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New York Times, Monday, September 28, 2015

Author:
Dan Bischof and Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
19/28/20151
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0100000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58010
Dan Bischof
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
917/5/201011/15/201853
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2467172188
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.635192
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 1 This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Bischof. This is puzzle # 43 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
DAN: I am thrilled to be debuting in The New York Times today, and I am grateful to Joel and Will who encouraged me, and to Jeff, who ... read more

DAN: I am thrilled to be debuting in The New York Times today, and I am grateful to Joel and Will who encouraged me, and to Jeff, who helped take the original concept to a higher level.

I always liked words that contained each vowel once (including Y), and I thought it would be fun to use such a list in a theme — words like PRECARIOUSLY and COEQUALITY. After a bit of research, I found such words range from the technical and thus unusable (ACTINOMYCETOUS) to the more common but not especially exciting (TENACIOUSLY). And there are quite a few adverbs (FACETIOUSLY — all six … in alphabetical order!).

As a new constructor, I tried not to overextend myself, and I chose three 15s that fit the theme and were not obviously connected: COUNTERCYCLICAL, UNCOPYRIGHTABLE, and (in various versions) INSTANTANEOUSLY (hey, that uses the A twice!), VOYEURISTICALLY (ditto the I), and finally, GRANDILOQUENTLY.

The fill, however, was weak, and the circled theme letters were scattered haphazardly around the grid (like the results of five fowl competing in chicken poop bingo). Will/Joel were interested, but after I made several attempts, they suggested I should work with a more experienced constructor. Enter Jeff.

Jeff said he liked the concept but proposed that we "think bigger," and suggested we use — instead of the "trivial" all-vowel-inclusive words I had proposed — more colorful phrases that followed the theme rule but punched up the puzzle. He also arranged the circled theme letters in a way that showed some uniformity and intent.

Jeff Chen notes:
I pondered the question of single words (GRANDILOQUENTLY) vs. multi-word phrases (SOCIAL BUTTERFLY) for a long time. On one hand, it's ... read more

I pondered the question of single words (GRANDILOQUENTLY) vs. multi-word phrases (SOCIAL BUTTERFLY) for a long time. On one hand, it's sort of neat to see such long words with exactly one instance of each of the vowels (AND Y of course). On the other, I'm not super fond of single-word themers as a solver.

The Swiss bobsled team from 1910. How things have changed!

There's something so cool about multi-word entries. Not only do they help distinguish "good crosswords" from "bad crosswords" — or worse yet, from computer-generated ones — but there's so much potential for snazzy phrases. It took a while to come up with all-vowel-plus-Y ones such as THE DYNAMIC DUO and THING OF BEAUTY, but Dan and I agreed that these types of answers would make for a more fun experience. We were glad that Will agreed.

Dan and I also discussed packing in five themers, one for each of the five vowels, but that proved to be too restrictive, if we wanted an orderly presentation of the five circled letters. I didn't totally balk at the original layouts Dan sent over with random circle placements, but I always appreciate layers of elegance in a puzzle if they're possible. We tossed around putting the five vowels on a diagonal leading to the final Y, but this layout resulted in smoother fill.

This type of grid skeleton, featuring six long downs, is something I use all the time. Spacing out these long guys and separating them with adequate black squares often makes for a surprisingly easy filling process. I'm not a fan of APO, but to get ARM CANDY and AW GEE — along with locating the O in the proper spot — felt worth it. I encourage constructors to try out similar skeletons, shifting black squares liberally.

Dan is patient, hard-working, and he took constructive criticism extremely well, always thinking about what would make the best experience for solvers. A pleasure to work with.

