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# New York Times, Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Author:
Bill Thompson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
911/25/20108/18/20150
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0141300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59011

## This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 37 Missing: {BQVX} This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Thompson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bill Thompson notes:
The idea for this theme came to me when I was solving another crossword and noticed that the word 'east' was hidden in the center of ... read more

The idea for this theme came to me when I was solving another crossword and noticed that the word "east" was hidden in the center of ADELE ASTAIRE. I found it surprisingly difficult to find other suitable theme entries meeting this criterion. I was on the fence whether to include the two theme entries across the middle of the grid — they are outliers both in terms of length and consistency (E-A-S-T in the answer is pronounced as "east," and it does not break across two words). In the end, I decided the puzzle was better with them than without them.

My favorite part of constructing puzzles is cluing. In researching ways in which an entry might be clued, you pick up a lot of interesting information. Two of my favorites in this puzzle are 3-Down (WANG) and 46-Down (PAC MAN). On 3-Down, I expect some solvers were looking for a five letter answer (APPLE). And the limitation in 46-Down's clue exists because the game implodes at level 256 (binary 0001 0000 0000). The game's level register has only eight bits, and the software does not make allowance for going beyond level 255 (binary 1111 1111).

Jeff Chen notes:
MIDDLE EAST interpreted as 'phrases with EAST smack dab in their middles.' Bill's elegantly chose themers which are both colorful and ... read more

MIDDLE EAST interpreted as "phrases with EAST smack dab in their middles." Bill's elegantly chose themers which are both colorful and have EAST exactly in their centers. With so many phrases containing EAST in various places, that exact centering is a much-appreciated bonus.

Speaking of bonuses, kind of fun to have YEASTY and FEASTS. Normally I don't care for themers shorter than the surrounding fill (like FOUL TIP and IMPASSE), but having them in the center of the grid sort of fits with the theme. Thumbs up.

YAWP is an interesting word to kick off the puzzle. I personally think it's hilarious and love it, but I was surprised when Ben Tausig commented that it was probably his least favorite entry in one of my recent puzzles; an oddity. It's good to remember how much subjectivity there is in the crossworld.

With four long themers and two shorties, I appreciate how much thought Bill put into his grid. Not only does he work in some nice long fill in SUGAR PEA and SKILL SET, but he uses the 7-letter slots well, giving us FOUL TIP and PERSEUS. Best of all, the short stuff is relatively smooth and clean. I don't care for the forgettable DR. T role, and A FLY and FREI aren't great. But the latter two are necessitated by the bonus themers, YEASTY and FEASTS, so I think that's an okay trade-off.

At first I thought having ESTE, the Spanish word for EAST, was inelegant. But it's 1.) another trade-off for getting in those two bonus answers, and 2.) there's something kind of cool about where it's placed in the grid: in the east.

And a great piece of trivia about PACMAN, a game that can be played "perfectly." (This factors into "Ready Player One," one of my favorite reads in recent memory. Can't wait for the movie.)

All in all, some little trade-offs but all reasonable, given how much extra material it allowed Bill to work in. If "SHE Bangs" had been clued to the awesome William Hung "She Bangs" meme, I might just have given it the POW!

 1Y 2A 3W 4P 5P 6A 7P 8A 9S 10S 11A 12S 13S 14O P A L 15A L E T A 16U T N E 17G O N E 18A S T R A Y 19G A E A 20A P G A R 21S H E 22A R A L 23S T 24A 25G E A S 26T R I K E 27J 28O 29S E 30F O U L T I P 31A R C 32I L O S T 33R E 34E 35S 36E 37Y E A 38S T Y 39F E A S T S 40Z O N K S 41H 42E 43A R D 44P A T 45I M 46P A S S E 47A N T E 48A 49D 50E L E A S T A I 51R E 52L O L L 53C T A 54U N 55T 56I 57E 58U R I S 59M I D 60D 61L E E A S T 62M A Z E 63A M O R E 64I K E A 65S L A T 66N E S T S 67D E E S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0818 ( 24,024 )
Across
1
Complain loudly : YAWP
5
"Proud" ones with cigars : PAPAS
10
Cheek : SASS
14
Iridescent stone : OPAL
15
Prince Valiant's love : ALETA
16
17
*Left the flock : GONEASTRAY
19
Greek earth goddess : GAEA
20
Kind of test for newborns : APGAR
21
"___ Bangs" (Ricky Martin hit) : SHE
22
___ Sea, victim of Soviet irrigation projects : ARAL
23
*Walk out : STAGEASTRIKE
27
Tenor Carreras : JOSE
30
Catcher's catch off a batter's bat : FOULTIP
31
Part of an oval : ARC
32
Competitor's lament : ILOST
33
Kyle ___, "The Terminator" hero : REESE
37
*Like baking dough : YEASTY
39
40
Crashes, with "out" : ZONKS
41
Got by word of mouth : HEARD
44
Word that, spelled backward, can be a clue for itself : PAT
45
Stalemate : IMPASSE
47
Prefix with diluvian : ANTE
48
*Half of a brother/sister dance duo : ADELEASTAIRE
52
Laze : LOLL
53
Inits. for Windy City commuters : CTA
54
Loosen, as a knot : UNTIE
58
Leon who wrote "The Haj" : URIS
59
World hot spot ... or a hint to the answers to the starred clues : MIDDLEEAST
62
Labyrinth : MAZE
63
"That's ___" : AMORE
64
Mass-market furniture company : IKEA
65
Furniture strip : SLAT
66
Homes for warblers and wasps : NESTS
67
Two of diamonds? : DEES
Down
1
Exercise discipline : YOGA
2
Individually : APOP
3
First computer company to run an ad during the Super Bowl : WANG
4
5
Faux ___ : PAS
6
PC key : ALT
7
Slayer of Medusa : PERSEUS
8
Stopped : ATAHALT
9
Speak, in the Bible : SAYEST
10
Legume with an edible pod : SUGARPEA
11
Game company with a Japanese name : ATARI
12
Weasel : SNEAK
13
Bobby who co-founded the Black Panther Party : SEALE
18
The "A" of MoMA : ART
24
Wouldn't hurt ___ : AFLY
25
Wet gunk : GOO
26
Hackneyed : TIRED
27
Rapper born Shawn Corey Carter : JAYZ
28
Product first released by the National Biscuit Company in 1912 : OREO
29
Survey with binoculars, say : SCAN
32
Informal identification : ITSME
34
Sister company of ABC : ESPN
35
Runs, hits or errors, for short : STAT
36
Villa d'___ : ESTE
38
Everything one can do : SKILLSET
39
Without cost: Ger. : FREI
41
Isn't at the deadline yet : HASTIME
42
Tabasco and Chihuahua, in México : ESTADOS
43
Cool ___ cucumber : ASA
46
Game with a "perfect score" of 3,333,360 : PACMAN
47
Source of the Trojan horse story : AENEID
48
49
Miami golf resort : DORAL
50
Slave woman in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" : ELIZA
51
"The Murders in the ___ Morgue" : RUE
55
Grab : TAKE
56
"Mm-hmm" : ISEE
57
Data for airport chauffeurs, for short : ETAS
60
Richard Gere title role : DRT
61
French article : LES

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?