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New York Times, Thursday, September 1, 2016

Author: Ben Tausig
Editor: Will Shortz
Ben Tausig
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99/8/20059/1/20162
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1.58000
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {BJZ} This is puzzle # 9 for Mr. Tausig. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Ben Tausig notes: I'm excited about this concept. The theme explains, about as well as you can in a crossword, the ambiguity at the heart of ... more
Ben Tausig notes:

I'm excited about this concept. The theme explains, about as well as you can in a crossword, the ambiguity at the heart of GENDERFLUIDity. The theme letters don't move from M to F or from F to M, in the manner of a binary, but float in an unresolved place in between. That's a simple but reasonable way of representing queer sexuality--as a forever-exploration of identity and desire. My deepest appreciation to Will Shortz and to Joel Fagliano for being open to a concept that pushes a boundary, not to mention for helping workshop the difficult execution. I hope solvers find it fun and inspiring.

Jeff Chen notes: Schrödinger! Ben adds to the short list of puzzles displaying duality, using the GENDER FLUID concept of identity. The four special ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Schrödinger! Ben adds to the short list of puzzles displaying duality, using the GENDER FLUID concept of identity. The four special squares are animated below — part of a house can be a ROOM or a ROOF, fabricate can be MAKE or FAKE, etc.

I really liked the fresh feel of this puzzle. Ben gives us material that both feels simultaneously new and timeless. ESPNU is such a weird string of letters, but ESPN U is definitely gettable even if you're not a subscriber. LOW ART, QUEER as part of LGBTQ, a great term in the clue for PUENTE — Nuyorican = Puerto Rican in New York — even MUSTY / FUSTY, it was a joy to solve all throughout.

Of the Schrödinger squares, my favorite was SAME sex … or was that SAFE sex? As Peter Gordon once emphasized, a great Schrödinger should exhibit real duality, making the solver pause as he/she tries to figure out which of two equally-correct-sounding possibilities is the "right" one. And with both options here as appropriate as well as colorful phrases, it's the huge winner of the four special squares.

I wasn't as taken with some of the other Schrödinger squares, filling in either M or F without giving it a second thought. [Reveal a secret, say] seemed like it had to be FESS UP. Afterward, thinking about it, MESS UP did fit, but FESS UP was the clear choice without looking back. Same with MAKE for [Fabricate] — FAKE does fit, as with fabricating a lie, but it feels like much more a stretch than MAKE. [It's combined at the beginning] felt like a tortured way to say PREFIX, but PREMIX didn't give me a pause.

But overall, I really liked the idea of using GENDER FLUIDity as the rationale for a Schrödinger, and the smooth, fresh fill — with all kinds of great DYSTOPIA, ODYSSEY, EQUUS, DANDY entries — made for an extremely enjoyable solve.

P.S. [Snake's place, partially] — the Snake river winds through OREGON. Tricky clue!

1
R
2
O
3
O
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MF
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MF
6
U
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S
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T
9
Y
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S
11
L
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O
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G
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A
L
V
A
15
E
S
P
N
U
16
T
O
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O
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G
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E
K
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S
A
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A
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O
W
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W
A
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S
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N
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E
W
A
G
E
24
E
N
L
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K
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S
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O
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P
A
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U
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G
H
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D
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W
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K
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D
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F
L
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D
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D
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Y
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Y
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O
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P
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T
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G
A
G
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O
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P
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D
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U
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E
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Q
U
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Y
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E
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U
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MF
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A
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A
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I
C
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H
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MF
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X
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Y
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0901 ( 24,404 )
Across Down
1. Part of a house : ROOF
5. Old-seeming : FUSTY
10. Laborious process : SLOG
14. Middle name of the inventor of the electrographic vote recorder : ALVA
15. Channel for college sports : ESPNU
16. Fatty tuna part, at a sushi restaurant : TORO
17. Tech expert, as it were : GEEK
18. Steamy place : SAUNA
19. Actor Wilson : OWEN
20. Ending with metal or mal- : WARE
21. Lie on a beach : SUN
22. Holistic spiritual movement : NEWAGE
24. Blowup: Abbr. : ENL
25. Narwhal features : TUSKS
27. Run off, in a way : XEROX
28. Music producer Brian : ENO
29. Inits. on a car sticker : EPA
30. "Oh gawd!" : UGH
32. AC/DC single with the lyric "watch me explode" : TNT
33. Poet who wrote of Beatrice : DANTE
35. Unleash, as havoc : WREAK
37. Having a variable identity, as suggested by four squares in this puzzle : GENDERFLUID
41. Super : DANDY
42. Final authority : SAYSO
45. Score amts. : PTS
48. Sight ___ : GAG
49. ___ out (email list selection) : OPT
51. Turf : SOD
52. Get more mileage out of : REUSE
54. Hyundai model with a lot of horsepower? : EQUUS
56. Play (with) : TOY
57. Undivided : ENTIRE
59. Pac-12 athlete : UTE
60. Ending of many a firm's name : SONS
61. Topic to ask a fortuneteller about : FATE
62. Dined watching Netflix, say : ATEIN
64. Bonobos, e.g. : APES
65. Cher or Dolly Parton, e.g. : ICON
66. Cover ... or cover ___ : SHEET
67. Tough stuff to walk through : FIRE
68. Lucy Lawless role : XENA
69. Curt : TERSE
70. "Chill ..." : EASY
1. Cause of some allergy flare-ups : RAGWEED
2. Mamet play inspired by the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings : OLEANNA
3. Going on and on ... and on : OVERLONG
4. Fabricate : MAKE
5. Reveal a secret, say : MESSUP
6. Patriotic chant : USAUSA
7. Mettle : SPUNK
8. Old channel with country music videos : TNN
9. Chinese money : YUAN
10. Best-selling author who was a neighbor of Twain in Hartford : STOWE
11. Kitsch, e.g. : LOWART
12. Snake's place, partly : OREGON
13. Follow : GONEXT
23. Tires : EXHAUSTS
25. One "in love" in a 1959 top 5 hit : TEENAGER
26. Roar producer : SURF
31. Lock fixer? : GEL
34. 2012 comedy with a talking bear : TED
35. Not straight : WRY
36. Soul producer : KIA
38. Forensic material : DNA
39. Beat (out) : EDGE
40. "The Hunger Games" universe, e.g. : DYSTOPIA
43. Neighbors of Longhorns : SOONERS
44. Adventure : ODYSSEY
45. It's combined at the beginning : PREMIX
46. Certain pair in bridge : TENACE
47. Bank robber Willie who co-wrote "Where the Money Was" : SUTTON
49. Certain navels : OUTIES
50. Nuyorican music legend Tito : PUENTE
53. Tuscan city famous for horse races : SIENA
55. Part of L.G.B.T.Q. : QUEER
58. Right on the map : EAST
60. Word that can precede sex : SAME
63. Not just any : THE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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