It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker. Please consider supporting our site by purchasing an account.

New York Times, Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel and Don Gagliardo
Editor: Will Shortz
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5011/13/201212/5/201718
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
517145342
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Don Gagliardo
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1211/13/20129/19/201712
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3151200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58131

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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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
2
E
3
R
4
I
5
R
6
E
7
D
8
O
9
S
10
E
11
S
12
T
13
P
14
B
E
E
F
15
I
M
E
A
S
Y
16
W
E
E
17
I
R
I
S
18
H
C
O
F
F
E
E
19
E
N
T
20
R
I
G
21
E
E
R
O
22
B
23
E
E
N
E
24
D
E
N
25
S
E
26
Y
E
27
S
28
M
A
S
T
E
R
29
U
P
30
N
31
H
E
L
O
T
S
32
E
33
C
34
C
E
35
O
36
R
37
D
E
A
L
38
A
S
39
H
40
L
A
O
S
41
H
O
S
E
D
42
P
L
E
A
43
M
M
M
44
S
E
L
L
T
O
45
O
K
E
D
46
B
E
47
E
T
L
E
48
W
49
A
G
50
P
R
O
S
E
P
O
51
E
52
M
53
F
O
54
R
55
A
56
Y
57
R
I
F
L
E
58
L
O
59
S
T
60
A
T
E
61
E
D
A
62
P
63
O
64
L
L
I
N
A
65
T
I
O
N
66
E
G
G
67
E
L
O
I
S
E
68
I
S
N
T
69
N
E
E
70
D
E
L
E
T
E
71
P
E
E
L
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0917 ( 23,689 )
Across Down
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
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.

Found bugs or have suggestions?