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New York Times, Thursday, August 18, 2016

Author:
Parker Lewis and Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
48/11/20118/18/20161
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0100300
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.66001
Parker Lewis
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1037/5/201010/31/201962
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2678182798
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.637232
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 34 Missing: {FQXZ} Spans: 3 This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Lewis. This is puzzle # 55 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
I'd had TEMPE/RAMEN/TALLY kicking around my brain for a while but hadn't come across any other similarly patterned wordplay. Jeff and ... read more

I'd had TEMPE/RAMEN/TALLY kicking around my brain for a while but hadn't come across any other similarly patterned wordplay. Jeff and I both live in Seattle and every so often meet up for coffee and to talk crossword shop. I mentioned it to him one day and he suggested we use the power of programming to generate some other potential examples. We each took a crack at finding 15-letter words that could be split into 5/5/5 or 4/5/6 or 4/4/7 etc. After sifting through a bunch of junk, we settled on these three.

Here are a few alternates that didn't quite make the cut:

  • HYPER/CRITIC/ALLY
  • INTER/MEDIA/TING
  • TOUGH/MINDED/NESS
  • LIEU/TENANTS/HIPS
  • APP/RENT/ICES/HIPS
  • STAND/OF/FISH/NESS

The first version we submitted included the revealer THE SPLITS clued as [Show of flexibility ... and what 16−, 25−, and 40−Across each do]. It was deemed to be not such a great addition to the main theme so we decided to rework the puzzle. With only three theme entries, we tried to construct a wide-open grid with as much fresh fill as possible. Hope you all enjoy the result!

And, as many others have said, it's a great pleasure to work with Jeff!

Jeff Chen notes:
It's a lot of fun living near puzzle people. The ideas Parker and I pass back and forth don't always go anywhere, but when he showed ... read more

It's a lot of fun living near puzzle people. The ideas Parker and I pass back and forth don't always go anywhere, but when he showed me how beautifully TEMPERAMENTALLY broke into TEMPE RAMEN TALLY, it felt like the seed of a nice idea. However, after a quick scan through my list of 15-letter entries, I couldn't find anything that worked nearly as nicely.

Both of us are recreational programmers (me much hackier than Parker, who actually works in the field). It occurred to me that his TEMPE/RAMEN/TALLY seed idea might be a fun project to expand my coding skills, and after a few attempts, I figured out a way to pare down my list into a subset that might be reasonably human-scannable. Et voila, the other two popped out! (After about 10 hours of line-by-line searching.) HYPER CRITIC ALLY was also a possibility, but it wasn't nearly as nice, as it didn't change the "critic" meaning at all.

To the credit of Parker's programming skills, he came up with these ... and a bunch of others (mentioned above). Shows you what I know!

I thought THE SPLITS was so clever, such a neat way to sum up this idea! Parker wasn't convinced, but he reluctantly agreed to go along. We went back and forth with the tough construction, a mirror symmetry 15/15/15/9, and came up with something we really liked. It had so many great pieces of fill like I, ASIMOV, CAT TOYS, SO SORRY, BARTEND, etc.!

Will and Joel liked the general idea ... but felt like THE SPLITS wasn't apt. I wrote to Parker, asking what sort of idiotic ninny would come up with such a ridiculous revealer. (Again, shows you what I know.)

So, it was a complete redo, but we saw it as an opportunity to create something we liked even more — a 15/15/15 with a themeless word count. Not easy to do, but it was a fun challenge to see how many colorful long answers we could work into the grid while keeping the gluey short answers to a minimum. I always like to feature long fill, so hopefully things like Superman getting a SPRAY TAN in a BLIND ALLEY behind the DAILY PLANET while drinking a WET MARTINI enhanced the quality of your solve.

