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12 puzzles by Neville Fogarty
with constructor comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
125/3/201211/26/20203
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1141410
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62030
Neville Fogarty
POW Thu 11/26/2020
GATENALASOFTG
UNIXATOMOLLIE
ROMPVOWEL
UNEASYSKAADD
SNOBSRAISES
ISLAND
ODIEULNAHOFFA
NEGFEASTEDLOX
SANTAMOANPINE
WINDED
DUMONTTOURS
ONOCIAROUSTS
JOHNSSOON
OASISKNEEALOU
SMELTSAWSLONG

Experienced solvers are used to seeing rebus squares on Thursdays, where a group of letters share a single box in the grid. My idea for this puzzle was to invert that mechanism: in this grid, some letters occupy the real estate usually taken up by two letters. The grid design has been modified to help solvers catch on quickly; it's still one letter per box, even if some boxes aren't squares. Hopefully that kept the puzzle challenging but fun. I'm grateful to Mr. Shortz and the whole puzzle crew for taking my grid, which I'd bodged together by applying correction fluid to a printout with only squares, and making it work crisply in print and digital forms. And speaking of gratitude: happy Thanksgiving!

Tue 5/26/2020
HANGSEDIEDIN
ADOUTMANXUTES
COLINFIRTHACCT
KRISARTHURLAKE
INTERNSAMENWA
TSAANDTEMPTED
ONIONEBAY
BODIESOFWATER
TRUETOILS
HATSIZERNABOY
ESCCONSONBASE
BILLYOCEANARCS
ALAIMICHAELBAY
RISEINTOLOIRE
ASSNOSYLOESS

I was inspired to write this puzzle last year while watching the first season of The Masked Singer; I thought that Ricki Lake was the Raven. (I was right!) I observed that her last name was a body of water and thought this could be the start of a straightforward puzzle theme. In particular, I liked the use of "body" to refer to both water and a person.

Unfortunately, I could not find a way to fit Ms. Lake into the puzzle while maintaining the symmetry of theme answers and including the revealing theme entry. For consistency's sake, I also kept surnames in the singular, so no Joan Rivers or Garth Brooks. Billy Ocean played more nicely than Frank Ocean when I worked to complete the grid. That's how I ended up with these particular bodies in the puzzle.

My friend and fellow crossword constructor Chris King pointed out to me a couple of weeks ago that the most common clue in The New York Times crossword since Will Shortz started editing the puzzle is [See 17-Across], and that I was the most recent constructor to include it in a puzzle (October 25, 2018). With today's puzzle, I am now also the most recent constructor to include the second most common clue: [Jai ___]. It's unintentional, and just indicative of my inability to find a better early-week clue for ALAI.

Thu 12/5/2019
MASHACTSBOWIE
OREOIDEAERICA
MEATSCAMABNER
SANDSHAKERSBEN
ALASETSY
BLAMEEIGNSTATE
RUNNERLOOUNIX
URNTABLOIDOBI
CIAONUBROUSES
EDBRIDGESINERT
EGGOHONK
AOLNMENTAGENCY
BALTODOITMERE
CHEERNICEPROW
SUEDEARKSTOPS

My original submission of this puzzle had two major differences from the version you solved today. First, it had the theme entry GOVERNMENT CHEESE; it was changed to GOVERNMENT AGENCY because that answer would be more familiar to more solvers. Second, a particularly gnarly section with the answers MENA/ONER/CCCP lived at the top of the grid; now it's ACTS/IDEA/SCAM.

In making this change, I increased the word count of the puzzle from 76 to 78 words. I appreciate the dialogue I had with the editorial staff, especially their willingness to let me add a couple words to the puzzle to make the experience more fun for solvers.

Thu 10/25/2018
LIAMTETESFRAT
ACNEECONOAONE
PAGELOSTLIQUID
SNORKELSDRILLS
ESLACADEERE
DOASLOWBURNTHE
HEMLASERTAG
PEPASELAERO
BROMANCESEN
SAWGOUPANDDOWN
EDICTLAGNEU
MORITASCREAMED
INSEARCHOFKING
SLUGBRAVEOKIE
TYPOSOWEDNEED

I submitted this puzzle to The New York Times at the end of April of this year, and I learned of its acceptance in early August. I'm grateful to Will Shortz and his team for accepting this puzzle and the work they put into editing it.

I think a 2011 puzzle by Henry Hook subconsciously inspired today's theme. In each puzzle, the solver is misled by a well established crossword cluing convention. I hope you enjoyed the twist on cross-referenced clues and don't feel too betrayed.

My original clue for TYPO was [Rocks for jocks, maybe], thinking about the usual nickname for Geology 101. I appreciate the musical reference in the revised clue, [Tears for Fears, e.g.], and I suspect more than one solver will write in BAND or TRIO here. Tricky! (Yes, I am aware that Tears for Fears has been a duo for some time, but DUO doesn't fit in the boxes.)

