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New York Times, Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel and Don Gagliardo
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6411/13/20126/26/201919
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
620187472
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1211/13/20129/19/201712
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3151200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58131
Don Gagliardo

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQVXZ} This is puzzle # 13 for Ms. Burnikel. This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Gagliardo. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
C.C.: I'd like to share the first email exchanges I had with Don regarding this theme: C.C.: 'Don, can we put BEE? words on top ... read more

C.C.:

I'd like to share the first email exchanges I had with Don regarding this theme:

C.C.: "Don, can we put BEE? words on top of various flowers and have POLLINATION as title?

Don: "You are too funny. Are we talking weekday or Sunday puzzle? Better yet, find flowers that can be masked, like ASTER in EASTER, etc. This may require circles. I suppose we should look at a list of flowers first to see if that is possible. There is IRIS in IRISH, ROSE in PROSE. Maybe that is all we need. I don't think we can do a big puzzle with this theme. Having three flowers embedded with BEE words above and POLLINATION in the grid is enough. Want to give this a try? ..."

This is how Don rolls, always improving on a simple idea I have and making things happen.

DON:

I will add that there seems to be a synergy to collaborating on an idea. Most likely, neither of us would have come up with this idea, but by throwing it around, we see things that we otherwise would not see.

Jeff Chen notes:
Great concept today, a neat a-ha moment upon reaching POLLINATION. After seeing IRIS and ASTER, I had a ho-hum feeling, expecting some ... read more

Great concept today, a neat a-ha moment upon reaching POLLINATION. After seeing IRIS and ASTER, I had a ho-hum feeling, expecting some sort of "hidden flowers" revealer. But to go back and see BEEs atop the flowers was really cool. I love being surprised by a crossword, and that was a delightful discovery.

It's tricky to execute this type of "X atop Y" type of theme, as your difficulty factor goes up by a factor of maybe 1.5. Check out where EYEBALL is — see how constrained that entry is? Fixing two letters within one entry makes things tough, fixing three letters takes away a lot of flexibility. Luckily, E, B, and A are fairly common letters, and that ??EBA?? does allow some options like ICEBATH, IKEBANA, CUE BALL, etc. Nice way to work through a tough section chock full of constraints.

The constraints do cause some difficulty in the north and south regions, though. A 6x3 region is already difficult — there's a reason why most constructors stay away from wide north and south regions like this — and when you constrain things yet more, you end up with combinations like REDOSE and SSE. Either in isolation can be overlooked; crossing each other is not great. I can more easily overlook a lone SNEE in the south, for example.

Finally, I appreciate C.C. and Don's efforts in giving us good long fill. With a highly-constrained theme like this, I wouldn't expect more than two pieces of long fill. But check out the parallel long downs in the NE and SW. I love SWEET TALK as an entry, and getting TENNESSEE isn't too shabby. Usually these parallel long downs make the surrounding fill tough to get clean. But I like everything around that region. People might complain about ENTs, but when you help the Fellowship of the Ring conquer the very embodiment of evil, I think you're entitled to a little crossword love.

1
T
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E
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I
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R
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E
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D
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O
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S
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B
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W
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H
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F
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B
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N
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H
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H
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H
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P
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M
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O
K
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W
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A
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P
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M
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F
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A
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Y
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L
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N
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D
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P
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L
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0917 ( 23,689 )

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Across
1
Hatcher who was a Bond girl : TERI
5
Medicate again : REDOSE
11
Letters at Indy : STP
14
Complaint : BEEF
15
Words from the agreeable : IMEASY
16
Like early morning hours : WEE
17
Drink made with Jameson, maybe : IRISHCOFFEE
19
"The Lord of the Rings" creature : ENT
20
Fix : RIG
21
Eric, in Finland : EERO
22
Geoffrey of fashion : BEENE
24
Dumb as a box of rocks : DENSE
26
Genie's reply : YESMASTER
29
Original "Veronica Mars" airer : UPN
31
Spartan serfs : HELOTS
32
"Behold," to Brutus : ECCE
35
Tough time : ORDEAL
38
Mountain ___ : ASH
40
Landlocked land : LAOS
41
Cheated, slangily : HOSED
42
"S O S!," e.g. : PLEA
43
"Yummy!" : MMM
44
Supply with goods : SELLTO
45
Rubber-stamped : OKED
46
Circus clown car, often : BEETLE
48
Witty sort : WAG
50
Literary hybrid : PROSEPOEM
53
Raid : FORAY
57
Biathlete's weapon : RIFLE
58
Clueless : LOST
60
Absorbed, as a loss : ATE
61
Author LeShan : EDA
62
Job done by the insects seen above the circled words in 17-, 26- and 50-Across : POLLINATION
66
Shape of Mork's spacecraft on "Mork & Mindy" : EGG
67
Plaza Hotel girl : ELOISE
68
"Freedom ___ free" : ISNT
69
Bridal bio word : NEE
70
Backspace over : DELETE
71
Bare it all : PEEL
Down
1
Car in the Beach Boys' "Fun, Fun, Fun" : TBIRD
2
Like "Dark Shadows" episodes : EERIE
3
Hold the scepter : REIGN
4
Hypotheticals : IFS
5
Bed of ___ : RICE
6
Atlanta university : EMORY
7
Friday's creator : DEFOE
8
Neanderthal : OAF
9
About 5:00, on a compass : SSE
10
Look over, informally : EYEBALL
11
Cajole : SWEETTALK
12
Home of Fort Donelson National Battlefield : TENNESSEE
13
One of Hollywood's Farrelly brothers : PETER
18
Dickens's scheming clerk : HEEP
23
"___ Beso" : ESO
25
Seeks damages : SUES
27
Word before cake or music : SHEET
28
Place for a lark : MEADOW
30
Totally useless : NOHELP
32
Horror film street : ELM
33
Where Stephen Hawking and Charles Darwin went to school : CAMBRIDGE
34
Reach adulthood : COMEOFAGE
36
Loggers' contest : ROLEO
37
Internet access option : DSL
39
Snookered : HAD
42
Okefenokee possum : POGO
44
Like hot tea : STEEPED
47
Subj. for a future bilingual : ESL
49
Mennen shaving product : AFTA
50
Congratulate oneself for achievement : PREEN
51
"Dallas" matriarch : ELLIE
52
Like a well-prepared turkey : MOIST
54
Poker ploy : RAISE
55
Set things straight, in a way : ATONE
56
Gender-bending role for Barbra Streisand : YENTL
59
Old dagger : SNEE
63
"___ ELO" (1976 album) : OLE
64
[That cracks me up] : LOL
65
Line on a restaurant bill : TIP

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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