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New York Times, Thursday, September 1, 2016

Author:
Ben Tausig
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
99/8/20059/1/20162
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5000400
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Ben Tausig

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 ... read more

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 ... read more

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
4
MF
5
MF
6
U
7
S
8
T
9
Y
10
S
11
L
12
O
13
G
14
A
L
V
A
15
E
S
P
N
U
16
T
O
R
O
17
G
E
E
K
18
S
A
U
N
A
19
O
W
E
N
20
W
A
R
E
21
S
U
N
22
N
23
E
W
A
G
E
24
E
N
L
25
T
U
S
K
26
S
27
X
E
R
O
X
28
E
N
O
29
E
P
A
30
U
31
G
H
32
T
N
T
33
D
A
N
34
T
E
35
W
R
E
A
36
K
37
G
E
N
38
D
39
E
R
F
L
U
I
40
D
41
D
A
N
D
Y
42
S
A
Y
43
S
44
O
45
P
46
T
47
S
48
G
A
G
49
O
50
P
T
51
S
O
D
52
R
E
U
53
S
E
54
E
55
Q
U
U
S
56
T
O
Y
57
E
N
T
I
R
58
E
59
U
T
E
60
S
O
N
S
61
MF
A
T
E
62
A
63
T
E
I
N
64
A
P
E
S
65
I
C
O
N
66
S
H
E
E
T
67
MF
I
R
E
68
X
E
N
A
69
T
E
R
S
E
70
E
A
S
Y
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0901 ( 24,404 )
Across
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
Down
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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