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ALL-ENCOMPASSING

New York Times, Sunday, September 7, 2014

Author: Tracy Gray and Jeff Chen
Editor: Will Shortz
Tracy Gray
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
219/8/20105/4/20174
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5135610
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58420
Jeff Chen
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
707/5/20105/29/201741
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
2064111667
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.633132

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 compass-themed puzzle of ... more
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 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 solver. It was her idea to ... more
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 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).

JimH 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 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 Down
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
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.

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