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EDGINESS

New York Times, Sunday, August 18, 2013

Author: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Editor: Will Shortz
Elizabeth C. Gorski
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2197/31/19952/23/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6716363439243
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5430225

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 70 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 205 for Ms. Gorski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Elizabeth C. Gorski notes: This is probably my 'edgiest' 21x puzzle theme, and among the hardest to execute. Whew! The puzzle evolved over many months, close to a year. Note to budding constructors: Don't ever try a ... more
Elizabeth C. Gorski notes: This is probably my "edgiest" 21x puzzle theme, and among the hardest to execute. Whew! The puzzle evolved over many months, close to a year. Note to budding constructors: Don't ever try a location-specific theme (in this case, theme words that follow the grid's perimeter) unless you're willing to tear your hair out, gnash your teeth and become a BORDERLINE psycho. The most time-grabbing work was yet to come — achieving an accessible fill. Good puzzle themes need it; an interesting fill allows solvers to build out to the edges and discover the theme. Many versions later, I came up with this one. The FINAL EDIT was indeed a relief. A memorable grid word was SADDLE SORE ("'It's a real pain in the butt"). Though not part of the theme, it plainly sums up the construction process. All in all, the final product was well worth the effort. A "fringe" benefit. :)

I hope you enjoy it!

Jeff Chen notes: I'm hesitant to say anything, because how could I be wittier than Liz? =] I'm in complete agreement with her; I attempted a much simpler perimeter construction, a puzzle where AROUND needed to be appended to the ... more
Jeff Chen notes: I'm hesitant to say anything, because how could I be wittier than Liz? =] I'm in complete agreement with her; I attempted a much simpler perimeter construction, a puzzle where AROUND needed to be appended to the perimeter answers. It took me dozens of revisions over the course of more than a year, and I think I lost a little of my soul to it. Call it a personal horcrux.

The difficulties in this type of construction are two-fold. First, each corner has fixed two-way constraints, making clean fill difficult. Compounding the problem is the second issue, the fact that the perimeter answers will be relatively short, so the puzzle must contain longish fill in order to keep the overall word count under the editor's maximum. It's one of the hardest types of constructions I've undertaken.

You would think I'd swear off this type of construction for life, but I like the challenge. There's a fine (line) between clever and stupid.

Now consider Liz's puzzle. Not only did she 1.) have fixed placements in the four corners and 2.) have to incorporate longer fill to keep under the maximum word count of 140, but she 3.) also had three interlocking theme answers in the center. Bravo to her for the puzzle and even more so for her entertaining commentary!