1
J
2
O
3
E
4
L
5
I
6
D
7
R
8
I
9
S
10
M
11
B
12
A
13
S
14
A
L
T
O
15
N
A
A
C
P
16
E
L
L
A
17
R
E
C
O
18
N
S
I
D
E
R
19
A
T
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N
20
K
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21
A
L
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E
22
S
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W
I
R
L
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24
H
Y
P
E
D
25
S
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E
T
26
E
P
27
C
O
T
28
R
A
29
T
30
E
31
A
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T
U
32
R
33
L
A
N
A
34
I
35
L
A
G
36
T
E
M
P
E
37
R
A
M
E
N
T
38
A
L
L
Y
39
I
D
A
40
M
O
N
E
Y
41
S
L
E
E
P
42
N
O
R
43
M
44
S
E
L
M
45
A
46
M
Y
S
T
47
T
I
48
G
H
T
49
O
N
50
B
A
S
E
51
P
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N
T
A
52
L
O
V
I
N
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N
O
N
C
O
M
54
M
U
N
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C
A
55
B
56
L
57
E
58
O
K
I
E
59
B
A
G
E
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C
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M
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O
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63
S
P
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D
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0818 ( 24,390 )
Across
1
One of the Coen brothers : JOEL
5
Actor ___ Elba : IDRIS
10
Corp. recruiters' targets : MBAS
14
Kind of flute : ALTO
15
Rights org. co-founded by Mary White Ovington : NAACP
16
Fitzgerald of old "Is it live, or is it Memorex?" ads : ELLA
17
Not the main food allotment for one on an intel mission? : RECONSIDERATION
20
Smokes once touted by Willie the penguin : KOOLS
21
Flared dress : ALINE
22
Like the cinnamon in babka : SWIRLY
24
Beat the drum for : HYPED
25
Ingredient in Christmas pudding : SUET
26
Universe of Energy locale : EPCOT
28
Word after prime or cut : RATE
31
Pianist Rubinstein : ARTUR
33
Hawaiian veranda : LANAI
35
Hang back : LAG
36
Noodle count in one of Arizona's largest cities? : TEMPERAMENTALLY
39
Mount in Greek myth : IDA
40
Pounds, for example : MONEY
41
Energy-saving mode : SLEEP
42
It's so typical : NORM
44
March locale of note : SELMA
46
Popular game with the sequel Riven : MYST
47
Like best buds : TIGHT
49
In scoring position, say : ONBASE
51
Noted trans-Atlantic voyager : PINTA
52
"___ You" (1975 #1 Minnie Riperton hit) : LOVIN
53
Sarge's "Sell my city bonds!" telegram? : NONCOMMUNICABLE
58
"The Grapes of Wrath" itinerant : OKIE
59
Zero, in sports slang : BAGEL
60
Invent : COIN
61
Word after hot or before kit : MESS
62
New York Times pieces since 1970 : OPEDS
63
Tore : SPED
Down
1
Bump : JAR
2
Two-syllable cheer : OLE
3
Abbr. that usually follows a comma : ETC
4
"There's this thing called Google ..." : LOOKITUP
5
Odor-Eaters product : INSOLE
6
Newspaper with the headline "Mystery Hero Saves Falling Space Plane" : DAILYPLANET
7
Dosimeter reading : RADS
8
Hail, e.g. : ICE
9
Faux bronze : SPRAYTAN
10
Forte : METIER
11
Many investigators' leads : BLINDALLEYS
12
Lotion ingredient : ALOE
13
___ Gabriel : SAN
18
Here/there connector : NOR
19
One of the Dolomites : ALP
22
"You betcha!" : SUREDO
23
Drinks with plenty of vermouth : WETMARTINIS
24
Did a tour after joining up? : HONEYMOONED
25
Upholsterer's stock : SATIN
27
Biblical mount : CAMEL
29
Gay who wrote "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" : TALESE
30
Delegation at the Oslo Accords : EGYPT
32
Dream time, for short : REM
34
"___ on me" : ITS
37
Rock-paper-scissors, by another name : ROSHAMBO
38
Yearbooks? : ALMANACS
43
Chops up : MINCES
45
Ear parts : ANVILS
48
Car modified into the Monkeemobile : GTO
50
Pen name : BIC
51
Gentle reminder : POKE
52
Olympic racing event : LUGE
53
Listing in un annuaire : NOM
54
Subway station feature : MAP
55
Bonk : BOP
56
Be on the level? : LIE
57
This, appropriately : END

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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