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New York Times, Thursday, September 22, 2016

Author:
Jeffrey Wechsler
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
207/17/19698/12/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0246710
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.581201
Jeffrey Wechsler

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QWX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Wechsler. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeffrey Wechsler notes:
The seed entry for this puzzle theme was DREI MARTINIS. I simply noticed the homophonic relationship of the word DRY to the German ... read more

The seed entry for this puzzle theme was DREI MARTINIS. I simply noticed the homophonic relationship of the word DRY to the German DREI, and took it from there. I'm glad that I could find enough foreign language numbers that really are extremely close (and occasionally, just about perfect) homophones to English words. For example, the French HUIT provides the initial H sound that most dictionaries indicate should be voiced for words starting with WH. (In my Webster's, the primary pronunciation of "wheat" starts with a HW sound, and the secondary pronunciation starts with just the W sound.)

I'm anticipating some commentary on the inclusion of the foreign language numbers DIECI (at 6-Down) and EIN (at 36-Across) in the grid. There seems to exist a certain notion of grid purity, suggesting that words relating to the theme (or even letter combinations) should be purged entirely from the fill. Otherwise, a degree of "inelegance" intrudes. I can understand that to some extent, but I don't see it as compelling in all cases. In fact, I mentioned to Will that I could probably get rid of DIECI if necessary. But this was apparently not a problem, and I'm happy to be on the same side with Will on this. As for "EIN Heldenleben", the translation is "A Hero's Life", so one can argue that this EIN is not a number, but an indefinite article.

And finally, I was delighted that my clue for 1-Across was accepted! I hope solvers find the puzzle enjoyable.

Jeff Chen notes:
Homophones of foreign numbers making kooky phrases. The chemistry nerd in me really enjoyed TRES ELEMENTS, and I liked DREI MARTINIS ... read more

Homophones of foreign numbers making kooky phrases. The chemistry nerd in me really enjoyed TRES ELEMENTS, and I liked DREI MARTINIS (DREI = German for three) a lot, too. I've seen a lot of foreign number crosswords, but this is a new take on it. I enjoyed it.

I was so curious to see what pattern would emerge from the themers. Would it be a numerical progression? (7, 3, 6, 3, 8 … no.) One number from each of five major languages? (French, German, German, Spanish, French … no.) It looks as though Jeffrey chose based on what would work with crossword symmetry and in-the-language base phrases. That's perfectly fine, but I sure would have loved some extra element to tighten up the theme or make it feel less random.

Neat to see LIAM NEESON's full name. I had a more ambivalent feeling about the TECH SECTOR. I invest money for friends and family (passive indexing / asset allocation, nothing fancy), and TECH SECTOR is definitely in use. I think "tech stocks" is a more common term, though, what with that term being thrown around all the time on MSNBC. And the clue … [Part of the Dow] didn't seem quite right. Yes, the Dow Jones Industrial Average does have some tech companies in it, but there's no "tech sector" component to it. Why not clue TECH SECTOR to the NASDAQ, which houses a much higher percentage of tech stocks?

There were only a few gluey bits in the grid, really just EVENER ("more even," yeah?) making me wince. I would have said it was a pretty nicely put-together grid, but DIECI really stuck in my craw. First, 10 in Italian isn't something I see that often. More importantly, it muddies the theme for me. I kept thinking maybe it tied together the themers somehow? There's no rule against having an extra foreign number as fill when your theme is all about foreign numbers--I guess I fall on the other side of the fence from Jeffrey and Will--but it strikes me as extremely inelegant.

So, a fun twist on foreign numbers, but it felt like there was a lot of potential left on the table.

Jim Horne notes:

Pronouncing each number in the appropriate language makes: set pieces, dry martini, sex therapist, trace elements, wheat fields.

