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New York Times, Thursday, September 17, 2015

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4912/11/20111/3/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74962102
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.626140
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 33 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Timothy Polin notes:
I can't think of too much to say about this one. The concept grew out of a vague idea of using my initials and the word TEPEE to make ... read more

I can't think of too much to say about this one. The concept grew out of a vague idea of using my initials and the word TEPEE to make a sort of self-referential theme, as others have done.

David Steinberg got there first, however, so I tried to come up with a new way to exploit words that could be spelled phonetically with letters.

One word I regret not being able to include is XQQQ (EXCUSE). XQQQ YOU and WELL XQQQ ME would have been fun entries. The first wouldn't work in this layout though, because it would've had to go at 36A, and it takes a stouter heart than I've got to try to fill an open, double-themed area around three adjacent Qs.

My original grid actually had WELL XQQQ ME at the top. As you can imagine, the patch around those Qs was a little compromised, but it wouldn't have been anything to make solvers gnash their teeth over. Maybe just some light grinding. But after realizing I could, and probably should, set up the themers symmetrically so that there'd be a discernible pattern to the replaced words, I backed down and went for EXCISE instead.

I hope you enjoyed the puzzle. It's always nice when you're not nauseated and altogether strung out in the days before publication. As this one left me just slightly queasy, and only so on Tuesday night, it feels like progress. I await the torches and pitchforks!

Jeff Chen notes:
Great idea here, a single letter + a trio of another phonetically replacing a word. JESSE ONNN (Jesse Owens) was my favorite, and ... read more

Great idea here, a single letter + a trio of another phonetically replacing a word. JESSE ONNN (Jesse Owens) was my favorite, and PUBLIC IVVV (public Ivies) was neat too.

Read "The Book Thief" for the best Jesse ONNN story ever

They're actually all super fun, but those two stuck out for me, since they're ones that I didn't think of when I brainstormed this exact theme a few months ago. Luckily, it's already been accepted at another venue, but man oh man I started to sweat with that "dang, I got scooped!" feeling after uncovering SAAA OF ELIA ("Essays of Elia"). I thought I had gone through every one of the 26*26 combinations, so it's impressive that Tim caught two that I glossed right over.

Serves me right for trying to brainstorm crosswords while feeding my 10-month old.

Very impressive execution, especially given that there are six themers. Okay, two of them are relatively short — XIII TAX and THE EMM (excise tax and the Emmys) — but still, it's hard to work around so many themers. Tim does an outstanding job of working with parallel downs in his upper right and lower left corners. They're all great answers, LION TAMER and SOUR NOTES wonderful answers. And best yet, Tim gets those worked in with nary a gluey entry.

Well okay, AGE TEN is pretty arbitrary, so that does stick out for me as inelegant. I suppose there's a case to be made that it's a big milestone for kids to turn double digits. Hmm. Otherwise, a SNO here and an EXT there is inconsequential.

Something really cool about all those Vs in the lower right corner, too. Three extra Vs worked smoothly in was quite a bonus, making a total of six Vs elegantly packed into a tiny space.

Really strong work and a fun solve.

1
H
2
A
3
L
4
F
5
S
6
O
7
S
8
A
9
D
10
I
11
S
12
L
13
A
14
A
B
E
L
15
A
W
A
R
E
16
M
O
E
S
17
S
A
A
A
18
O
F
E
L
I
A
19
P
U
M
P
20
A
S
S
U
R
E
21
I
O
N
22
S
23
R
O
E
24
T
H
E
T
A
25
J
E
S
S
E
26
O
N
N
N
27
A
L
28
B
I
N
O
29
D
R
O
P
30
E
31
L
32
F
33
A
N
T
34
A
G
E
T
E
35
N
36
X
I
I
37
I
38
T
A
X
39
T
H
E
M
E
E
E
40
T
O
N
S
I
L
41
F
R
O
42
S
L
O
43
N
E
N
A
44
P
R
A
Y
45
E
46
R
47
A
T
T
T
M
48
U
S
I
C
49
V
A
50
L
51
V
52
E
53
R
A
U
54
O
N
E
S
55
G
A
V
E
I
N
56
O
M
N
57
I
58
P
U
B
59
L
I
C
I
V
V
V
60
M
E
E
K
61
I
D
E
A
L
62
N
E
R
O
63
A
R
S
E
64
N
O
E
N
D
65
G
R
E
Y
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0917 ( 24,054 )
Across
1
Almost a controlling interest : HALF
5
"More's the pity" : SOSAD
10
Spanish getaway locale : ISLA
14
Second major figure in the Bible alphabetically : ABEL
15
Clued in : AWARE
16
TV tavern named after its proprietor : MOES
17
Charles Lamb collection first published in 1823 : SAAAOFELIA
19
Question persistently : PUMP
20
Dispel the doubts of : ASSURE
21
They're never free of charge : IONS
23
New school? : ROE
24
First letter in "Thanatos" : THETA
25
Track star known as the Buckeye Bullet : JESSEONNN
27
Pink elephant, e.g. : ALBINO
29
Exhibit extreme exhaustion : DROP
30
Small, playful sort : ELF
33
Subterranean toiler : ANT
34
When many verge on adolescence : AGETEN
36
Duty on gasoline or tobacco : XIIITAX
39
Annual gala usually held in September : THEMEEE
40
Lump in the throat : TONSIL
41
Back : FRO
42
Highway caution : SLO
43
One-named German singer who was a one-hit wonder : NENA
44
Remote chance, informally : PRAYER
47
Prince and Journey output : ATTTMUSIC
49
Gas regulator : VALVE
53
Novelist Santha Rama ___ : RAU
54
Tip jar deposits : ONES
55
Cried "Uncle!" : GAVEIN
56
Upscale hotel chain : OMNI
58
Informal group that includes the Universities of California, Michigan and Virginia : PUBLICIVVV
60
Easily walked over : MEEK
61
Opposite of dystopian : IDEAL
62
Son of Agrippina : NERO
63
Oxford bottom : ARSE
64
Ceaselessly : NOEND
65
Sombre : GREY
Down
1
Goes after, as a task : HASAT
2
Leave red-faced : ABASH
3
Charter : LEASE
4
Mexican rolled tortilla dish : FLAUTA
5
Untagged? : SAFE
6
Put off paying : OWE
7
Worth noting : SALIENT
8
Melodious : ARIOSO
9
School heads : DEANS
10
Small, playful sort : IMP
11
Bad things to hit : SOURNOTES
12
Yellow garnish : LEMONPEEL
13
Resort near Snowmass : ASPEN
18
Viva voce : ORAL
22
Bit of swamp flora : SEDGE
25
Bit of black magic : JINX
26
City west of Provo Peak : OREM
28
False divinity : BAAL
30
No. on a business card : EXT
31
Whipper snapper? : LIONTAMER
32
Makes minuscule modifications in : FINETUNES
34
"Land ___!" : AHOY
35
Natal opening? : NEO
37
"___ that special?" : ISNT
38
Words from an Italian lover : TIAMO
39
All-___ (four-wheel-drive system on old Toyotas) : TRAC
41
Flying saucer : FRISBEE
44
Phony : PSEUDO
45
Emergency rescue, briefly : EVAC
46
Unhinged, say : RAVING
47
Something a bakery produces : AROMA
48
Detach, in a way : UNPIN
50
Wrench, essentially : LEVER
51
Opposite of "mourir" : VIVRE
52
Diplomat : ENVOY
55
Impart a false brilliance to : GILD
57
Adopted "South Park" sibling : IKE
59
Device-linking system, for short : LAN

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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