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New York Times, Thursday, August 22, 2013

Author:
Stu Ockman
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
132/2/20125/8/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0004603
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56220
Stu Ockman

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Ockman. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Stu Ockman notes:
I sent Will my first version of this crossword more than two years ago. It was the thirteenth puzzle I constructed. Before August ... read more

I sent Will my first version of this crossword more than two years ago. It was the thirteenth puzzle I constructed. Before August 2011, I'd received nothing but rejections from the NY Times so "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" just popped into my head.

I was trying to figure out how to use it as a theme when I found Ms. Kelly's June 22, 2006, Point of no return rebus. Thanks to Ms. Kelly, problem solved. The original grid, with eight unsymmetrical call boxes, wasn't exciting enough, but Will did like 38A. That was all the inspiration I needed to construct an entirely new version. I decided, in this case, that less was more, so I went with a call box in each corner along with the two in 38A. The only other answers in both versions are BACALL and CALLAS.

Sadly, this version was rejected, too, which surprised me because my mentor, Adam Perl, had a slightly different take: "I thought this puzzle was fantastic - challenging without being frustrating. The theme is excellent and very well carried through the puzzle. 'Don't call us...' was brilliant. The two sets of three eleven letter words were very good. I didn't find anything too crosswordy in it." Based on Adam's encouraging words, I decided to give it one more shot and added CALL BOX to the grid. Will wrote back, "Your CALL rebus 15x is looking pretty good…"

Hope you enjoyed it as much as Adam.

Will Shortz notes:
E-mail from Rachel Colangelo, organizer of the Pittsburgh Crossword Tournament: 'We had another successful event and 64 participants ... read more

E-mail from Rachel Colangelo, organizer of the Pittsburgh Crossword Tournament: "We had another successful event and 64 participants helped to raise over $2,200 in support of the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In the finals (today's puzzle), the three solvers were stumped for some time, but once they caught on to the rebus trick they flew through the solution. Mike Wilhelm, our winner, was a very impressive solver — he finished the Monday puzzle in 3.5 minutes."

Jeff Chen notes:
I really like when rebus puzzle have a good reason for multiple letters to be shoved into one square. This puzzle is an example of ... read more

I really like when rebus puzzle have a good reason for multiple letters to be shoved into one square. This puzzle is an example of that, since it has literal CALL boxes along with CALL BOX at 14D. Clever! 1A/38A/67A are fantastic entries; not to mention, who doesn't like a ST PAULI GIRL and a RAPSCALLION in their puzzle? =]

I winced a bit at MONGST and AMARO, both of which I needed every cross to get. SPATLESE is fine in retrospect (and is something I'm happy to learn about), but it also took me every cross. Out of curiosity, I tried to see if there was a quick fix to get rid of the first two answers, but I didn't find any easy way of working around them. Perhaps Stu will start a campaign to get a thoroughfare in Philly (his hometown) renamed to MONG ST.? =]

So I wondered how difficult would it really be to get rid of MONGST and AMARO and decided to roll up my sleeves to dig in. I tried changing ROLL CALL to COLD CALL, but that didn't help much by itself. After another hour of trial and error, I realized that shifting the location of one set of black squares really helps. Those giant open spaces in the NW and SE are so tough to fill that shrinking them ever so slightly really helped.

This is the grid I finally worked out (empty regions should be easy to cleanly fill) after several hours. It has the benefit of two fewer 3-letter words, which is nice, but it does contain the clunkers ROLEO, EENS, and FER (amongst others) so it's not clear that it's a "better" grid. Perhaps I could improve it with a few more hours work, but I don't know. It's a testament to the difficulty of Stu's task!

