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New York Times, Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
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620187472
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1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJVXZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes:
I sifted through all the English words with Chinese roots and came up with the current set. I avoided words with obvious Chinese ties ... read more

I sifted through all the English words with Chinese roots and came up with the current set. I avoided words with obvious Chinese ties like Mahjong or Feng shui. I also shunned words with controversial origins like Tofu or Ramen.

I found it tricky to work with theme entries of short length. I'm so used to the conventional grids with 4 or 5 long theme entries.

Will Shortz notes:
What I like about this puzzle is the unusual nature of the theme. There are no theme answers longer than seven letters. The ... read more

What I like about this puzzle is the unusual nature of the theme. There are no theme answers longer than seven letters. The information in the theme makes you go "huh, I didn't know that," which is nice.

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun change of pace from C.C. today. She has an interesting story, growing up in China and only starting crosswords back in 2008. Her ... read more

Fun change of pace from C.C. today. She has an interesting story, growing up in China and only starting crosswords back in 2008. Her blog, L.A. Times Crossword Corner, covers the LA Times puzzle on a daily basis. I started doing crosswords back in 2008 as well, but can't imagine doing them in my non-primary language. Very impressive!

Anytime a theme uses shorter theme entries (seven letters or less), it increases the difficulty level for the construction. This is because the word count maximum of 78 stays the same, so the rest of the surrounding fill must be longer than usual. Note the stacks of 7s in the four corners, the 7s in the middle, and ARTICHOKE in the middle. It makes for a quasi-themeless type of filling challenge, incorporating many more seven letter words than usual. On the whole the fill is pretty good, although DCCC and QID show how difficult it can be to get those wide-open corners to work.

Finally, it would have been nice for the theme answers to stand out a bit more, perhaps by isolating them into five rows? That would have made for a extremely challenging construction (and may have called for different themers), but would have made it easier to see afterward which were the words of Chinese origin. As it is, SILK and CHOW blend into the puzzle a little too well (I've highlighted them in the grid so they stand out better). Typically Will likes the theme answers to "pop" and for good reason, but sometimes it just isn't possible. Today's puzzle reasonably trades off "theme pop" for the fact that I found it interesting to learn where these common words came from. Nice work from C.C.

1
K
2
U
3
M
4
Q
5
U
6
A
7
T
8
T
9
Y
10
P
11
H
12
O
13
O
14
N
15
A
T
E
I
N
T
O
16
H
O
R
M
O
N
E
17
L
E
T
D
O
W
N
18
E
D
A
S
N
E
R
19
E
R
A
20
S
T
E
21
A
M
E
D
22
A
G
O
23
S
I
L
24
K
25
R
E
L
A
26
Y
27
S
28
A
29
I
30
N
T
S
31
O
32
A
33
T
34
S
35
H
36
Y
U
N
D
A
I
37
K
38
O
W
T
O
W
39
A
A
A
40
K
E
T
C
41
H
U
P
42
O
D
E
43
G
U
N
44
G
H
O
45
H
O
R
A
46
T
I
O
47
E
L
K
O
48
B
O
T
T
L
E
49
B
50
A
51
R
A
K
52
C
53
H
54
O
55
W
56
E
57
B
58
B
59
B
O
R
E
60
D
61
O
62
M
63
I
M
O
64
M
A
R
65
C
O
N
I
66
C
H
A
67
T
T
E
R
68
A
L
A
D
D
I
N
69
C
O
L
U
M
N
S
70
G
I
N
S
E
N
G
71
C
H
I
N
E
S
E
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 0910 ( 23,317 )

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Across
1
*Relative of an orange : KUMQUAT
8
*Tropical storm : TYPHOON
15
Eroded : ATEINTO
16
Certain steroid : HORMONE
17
Disappointment : LETDOWN
18
"The Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-star : EDASNER
19
Procter & Gamble's first liquid laundry detergent : ERA
20
Plenty ticked off : STEAMED
22
Back in history : AGO
23
*Lingerie material : SILK
25
Race with lots of passing : RELAY
27
New Orleans pro team : SAINTS
31
Feeling one's ___ : OATS
35
Sonata maker : HYUNDAI
37
*Act deferentially : KOWTOW
39
Best rating at Moody's : AAA
40
*French fries topper : KETCHUP
42
Dedicated verse : ODE
43
*Like an eager beaver : GUNGHO
45
Friend of Hamlet : HORATIO
47
City in Nevada : ELKO
48
Alcoholic's recourse : BOTTLE
49
Former Israeli P.M. Ehud : BARAK
52
*Food, slangily : CHOW
56
Decline : EBB
59
The blahs : BOREDOM
63
"If you ask me," in blog comments : IMO
64
Radio pioneer : MARCONI
66
Surveillance pickup : CHATTER
68
Genie's master : ALADDIN
69
Op-ed pieces : COLUMNS
70
*Root used in some energy drinks : GINSENG
71
Language that's the source of the words answered by this puzzle's starred clues : CHINESE
Down
1
Nutrient-rich cabbages : KALES
2
Organs men don't have : UTERI
3
Lead, for one : METAL
4
Four times a day, in an Rx : QID
5
Some, in Santiago : UNOS
6
No. in chemistry : ATWT
7
Sound of music : TONE
8
Dominant ideas : THEMES
9
Song in the Alps : YODEL
10
Often-counterfeited luxury brand : PRADA
11
___ Pinafore : HMS
12
Wife of Charlie Chaplin : OONA
13
Universal donor's type, informally : ONEG
14
Villain in the 2009 "Star Trek" film : NERO
21
Plant with a heart : ARTICHOKE
24
The Wildcats of the Big 12 Conf. : KSU
26
"That hurt!" : YOW
28
Egyptian symbol of life : ANKH
29
Thought: Prefix : IDEO
30
___ King Cole : NAT
32
Yours, in Paris : ATOI
33
Foofaraw : TODO
34
Neighbor of Nor. and Fin. : SWE
35
Major swag : HAUL
36
Jerk hard : YANK
37
Actor Russell : KURT
38
October gem : OPAL
39
What the number of birthday candles indicates : AGE
41
Sexy : HOT
44
Big bunch : GOB
46
Sleuth, in slang : TEC
48
Making public : BARING
50
Cabin or cottage : ABODE
51
1998 De Niro crime thriller : RONIN
53
Vegas request : HITME
54
Signs : OMENS
55
In decline : WORSE
56
Slate, e.g. : EMAG
57
Indonesian tourist mecca : BALI
58
Fiber-rich food : BRAN
60
800, in old Rome : DCCC
61
"I know! I know!" : OHOH
62
Landlocked African land : MALI
65
Some B&N wares : CDS
67
Large vat : TUN

Answer summary:

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