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CONFLICTING ADVICE

New York Times, Sunday, August 30, 2015

Author:
Lee Taylor
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
28/30/20152/10/20190
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2000000
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Lee Taylor

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 138, Blocks: 84 Missing: {JQZ} This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Taylor. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Lee Taylor notes:
I was on a long flight last fall and ran out of reading material. I wished I had a crossword puzzle to do. Then I thought, 'I think I'll make one — how hard can it be?' That was the ... read more

I was on a long flight last fall and ran out of reading material. I wished I had a crossword puzzle to do. Then I thought, "I think I'll make one — how hard can it be?" That was the beginning of the journey that ends with my puzzle appearing this Sunday in the Times.

This was actually my third puzzle; the first two got rejected. Joel and Will showed endless patience with me as I worked through four revisions to finally get this one right.

The first revision strengthened the theme clues. It also forced me to make my own grid, something I hadn't tried before. That ended up being funner than I expected as I like the aesthetics of the grid designs.

The second revision had me eliminate boring entries like ALDA and TEPEE and strive for words not commonly seen. Unfortunately, while adding more vibrant and interesting words, I allowed some weaklings to sneak in as well.

Revision four ruthlessly eradicated all those words Will identified as unacceptable or unlikable. Perseverance paid off and I finally got the coveted "yes" from Joel.

I love language and often think about turns of phrase. There is often humor, sometimes unintentional in the things we say, and that is what inspired the theme. My favorite entries are FAT FARM and BOBOS.

And a little about me: I work for the National Park Service as the superintendent of San Juan Island National Historical Park in Washington State. I grew up in a family that bought multiple copies of the Sunday New York Times so that everyone could work on the crossword puzzle independently.

Jeff Chen notes:
Debut! And from a fellow Washingtonian. Lee found some nice pairs of common maxims … which give exactly the opposite advice. I've heard 'Knowledge is power but IGNORANCE IS BLISS' ... read more

Debut! And from a fellow Washingtonian. Lee found some nice pairs of common maxims … which give exactly the opposite advice. I've heard "Knowledge is power but IGNORANCE IS BLISS" many times before, but the others were newish to me.

Huh, I probably should have known Peter TOSH ...

I liked how each of the twelve aphorisms are pretty well known, with the notable exception of FOOLS SELDOM DIFFER. I struggled mightily with that middle word, and even after uncovering it, I struggled to figure out what it meant. Fools tend to think the same thing? Really? Then why does no one ever agree with me?

(rimshot)

Anyhoo, interesting layout, with two sets of interlocking answers. It can be a neat effect when answers happen to fortuitously lock together — it's often so tough because even if you can make it happen on one side, the symmetrical spot must also work. Here though, the lower MAN crossing MAN isn't terribly elegant. I usually don't care about small words duplicated in a grid, but to have them crossing each other is not ideal for me.

One really nice clue: [Pairs are often seen in it] for POKER. Made me think of "pairs" as in (human) couples. [Handles] for ALIASES was also clever, in that it refers to the noun version of handles, not the verb. This puzzle played very hard for me, well over my average solving time, I think mostly because of the opacity in cluing. Hardly a gimme in sight! Good workout, although I would have liked more clever clues to keep my interest level up through the frustration.

Sunday 140 word puzzles are so tough — I think it's the roughest way to make one's NYT debut. That very low word constraint makes it tough to avoid gluey bits like TESHES (gah, TOSHES!), APORT, the usual OGEE / AMAH kind of stuff. So tricky to make a super-smooth Sunday 140 worder.