1
J
2
O
3
Y
4
C
5
E
6
D
7
O
8
T
9
E
10
O
11
L
12
G
13
A
14
O
D
I
U
M
15
I
C
O
N
16
B
I
A
S
17
S
E
P
T
P
18
I
E
C
E
S
19
T
A
S
K
20
E
S
S
21
I
N
C
A
22
S
A
M
23
D
R
E
I
M
24
A
25
R
T
I
N
26
I
27
S
28
R
29
E
30
T
I
E
31
F
A
R
N
E
S
E
32
E
V
E
S
33
S
34
T
35
R
I
D
E
36
E
I
N
37
S
E
C
H
38
S
T
H
E
R
A
P
39
I
S
T
S
40
U
N
H
41
A
I
R
I
E
R
42
R
O
M
E
43
L
E
S
44
O
T
H
O
45
S
I
N
E
S
46
T
R
E
S
E
L
E
47
M
48
E
49
N
T
S
50
C
C
S
51
T
A
S
E
52
F
53
E
54
Y
55
Z
56
E
T
A
57
H
58
U
I
T
F
I
59
E
L
D
S
60
O
D
O
R
61
U
S
D
A
62
N
O
O
N
E
63
O
U
R
S
64
M
E
A
T
65
S
E
G
A
R
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0922 ( 24,425 )
Across
1
Writer whose wife said he's a "genius, but what a dirty mind he has" : JOYCE
6
Act the grandparent, perhaps : DOTE
10
Batman villain known as "Queen of the Cossacks" : OLGA
14
Deep dislike : ODIUM
15
Something to mouse over : ICON
16
A.C.L.U. target : BIAS
17
A number of stage items in a French play? : SEPTPIECES
19
What you might be taken to : TASK
20
It's twisted : ESS
21
With 5-Down, creator of 24,000+ miles of road before 1600 : INCA
22
"The West Wing" speechwriter : SAM
23
A number of cocktails in Berlin? : DREIMARTINIS
28
Secure, as loosened shoelaces : RETIE
31
Palazzo ___, architectural gem of the Renaissance : FARNESE
32
Typical after-work times, for short : EVES
33
Take big steps : STRIDE
36
Strauss's "___ Heldenleben" : EIN
37
A number of Freudians in Freiburg? : SECHSTHERAPISTS
40
The Wildcats of the N.C.A.A., for short : UNH
41
Less stuffy : AIRIER
42
Olympics host after Melbourne : ROME
43
Its capital is Maseru : LESOTHO
45
Trig functions : SINES
46
A number of chemical rarities in Madrid? : TRESELEMENTS
50
IV measures : CCS
51
Shock, in a way : TASE
52
Tina who won a Mark Twain Prize for American Humor : FEY
55
Epsilon follower : ZETA
57
A number of grain-producing sites in Normandy? : HUITFIELDS
60
Dumpster attribute, often : ODOR
61
Org. inspecting 64-Across : USDA
62
Who has won more Olympic medals than Michael Phelps : NOONE
63
Willa Cather's "One of ___" : OURS
64
Inspection target of the 61-Across : MEAT
65
E. C. ___, creator of Popeye : SEGAR
Down
1
"No way" man : JOSE
2
___ of Solomon : ODES
3
Athlete's sudden loss of ability, informally : YIPS
4
Percentage : CUT
5
See 21-Across : EMPIRE
6
Italian ten : DIECI
7
Philosopher with a razor : OCCAM
8
Sole end? : TOE
9
Chekov, e.g., on "Star Trek": Abbr. : ENS
10
Secure : OBTAIN
11
Voicer of Aslan in "The Chronicles of Narnia" : LIAMNEESON
12
Bloviation : GAS
13
Part of D.A.D.T. : ASK
18
Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 ___ major : INE
22
Throat ailment, briefly : STREP
23
Provide the juicy bits : DISH
24
Lit : AFIRE
25
Range of notice : RADAR
26
Insecure person's query : ISITME
27
Bad decision makers may have lost theirs : SENSES
28
Consequence : RESULT
29
Less bumpy : EVENER
30
Part of the Dow : TECHSECTOR
33
Big name in chain saws : STIHL
34
Difficult struggle : THROE
35
Portuguese king : REI
38
Provides enough for : SATES
39
Flower whose name means "rainbow" : IRIS
44
Star-filled night : OSCARS
45
Porter supporters? : STEINS
47
Summit on Crete where Zeus was born : MTIDA
48
Irk : EATAT
49
Agcy. that funds major research : NSF
52
Whip : FLOG
53
Ferber who wrote "Giant" : EDNA
54
French/Belgian river : YSER
55
Bronx attraction : ZOO
56
Common URL ending : EDU
57
Run smoothly : HUM
58
Operate : USE
59
Job listing inits. : EOE

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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