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New York Times, Monday, August 5, 2019

Author:
Tracy Gray
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
269/8/20108/5/20196
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6445610
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62441
Tracy Gray

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JKQVZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 26 for Ms. Gray. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tracy Gray notes:
After watching the Westminster Dog Show in February 2018, my crossword theme ideas started going to the dogs. I had a puzzle published ... read more

After watching the Westminster Dog Show in February 2018, my crossword theme ideas started going to the dogs. I had a puzzle published in another venue with the title "Top Dogs" – down phrases that started with a dog breed – and then I came upon the phrase "Downward Dog" which I thought would be fun as the revealer for another puzzle, with down phrases ending with a dog breed.

My first grid included "GOOGLE DOODLE" which was rejected based on "Doodle" not being well enough known as a breed itself (as opposed to, say, "Goldendoodle" or "Labradoodle"), so I reworked the grid, and the puzzle was accepted in October 2018.

With the dog days of summer upon us, I think today's publication timing is just perfect. Hope you enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
Crossword constructors live a dog's life. I wonder if that's what inspired Tracy today! The great goddess Crucivera only rarely ... read more

Crossword constructors live a dog's life. I wonder if that's what inspired Tracy today!

The great goddess Crucivera only rarely sends a seraph to float an idea within your grasp. Even if you can catch it, it's a painful path to publication. The rough timeline for a Monday puzzle, in a typical case:

  • Ideation: 3 days
  • Gridwork: 3 days
  • Cluing: 5 days
  • Waiting for Will's yea/nay: 3 months
  • Revisions: 5 days
  • Queue time to publication: 9 months

It's soul-sucking to wait with bated breath until the day finally comes that you can post on Facebook that LOOK MA, I'M NOT A TOTAL FAILURE, SEE?

(Humph. You make puzzles? You brother saved eight people's lives today. Why can't you be more like him?)

Even if you don't have Asian parents, you too often get scooped because of the long lag time. It's especially rough when someone else's puzzle with the same theme comes out less than a week before yours.

A vast majority of solvers won't be aware of the AVCX crossword since the NYT's solvership is so much bigger. Shouldn't matter, right? But it matters to us constructors.

Will has done a lot over the years to shorten the overall process, which used to be perhaps twice as long overall. I appreciate that he's brought on more people recently to help reduce the 3 months of waiting for an answer. I bet he'll eventually bring that down to 1 month.

Queue time to publication is a harder one. The WSJ is much better about that, averaging about 3 months, but they don't get nearly as many submissions as Will, who gets about 125 a week. Maybe Mike--who edits the WSJ and is close friends with Will--has some advice on how to reduce that painfully long lag to publication.

Tracy's puzzle is solid, with excellent themer choices, and top-notch gridwork – such a hard task with five longish themers. It's a near-perfect gateway puzzle, one I'd gladly hand to a newb. It has to bittersweet for Tracy though, given the circumstances.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0805 ( 25,472 )

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Across
1
Group in a play : CAST
5
Plasterwork backing : LATH
9
Bracelet securer : CLASP
14
Arthur with a stadium named after him : ASHE
15
Feeling fluish, in a way : ACHY
16
"___ me" ("Go along with it") : HUMOR
17
___ the Man (old baseball nickname) : STAN
18
Be overrun (with) : TEEM
19
"E" on a gas gauge : EMPTY
20
Pre-snap powwow : HUDDLE
22
Garden munchkin : GNOME
24
"How was ___ know?" : ITO
25
2012 Best Picture winner set in Iran : ARGO
27
Kind of toy that moves when you turn a key : WINDUP
31
Semiaquatic salamanders : NEWTS
33
Flowers on trellises : ROSES
35
Bill in a tip jar : ONE
36
Slangy "sweetheart" : BAE
37
Horace, as a poet : ODIST
38
Barrister's headgear : WIG
39
Scrub vigorously : SCOUR
41
Manipulate : USE
42
Littlest ones in litters : RUNTS
44
Contagious viral infection : POX
45
Cross ___ with : PATHS
47
Side-to-side nautical movement : YAW
48
Plural "is" : ARE
49
First appearance, as of symptoms : ONSET
50
Toronto N.H.L. team, for short : LEAFS
53
Common ankle injury : SPRAIN
55
Biggest bear in "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" : PAPA
57
"V for Vendetta" actor Stephen : REA
58
Grind, as teeth : GNASH
60
Withstands : ABIDES
62
Gemstone measure : CARAT
65
Chopped down : HEWN
67
3:1 or 4:1, e.g. : ODDS
68
Superior beef grade : PRIME
69
They're mined and refined : ORES
70
Large, scholarly book : TOME
71
"For ___ waves of grain" (line in "America the Beautiful") : AMBER
72
Water swirl : EDDY
73
Elderly : AGED
Down
1
Redeem, as a savings bond : CASHIN
2
Uncommonly perceptive : ASTUTE
3
Air-punching pugilist : SHADOWBOXER
4
Manage, as a bar : TEND
5
"Ciao" : LATER
6
Unreturned tennis serve : ACE
7
2006 Matt Damon spy film : THEGOODSHEPHERD
8
Song sung on Sunday : HYMN
9
Place with beakers and Bunsen burners : CHEMISTRYLAB
10
Measure of light's brightness : LUMEN
11
Electric guitar accessory : AMP
12
Drunkard : SOT
13
Jimmy (open) : PRY
21
Lecturer's implement with a light at the end : LASERPOINTER
23
Is indebted to : OWES
26
Fills, as tile joints : GROUTS
28
Popular yoga pose ... or a literal hint to the ends of 3-, 7-, 9- and 21-Down : DOWNWARDDOG
29
The "U" in I.C.U. : UNIT
30
Cribbage scorekeepers : PEGS
32
Letter after sigma : TAU
34
Nap south of the border : SIESTA
39
Pampering places : SPAS
40
Bus. concern : CORP
43
Persian Gulf country, for short : UAE
46
Actress Kendrick : ANNA
51
What "woof" or "meow" may mean : FEEDME
52
Talked back to with 'tude : SASSED
54
Best effort, informally : AGAME
56
Colorful flower with a "face" : PANSY
59
Pump or oxford : SHOE
61
Smidgen : IOTA
62
Helper during taxing times, for short? : CPA
63
Triceps location : ARM
64
Poke fun at : RIB
66
Marry : WED

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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