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PERSONS OF NOTE

New York Times, Sunday, September 1, 2013

Author:
John Farmer
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
331/25/20061/29/20150
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
21361083
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64275
John Farmer

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 140, Blocks: 83 Missing: none. This is puzzle # 30 for Mr. Farmer. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Farmer notes:
It all started at 1-Across. The genesis was a brief conversation I'd overheard about Washington. 'Which one?' was the question, meaning to clarify whether city or state, but the way my ... read more

It all started at 1-Across. The genesis was a brief conversation I'd overheard about Washington. "Which one?" was the question, meaning to clarify whether city or state, but the way my mind works, I thought, which one? Denzel? George? That triggered the CTD (crossword theme detector) in my brain, and pretty soon I had the idea of a double rebus playing off the various paper currency denominations. The dollar sign at the center of the grid needed to stand alone, more or less forcing the 13-letter vertical answers at 31- and 33-Down, which ended up being a variation of a title I'd had in mind. It fit nicely and added, I think, a certain element to the puzzle. That central $ forced the rebuses toward the perimeter, ate into the 140-word allotment of a Sunday grid, and posed a few challenges for the fill. In the end, it all came together, with just a handful of short answers coming from the B-list, so to speak.

Three final thoughts:

  1. What do a dollar sign and a crossword grid have in common? Both have 180-degree rotational symmetry. They were made for each other, you ask me.
  2. All denominations of U.S. paper currency now in circulation ($1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100) made it into the grid. Higher-value banknotes were officially withdrawn from circulation in 1969.
  3. The seven rebus answers total $188. The number 188 represents the ranking of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Who'll Stop the Rain" on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The (money) quote from the great John Fogerty: "Certainly, I was talking about Washington when I wrote the song." Coincidence? I think not. The only question is this: "Washington? Which one?"
Jeff Chen notes:
Genius idea for a Sunday puzzle, a true WITT (Wish I'd Thought of That). The theme answers relate to American currency, so the one-dollar bill is represented by DENZEL WASHINGTON crossing ... read more

Genius idea for a Sunday puzzle, a true WITT (Wish I'd Thought of That). The theme answers relate to American currency, so the one-dollar bill is represented by DENZEL WASHINGTON crossing 1 SEC, the ten-dollar bill by LINDA HAMILTON crossing HANGS 10, etc.

Incredibly difficult construction, perhaps one of the hardest I've run across in five years of analyzing the NYT xw. Not only does John incorporate 1.) a dollar sign in black squares (in the center of the grid), but 2.) a two-part revealer and 3.) SEVEN crossing theme answer pairs. The fact that he uses several three-letter answers inside the dollar sign necessitates some wide-open sections in all regions of the grid (due to the 140 maximum word count restriction). Amazing that John was able to fill it at all!

As a solver, I was frustrated to not accurately finish the east section, not having heard of HAIRCUT 100 (I searched for their "top hits" and hadn't heard either of those songs) and being only vaguely familiar with MHO (stupid MS in electromechanical engineering, did you teach me nothing?). Every puzzle must trade off thematic density and quality of fill, and I wonder what the result would have been if one of the bills, the 100, had been removed. That would still allow for thematic consistency (incorporating all American bills up to the 50) while giving more flexibility to fill those tough, wide-open areas.

Overall though, I loved the fresh concept and the fantastic "aha moment" it provided.

Jim Horne notes:

Here are the people in question.

