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ALL-ENCOMPASSING

New York Times, Sunday, September 7, 2014

Author:
Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
269/8/20108/5/20196
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6445610
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62441
Tracy Gray
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1027/5/20108/29/201961
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2678182698
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.637222
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 21, Columns: 21 Words: 136, Blocks: 85 Missing: {X} Grid has super symmetry. There are unchecked squares This is puzzle # 8 for Ms. Gray. This is puzzle # 31 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
Tracy: I am very excited to have my first collaborative puzzle with Jeff Chen published in the NYT today! Jeff and I teamed up in early April 2014 to brainstorm new possibilities on a ... read more

Tracy:

I am very excited to have my first collaborative puzzle with Jeff Chen published in the NYT today! Jeff and I teamed up in early April 2014 to brainstorm new possibilities on a compass-themed puzzle of mine that had previously been rejected by Will.

From my original puzzle, Jeff liked the idea of a center compass rose as well as additional compasses placed elsewhere in the grid. We both agreed that embedding/including the words North, East, South, and West in phrases was probably not different enough for a Sunday puzzle and then Jeff came up with the NS/WE rebus which I loved. He got the ball rolling with his first grid which included a center compass rose made up of black squares and the four cardinal points of N, E, S, and W. We were both hoping, however, that Will would approve a picture (artwork) of a compass rose to be preprinted in the center to replace the black boxes if the puzzle was accepted. Over about a week's time, we kept tweaking the grid until we found an aesthetically pleasing grid that could also be filled successfully.

The fill process went surprisingly quick after Jeff suggested that the grid could basically be sectioned into four parts by picking good 10's crossing the rebus' first and then filling in the words going through the unchecked N, E, S, W letters. If you are an avid reader of Jeff's blog, you will know that he strives for the absolute best fill possible, right down to the last 3-letter words. In the sections I filled, any of my less-than-stellar "glue" words such as FACTA, ISERE, and LOEIL were respectfully changed to stronger and much better fill. Jeff also came up with, in my opinion, the perfect title for the puzzle although "COMING UP ROSES" was a close second. But, the piece de resistance is the beautiful compass rose that was created by Jeff to place in the center of the NYT print version with Will's approval.

Lastly, I would like to thank Jeff for helping to take this concept from rejection to "Crossword- Yes!" status. As many other constructors have said, Jeff is amiable, knowledgeable, patient, creative, thoughtful, and prompt in corresponding. I would highly recommend him to anyone considering a collaborator.

Hope you all enjoy our puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes:
A delight working with Tracy. She's creative, thoughtful about entry selection, skilled, and most importantly, willing to go the extra mile to create the best experience possible for the ... read more

A delight working with Tracy. She's creative, thoughtful about entry selection, skilled, and most importantly, willing to go the extra mile to create the best experience possible for the solver. It was her idea to place the individual N E W S squares in the grid, which I thought was a beautiful added touch to the center compass.

Filling this bad boy was no walk in the park, and I was impressed at how well Tracy's first attempts went in various quadrants. Sometimes people get lazy, calling a handful of glue-y bits good enough, so I was happy to see Tracy's willingness to go back and forth, trying again and again to improve the quality of long entries or to eliminate even just one ugly piece of fill.

It's too bad Across Lite can't handle these types of graphics, or handle odd rebus-like squares. (Sorry for those of you struggling to figure out how to enter that compass rose into each of the eight special squares.) I'm glad that the NYT tech team is taking on the challenge, improving their online solver app bit by bit. I met one person on their team (Scott Koenig) at the ACPT this year, and was impressed at his drive to to give the online solver the best possible experience, accommodating all the wacky things we constructors do. I'm looking forward to seeing how the app handles this rule-breaker.

I get a kick out of collaborating with people who are thoughtful, kind, and willing to work their butts off to create the best possible solver experience. Feel free to drop me a line if you're like Tracy! FYI, these days I focus mostly on Sunday-size puzzles, since they're a great need for Will, Rich (Norris) and Patti (Varol).

Jim Horne notes:
This is the third NYT crossword with cardinal points in unchecked squares. Patrick Merrell did it in 2002 with N W E S near the center, and then in 2009, Joe Krozel put his points around ... read more

