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New York Times, Friday, August 16, 2013

Author:
Dana Motley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
311/30/19978/16/20130
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
20001721
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53000
Dana Motley

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 31 Missing: {JXZ} This is puzzle # 31 for Ms. Motley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Dana Motley notes:
Two days before Christmas 1983, I lost my best friend to an automobile accident. I remember having two thoughts upon hearing the news. ... read more

Two days before Christmas 1983, I lost my best friend to an automobile accident. I remember having two thoughts upon hearing the news. One, I must survive this. Two, it will be a long time before life is normal again. The poet John Ciardi said that "Hell is the denial of the ordinary." Blessed is routine. I had been yanked out of mine.

During this trying period, I couldn't read, couldn't concentrate. One evening, I turned to my stack of puzzle books. It was providing me, I realized, some manner of psychological white noise. As long as I was going back and forth, back and forth, the grief was kept at bay.

After a few months, who knows where it came from, the idea occurred: I bet I could do this. I constructed five anacrostics and wonder of wonders, they were accepted. For the next 16 years, I filled my days with anacrostics, crosswords, cryptograms, variety puzzles, and loved every minute.

One thing I can say about this particular puzzle is how much and how long I agonized over one entry. A constructor has to avoid the taboo, the politically incorrect, even the merely tasteless. It seemed screamingly iffy to me, and I worked a long time trying to find something else, anything else. No go. So I hope solvers will have some fun with this one.

Jeff Chen notes:
I had an amusing e-mail exchange with Dana after I read her 'Constructor Note'. After going through the entire puzzle twice, I had ... read more

I had an amusing e-mail exchange with Dana after I read her "Constructor Note". After going through the entire puzzle twice, I had absolutely no idea what her "screamingly iffy" entry could be. Was I missing some sort of clever Freudian symbolism represented by WRIST BAND crossing ONION RINGS? A hidden message related to SCREWS?

Her response: "BATES MOTEL. I decided it has entered the popular culture such that it is no longer questionable. I was 18 in 1960, the year 'Psycho' came out, and that movie had everyone going. It was a different world."

Indeed, totally eye-opening to this Gen-Xer!

1
A
2
T
3
W
4
A
5
R
6
F
7
L
8
E
9
E
10
S
11
A
12
P
13
S
14
B
U
R
M
A
15
R
A
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L
16
C
L
A
W
17
O
N
I
O
N
18
R
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N
G
S
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R
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20
D
E
S
K
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O
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T
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E
22
L
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V
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23
E
S
T
24
P
U
G
E
T
25
E
W
E
L
L
26
B
27
A
L
L
E
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28
N
A
S
29
P
30
R
A
G
U
E
31
N
E
E
D
32
P
33
B
34
S
35
D
Y
N
A
S
T
36
S
37
S
A
F
38
A
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39
Q
E
D
40
S
T
E
41
P
42
R
O
D
E
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S
43
P
I
E
A
L
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A
M
O
D
E
45
G
46
E
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O
R
G
48
T
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M
50
A
51
P
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E
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O
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54
L
P
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A
55
I
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56
B
A
T
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57
M
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T
E
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58
C
O
V
E
59
I
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60
I
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N
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61
O
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62
T
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63
L
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O
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0816 ( 23,292 )
Across
1
Fighting : ATWAR
6
Amscray : FLEE
10
They get taken easily : SAPS
14
___ Road (W.W. II supply route) : BURMA
15
Hospital bed feature : RAIL
16
Nail : CLAW
17
Circular side? : ONIONRINGS
19
Unisex name meaning "born again" : RENE
20
Many a security point : DESK
21
Straight : ONTHELEVEL
23
Form of "sum" : EST
24
Sound name : PUGET
25
Tom who won a Tony for "The Seven Year Itch" : EWELL
26
Ones keeping on their toes? : BALLERINAS
29
The City of a Hundred Spires : PRAGUE
31
Triage determination : NEED
32
Home of "NerdTV" : PBS
35
Line of rulers : DYNASTS
37
Big game plans? : SAFARIS
39
Argument-ending letters : QED
40
Short distance : STEP
42
Occasions for bulldogging : RODEOS
43
Hot-and-cold menu item : PIEALAMODE
45
Mathematician Cantor who founded set theory : GEORG
48
Going without saying? : TACIT
49
Aid in getting back on track : MAP
52
Means of reducing worker fatigue : ERGONOMICS
54
Kraft Nabisco Championship org. : LPGA
55
Color also known as endive blue : IRIS
56
Classic Hitchcock set : BATESMOTEL
58
Quiet place to fish : COVE
59
Suffixes of 61-Across : ITES
60
Rich of old films : IRENE
61
Contents of some ledges : ORES
62
"___ Wedding" ("The Mary Tyler Moore Show" episode) : TEDS
63
Occasioned : LEDTO
Down
1
Flat, e.g. : ABODE
2
Fixes flats? : TUNES
3
Hospital patient's wear : WRISTBAND
4
See 5-Down : AMOK
5
With 4-Down, lost control : RAN
6
Feature of some western wear : FRINGE
7
Pathfinder? : LANTERN
8
Reagan was seen a lot in them : EIGHTIES
9
Word after who, what or where, but rarely when : ELSE
10
Things driven on construction sites : SCREWS
11
Anti-inflammatory product : ALEVE
12
Authorities might sit on one : PANEL
13
Wonderful : SWELL
18
Kind of wheel : ROULETTE
22
One putting the pedal to the metal : LEADFOOT
24
Summer symbol? : PLUSSIGN
27
One of the Eastern elite : AGA
28
Aviation safety statistic : NEARMISS
29
Straightaway : PDQ
30
Manhattan choice : RYE
32
Broken into on TV? : PREEMPTED
33
Kind of lab : BIO
34
Nemesis of some dodgers: Abbr. : SSS
36
Fellow chairperson? : SEATMATE
38
Use a 24-Down : ADD
41
Like pigtails : PLAITED
43
Talks tediously : PROSES
44
Hacker's achievement : ACCESS
45
American company whose mascot has a Cockney accent : GEICO
46
Diamond flaw : ERROR
47
Diagonal rib of a vault : OGIVE
50
One getting cuts : AGENT
51
Early: Prefix : PALEO
53
Exit lines? : OBIT
54
Ethnologist's interest : LORE
57
254,000 angstroms : MIL

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?