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# New York Times, Friday, July 7, 2006

 Author: Joe Krozel Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
857/7/20069/28/201715
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4147232521
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48056

## This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JQWX} Spans: 5, (1 triple stack) This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Krozel. NYT links: Across Lite
Joe Krozel notes: I constructed the middle stack of this puzzle by developing an algorithm in an Excel spreadsheet. First, I created a list of hundreds of 15-letter movie titles in Excel with one letter to each column. Above that list I had a working area to build a hypothetical triple stack. For the sake of brevity here, I entered good candidates for the top two movies in the stack and evaluated the goodness of fit for all the remaining movies as the third in the stack.

The evaluation was to determine whether the 3-letter combinations of each column could produce viable (vertical) entries. For instance, in the solution grid the successive letter triples which cross the middle stack are: ERE, VEN, ITE, LUM, URY, etc. These were assigned numbers from 0 (= worst) to 9 (= best) for their capacity to form numerous words ... ERE = 8, VEN = 7, ITE = 9, LUM = 4, URY = 3, etc. The net score for the word ENEMY AT THE GATES was assigned the lowest of these values, 3. A non-zero net score meant that the stack was worth transferring to graph paper to build a puzzle with.

For constructors interested in more details, I eyeballed numerical values for all 17676 (=26x26x26) 3-letter combinations ... which include the numbers mentioned above. (This wasn't such an insurmountable task since over 90% of them are 0 anyway). I placed these numbers in a 676 x 26 table which could be accessed with the VLOOKUP function in Excel. I configured this function to use the first two letters (ER, VE, IT, LU, UR, etc.) as the Lookup_value and the third letter (E, N, E, M, Y, etc.) as the Col_index_num ... Enough already!

So, that's what I did before I owned a copy of Crossword Compiler software. Today, I could build the same puzzle quite trivially by removing all the 15-letter entries from my word list except for the movie titles!

 1A 2T 3A 4U 5S 6A 7F 8S 9H 10A 11N 12I 13A 14G O D 15S P E L L 16R E C O I L 17A P A S S A G E 18T O I N D I A 19N A P E 20I D O 21S E E 22A Z T 23M 24B A 25E 26M T 27P 28P 29S 30S A O 31L A O 32B O R O 33E 34V 35I L U N 36D E R T 37H E S U N 38R E T U R N O F T H E K I N G 39E N E M Y A T T H E G A T E S 40C A R P 41R D S 42R E A 43T E A 44F D A 45E S L 46S 47H 48E 49T 50I E 51S 52P A 53R O A M 54R 55A I S E 56T H E T 57I 58T A N I C 59A P O L L O 60S U R E F I R E 61H O N E S T 62O P E N 63A Y E
© 2006, The New York TimesNo. 0707 ( 20,695 )
 Across Down 1. ___ minimum … : ATA4. Thunderbird grp. : USAF8. First name in country music : SHANIA14. 1971 musical based on the Bible : GODSPELL16. Rifle effect : RECOIL17. 1984 David Lean film : APASSAGETOINDIA19. Place to be picked up? : NAPE20. Inaugural oath starter : IDO21. Match, in a way : SEE22. Zidovudine, familiarly : AZT23. W has one : MBA25. Responder in a van: Abbr. : EMT27. Letter abbr. : PPS30. ___ Jorge, part of the Azores : SAO31. Language that is mostly monosyllabic : LAO32. Queens, e.g., informally : BORO33. 1982 Inspector Poirot movie : EVILUNDERTHESUN38. 2003 trilogy completer, with "The" : RETURNOFTHEKING39. W.W. II action film of 2001 : ENEMYATTHEGATES40. Nitpick : CARP41. Rtes. : RDS42. Mens ___ (criminal intent) : REA43. Something overthrown shortly before the American Revolution : TEA44. Kind of approval : FDA45. Alien subject?: Abbr. : ESL46. ___-bear : SHE49. Davis Cup match-up : TIE51. Place to relax : SPA53. Wayfare : ROAM54. 1980 film based on a Clive Cussler best seller : RAISETHETITANIC59. Subject of a temple at Delphi : APOLLO60. Guaranteed : SUREFIRE61. "No lie" : HONEST62. Welcoming : OPEN63. When doubled, a familiar cry : AYE 1. Capital of Guam, old-style : AGANA2. Old Mercury : TOPAZ3. Not stand still : ADAPT4. Brown letters : UPS5. Mermaid setting : SEA6. Painful ending? : ALGIA7. Cut out : FLED8. Box office sign : SRO9. Bad job? : HEIST10. Bad spots? : ACNE11. Good news on an apartment rental : NODEPOSIT12. The last King Richard : III13. ___ king : ALA15. From Omaha to K.C. : SSE18. How some meteors fall : TOEARTH23. Five-time baseball All-Star ___ Wills : MAURY24. French artist Pierre : BONNARD26. Many Little League spectators : MOTHERS28. Cut back : PRUNE29. Numbers : SONGS30. Dry spell : SLUMP31. Some hooks : LEFTS32. Lebanese valley : BEKAA33. Like squirrels' ears : ERECT34. ___ cavae : VENAE35. Yadda, yadda, yadda, e.g. : ITERATION36. A, to Samuel Morse : DOTDASH37. He purportedly said "Only one man ever understood me, and he didn't understand me" : HEGEL44. Bleeds (for) : FEELS45. Start-of-meal urging : EATUP46. Poet Sanchez of the Black Arts Movement : SONIA47. Like a 100-mile-an-hour taxi ride? : HAIRY48. Mike holder : EMCEE50. ___ Royale : ISLE52. 100 centavos : PESO53. Heroic W.W. II grp. : RAF54. Bowl sound : RAH55. How to address a sgt.? : APO56. "Sesame Street" watcher : TOT57. Burning sensation? : IRE58. Hottie, perhaps : TEN

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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