1
D
2
E
3
N
4
Z
5
E
6
L
7
1
8
J
9
O
10
G
11
G
12
E
13
D
14
L
15
O
16
U
17
50
18
O
R
I
O
L
E
S
19
S
A
M
U
R
A
I
20
B
L
A
N
C
21
O
N
L
E
A
V
E
22
P
L
A
N
E
T
S
23
L
A
T
T
E
24
D
S
L
25
S
I
C
26
H
O
R
N
E
27
C
28
H
I
M
E
I
N
29
T
A
30
S
T
E
31
D
E
P
32
E
L
33
I
34
A
S
A
S
E
T
35
H
I
S
36
T
O
R
Y
37
R
E
T
38
O
R
T
S
39
M
A
C
40
A
N
E
41
Y
A
L
E
42
M
43
H
44
O
45
V
A
R
I
46
A
N
T
47
J
48
A
49
B
50
T
A
M
51
A
52
E
A
R
53
H
I
T
I
T
F
A
T
54
I
M
O
55
F
F
56
S
T
57
A
D
I
A
58
A
R
C
59
Y
O
G
A
60
B
A
Z
A
A
61
R
62
F
L
I
R
T
63
N
T
H
64
S
65
E
E
K
66
S
67
A
C
E
68
D
69
T
A
C
O
70
D
U
B
A
71
I
72
R
E
E
73
F
74
E
75
R
76
E
V
A
77
N
78
B
U
R
79
R
O
O
M
E
80
R
81
A
W
A
R
E
82
V
E
L
O
83
C
I
T
Y
84
U
S
X
85
D
O
86
W
N
87
Q
E
D
88
A
R
E
T
H
A
100
89
B
O
20
90
S
O
Y
91
A
92
C
L
E
93
L
A
S
94
P
95
H
E
N
O
M
96
S
97
H
O
U
S
98
T
O
N
99
G
100
A
101
S
L
I
T
102
F
E
E
103
A
R
E
104
A
N
T
105
E
106
D
107
O
C
T
A
G
O
108
N
109
S
W
110
A
N
N
111
E
G
G
112
K
O
113
A
114
D
E
A
T
H
115
A
116
A
L
A
R
G
E
117
M
O
A
118
N
I
N
G
119
E
L
M
O
5
120
T
S
A
R
I
S
T
121
A
R
G
O
N
N
E
122
L
A
P
S
123
L
I
N
D
A
10
124
G
E
O
R
G
E
2
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0901 ( 23,308 )
Across
1
Star of four Spike Lee films : DENZELWASHINGTON
8
Exercised on a track : JOGGED
14
Longtime Ed Asner role : LOUGRANT
18
Birds at a ballpark : ORIOLES
19
1954 film septet : SAMURAI
20
White: Fr. : BLANC
21
Away, in a way : ONLEAVE
22
Gustav Holst septet : PLANETS
23
Barista's offering : LATTE
24
Cable alternative : DSL
25
[typo not fixed] : SIC
26
Star of a 1981 Broadway revue subtitled "The Lady and Her Music" : HORNE
27
Add one's views : CHIMEIN
29
Style : TASTE
31
Second-in-command: Abbr. : DEP
32
41-Across athlete : ELI
34
How his-and-hers towels are sold : ASASET
35
"Gossip well told," per Elbert Hubbard : HISTORY
37
Comebacks : RETORTS
39
Bud : MAC
40
Hydrocarbon ending : ANE
41
See 32-Across : YALE
42
Electrical unit, old-style : MHO
45
Webster's second? : VARIANT
47
Quick punch : JAB
50
Author Janowitz : TAMA
52
Bud's place : EAR
53
Strike turf before the ball, in golf : HITITFAT
54
Bye line? : IMOFF
56
Olympic venues : STADIA
58
It may extend for many minutes : ARC
59
Thoughtful exercise : YOGA
60
Overseas market : BAZAAR
62
Tease : FLIRT
63
Unspecified degrees : NTHS
65
Comic strip cries : EEKS
67
Waltzed through : ACED
69
___ de carne asada : TACO
70
Burj Khalifa locale : DUBAI
72
Joint : REEFER
76
Fashion label ___-Picone : EVAN
78
Prickly sticker : BUR
79
Letter with a limited amount of space : ROOMER
81
Savvy : AWARE
82
Radar reading : VELOCITY
84
Steel giant, formerly : USX
85
Chug : DOWN
87
End of an argument : QED
88
Singer at Obama's 2009 inauguration : ARETHAFRANKLIN
89
Baseball All-Star who was also a football Pro Bowler : BOJACKSON
90
Edamame source : SOYA
92
Cross-state rival of CIN : CLE
93
Arizona's ___ Cienegas National Conservation Area : LAS
94
Hot prospects, say : PHENOMS
97
Home base for many a mission : HOUSTON
99
Like Victorian streets : GASLIT
102
Honorarium : FEE
103