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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0818 ( 23,294 )
Across Down
1. It may come down in a storm : TELEPHONELINE
10. Divider in a musical score : BARLINE
13. Hang-out locale? : CLOTHESLINE
20. Wrote a couple of letters? : INITIALED
21. Montréal street : RUE
22. Chef Boyardee offering : RAVIOLI
23. Called on the carpet : CHASTISED
24. N. Amer./Afr. separator : ATL
25. Not finished : UNENDED
26. China's Chiang ___-shek : KAI
27. Optimistic : ROSY
28. Change : COINS
30. Visit anew : RESEE
31. Loop transports : ELS
32. "There ___ there there" : ISNO
33. Like choruses : REPEATED
35. Ready-___ : TOEAT
37. A Bobbsey twin : NAN
39. Less certain : IFFIER
40. Half-___ (coffee request) : CAF
43. "Malice N Wonderland" rapper Snoop ___ : DOGG
46. Trains : RAIL
48. "Tootsie" Oscar nominee : TERIGARR
50. "You want a piece ___?" : OFME
53. Main hood in "Little Caesar," 1931 : RICO
55. Without face value, as stock : NOPAR
57. Brink : VERGE
58. Two-Face and the Riddler, to Batman : FOES
59. French children's song : ALOUETTE
61. "You Gotta Be" singer, 1994 : DESREE
62. Allen of "Candid Camera" : FUNT
63. Sister of literature : BRONTE
64. Originates : RISES
67. Bank statement abbr. : INT
68. Sea eagle : ERNE
69. Gray areas, maybe ... or a hint to 12 incomplete answers in this puzzle : BORDERLINES
71. Kind of lab : METH
72. Cpl., for one : NCO
73. "What ___ thou?" : SAYST
74. Island group in the Bahamas : BIMINI
75. Province of Saudi Arabia : ASIR
76. Susan who wrote "The Volcano Lover" : SONTAG
78. Old-fashioned street conveyance : HORSECAR
80. Texting while driving, e.g. : NONO
81. Comment often followed by "So sue me" : ILIED
82. Designer Geoffrey : BEENE
84. Head of une école? : TETE
85. Act like a rat, say : GNAW
86. Supported, as a ballot measure : VOTEDFOR
88. Nothing doing? : IDLE
90. Being, to Claudius : ESSE
92. Before, in sonnets : ERE
93. Primitive drive : LIBIDO
95. Airport info: Abbr. : ARR
97. Monotonous routine : GRIND
101. Hide : ENSCONCE
103. Virginie, e.g. : ETAT
106. Ski-___ : DOO
107. Type units : PICAS
111. Honor at graduation? : LAUDE
112. Checkbook record : STUB
113. Old TV's Cousin ___ : ITT
114. "You can talk to me privately" : IMALONE
116. Ground cover : SOD
117. Last chance to strike out? : FINALEDIT
120. Whitewashed, with "over" : PAPERED
121. Suffix with morph- : EME
122. Jumping-off point : PRECIPICE
123. Supermarket time-saver : EXPRESSLINE
124. Draw a mark through for cancellation : REDLINE
125. Means of one-to-one communication : DEDICATEDLINE
1. Movie theater sight : TICKETLINE
2. Represent as a saint, say : ENHALO
3. Act as a go-between : LIAISE
4. Figures in Astounding Stories, for short : ETS
5. Set (against) : PIT
6. Shavings, maybe : HAIRS
7. Old-time announcer Johnny : OLSON
8. "Kinsey" star, 2004 : NEESON
9. Little sucker? : EDDY
10. "___ yourself" : BRACE
11. Just going through the motions, after "on" : AUTOPILOT
12. Air-conditioning on a hot day, maybe : RELIEF
13. More curmudgeonly : CRUSTIER
14. Office PC hookup : LAN
15. Certain car gears : OVERDRIVES
16. Prong : TINE
17. Masonry containers : HODS
18. Gen. Robert ___ : ELEE
19. Hobby activity : SIDELINE
29. '90s commerce pact : NAFTA
32. Skater Midori : ITO
33. ___ polymerase : RNA
34. Convention closer? : EER
36. Carol starter : ADESTE
38. With 56-Down, where to find this puzzle's 12 theme answers : AROUNDTHE
40. Rants and raves : CARRIESON
41. Pope Francis' birthplace : ARGENTINA
42. Court stripe : FREETHROWLINE
44. Mixture : GRABBAG
45. "Michael Clayton" director Tony : GILROY
47. Hybridized : INTERBRED
49. Some fridges : GES
50. Quarterback protectors : OFFENSIVELINE
51. Like some printing : FOURCOLOR
52. Amish relative : MENNONITE
54. ___ Light : COORS
56. See 38-Down : PERIMETER
60. Tour de France season : ETE
61. Urges : DESIRES
65. How picnic drinks may be packed : INICE
66. Galactic ___ ("Star Wars" setting) : SENATE
70. Fleur-de-___ : LIS
71. Part of a nativity scene : MANGER
73. Real pain in the butt? : SADDLESORE
77. Driving aid : TEE
79. Feature of St. Basil's Cathedral : ONIONDOME
82. Olympic racers : BOBSLEDS
83. "Fanny" author Jong : ERICA
87. A swimmer might rightly be scared to see one : FIN
89. New Guinea port from which Amelia Earhart left on her last flight : LAE
91. Army fig. who knows the drill? : SGT
94. Fire extinguisher : DOUSER
96. Go to sleep : RETIRE
98. Cry of victory : IDIDIT
99. Posting, say : NOTICE
100. Bottom of a contract : DOTTEDLINE
102. Gave up : CEDED
104. Listening, with "in" : TUNED
105. Counters : ABACI
107. Locale for finished works that haven't yet appeared : PIPELINE
108. Big-screen format : IMAX
109. Dogpatch creator : CAPP
110. A, e.g. : ALER
112. Org. in "Monk" : SFPD
115. Super ___ (old video game console) : NES
118. Driver's ID: Abbr. : LIC
119. Superfund org. : EPA

Answer summary: 10 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 6 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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