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New York Times, Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5311/13/20122/22/201819
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518155442
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 12 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Zhouqin Burnikel notes: Will tweaked a few entries (32A, 35A, 67A & 68A) of my original submission and changed lots of clues. He probably needs extra ... more
Zhouqin Burnikel notes: Will tweaked a few entries (32A, 35A, 67A & 68A) of my original submission and changed lots of clues. He probably needs extra strong coffee to edit my grids. Original grid

The reason 8 is considered LUCKY (66A) in China (Japan as well) is because its pronunciation is similar to the third character in this image, meaning "Prosperity".

4, on the other hand, is profoundly unlucky. It sounds like Chinese character for "death". So, you might not find 4th or 14th floor in some Chinese buildings.


Jeff Chen notes: I had no idea what the theme was until I hit FREE — very nice a-ha moment. Six theme entries, each starting with a FREE Wheel ... more
Jeff Chen notes: I had no idea what the theme was until I hit FREE — very nice a-ha moment. Six theme entries, each starting with a FREE Wheel of Fortune letter, and they're listed in order. A nice touch.

Six themers are no joke; quite bit harder to work with than five. It's that much more impressive that C.C. was able to also incorporate the FREE revealer, and do it in an elegant location. It's not the last entry or in a bottom corner (my subjective preference), but that lowest middle slot is still pretty nice. Cool how she interlocked it with E STREET BAND, too.

That FREE position doesn't come free, though. The interlock creates an additional layer of constraint, and thus the south section becomes harder to fill cleanly (one of the two areas Will changed in her original grid). I wasn't sure what NOMEN were, but the term was interesting to look up. I bet C.C. was thinking more of NO MEN, as at a bachelorette party? I imagine it would have been clued as such if this had been pegged into a Monday or Tuesday slot.

I admired the idea behind this puzzle and its cool reveal. It would have been nice if all six entries were longer than the rest of the across answers so they didn't need asterisks — that would have been more elegant in my opinion. And how awesome if N DIMENSIONAL made its crossword debut! (Sorry, the math geek in me overfloweth.) But six long themers would have been much, much harder to execute on — imagine if S STAR became (WARNING: chemistry dorkout alert) S ORBITALS, how much interaction it would have had with R RATED MOVIE and T ROWE PRICE. A much more difficult task.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0820 ( 23,661 )
Across Down
1. Start to grunt? : HARDG
6. Air freshener scent : LILAC
11. Tabloid paper, slangily : RAG
14. Shudder at : ABHOR
15. Plain People : AMISH
16. Subj. for U.S. citizens-to-be : ESL
17. *Fare for those 17 and up : RRATEDMOVIE
19. Lunes or martes : DIA
20. Google Earth offering : MAP
21. Watered down : WEAK
22. *Astronomical red giant : SSTAR
24. Runoff conduit : SEWER
26. Steal the show from : UPSTAGE
28. *"Invest With Confidence" firm : TROWEPRICE
31. Swelled heads : EGOS
32. Top of a platter : SIDEA
33. Black keys, in some key signatures : FLATS
35. Schumer of Comedy Central : AMY
36. Publicist's handout : RELEASE
39. G.M.'s Mary Barra, beginning in 2014 : CEO
42. Land on the eastern Mediterranean : SYRIA
43. Imam's Almighty : ALLAH
45. "As seen ___" : ONTV
48. *Best-selling novelist who wrote the children's poetry volume "Father Goose" : LFRANKBAUM
51. Anticipate : FORESEE
53. Windblown soil : LOESS
54. *"It's Gonna Be Me" group : NSYNC
55. Symbol of authority : FIST
56. Autograph seeker's encl. : SAE
59. Cries of surprise : OHS
60. *The Boss's backup musicians : ESTREETBAND
64. ___ Offensive of 1968 : TET
65. "Julius," e.g., in Gaius Julius Caesar : NOMEN
66. Like the number 8, to the Chinese : LUCKY
67. Masthead listings, for short : EDS
68. Road signs may warn of them : ESSES
69. Spaniard's "these" : ESTAS
1. "What's the ___ in that?" : HARM
2. Start of a magic incantation : ABRA
3. Liszt piece : RHAPSODY
4. Umlaut half : DOT
5. Tired : GREWWEARY
6. Hedy of "Ecstasy" : LAMARR
7. "Don't worry about me" : IMOK
8. Tyler of "Stealing Beauty" : LIV
9. "Just ___ expected" : ASI
10. Game in which pieces can be forked : CHESS
11. Sale item attachment : REDTAG
12. Cheese that's often grated : ASIAGO
13. Gives the evil eye : GLARES
18. Almost to the outfield wall : DEEP
23. Fr. holy women : STES
25. Wearer of a natural wool coat : EWE
26. Rose Bowl stadium sch. : UCLA
27. Wasabi ___ (bar snack) : PEAS
28. Org. with a no-shoes policy? : TSA
29. Wheel part : RIM
30. "Sadly ..." : IFEAR
34. Whistler in the kitchen : TEAKETTLE
37. First name in mysteries : ERLE
38. Subject of a search on Mars : LIFE
39. One to admire : CLASSACT
40. Mer contents : EAU
41. Resistor unit : OHM
42. Name that's Old Norse for "young man" : SVEN
44. Abbr. in a birth announcement : LBS
45. Worth mentioning : OFNOTE
46. Snacked : NOSHED
47. No-tell motel meetings : TRYSTS
49. Many Astounding Stories cover subjects : ALIENS
50. Aroma : NOSE
52. Hot spot : SCENE
55. Like the initial letters of the answers to the six starred clues, on "Wheel of Fortune" : FREE
57. "My Way" lyricist : ANKA
58. Brand known as Dreyer's in the West : EDYS
61. "Hel-l-l-lp!" : SOS
62. Things Coke and Pepsi have: Abbr. : TMS
63. Work tables? : BUS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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