This is the third NYT crossword with cardinal points in unchecked squares. Patrick Merrell did it in 2002 with N W E S near the center, and then in 2009, Joe Krozel put his points around the outside edge. See this Frank Longo puzzle from 1997 for a different approach to compass crosswords.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0907 ( 23,679 )
Across
1
Loaded, in Lyon : RICHE
6
Hosiery hue : TAUPE
11
Eagles, Falcons and Cardinals : TEAMS
16
Last place : CELLAR
17
"No lie!" : ISWEAR
18
Move out : VACATE
20
Some politicians' trips : JUNKETS
21
Cub Scout leader : AKELA
22
Salt away : STOREUP
24
Shrinks' org. : APA
25
What discoveries may yield : AHAS
27
"Right you ___!" : ARE
28
Abbr. not found on most smartphones : OPER
29
JFK alternative in N.Y.C. : LGA
30
Nasty storm, e.g. : FOULWEATHER
33
Film director who said "I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time" : ORSONWELLES
36
"___ be praised" : ALLAH
37
Paradoxical figure? : ZENO
38
Fraternity member or muscle, briefly : DELT
39
Mary who introduced the miniskirt : QUANT
40
Outs, in a way : RATSON
42
"Law & Order" spinoff, informally : SVU
43
"Yes" : IDO
44
Ornery sorts : CUSSES
45
Didn't take it lying down, say : SUED
47
___ child (playful side) : INNER
48
Ayatollah predecessor : SHAH
49
Indiana Jones menace : ASP
52
Lathered (up) : SOAPED
54
Game with falling popularity? : TETRIS
56
Native Oklahoman : OTO
59
Hit from behind : REARENDED
61
"Eh, any one is fine" : WHICHEVER
63
Fan of pop's One Direction, maybe : TWEEN
64
Veered off course : YAWED
65
Many Winslow Homer works : SEASCAPES
70
Some holiday greenery : MISTLETOE
74
The dark side : YIN
75
Kidnapping, e.g. : ORDEAL
77
Island in Pacific W.W. II fighting : BORNEO
78
"The cautious seldom ___": Confucius : ERR
79
Stone of "The Help" : EMMA
80
Atomic clock part : MASER
81
Flog : LASH
83
Hightails it : SCRAMS
86
Figure on Argentina's flag : SUN
87
Charge : FEE
89
Period of inactivity : STASIS
93
Last Oldsmobile : ALERO
94
Took after : APED
95
Org. that implemented the Food Stamp Act : USDA
97
Former Mrs. Trump : IVANA
98
Southern farm concern : BOLLWEEVILS
100
"No need to worry" : DONTSWEATIT
102
"Die Meistersinger" soprano : EVA
103
Brio : ELAN
104
___ lamp : LED
106
On : ATOP
107
Wyo. neighbor : IDA
108
Kind of scan : RETINAL
110
HBO comedy/drama : GIRLS
112
Way to storm off : IRATELY
114
Begins, as work : SETSTO
115
Marketing news magazine : ADWEEK
116
Rattle off, say : RECITE
117
Dutch Golden Age painter : STEEN
118
Actress Brandt of "Breaking Bad" : BETSY
119
Them, with "the" : ENEMY
Down
1
He walked away with Blaine in "Casablanca" : RENAULT
2
Type : ILK
3
Kicks everyone out, say : CLEANSHOUSE
4
Yoga variety : HATHA
5
Synthetic : ERSATZ
6
___ Maria : TIA
7
Get several views : ASKAROUND
8
Big name in auto racing : UNSER
9
Trendy food regimen : PALEODIET
10
Long span : ERA
11
Expensive Super Bowl purchase : TVSPOT
12
Polished off : EATEN
13
Cousin of a zucchini : ACORNSQUASH
14
Boca Del ___, Fla. : MAR
15
Certain bar orders, informally : STELLAS
16
Rounded roof : CUPOLA
19
West Coast city where Nike had its start : EUGENE
20
Aladdin's adversary : JAFAR
23
Times gone by : PASTS
26
"___ Mine," 1984 Steve Perry hit : SHES
28
Winter Olympics site after St. Moritz : OSLO
31
Bonny miss : LASS
32
Like lottery winners, typically : ENVIED
34
Gerrymandered, e.g. : REDREW
35
Verdant : LUSH
41
Bright light : NEON
44
In vogue : CHIC
46
X or Y supplier : DAD
48
Mister, in Mumbai : SRI
49
Creative, in a way : ARTSY
50
Karate instructor : SENSEI
51
Joyous song : PAEAN
53
Small flycatcher : PEWEE
55
"___ Satanic Majesties Request" (Rolling Stones album) : THEIR
56
Eggy? : OVATE
57
Stretching muscle : TENSOR
58
Court cry : ORDER
60
E.R. figures : RNS
62
Inspect : EYE
66
Dodo's lack : COMMONSENSE
67
Weaponry : ARMS
68
Bussing on a bus, briefly? : PDA
69
Barber who wrote "Adagio for Strings" : SAMUEL
70
To a greater extent : MORESO
71
Sketch show, briefly : SNL
72
Caddy's choices : TEAS
73
1960s sci-fi series : LOSTINSPACE
76
Blowout win : LANDSLIDE
77
Discombobulates : BEFUDDLES
79
N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer Monroe : EARL
82
"___ Nagila" : HAVA
83
Light ___ : SABER
84
Garlic segments : CLOVES
85
Empathizes : RELATES
86
P.R. firm's job : SPIN
88
Principal Seymour's girlfriend on "The Simpsons" : EDNA
90
Fullness : SATIETY
91
Not going anywhere? : INIDLE
92
Stick on the grill? : SATAY
94
Where Excalibur was forged : AVALON
96
Threads : ATTIRE
99
Delight : ELATE
101
Philosopher Kierkegaard : SOREN
105
Noted Dadaist : ERNST
109
___ Technical Institute : ITT
110
Yammer : GAB
111
Britain's ___ News : SKY
113
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" enchanter : TIM

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?