1
CALL
2
T
3
H
4
E
5
D
6
O
7
G
8
S
9
O
10
F
11
F
12
B
13
A
14
CALL
15
I
H
A
V
E
N
O
I
D
E
A
16
A
P
B
17
O
R
I
O
L
E
S
N
E
S
T
18
T
H
O
19
P
O
L
20
A
T
S
E
A
21
C
22
R
O
I
X
23
E
W
E
24
S
25
W
I
S
26
C
A
A
N
S
27
P
28
R
O
P
29
H
T
T
P
30
A
31
L
32
G
A
E
33
O
R
R
34
S
35
E
36
T
37
A
38
D
O
N
T
CALL
39
U
40
S
W
E
L
41
L
CALL
Y
O
U
42
S
O
U
L
43
R
O
E
44
T
I
E
R
S
45
E
46
M
I
T
47
D
48
O
D
O
49
A
50
P
S
O
S
51
H
E
T
52
N
53
C
54
A
55
R
56
C
H
I
E
N
57
C
A
P
E
58
S
59
A
M
O
60
A
O
L
61
G
62
U
A
D
A
L
C
63
A
N
A
L
64
T
R
E
65
S
T
P
A
U
L
I
G
I
R
L
66
CALL
A
S
67
T
O
O
C
L
O
S
E
T
O
CALL
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0822 ( 23,298 )
Across
1
Stop threatening : CALLTHEDOGSOFF
12
"How to Marry a Millionaire" actress : BACALL
15
One's initial response to this clue, perhaps : IHAVENOIDEA
16
Police dept. broadcast : APB
17
Suspended avian home : ORIOLESNEST
18
While, in brief : THO
19
Campaign pro : POL
20
Bamboozled : ATSEA
21
___ de Guerre (French military award) : CROIX
23
What shepherds may shepherd : EWES
25
Superior home?: Abbr. : WIS
26
Actors James and Scott : CAANS
27
Kind of jet : PROP
29
Web opening : HTTP
30
Deterrent to swimming : ALGAE
33
Three-time N.H.L. M.V.P. : ORR
34
___ trap : SETA
38
Audition rebuff : DONTCALLUSWELLCALLYOU
42
"Or what shall a man give in exchange for his ___?": Mark 8:37 : SOUL
43
Sea urchin delicacy : ROE
44
Many opera houses have them : TIERS
45
Throw off : EMIT
47
Dimwit : DODO
49
Lhasa ___ : APSOS
51
Worked (up) : HET
52
Biltmore Estate state: Abbr. : NCAR
56
Pooch, in Paris : CHIEN
57
Mantles : CAPES
59
"Ti ___" (Italian lover's declaration) : AMO
60
Owner of Moviefone : AOL
61
Site of W.W. II's first amphibious landing : GUADALCANAL
64
Number of colori on the Italian flag : TRE
65
Commercial figure holding six beer mugs : STPAULIGIRL
66
Singer known as La Divina : CALLAS
67
Extremely tight : TOOCLOSETOCALL
Down
1
Homer's Muse : CALLIOPE
2
Discombobulate : THROW
3
Two-time Olympic running gold medalist ___ Gebrselassie : HAILE
4
Bolivian president Morales : EVO
5
Place ___ Concorde : DELA
6
Quick combination : ONETWO
7
It may be full of dirt : GOSSIP
8
Math ratios : SINES
9
Ancient theaters : ODEA
10
Moroccan city known as the Athens of Africa : FES
11
Moneybags : FATCAT
12
One being passed in a race : BATON
13
Black fly, e.g. : APHIS
14
Roadside fixture : CALLBOX
22
Rogue : RAPSCALLION
24
German wine made from fully ripe grapes : SPATLESE
26
PC key : CTRL
28
Reminisce about : RECALL
29
Much of central Eur., once : HRE
30
Circular parts : ADS
31
Head overseas : LOO
32
Animal whose young is a calf : GNU
33
Be obliged : OWE
35
Size up : EYE
36
High, rocky hill : TOR
37
N.S.W. locale : AUS
39
"O'Hara's Choice" novelist : URIS
40
Inebriate : SOT
41
Ford last produced in 1986 : LTD
46
In the midst of, poetically : MONGST
47
The Blue Demons of the N.C.A.A. : DEPAUL
48
Verdi opera : OTELLO
49
Hoy día : AHORA
50
Gobs : PILES
51
Was equipped for summer heat, as an auto : HADAC
53
"That's enough!" : CANIT
54
Ruben ___, Phillies Gold Glove-winning shortstop : AMARO
55
Class starter : ROLLCALL
56
Sound of derision : CATCALL
57
Family head : CAPO
58
Agronomy and metallurgy: Abbr. : SCIS
62
___-Aztecan (language family) : UTO
63
Historical period : AGE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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