Interesting theme idea with a couple of nice pairings.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0830 ( 24,036 )
Across
1
Fake blood, e.g. : GOO
4
Many establishments on Paris's Boulevard Saint-Germain : CAFES
9
Enjoy thoroughly : SAVOR
14
Ex-Mrs. Trump : IVANA
19
Person behind a strike? : UMP
20
Cause of a 2014 epidemic : EBOLA
21
Word with light or horse : OPERA
22
Figure in Jewish folklore : GOLEM
23
One time around : LAP
24
"He who hesitates is lost, but ..." : LOOKBEFOREYOULEAP
27
Beat around the bush? : PROWL
29
Mathematician Fibonacci : LEONARDO
30
N.B.A. team once coached by Larry Bird : PACERS
31
DVR lineup : SHOWS
33
Rich cake : TORTE
34
Brown who wrote "The Diana Chronicles" : TINA
35
Handles : ALIASES
37
Silliness : INANITY
41
Half-and-half, maybe : MUTT
42
Park place : BENCH
46
___ game : BLAME
49
Kind of arch : OGEE
50
Frequent subject of fibbing : AGE
51
___ Soetoro, stepfather of Barack Obama : LOLO
52
Longest river entirely within Switzerland : AARE
53
Group of Coyotes, for short : NHL
54
Name on a toy truck : HESS
56
To the point : ADREM
57
Empty stomach sound : GROWL
59
___ limit (sign at the edge of town) : CORP
60
Sound : AUDIO
62
Crumbly cheeses : FETAS
64
Arctic lights : AURORAE
66
Regimented resort : FATFARM
68
See 73-Across : FIT
69
Locale of the 15-Down Eyjafjallajökull : ICELAND
70
Decked out : ATTIRED
71
Like pop-ups : ARCED
73
Check for 68-Across : TRYON
74
2006 Pixar film : CARS
75
Heavy drinker, in slang : DIPSO
77
Out of the barn, say : LOOSE
79
ESPNU covers it : NCAA
82
Celestial altar : ARA
83
Gladly, old-style : FAIN
84
Steer closer to the wind : LUFF
85
It borders the N. Atl. : EUR
86
Prison escape path, maybe : DUCT
88
A sharp equivalent : BFLAT
89
Sing the praises of : EXTOL
91
Unused : MINT
92
Give the right : ENTITLE
94
Second chances for students : RETESTS
96
Head of an inn? : BOAR
97
Caliban in "The Tempest," e.g. : SLAVE
102
Pooh-bah : NABOB
103
Get into : ACCESS
106
Part of a dominatrix's outfit : STILETTO
108
Babe in the woods : OWLET
111
"You can't judge a book by its cover, but ..." : CLOTHESMAKETHEMAN
114
"___ no idea" : IVE
115
Blazing stars : NOVAE
116
Pairs are seen in it : POKER
117
Emulate Isocrates : ORATE
118
Birth certificate datum : SEX
119
Paradises : EDENS
120
Chemical ___ : AGENT
121
Trig functions : SINES
122
Boom source : SST
Down
1
[Um, this can't be good] : GULP
2
All-Star second baseman Infante : OMAR
3
"Birds of a feather flock together, but ..." : OPPOSITESATTRACT
4
Solo features of six Bach suites : CELLOS
5
Blood type system : ABO
6
"Great minds think alike, but ..." : FOOLSSELDOMDIFFER
7
Actress Sommer : ELKE
8
Clog : SABOT
9
Till now : SOFAR
10
Left at sea : APORT
11
Like some salsa : VERDE
12
Stackable dessert item : OREO
13
2004 musical biopic for which the star won Best Actor : RAY
14
Pet in the comic strip "FoxTrot" : IGUANA
15
See 69-Across : VOLCANO
16
"Helm ___!" (captain's cry) : ALEE
17
Within view : NEAR
18
Ratchets (up) : AMPS
25
Ambient music innovator Brian : ENO
26
Put forward : OPINE
28
"Huh?" : WHAT
32
It's a trap : WEB
34
"Slow and steady wins the race, but ..." : TIMEWAITSFORNOMAN
35
Shanghai nursemaid : AMAH
36
Winter Olympics sport : LUGE
38
"Knowledge is power, but ..." : IGNORANCEISBLISS
39
1943 conference site : TEHRAN
40
Checked online reviews of, modern-style : YELPED
43
Here/there connector : NOR
44
One on staff? : CLEF
45
Sphere of civilian activity during war : HOMEFRONT
46
Trifle : BAGATELLE
47
Cousin of Sven : LARS
48
Michael Sheen's character in "Twilight" : ARO
55
Mystical Muslims : SUFIS
56
Broadcast : AIRED
58
Ill-gotten gains : LUCRE
59
Port on the Panama Canal : COLON
61
D.C.'s ___ Constitution Hall : DAR
63
Personal quirk : TIC
65
"Born to Die" singer Lana Del ___ : REY
66
Pretense : FACADE
67
Galloping : ATARUN
71
Part of SEATO : ASIA
72
Billet-___ : DOUX
76
Gal ___ : PAL
78
More than once in a while : OFT
80
You may have a great one in your family : AUNT
81
Part of M.F.A. : ARTS
87
Like some mountain guides : TIBETAN
88
Oh-so-bored : BLASE
90
"Glee" star ___ Michele : LEA
91
It may mean "Pet me!" : MEOW
93
Comedian Daniel and musician Peter : TOSHES
95
Broadsides, informally : TBONES
97
Rooting interest : STAKE
98
Compare : LIKEN
99
Not nodding : ALERT
100
Nov. 11 honoree : VET
101
Community spirit : ETHOS
103
Red in the face? : ACNE
104
Lummox : CLOD
105
Inlet : COVE
106
Beijing problem : SMOG
107
Hatcher of "Desperate Housewives" : TERI
109
Holiday lead-ins : EVES
110
Emoji holder : TEXT
112
Place for a "me day" : SPA
113
Gorged on : ATE

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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