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New York Times, Thursday, August 13, 2015

Author: Jim Hilger
Editor: Will Shortz
Jim Hilger
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1.60310
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {Q} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 11 for Mr. Hilger. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: When this puzzle is done, four squares will remain empty. Which ones and why are for you to determine. (Across Lite solvers should put the letter B in these blank squares.)
Jim Hilger notes: This crossword was submitted earlier this year, so it is fairly fresh in my mind. My biggest concern had been whether it could be ... more
Jim Hilger notes:

This crossword was submitted earlier this year, so it is fairly fresh in my mind. My biggest concern had been whether it could be painlessly implemented using the submitted solution, which had four blank squares, one at every "break" point. I see that an instructional note was used, to deal with this.

The final version's grid fill is slightly different in the NW corner than what I had conjured up (IKON changed to IHOP, ASKIN changed to ASHEN). The grid turned out fairly Scrabbly, but that's not something I ever especially shoot for. I do, however, enjoy making unusual puzzles, with weirdish theme slants and at least a few oddball words. (Hi, all you SHAVETAIL H-HINGEs!) Not surprisingly, all my puzzles have landed on a Wednesday or Thursday, so far. (Or in the "too darn weird for us" reject pile, of course.)

I always include a title on my submitted puzzles, and I dubbed this one "Divide and Conquer". Hopefully, solvers will be able to do just that — and have lots of fun in the process.

Jeff Chen notes: I love seeing a new trick. Plenty of puzzles have utilized blank squares, but I can't remember any quite like this, where SERVICE ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I love seeing a new trick. Plenty of puzzles have utilized blank squares, but I can't remember any quite like this, where SERVICE BREAK is interpreted as SER VICE (note the "break" in the middle). Great idea.

Recognize the letter this hinge is named after?

I liked how Jim used his longest across answers for this themers. COMMER CIAL (break) is a great answer, and SPR ING (break) VACATION is pretty good too. With a gimmick that's hard to uncover, it's so helpful to have an idea of where the tricksiness might show up.

Since theme answers go both across and down, it would have been great for all of them to be longer than the surrounding fill. SHAVETAILS is a neat answer, but for me, it mutes the impact of the theme since there are so many short themers. A bit confusing.

On the other hand, some people also like finding those little hidden surprises, like B AD lurking so innocently. I can dig that.

H HINGE is likely going to cause some consternation, especially as it crosses the difficult ANTHER, but I thought it was neat. It's a very common hinge, and that HH start is so wacky. The real question: when will THINGE show its amusing head in a NYT crossword?

Hmm. I could have gone without HAG and OLD BAT in close quarters. Two derogatory terms targeted at a similar demographic felt like too much to me. Perhaps that's too touchy, but it bugged me.

So, some flaws in the puzzle, like SHORT L UNCH (break) feeling awfully made up, and I would have loved a few more long, zingy "break" answers (MADE A CLEAN BREAK, CAUGHT A LUCKY BREAK, etc.). But these days I can overlook quite a bit if the theme tickles me. Very fun solve.

