It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.

# 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

## 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 mind works, I thought, ... more
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 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 Higher-value banknotes were officially withdrawn from circulation in 1969.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 1 SEC, the ten-dollar ... more
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 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.

JimH notes: Here are the people in question.
 1D 2E 3N 4Z 5E 6L 71 8J 9O 10G 11G 12E 13D 14L 15O 16U 1750 18O R I O L E S 19S A M U R A I 20B L A N C 21O N L E A V E 22P L A N E T S 23L A T T E 24D S L 25S I C 26H O R N E 27C 28H I M E I N 29T A 30S T E 31D E P 32E L 33I 34A S A S E T 35H I S 36T O R Y 37R E T 38O R T S 39M A C 40A N E 41Y A L E 42M 43H 44O 45V A R I 46A N T 47J 48A 49B 50T A M 51A 52E A R 53H I T I T F A T 54I M O 55F F 56S T 57A D I A 58A R C 59Y O G A 60B A Z A A 61R 62F L I R T 63N T H 64S 65E E K 66S 67A C E 68D 69T A C O 70D U B A 71I 72R E E 73F 74E 75R 76E V A 77N 78B U R 79R O O M E 80R 81A W A R E 82V E L O 83C I T Y 84U S X 85D O 86W N 87Q E D 88A R E T H A 100 89B O 20 90S O Y 91A 92C L E 93L A S 94P 95H E N O M 96S 97H O U S 98T O N 99G 100A 101S L I T 102F E E 103A R E 104A N T 105E 106D 107O C T A G O 108N 109S W 110A N N 111E G G 112K O 113A 114D E A T H 115A 116A L A R G E 117M O A 118N I N G 119E L M O 5 120T S A R I S T 121A R G O N N E 122L A P S 123L I N D A 10 124G E O R G E 2
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0901 ( 23,308 )