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New York Times, Thursday, September 2, 2010

Author:
Patrick Blindauer and Andrea Carla Michaels
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
667/21/20054/15/201922
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
14661317118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59262
Patrick Blindauer
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
656/12/20003/25/201937
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74592200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63217
Andrea Carla Michaels

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 80, Blocks: 42 Missing: {KQUXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 40 for Mr. Blindauer. This is puzzle # 23 for Ms. Michaels. NYT links: Across Lite
Constructor notes:

ANDREA:

This was my first Thurs and the most complicated idea I had ever had. I wanted all the words in the grid to be OTHER words if read backwards. I envisioned three sets of clues: Across, Down and Backwards. There is no way I could make this grid on my own, so I went to the genius aka Patrick Blindauer. We bandied about how we could have a reveal in the grid itself. Either a phrase like TO AND FRO, BACK AND FORTH. Both he and Will felt it would be too easy to have a third set of clues.

Then Patrick managed to create a grid with the phrase EVERY ACROSS / ANSWER READS FROM / RIGHT TO LEFT (written from right to left). I didn't originally want something that looked like gobbledygook in the grid, but there was no denying this was an incredible solution and that it broke into three balanced phrases that could be read backward was breathtaking. One of the early drafts had several palindromes that I suggested were "cheating" which was a poor choice of words, which caused a lot of stress between us, but Patrick managed to get rid of most of them. (I bring this up not to tell tales out of school but to be honest about the difficulty of collaborating at times. Especially if one person feels they have done the lion's share of work.)

This is a delicate topic with partnerships. My personal feeling is whoever comes up with the idea should get full and equal credit/money, whereas Will told me a good idea could come from anywhere and doesn't necessarily deserve credit. Needless to say, I don't agree. I'd rather be extra generous with credit as we have so little else. I had been a writer in Hollywood for many years and was well aware of the heartbreak, rifts and lawsuits not giving proper credit can bring. We also didn't want partials that couldn't stand alone without a clue, like INOR even though it could be clued as Rice-a-___, but INOR when read left-to-right, out of context wouldn't stand on its own, so we were sensitive to that as there would be only the clues for the words going backwards, but would still look like good words read from left to right.

My fear was also when people caught on what was happening, they would have to erase or start completely over or have a big mess if solving with pen...and it was the first time ever I worried about pissing off solvers! But am super proud of the concept and the result.

Jim Horne notes:

Each across answer has to be entered into the grid backwards. Remarkably, all the across entries except for the three long ones are legitimate crossword answers in either direction.

The author Adam Langer blogged this puzzle for Wordplay.

1
S
2
L
3
E
4
E
5
P
6
P
7
O
8
L
9
S
10
O
11
R
12
G
13
P
A
C
E
R
14
A
S
T
I
15
A
N
T
E
16
A
L
O
N
E
17
T
I
D
E
18
G
I
R
O
19
M
A
L
20
S
21
I
R
E
22
F
A
C
E
D
23
S
S
E
24
S
S
O
R
25
C
26
A
Y
R
E
V
E
27
L
E
O
N
28
H
S
I
29
R
30
O
31
T
O
R
32
S
33
P
O
T
34
S
35
L
36
A
37
G
38
M
O
R
F
S
39
D
A
E
R
R
40
E
W
S
N
A
41
S
P
I
T
42
E
I
R
E
43
M
A
D
A
M
44
D
E
N
45
O
46
M
E
N
47
T
48
F
49
E
50
L
O
T
T
51
H
G
I
R
52
N
53
O
54
B
55
A
L
L
I
N
56
O
R
C
A
57
O
R
E
58
D
O
O
R
59
T
60
A
M
A
61
L
62
O
R
N
E
63
A
J
A
R
64
S
T
E
P
65
D
A
M
O
N
66
S
O
N
67
P
O
O
H
68
S
T
A
T
E
© 2010, The New York TimesNo. 0902 ( 22,213 )
Across
1
Skins : PEELS
6
It's hardly haute cuisine : SLOP
10
Miracle-___ : GRO
13
Go over again : RECAP
14
"___ girl!" : ITSA
15
Active volcano near Messina : ETNA
16
___ Gay : ENOLA
17
Move text around : EDIT
18
Not a dupe: Abbr. : ORIG
19
On the ___ : LAM
20
Goddess of discord : ERIS
22
Late-night beverage : DECAF
23
Season opener? : ESS
24
Start of instructions for solving this puzzle : EVERYACROSS
27
Winter air : NOEL
28
Relative of -esque : ISH
29
Helicopter part : ROTOR
32
A number one : TOPS
34
Misses : GALS
38
Instructions, part 2 : ANSWERREADSFROM
41
Aids for police detectives : TIPS
42
Lake bordered by four states : ERIE
43
Female, formally : MADAM
44
Dashiell Hammett hero ___ Beaumont : NED
45
Nautilus leader : NEMO
47
End of the instructions : RIGHTTOLEFT
52
Voyage kickoff? : BON
55
Brand of wafers : NILLA
56
Height: Prefix : ACRO
57
Suffix with ranch : ERO
58
Cross : ROOD
59
Word from a Latin lover? : AMAT
61
Matriculate : ENROL
63
The Blue ___ (Hank Azaria's "Mystery Men" role) : RAJA
64
Penthouse pinups : PETS
65
Rover : NOMAD
66
Figs. : NOS
67
Circus trainer's prop : HOOP
68
Divisions politiques : ETATS
Down
1
Bombards with e-junk : SPAMS
2
Lots of "Deck the Halls" : LALAS
3
Professeur's place : ECOLE
4
Poet's time of day : EEN
5
Ones whose work is decreasing? : PRESSERS
6
Denis, to France : PATRONSAINT
7
Flexible weaving material : OSIER
8
British co. : LTD
9
"Sprechen ___ Deutsch?" : SIE
10
Not neat : ONICE
11
Prelate's title: Abbr. : RTREV
12
All-natural sparkler : GEODE
15
John who co-starred in "Sands of Iwo Jima" : AGAR
21
Prefix with metric : ISO
22
"This might be of interest," on a memo : FYI
25
Stage : CHOREOGRAPH
26
College sci. class : ASTR
27
Overhead cost for an artist? : LOFT
29
Bldg. units : RMS
30
"Alley ___!" : OOP
31
Angular prefix : TRI
33
___ curiam (like some court rulings) : PER
34
Constellation next to the Dragon, with "the" : SWAN
35
Much-discussed initials of a 1967 Beatles song : LSD
36
Bibliographic suffix : ANA
37
Pinup feature : GAM
39
It bugs bugs : DEET
40
Green rocks : EMERALDS
44
Opposite of remove : DON
46
Bit of A/V equipment : MIC
47
Performance fanfares : TADAS
48
1988 Olympic track star, informally : FLOJO
49
Online financial services company : ELOAN
50
One way to N.Y.C.'s Penn Sta. : LIRR
51
Prefix with -path : HOMEO
52
Bellini opera : NORMA
53
Words after "whether" : ORNOT
54
Designer Geoffrey : BEENE
59
Abbr. on a cough syrup bottle : TSP
60
___ Z : ATO
62
Kind of bran : OAT

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?