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New York Times, Thursday, September 1, 2016

Author:
Ben Tausig
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
99/8/20059/1/20162
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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
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S
11
L
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O
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G
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A
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V
A
15
E
S
P
N
U
16
T
O
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O
17
G
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E
K
18
S
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U
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A
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O
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W
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N
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W
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G
E
24
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N
L
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U
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K
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S
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28
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N
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P
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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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36
K
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G
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D
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F
L
U
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40
D
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D
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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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U
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Q
U
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Y
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U
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MF
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A
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A
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MF
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70
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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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