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BY DESIGN

New York Times, Sunday, July 30, 2017

Author:
Isaac Mizrahi and David J. Kahn
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
17/30/20171
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000
Isaac Mizrahi
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1813/15/199412/12/20185
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4451224571326
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1.5514211
David J. Kahn

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 75 Missing: {Q} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Mizrahi. This is puzzle # 172 for Mr. Kahn. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: To mark the 75th anniversary of the New York Times crossword, which debuted in 1942, we are publishing a series of puzzles co-created by famous people who solve the Times crossword, working together with regular Times puzzle contributors. This collaboration is by the designer and TV host Isaac Mizrahi, together with David J. Kahn, a retired consulting actuary in New York City. This is David's 172nd crossword for The Times. More information about the making of today's puzzle appears in the Times's daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).
Constructor notes:
ISAAC: I've been doing the crossword puzzle in the New York Times since high school (an eternity) and the first time my name was in it my mother called and said: 'you've arrived.' It's ... read more

ISAAC: I've been doing the crossword puzzle in the New York Times since high school (an eternity) and the first time my name was in it my mother called and said: "you've arrived." It's with glee that I accepted the task to work on one in this illustrious year of anniversary.

I started with the idea to create a round grid that looked like a button. I actually measured the puzzle and hand ruled the grid to illustrate my idea. Within a day or two, I was informed that it wouldn't work because the round idea created too many two word answers, even one word answers which I gather are forbidden. Next, I came up with an idea for portmanteau-ish designer / famous names with answers like TOM FORD MADDOX FORD and FRANK STELLA MCCARTNEY which also got sent back for reasons I still don't understand. I guess there's a lot I don't know about puzzle making!

David and I settled on the following puzzle which I think is engrossing and a lot of fun. And I think more than so many other projects I learned about a latent obsession I have with not only doing puzzles but making them and I think my mother was right. With this puzzle, I've definitely "arrived."

DAVID: Working with Isaac on this puzzle was a lot of fun, and I appreciate the fact that he gave me plenty of his time and input. Originally we started throwing around fashion-related themes, thinking the puzzle would run on a Tuesday or Wednesday. For example, we thought about answers where the last word is a fashion item and the first word is changed to a verb (e.g., SHRINK WRAPS, STICK SHIFTS, etc.). Isaac also thought that something called "Designer Mix" (MADONNA KARAN etc.) might work.

We finally decided to do something else: answers, not normally connected to fashion, as they might be clued by a fashionista. The answers we came up with were too long for a daily, so Will gave us the go-ahead for a Sunday puzzle. The main problem was coming up with enough good theme answers that could be clued in a funny fashion-related way. (One answer that didn't make it into the puzzle was SUITS TO A TEE for "Casual Friday alternative?").

Solvers, enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
I'm loving this celebrity series — having a puzzle oriented around that person's profession is so much fun. Today we get Isaac Mizrahi, with theme phrases reinterpreted in ... read more

I'm loving this celebrity series — having a puzzle oriented around that person's profession is so much fun.

Today we get Isaac Mizrahi, with theme phrases reinterpreted in kooky, design-related ways. There's something so fun about SHOOTS FROM THE HIP as a paparazzo sneaking a pic from his/her pocket. TAKE UP A COLLECTION worked great as well, the phrase defined as shortening (taking up, in tailoring lingo) a designer's clothing collection. ON PINS AND NEEDLES I could actually see as a punny title for a seamstress's tell-all.

Not all of them hit for me — WORK THE NIGHT SHIFT felt iffy, "shift" not quite design-specific enough for my taste — but so many of them gave me a smile. It's a rare Sunday puzzle of this type that accomplishes that, so huge kudos.

A couple of nice bonuses, too, ALIEN RACE, TEN SIDED evoking images of a (warning, D&D dork alert!) 10-sided die, IMHOTEP a colorful character from ancient Egypt, SIM CARD, and even PARAGON. HONESTLY!, a good amount of bonus material for those solvers not so interested in fashion design.

There were a few blips here and there, but nothing that made me cringe. I don't like an OLEO of A HILL, VAR, ENDE (so tough to keep him and ONDE straight), ENERO, AERO, ORDERER (notice all those constructor-friendly Os, Es, and Rs?), etc. But overall, David and Isaac kept the level right around my threshold … slightly over, but not so far as to bog down my solve.

I'd be curious if moving ON PINS AND NEEDLES down one row would have helped to smooth out some sections. It's so tough when just a single row separates two long themers, as with WORK THE NIGHT SHIFT and ON PINS AND NEEDLES (see results: OLEO, EOE, A HILL).

Overall, a great sense of fun and joy in this puzzle. David and Isaac wore it well.