1
A
2
R
3
F
4
S
5
A
6
R
7
E
8
A
9
S
10
O
11
A
12
M
13
I
14
F
U
L
L
15
M
E
A
N
16
U
N
L
I
T
17
A
S
E
A
18
M
A
S
T
19
N
E
O
N
S
20
R
H
A
P
21
S
O
D
Y
I
22
N
B
L
U
E
23
C
S
U
24
M
O
A
B
25
T
26
M
I
27
V
28
I
29
B
30
R
A
N
T
31
U
32
M
33
P
34
E
A
R
35
L
36
L
O
O
T
37
H
38
O
N
E
S
39
S
O
C
I
40
A
L
B
U
T
41
T
E
R
F
L
Y
42
T
R
U
E
R
43
S
T
E
W
44
B
O
B
O
45
S
I
S
46
M
47
O
L
E
R
A
48
T
49
R
A
P
50
A
C
R
E
51
H
52
O
G
53
U
54
P
W
A
R
D
55
L
56
Y
57
M
O
B
I
58
L
59
E
60
A
L
I
G
N
61
D
I
E
U
62
A
V
O
N
63
P
A
C
E
D
64
E
E
L
S
65
M
E
R
V
66
O
N
K
E
Y
67
R
U
L
E
68
A
N
D
Y
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0928 ( 24,065 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Meows : cats :: ___ : dogs : ARFS
5. Locale : AREA
9. "Me too" : SOAMI
14. "F" on a gas gauge : FULL
15. Downright nasty : MEAN
16. Dark, as a room : UNLIT
17. Where ships go : ASEA
18. Ship's pole : MAST
19. Bright night lights : NEONS
20. Gershwin composition in United Airlines ads : RHAPSODYINBLUE
23. Fort Collins sch. : CSU
24. City south of Utah's Arches National Park : MOAB
25. "That's overly personal about yourself, don't you think?!" : TMI
27. Lively, as colors : VIBRANT
31. Person who regularly cleans his plate? : UMP
34. ___ of Sandwich : EARL
36. Pillage : LOOT
37. Perfects, as one's skills : HONES
39. Person about town : SOCIALBUTTERFLY
42. "___ words were never spoken" : TRUER
43. Fret (over) : STEW
44. Classic clown name : BOBO
45. Bro's sibling : SIS
46. "Naked" rodent : MOLERAT
49. Genre of 50 Cent and André 3000 : RAP
50. Winnie-the-Pooh's Hundred ___ Wood : ACRE
51. Not share : HOG
53. Ascending in economic class : UPWARDLYMOBILE
60. Put in a row : ALIGN
61. "Mon ___!" (French cry) : DIEU
62. Stratford-upon-___ : AVON
63. Walked like an expectant father, say : PACED
64. Slippery fish : EELS
65. Griffin who created "Wheel of Fortune" : MERV
66. How singers should sing : ONKEY
67. "Collect $200 after passing Go," e.g. : RULE
68. "Toy Story" boy ... or, with the circled letters, a hint to 20-, 39- and 53-Across : ANDY
Down
1. Way off : AFAR
2. Surge of adrenaline : RUSH
3. Sideshow act that features "the smallest performers in the world" : FLEACIRCUS
4. Three Stooges' hits? : SLAPS
5. Bullets, informally : AMMO
6. Enjoy literature : READ
7. Simple : EASY
8. "Star Trek" warp drive fuel : ANTIMATTER
9. Lie on the beach : SUNBATHE
10. 16 oz. : ONELB
11. Baseball's Felipe : ALOU
12. See 13-Down : MINE
13. With 12-Down, "Gimme that!" : ITS
21. Hyundai's Santa Fe or Tucson : SUV
22. Sine qua ___ : NON
25. Exams : TESTS
26. Like about 15% of New Zealanders : MAORI
28. Bedridden, say : ILL
29. Winter Olympian who may go 90 m.p.h. : BOBSLEDDER
30. Mail deliverer's assignment : ROUTE
31. 1992 Clint Eastwood western that won Best Picture : UNFORGIVEN
32. ___ toast : MELBA
33. Military initiative that seeks to influence the enemy's mind, informally : PSYOP
35. Falsehood : LIE
38. Planet, to Shakespeare : ORB
40. Attractive companion on the red carpet : ARMCANDY
41. Old "Up, up and away" carrier : TWA
47. Bobby who won three straight N.H.L. M.V.P. awards : ORR
48. Howe'er : THO
50. Words before "You shouldn't have" : AWGEE
52. Only U.S. president whose surname is more than 50% vowels : OBAMA
53. ___ Bator, Mongolia : ULAN
54. What may help break the ice : PICK
55. Stead : LIEU
56. Raise one's voice : YELL
57. Ponder, with "on" : MUSE
58. Word before "have mercy!" : LORD
59. One of the seven deadly sins : ENVY
60. Abbr. in a military address : APO

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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