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EDGINESS

New York Times, Sunday, August 18, 2013

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

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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
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
Down
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: 9 unique to this puzzle, 3 debuted here and reused later, 6 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?