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Puzzle of the Week

New York Times, Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Author: Joy Behar and Lynn Lempel
Editor: Will Shortz
Joy Behar
TotalDebutCollabs
19/26/20171
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0010000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.71000
Lynn Lempel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
7912/9/19799/26/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
654132130
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.610712

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQV} Spans: 1 This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Behar This is puzzle # 79 for Ms. Lempel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: CELEBRITY CROSSWORD
To mark the 75th anniversary of the New York Times crossword, which debuted in 1942, we are publishing a series of puzzles co-created by famous people who solve the Times crossword, working together with regular Times puzzle contributors.
This collaboration is by the comedian and television personality Joy Behar, a co-host of ABC's "The View," working together with Lynn Lempel, of Daytona Beach, Fla. This is Ms. Lempel's 79th crossword for The Times.
The celebrity collaborations will continue periodically through the year.
More information about the making of today's puzzle appears in the Times's daily crossword column (nytimes.com/column/wordplay).
Constructor notes: LYNN: This collaboration was something of a blind date set up by Will, and it was all done via email. We both decided from Day One ... more
Constructor notes:

LYNN: This collaboration was something of a blind date set up by Will, and it was all done via email. We both decided from Day One that the theme would be comedians, but it took a while to get from there to this puzzle. At first we thought of using names like (Lucille) BALL, (Bob) HOPE, and (Chris) ROCK that could be used in everyday phrases—and we batted around some possibilities. We also considered a few ideas that included revealers.

But then, among ideas for those themes, Joy included PRYOR COMMITMENT … and I knew immediately that she'd come up with something different and perfect. She'd found our theme angle for sure, and her example was even 15 letters for a terrific central grid-spanner. After emailing back and forth, we decided on this set. Three of the five themers (PRINZE, PRYOR, and IDLE) were Joy's ideas, and all but one of the theme clues were hers (all but BARR). Unfortunately, BARR HOPPING didn't fit. A few names that didn't work were Chaplin/chaplain, Marx/marks, and Bee/be.

I did the grid, which Joy approved. And I wrote clues that she then went through and edited, preferring to make them more challenging. Will changed very few of them. If you guessed that Joy wrote the great clue for GO APE, you'd be right. Also the ones for RESCUE DOG and HELIX, just to name two that I especially liked.

Working on this with Joy was great fun. Her emails were guaranteed to include some funny choices I never would have thought of. I loved the way the puzzle turned out. I hope all of you solvers do, too.

Jeff Chen notes: So much fun to make comedy out of regular phrases … using comedians! FALLEN IDLE made me laugh; so appropriate to kooky Monty ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

So much fun to make comedy out of regular phrases … using comedians! FALLEN IDLE made me laugh; so appropriate to kooky Monty Python humor. PURPLE HART (heart), PAW PRINZE (prints), PRYOR (prior) COMMITMENT, BARR (bar) FIGHT — nice that Joy and Lois drew from different ages, genders, races, and styles of comedy. I only vaguely knew Freddy PRINZE, but that was fine with me, as hitting 4/5 for this pop culture idiot is pretty darn good.

Five themers can give newer constructors fits, so it's a good thing the early-week veteran was on board. Lynn is such a strong constructor, always turning in clean and snazzy grids, and today's is no different. The 15-letter central entry is much easier to work with than a 13 or 11 or even 9 — a 15 doesn't force you to place any black squares — but still, look how many down entries must run through at least two across entries. So many constraints.

Lovely long downs in HARDY BOYS, NOTORIETY, DALAI LAMA, RESCUE DOG. So important to make your long fill slots count, and they did great here.

Smart to stick to 78 words, the max allowed. Some constructors might have attempted the low-word-count challenge (74 or even 72), but that's generally not wise, requiring a lot of compromises.

It is true that there are a ton of short words — a whopping 69 out of 78 that are five letters or less — but that's perfectly fine for an early-week puzzle. The high word count makes it so much easier to avoid dabs of crossword glue. Just some NEHI, OER, ENO, which I'm even hesitant to point out because they're so minor.

Amusing theme, superb execution. Not easy to entertain with an early-week puzzle, but this one succeeded for me.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0926 ( 24,794 )
Across Down
1. Fruity soft drink : NEHI
5. Stir-fry cookers : WOKS
9. Puts into English, say, as movie dialogue : DUBS
13. Schiff on the House Intelligence Committee : ADAM
14. Things teeth and hair have : ROOTS
16. Rights org. of which Helen Keller was a co-founder : ACLU
17. Comedian Kevin after having a sloppy jelly snack? : PURPLEHART
19. Writer Lowry with two Newbery Medals : LOIS
20. Restaurateur Paula : DEEN
21. Lion observed at night : LEO
22. Naysaying : ANTI
23. Fashion flair : STYLE
25. Get frisky with comedian Freddie? : PAWPRINZE
27. Intricate trap : WEB
28. Azure expanse : SKY
30. Mule in an Erie Canal song : SAL
31. School for young royals : ETON
33. Irritating criticism : FLAK
36. "The Phantom of the Opera" city : PARIS
40. Comedian Richard being sent to a psychiatric facility? : PRYORCOMMITMENT
43. Sample : TASTE
44. Swimmer Diana : NYAD
45. Away on a submarine, say : ASEA
46. "___ the fields we go ..." : OER
48. Séance sound : RAP
50. Blubber : CRY
51. Cause of comedian Roseanne's black eye? : BARRFIGHT
56. Touches geographically : ABUTS
58. "Superfood" Amazon berry : ACAI
59. Captain Hook, to Peter Pan : FOE
60. Big unicycle part : TIRE
61. Sulk : MOPE
62. Result of comedian Eric's untied shoelaces? : FALLENIDLE
66. Subject of Queen Elizabeth, informally : BRIT
67. John le Carré heroes : SPIES
68. Timely benefit : BOON
69. "500" race, familiarly : INDY
70. Take one's leave : EXIT
71. Breakfast brand for the toaster : EGGO
1. Forty winks : NAP
2. Prof's URL ender : EDU
3. Robust-sounding teens of children's books : HARDYBOYS
4. Incite to action : IMPEL
5. St. Paul's Cathedral architect : WREN
6. "Would you look at that!" : OOH
7. Nocturnal marsupial : KOALA
8. Scatter : STREW
9. Spiritual leader with a Nobel Peace Prize : DALAILAMA
10. NE basketball powerhouse : UCONN
11. Football rush : BLITZ
12. Essman of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" : SUSIE
15. Comes to a standstill : STOPS
18. Alternative to Levi's : LEES
23. Took the entire series : SWEPT
24. Colorful aquarium fish : TETRA
25. Tall supporting tower : PYLON
26. Totally captivated : RAPT
29. "Finger-lickin' good" food establishment : KFC
32. Achievement for Bernie Madoff or Al Capone : NOTORIETY
34. Youngest of the fictional March sisters : AMY
35. "Attention ___ shoppers!" : KMART
37. St. Bernard during an avalanche, maybe : RESCUEDOG
38. Chemically nonreactive : INERT
39. Remains : STAYS
41. Coral formation : REEF
42. Hollywood's Lupino : IDA
47. Repeated jazz phrases : RIFFS
49. Big nuisance : PAIN
51. Thumper's deer friend : BAMBI
52. Tidbit for a squirrel : ACORN
53. Quick : RAPID
54. What Tarzan's friends advised him to do? : GOAPE
55. Half of a genetic molecule : HELIX
57. Illegal payment : BRIBE
60. Trial balloon : TEST
63. Hawaiian gift : LEI
64. Fireplace item : LOG
65. Ambient musician Brian : ENO

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle.

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