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New York Times, Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Author:
Don Gagliardo and Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1211/13/20129/19/201712
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3151200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58131
Don Gagliardo
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6511/13/20129/2/201919
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
621187472
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 35 Missing: {JQXYZ} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Gagliardo. This is puzzle # 47 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
C.C.: Don came up with the idea. We settled down on our current approach after explored a few other options. This puzzle was accepted ... read more

C.C.: Don came up with the idea. We settled down on our current approach after explored a few other options. This puzzle was accepted in July 2016. Our theme reveal clue did not specify G/H/W.

DON: It was quite a while ago, so the exchanges with Zhouqin are foggy. But we had a few e-mails to go by. This puzzle started out as something else. We considered making a puzzle where all the silent letters are missing. That seemed overwhelming for a number of different reasons, but in the process, one of us noticed a phrase where the silent letters were the same in each word of a phrase. That seemed interesting, so we went with it.

Silent letters are tricky, because people can interpret them differently as to what is really silent. We felt lucky enough to come up with three answers that worked. We had other possibilities, but answer length and uncertainty limited our choices.

Jeff Chen notes:
There's a brilliant idea here, SILENT PARTNER referring to two-word phrases where both words contain the same silent letter. Neat ... read more

There's a brilliant idea here, SILENT PARTNER referring to two-word phrases where both words contain the same silent letter. Neat finds — my favorite was GENGHIS KHAN, as my old Ultimate Frisbee team (who recently went to the city league summer league finals, woop woop!) is named Genghis Khan Wild (get it?).

There have been a lot of plays on silent letters, a SILENT NIGHT puzzle one of my favorites, but I can't remember this particular implementation. I wished I had thought of it, gosh darn it! ... once I understood it.

I so badly wished it had been SILENT PARTNERS, plural. The clue for SILENT PARTNER was so convoluted that I didn't get it, even after reading it a few times. It would have been so much better if it had read [… and what G, H, W are …] for SILENT PARTNERS. Seemingly small change, but it would have made all the difference in the world for me.

Some nice bonuses, not a surprise in a Gagliardo / Burnikel offering. DR LAURA, SO AND SO, TAKE TEN, PORSCHE, APACHES, IRON AGE — fantastic use of the mid-length slots.

DOG MEAT … I hitched on this one. My western bias is showing for sure, but I'm not sure I'd put this entry into one of my own puzzles. Should it pass the breakfast test? I'm not sure, but if it elicited an icky reaction from this dog-lover, I imagine it could do the same for many others.

A couple of blips in the fill, GORSE, EDS, HOS, ORO, SKEE, SNO. All in all, too much for my taste, but I can see how other constructors would find these as acceptable prices to pay for all the great bonus entries like IRON AGE plus the aforementioned. Given that IDENTIKIT and ON ONE KNEE didn't do that much for me, I would have preferred focusing on all those great seven-letter entries and getting a smoother grid.

Fantastic idea, wish I had thought of it. It would have been a theme of the year if it had used the plural SILENT PARTNERS.

1
A
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D
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D
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S
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O
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M
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I
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T
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H
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O
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P
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P
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15
F
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A
N
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A
L
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F
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G
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C
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H
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G
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H
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E
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N
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D
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B
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K
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V
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M
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G
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W
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H
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A
K
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P
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H
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L
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P
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L
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S
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0919 ( 24,787 )
Across
1
Tacks on : ADDS
5
Not include : OMIT
9
Had fingers crossed : HOPED
14
Front of a freighter : PROW
15
Duffer's warning : FORE
16
+ end on an electrolytic cell : ANODE
17
Birdbath organism : ALGA
18
Bushy dos : FROS
19
Vegetation along a British golf course : GORSE
20
Yard displays at election time : CAMPAIGNSIGNS
23
Color tone : HUE
24
Org. for the Big East, Big South and Big 12 : NCAA
25
Family tree members : NIECES
28
Geologist's division : ERA
29
Mongol Empire founder : GENGHISKHAN
31
"Gymnopédies" composer Erik : SATIE
33
Geologist's division : EON
34
Claudius's successor : NERO
35
Small amount : DRIB
38
___-Ball : SKEE
40
Yea or nay : VOTE
43
Goat's bleat : MAA
45
Stops playing : RESTS
49
"Nope, guess again" : WRONGANSWER
53
Cracklin' ___ Bran : OAT
54
Susan who wrote "In America" : SONTAG
55
U.S. city whose name looks oxymoronic : HILO
56
Lead-in to an alias : AKA
57
Nonactive member of a firm ... or what G, H and W each have in 20-, 29- and 49-Across? : SILENTPARTNER
60
Sharp increase : SPIKE
62
Burnett of CNN : ERIN
63
It'll give you a clear picture : HDTV
64
K. T. of country music : OSLIN
65
Offer mortgages : LEND
66
"That makes sense" : ISEE
67
Trattoria course : PASTA
68
Staying power, informally : LEGS
69
George Foreman Jr., George Foreman III, George Foreman IV, etc. : SONS
Down
1
Army fliers since 1984 : APACHES
2
Advice-giver on SiriusXM : DRLAURA
3
Serving in Asia that's taboo in the West : DOGMEAT
4
Exchange : SWAP
5
Setting for "Dilbert" : OFFICE
6
New York's ___ Library : MORGAN
7
Period in Europe starting around 1100 B.C. : IRONAGE
8
"___ of the D'Urbervilles" : TESS
9
Sheep dish popular in Scotland : HAGGIS
10
Preparing to propose, by tradition : ONONEKNEE
11
Boxster maker : PORSCHE
12
Mag. staffers : EDS
13
Actor Billy ___ Williams : DEE
21
Ire : ANGER
22
Unerasably, say : ININK
26
Body part that some people wiggle : EAR
27
___ Balls (snack food) : SNO
30
Sounds from the Jolly Green Giant : HOS
32
Aid in producing a suspect's picture : IDENTIKIT
36
Picture : IMAGE
37
Test ___ (treaty subject) : BAN
39
Blunder : ERROR
40
Bugs on the road? : VWS
41
Medalla de ___ (first-place award in Mexico) : ORO
42
Painful things to have removed : TONSILS
44
Source of wood for baseball bats : ASHTREE
46
Scoundrel : SOANDSO
47
Break during rehearsal, say : TAKETEN
48
Doesn't eat for a long while : STARVES
50
Main ore of lead : GALENA
51
Erasing, as a hard drive : WIPING
52
African antelopes : ELANDS
58
"Little" Dickens girl : NELL
59
"___ is the life!" : THIS
60
Soak up : SOP
61
Smokey Bear was in an early one, for short : PSA

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?