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New York Times, Monday, August 11, 2014

Author:
David Steinberg and Bernice Gordon
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
936/16/20113/23/201917
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
66681131232
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.645163
David Steinberg
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1472/19/19538/11/20142
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
927223627215
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.50101126
Bernice Gordon

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 32 Missing: {GQVXZ} This is puzzle # 30 for Mr. Steinberg. This is puzzle # 147 for Ms. Gordon. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
David: Bernice sent me the idea for a H?LL vowel progression using the theme entries HALL OF FAME, HELLO DOLLY, HILLTOP, ... read more

David:

Bernice sent me the idea for a H?LL vowel progression using the theme entries HALL OF FAME, HELLO DOLLY, HILLTOP, HOLLYHOCKS, and HULLABALOO as a possible Orange County Register submission in early March. I thought she was on to something, especially since a quick check through several puzzle databases didn't turn up any similar puzzles, but I felt the puzzle could be even better if all the theme entries were single words and if the one tougher entry, HOLLYHOCKS, were replaced with something more instantly recognizable, like HOLLANDAISE.

I came up with the current theme set and suggested turning this puzzle into a collaboration New York Times submission, which Bernice was enthused about. Bernice took first crack at the grid and fill but wasn't very happy with what she produced. As she put it, "The words are out of Google, and there are too many abbreviations which are my pet hate . . . It has words like El Nasi which of course nobody would know. Do you? How about the ballplayer Yao? Isn't that wild?" One of the things I love about working with Bernice is that we have such different knowledge bases — to me, YAO Ming is instantly recognizable, but I had to look up Jed Clampett (in the HILLBILLY clue), since he's from way before my time!

Anyway, since both of us had concerns about entries in her original grid, I went ahead and redesigned the puzzle from scratch; after many hours of tweaking the wide-open corners to make them as Mondayish as possible, I came up with the current fill. Bernice was much happier with the new version, though she sagely pointed out that having ATE IT and I MADE IT was slightly problematic.

We ultimately let this slide in the interest of keeping the fill as clean as possible, though, and Bernice went forward with writing a first draft of the clues. I edited some of the clues to make them slightly easier and/or more modern, though I left the Jed Clampett one alone. We submitted the puzzle a few months later, and the rest is history. It's always a pleasure to work with my "adopted grandmother" — I hope you enjoy solving our puzzle as much as we enjoyed constructing it!

Jeff Chen notes:
Beautiful puzzle today, almost exactly what I hope for on a Monday. The theme is pretty straightforward — a 'H?LL' vowel ... read more

Beautiful puzzle today, almost exactly what I hope for on a Monday. The theme is pretty straightforward — a "H?LL" vowel progression — but it's executed in an elegant way. As David noted, I appreciated the consistency of having each of the themers be a single word. Additionally, so many of them are snappy, words that I wouldn't hesitate to use as fill. HALLELUJAH and HULLABALOO in particular are fun.

Sometimes I wonder what might be considered offensive to certain populations. I had a slight hitch when I saw HILLBILLY — I use the term myself, but it'll be interesting to see if Will gets complaints from people in rural areas. It's been used in other papers before, but this will be the first instance in the NYT. I've had similar thoughts about COMMIE as well. Interesting to think about the seemingly harmless words that carry potentially derogatory meanings.

The grid is near flawless. I worried at first that there wouldn't be as much zing as I usually like to see, because there aren't many long spaces for fill. But David and Bernice take good advantage of the 7's, spreading CATCH ON, I MADE IT, OLD CHAP, and TEE SHOT into the four corners. I love that they didn't try to shoehorn too much into any one corner, because that's often why glue-y fill becomes necessary. This grid is so incredibly smooth. Perhaps the only entry that people might point to is... ELL? But even though I don't hear ELL in everyday usage, it's a real word, so I don't think that's a fair criticism.

It tickles me to see David and Bernice's photos together. So neat to see the different generations work together.