1
H
2
A
3
I
4
F
5
A
6
J
7
A
8
W
9
E
10
D
11
S
12
H
13
A
14
A
S
H
E
N
15
A
R
O
M
A
16
H
A
G
17
S
H
O
R
T
18
L
BREAK
U
N
C
H
19
A
Z
O
20
P
E
P
21
H
H
I
N
G
E
22
S
V
E
N
23
S
E
A
L
24
E
25
A
T
E
R
Y
26
P
27
L
28
I
E
R
S
29
O
30
L
D
B
A
T
31
C
A
R
R
32
A
33
A
R
E
34
B
BREAK
A
35
D
36
S
P
R
BREAK
37
I
N
G
V
A
38
C
A
T
I
O
39
N
40
D
I
V
A
41
A
I
D
A
42
I
L
S
A
43
T
I
G
44
E
R
S
45
G
46
H
O
S
T
S
47
B
48
E
A
C
O
N
49
B
I
E
N
50
A
N
T
E
51
D
52
C
53
A
R
E
A
54
J
55
E
56
B
57
U
N
I
58
C
O
M
M
E
R
BREAK
59
C
I
A
L
60
D
U
O
61
B
R
O
O
D
62
R
I
N
S
E
63
S
I
N
64
S
A
N
K
A
65
T
A
X
E
D
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0813 ( 24,019 )
Across Down
1. Israeli city on the slopes of Mount Carmel : HAIFA
6. Gossiped : JAWED
11. "___ La La" (1964 hit) : SHA
14. Visibly terrified : ASHEN
15. Redolence : AROMA
16. Beldam : HAG
17. 12:05 to 12:20 p.m., maybe : SHORTLUNCHBREAK
19. Kind of dye : AZO
20. Jazz (up) : PEP
21. Bit of letter-shaped hardware on a door : HHINGE
22. Nordic name meaning "young warrior" : SVEN
23. Approval indication : SEAL
24. Diner : EATERY
26. Electrician's tool : PLIERS
29. Biddy : OLDBAT
31. Caleb who wrote "The Italian Secretary" : CARR
32. European river whose tributaries include the Wigger and the Emme : AARE
34. Bit of misfortune : BADBREAK
36. A couple weeks off partying in Florida, say : SPRINGBREAKVACATION
40. Any singer in the lead role of 41-Across : DIVA
41. Its final scene is set in a tomb : AIDA
42. "Casablanca" role : ILSA
43. Real go-getters : TIGERS
45. Haunting presences : GHOSTS
47. The Bat-Signal, e.g. : BEACON
49. "Très ___" : BIEN
50. Start to fill a pot : ANTE
51. Where Bethesda, Md., and Alexandria, Va., are : DCAREA
54. One of the Bushes : JEB
57. Prefix with code or color : UNI
58. Series of ads on TV or radio : COMMERCIALBREAK
60. The Black Keys of rock, e.g. : DUO
61. Nestful : BROOD
62. Mouthwash instruction : RINSE
63. "Some rise by ___, and some by virtue fall": Shak. : SIN
64. Decaf option : SANKA
65. Under stress : TAXED
1. Padlock holder : HASP
2. Queens stadium eponym : ASHE
3. Chain with links : IHOP
4. Sword: Fr. : FER
5. Flower part : ANTHER
6. Daring escape : JAILBREAK
7. Give ___ for one's money : ARUN
8. "The World of Suzie ___" (1957 novel) : WONG
9. Like an awards ceremony : EMCEED
10. Morse T : DAH
11. Rookie officers, in slang : SHAVETAILS
12. One being rough on plebes : HAZER
13. Hell : AGONY
18. Like the Potala Palace of Tibet : LHASAN
22. It might include the line "You're listening to WABC" : STATIONBREAK
23. Turning point in a tennis match, maybe : SERVICEBREAK
25. Group whose first U.S. hit was "Waterloo" : ABBA
26. Windows can be found on them : PCS
27. Pacific force, for short : LAPD
28. The pea, in "The Princess and the Pea" : IRRITATION
29. Big purveyor of fishing gear : ORVIS
30. Heavy metal : LEAD
33. Chef's thickening agent : AGAR
35. What cometh after thou, maybe : DOST
37. Plotter with Roderigo : IAGO
38. Displaying more craft : CAGIER
39. "If I Ruled the World" rapper : NAS
44. Witch on "Bewitched" : ENDORA
46. Lover's hurt : HEARTBREAK
47. Transmission-related units : BAUDS
48. Yawns might suggest this : ENNUI
49. Dutch city where Charles II lived in exile : BREDA
52. "Hurry up!" : CMON
53. Uncontrollably : AMOK
54. Saying "There's no way we can lose now," say : JINX
55. No trouble : EASE
56. Drained : BLED
58. ___ Sports : CBS
59. World Factbook publisher, for short : CIA

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

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