Nirvana's "Come as You ___" : ARE
104
Paid to play : ANTED
107
It has 135-degree angles : OCTAGON
109
Proust title character : SWANN
111
See 115-Across : EGG
112
Campers' letters : KOA
114
___ by chocolate (popular dessert) : DEATH
115
Certain 111-Across specification : AALARGE
117
Ghostly sound : MOANING
119
First film Tarzan : ELMOLINCOLN
120
White Russian, e.g. : TSARIST
121
1918's Battle of the ___ Forest : ARGONNE
122
Formula One units : LAPS
123
"The Terminator" co-star : LINDAHAMILTON
124
Neighbor of Archie Bunker : GEORGEJEFFERSON
Down
1
"I ___ it!" (Skelton catchphrase) : DOOD
2
Bond villain ___ Stavro Blofeld : ERNST
3
Popular snack brand : NILLA
4
Actress/screenwriter Kazan : ZOE
5
Stretchiness : ELASTICITY
6
Assesses : LEVIES
7
"Be right there!" : 1SEC
8
Heap : JALOPY
9
Poet Khayyám : OMAR
10
Artillery crewman : GUNNER
11
Founder of the New York Tribune : GREELEY
12
Have something : EAT
13
Tiddlywink, e.g. : DISC
14
Peruvian pack : LLAMAS
15
Warren of "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" : OATES
16
Free : UNTIE
17
Rapper who feuded with Ja Rule and Nas : 50CENT
19
Round figure : SPHERE
20
Second-tier, among celebs : BLIST
28
Women's rooms? : HAREMS
30
Actress Belafonte : SHARI
31
With 33-Down, Skeptic's advice ... or a "noteworthy" hint to seven Across answers in this puzzle : DONTTAKEANYOF
33
See 31-Down : ITATFACEVALUE
36
Colorful songbird : TANAGER
38
Brazilian greeting : OLA
39
Pop/rock group with a 2002 hit co-written with Mick Jagger : MATCHBOX20
42
Story coloring? : MEDIABIAS
43
1980s British band : HAIRCUT100
44
Big deliveries? : ORATORY
45
Paganini or Rachmaninoff : VIRTUOSO
46
"He makes no friend who never made ___": Tennyson : AFOE
47
Schooner sail : JIB
48
Health org. since 1847 : AMA
49
Dickens pen name : BOZ
51
Raiding grp. : ATF
53
Polish the old-fashioned way : HANDRUB
55
Air safety org. : FAA
57
___-rock : ALT
61
Apotheosizes : REVERES
64
Uncle ___ : SAM
66
Wrap (up) : SEW
68
Hollow : DALE
71
Homemade bomb, for short : IED
73
Web site heading : FAQ
74
Before, in verse : ERE
75
Sanguine : RED
77
Recently : NOTLONGAGO
80
Met, as a challenge : ROSETO
83
"U.S.A." is part of one : CHANT
86
Ended up? : WON
91
Acronym for the hearing-impaired : AMESLAN
92
Louis Armstrong instrument : CORNET
94
"___ Republic" : PLATOS
95
Celebratory gesture : HIGH5
96
Alaska town that is mile 0 of the Iditarod Trail : SEWARD
97
Does a surfboard stunt : HANGS10
98
1913 Literature Nobelist from India : TAGORE
99
Douglas Hofstadter's "___, Escher, Bach" : GODEL
100
Amtrak bullet train : ACELA
101
Sign of approval : STAMP
105
Scratching (out) : EKING
106
"Meditation XVII" writer : DONNE
108
N.R.A. piece?: Abbr. : NATL
110
Vegas casino with a musical name : ARIA
111
Newsweek, e.g., now : EMAG
113
"Terrible" toddler time : AGE2
116
Auden's "___ Walked Out One Evening" : ASI
118
Often-partnered conjunction : NOR

Answer summary: 16 unique to this puzzle, 4 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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