1
C
2
O
3
M
4
P
5
A
6
F
7
A
8
R
9
A
10
D
11
L
12
I
13
B
14
A
M
I
E
15
S
A
L
E
16
F
R
A
M
E
17
T
E
N
S
18
H
A
L
L
19
E
L
U
J
A
H
20
C
L
O
T
21
H
E
22
A
L
A
M
O
D
E
23
H
E
L
L
E
N
24
I
25
S
T
I
C
26
L
E
A
27
O
T
T
E
R
28
D
U
E
29
S
L
I
D
30
N
S
A
31
N
32
E
O
N
33
S
34
P
L
A
T
S
35
H
I
L
L
B
36
I
L
L
Y
37
O
38
R
39
D
E
A
L
40
O
K
R
A
41
M
42
I
43
T
44
L
E
W
D
45
A
W
E
46
I
47
N
A
N
E
48
D
R
E
49
H
50
O
L
L
A
51
N
D
A
I
S
E
52
C
O
L
53
B
E
R
T
54
A
S
I
D
E
S
55
H
U
L
L
A
B
A
56
L
57
O
O
58
L
E
C
H
59
A
T
E
I
T
60
R
E
A
M
61
U
N
T
O
62
P
E
R
P
S
63
S
I
R
I
64
P
S
S
T
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0811 ( 23,652 )
Across
1
Give for free, as a ticket : COMP
5
Quite a ways off : AFAR
9
Off-the-cuff remark : ADLIB
14
French girlfriend : AMIE
15
"Buy two, get one free" event : SALE
16
Bowling score component : FRAME
17
Top scores in Olympic diving : TENS
18
"Thank God Almighty!" : HALLELUJAH
20
Dress : CLOTHE
22
With ice cream : ALAMODE
23
Of an ancient Greek period : HELLENISTIC
26
Meadow : LEA
27
Mammal with webbed paws : OTTER
28
Scheduled to arrive : DUE
29
Skidded : SLID
30
Phone-tapping org. : NSA
31
Gas in advertising lights : NEON
33
Food fight sounds : SPLATS
35
Jed Clampett, e.g. : HILLBILLY
37
Difficult experience : ORDEAL
40
Cajun cooking pod : OKRA
41
Cambridge sch. from which I. M. Pei graduated : MIT
44
Apt rhyme of "crude" : LEWD
45
Feeling of reverence : AWE
46
Nonsensical : INANE
48
Dr. ___, Eminem mentor : DRE
49
Sauce made with butter, egg yolks and lemon juice : HOLLANDAISE
52
Comedy Central's "The ___ Report" : COLBERT
54
Stage whispers : ASIDES
55
Uproar : HULLABALOO
58
Polish hero Walesa : LECH
59
Swallowed a loss : ATEIT
60
500 sheets of paper : REAM
61
"Do ___ others as ..." : UNTO
62
Mug shot subjects, informally : PERPS
63
iPhone assistant who says that "42" is the meaning of life : SIRI
64
Test cheater's sound : PSST
Down
1
Grow in popularity : CATCHON
2
Folded breakfast dishes : OMELETS
3
Longtime Nikon competitor : MINOLTA
4
Mortar's partner : PESTLE
5
Pale-faced : ASHEN
6
Air traffic watchdog, for short : FAA
7
The whole shebang : ALL
8
Give an account of : RELATE
9
Insurance company with a "spokesduck" : AFLAC
10
Snare or tom-tom : DRUM
11
Home of U.C. San Diego : LAJOLLA
12
Cry after reaching the summit : IMADEIT
13
Guillotines : BEHEADS
19
Wallach of "The Magnificent Seven" : ELI
21
Result of overstrain, maybe : HERNIA
24
Fox's "American ___" : IDOL
25
Annual El Paso football event : SUNBOWL
29
Cagey : SLY
32
Building addition : ELL
33
Camera letters : SLR
34
Patterns used for kilts : PLAIDS
35
"___ give you the shirt off his back" : HED
36
Company said to use about 1% of the world's wood supply : IKEA
37
British buddy : OLDCHAP
38
Change the direction of, as traffic : REROUTE
39
Inhabitant : DWELLER
41
Cinderella and Rapunzel : MAIDENS
42
Bees and butterflies : INSECTS
43
Start of a hole : TEESHOT
45
Places to say "I do" : ALTARS
47
Seal, as a shipping crate : NAILUP
49
Sticks in the oven : HEATS
50
Space ball : ORB
51
Supermodel Campbell : NAOMI
53
Radar screen point : BLIP
56
Hawaiian gift : LEI
57
Regatta implement : OAR

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 5 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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