Jim Horne notes:

This is Mr. Kahn's fifth collaboration puzzle in the NYT. His first, back in 1998, was one of the most memorable puzzles of the Shortz era.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0730 ( 24,736 )
Across
1. Little bit : JOT
4. Chickenhearted : TIMID
9. Spur-of-the-moment : SNAP
13. "Word just got out ..." : IHEARD
19. Funny Gasteyer : ANA
20. Offer a thought : OPINE
21. Shakers' movement? : HULA
22. Loren of "Marriage Italian-Style" : SOPHIA
23. Top limit, for short : MAX
24. Flaunt a loose dress at a soiree? : WORKTHENIGHTSHIFT
27. Text changes : EDITS
29. Mideast royal name : SAUD
30. Fair-hiring letters : EOE
31. Vogue rival : ELLE
32. Overstuff : SATE
33. Title of a fashion industry seamstress's tell-all? : ONPINSANDNEEDLES
38. With 53-Across, goethite, e.g. : IRON
39. N.F.C. North rivals of the Bears : LIONS
40. Support under a tank? : BRA
41. "Enrol," for "enroll": Abbr. : VAR
42. Ones who fix toys? : VETS
43. Grub : EATS
44. Flapper wrapper : BOA
45. Ideal : PARAGON
49. Chipper greeting : HIHO
51. Cellphone chip holder : SIMCARD
53. See 38-Across : ORE
54. Personal guide : CREDO
56. What some wrap dresses are? : FITTOBETIED
60. D.C. summer setting : EDT
61. ___ pants : HAREM
62. Plot at home, maybe : ACRE
63. Fantasy writer Michael : ENDE
64. "___ who?" : SEZ
65. Exercise with keys : ETUDE
66. Way off base? : JEEP
67. Unwanted pressure : HEAT
69. Bit of a grind : CHORE
71. Get the gold : WIN
72. Author Michael ___ Dyson : ERIC
74. "Frozen" snow queen : ELSA
75. Mars vehicle : ROVER
76. Scatter : SOW
77. Like a model's hairstyle? : CUTANDDRIED
81. Calendario opener : ENERO
82. Argentine article : UNA
83. Northern Indiana county or its seat : LAPORTE
84. Kind of pressure : PEER
85. Souls : PSYCHES
88. French possessive : TES
89. Bundle : PILE
92. Shiner : STAR
95. Boating aid : OAR
96. Civil War inits. : CSA
97. Ding maker : TIMER
98. Kind of street : THRU
99. Takes fashion photos using an unorthodox camera angle? : SHOOTSFROMTHEHIP
104. More limited : LESS
105. "Keep it ___" : REAL
106. Bylaw, briefly : REG
107. Plane-related : AERO
108. N.B.A. notables Korver and Lowry : KYLES
109. Shorten some couture dresses? : TAKEUPACOLLECTION
115. Bach's Partita No. 6 ___ Minor : INE
116. Resistant (to) : AVERSE
117. Swift ending for a bad stage performance : HOOK
118. Chill-inducing, say : EERIE
119. Writer/critic Hentoff : NAT
120. Got the impression : SENSED
121. Uneasy : EDGY
122. Ground breaker : SPADE
123. Chicago rumblers : ELS
Down
1. Last Scottish king to die in battle : JAMESIV
2. How you might do something dumb : ONADARE
3. Preferred means of arriving at a fashion show? : TAXITOTHERUNWAY
4. Some rescues : TOWS
5. Subj. for CNBC : IPO
6. Putin's peace : MIR
7. Stain that's hard to remove : INKSPOT
8. Keeps from proceeding : DETAINS
9. Loses : SHEDS
10. Order member : NUN
11. Klingons, e.g. : ALIENRACE
12. Tower with many eaves : PAGODA
13. Suffix with 105-Across : IST
14. Christmas threesome : HOS
15. Banned supplement : EPHEDRA
16. Not worth ___ of beans : AHILL
17. Go through : RIFLE
18. Historical trivia : DATES
25. Vandals : HUNS
26. ___ party : HEN
28. Decagonal : TENSIDED
33. A butter alternative : OLEO
34. Actress Vardalos : NIA
35. Little Boy, e.g., informally : ABOMB
36. Got out of : EVADED
37. Stud site : EAR
44. Dust jacket part, usually : BIO
45. Revenue source for a magazine : PRINTAD
46. Inspects a fashion designer's offerings? : GOESOVERTHELINE
47. One who says "I'd like to have ..." : ORDERER
48. AOL alternative : NETZERO
50. Food prep class at school : HOMEEC
51. Very short climb : STEP
52. Chilling, so to speak : ATEASE
54. Ruins as a dog might : CHEWSUP
55. Food in the field : RATIONS
56. Cantina treats : FAJITAS
57. Top of the world : ICECAP
58. Quattro minus uno : TRE
59. Edict : DECREE
67. "Take it!" : HERE
68. Nutmeg State collegian : ELI
70. Cry of exasperation : HONESTLY
73. Warlords, e.g. : RULERS
78. Medium-to-poor : NOTSOGOOD
79. Ideal : DREAM
80. Drunk's problem : DTS
84. Cop's target : PERP
86. Cans : COOLERS
87. One may be tipped : HAT
89. Goes through : PIERCES
90. Creator of an ancient pyramid scheme? : IMHOTEP
91. Ring around the collar : LEI
93. Place for cannons : ARSENAL
94. Winter apples : RUSSETS
96. Holiday scene : CRECHE
97. You, once : THEE
99. Some Latinas: Abbr. : SRTAS
100. Pitch : HEAVE
101. Like some floors : OAKEN
102. Order member : FRA
103. Long-winded : TALKY
108. Leg bender : KNEE
110. Advantage : USE
111. ___ Xing : PED
112. Put in, as hours : LOG
113. Glass on public radio : IRA
114. Suffix with fact : OID

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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