs? : KARAOKE
91. Go after following a hung jury, say : RETRY
92. "Casablanca" escape route city : ORAN
93. 50 or more people? : AARP
95. Tour grp. since 1950 : LPGA
96. "Incidentally," in a text : BTW
97. Button material : NACRE
99. Biblical spy : CALEB
101. "Friday the 13th" movies, e.g. : SLASHERS
106. Sign up to receive email alerts, say : OPTIN
107. Like : AKIN
108. Tree spirit : DRYAD
110. Jordan's Queen ___ International Airport : ALIA
111. Hollywood director Sam : RAIMI
112. Tightrope walker's concern : CENTEROFGRAVITY
115. Unlike wild horses : SHOED
116. Multinational bank : ING
117. Cry outside an airport : TAXI
118. Glacial ridges : ARETES
119. Ending with walk or run : ONS
120. Idiot : ASS
121. River with a "dreadful shore," in Shakespeare : STYX
122. They line many ski runs : PINES
1. Sound like a bird : CHEEP
2. Certain Arabian : OMANI
3. Soar above the sea, say : PARASAIL
4. Fed, e.g.: Abbr. : AGT
5. Quaint sign starter : YEOLDE
6. Caution for drivers on city streets : PEDXING
7. Party on a beach : LUAU
8. Blows it : ERRS
9. "Ready for takeoff!" : AOK
10. Pair of figures in Raphael's "Sistine Madonna" : CHERUBIM
11. Remains : RESIDUE
12. Rubber stamps : YESMEN
13. Change places : COINPURSES
14. Avoidance maneuver : DISAPPEARINGACT
15. Priests, e.g. : CLERICS
16. "Heavens!" : OHME
19. "You have a point" : TRUE
20. Tangle up : ENMESH
22. Greens ___ : FEE
23. What L.A. is represented in twice : NBA
30. Baseball's Buck : ONEIL
31. Place to set a trap : MOUSEHOLE
35. Poet's planet : ORB
36. Tax dodger's discovery : LOOPHOLE
38. Madeline of "What's Up, Doc?" : KAHN
40. Put an end to : ABOLISH
41. French play that inspired an Italian opera : LATOSCA
42. 1987 Michael Douglas/Glenn Close blockbuster : FATALATTRACTION
44. Tire hazard : POTHOLE
46. Palestinian political group : FATAH
48. ___ Fein (Irish political group) : SINN
49. Savory dish with a crust : MEATPIE
51. Toy poodles, e.g. : LAPDOGS
54. Nothing : NIHIL
56. Old Olds : CIERA
57. Santa Claus player in a 2003 comedy : EDASNER
58. "Clair de Lune" composer : DEBUSSY
61. "Dancing With the Stars" judge Goodman : LEN
62. Ogle : EYE
65. "But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?," e.g. : IAMBI
67. "Yeah, whatever you say" : IBET
70. Singer with the 1997 3x platinum single "How Do I Live" : LEANNRIMES
75. Ski area in the Wasatch Mountains : ALTA
76. Small, dirty, uncomfortable room : RATHOLE
77. The middle of this puzzle's grid, symbolically : BLACKHOLE
78. Ship window : PORTHOLE
80. Game with rings : DARTS
83. Nursery purchases : SAPLINGS
84. Heart test, for short : EKG
86. Ivy League home : NEWHAVEN
87. Certain angels : DONORS
88. Great Plains Indian : ARAPAHO
89. Mythical monsters : KRAKENS
90. Simple solution : EASYFIX
94. Mimosa, for one : ACACIA
96. Undeserved reputation : BADRAP
98. Woman of Camelot : ENID
100. "The Lord of the Rings" creature : ENT
102. Not keep up : LAG
103. Like Navy SEALs : ELITE
104. Some contents of a Masonic manual : RITES
105. "___ who?" : SAYS
108. "Darn!" : DRAT
109. Classic theater name : ROXY
113. Mork and Worf : ETS
114. Jackie's Onassis : ARI

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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