POW Sun 5/13/2018LOVE AT FIRST SITE
NBAJAMPSASSWAMBAT
SATIRERUNTIAGOSOLE
FRENCHCONNECTIONEATS
WRAPSONREPEATOPERAS
ELIOCTAORSOHYDRA
ELONBOOYAHDREAM
PENGUINSEANBEANERA
ADESTUDFINDERHOMEEC
BESTIERUBBERMATCH
AWEDBERYLNASTIES
PETPASTATRISHRNS
FASTCARMASONBOGS
ACTIONITEMSFLIPON
CHEESEOPENFLAMESMET
EERTRINIDADMONDAVI
NANASPACTENAKIN
AZUREMIMEHENSTEL
MINERSTOOTSIESPAIGE
APINORGANICCHEMISTRY
SPOTROUTCALEONESIE
SONTOYSKNEEBATONS

NEVILLE AND ERIK: We don't really know what to say. Our hearts are very full at this moment.

It's an honor and a privilege to work with the Times team, who pushed us to improve on our original fill and preserved our constructorial voice through the edit.

P.S. To all those competing in next month's Indie 500 Crossword Tournament: may God guide you in your quest.

Fri 3/9/2018
RATPACKNBAJAM
EURASIANYESIDO
ABUDHABISEWNON
PAIROLGANAGAT
EDSELOHMSNONA
REMEXOTICAINN
HAREMRUSSIA
ONEDAYATATIME
GROMITRAPID
ADSNEMESESPAC
NELLDAFTMARSH
GROANSUEZROSA
SOUPEDEBENEZER
TUCSONLUKEWARM
ATHENADETECTS

We're both big fans of the Golden Age of Television, so we racked our brains to find some way to sneak a classic TV reference into this puzzle. Should we use Simon & Simon or Riptide in the DETECTS clue? How about the "L" monograms that were SEWN ON all of Laverne DeFazio's tops? We could've asked which cop show was the LEAD-IN to The Love Boat for four seasons. (T.J. Hooker. Duh.) Or maybe a shoutout to our favorite NEMESES, Jo and Blair from the Facts of Life. In the end, we decided there was simply no elegant way to refer to a '70s-'80s sitcom that ran for 9 seasons on CBS and was recently rebooted as a successful Netflix series. Maybe next puzzle!

Tue 5/30/2017
INCAFINISBUCK
LEANEVITAASIA
LIPIZZANERSETH
SLOMONEMOEDEN
ANNNUT
MILKOFMAGNESIA
MASSSLIDINERT
URLREARLITRAM
SLATEMEANGUTS
HAMMEREDITHOME
ODEOUR
BLABGOSHLEAPT
AUDIGREYMATTER
RAILAANDEEASE
DUNEELDERXBOX

I wanted to try to bring new life to a familiar crossword gimmick with this puzzle. We see circles in crossword grids every so often to highlight hidden words or letter patterns. Less frequently, shaded squares are used in the same capacity. Why one and not the other? With a theme of "notable Greys," I had a real reason for picking shaded squares over circles for a puzzle. Of course, just because I had a concept did not mean I could execute it, but when I found TV's Dr. MEREDITH Grey inside of HAMMERED IT HOME, I knew that I could actually construct such a puzzle.

Mr. Shortz and his team did a fine job editing this puzzle, including removing the entry AND (now ANN) when I also had A AND E in the grid. That said, one of my favorite clues didn't quite make the cut: [15-year-old video game player?] for XBOX. But hey, you can't be too tricky on a Tuesday!

Mon 1/9/2017
AIRSSTANGIANT
NOAAHERAOLDER
TWINPEAKSAKIRA
SANDEDAITETC
DAPFULLHOUSE
SKELETONLED
AILSHRSPRESET
ALABEDHEADPTA
BOYTOYOPSFORT
IRSRESTAREA
QUEENANNEALT
USAFYIALLSET
AUGERKINGCOBRA
CREPEKNEEFAIR
KYRIEICESFRET

When I set out to write a themed crossword, I'll often start with the revealer entry, like this puzzle's BED HEAD. But somehow, that was the last bit of the theme that came together for me. When I finally came up with it, I was especially happy to cross it in the center with UNSHORN, playing off of the idea of an unruly mop-top in the morning.

Here's an extra puzzler: an earlier draft of this puzzle featured the clue [Supporter of women's athletics?], but its corresponding answer was changed ever so slightly to improve the grid's fill. Can you figure out the answer to this "cutting room floor" clue and the answer it turned into?

Wed 8/3/2016
TORMEWARMFLAP
OPIUMICEELOLA
WIBLOWINNDUSER
NESTIGETITAXE
IFSAARON
BFFDEROLLINGEP
ALOERTERPEEVE
SOULOBIESPLED
ERNIEONCAMERA
DADANCINGRKSTL
MSDOSEAT
RHOSALINEHAWK
AUNTRASINGININ
TREESNAPANKLE
STYXEDYSSKATE

I'd imagine this general theme of putting one word inside of another has been done more than a few times over the years. But when "Dancing in the Dark" jumped out at me, I went on to come up with a list of other songs that fit the ___ IN ___ pattern. As I continued, I ended up restricting myself to ___ IN THE ___, then titles with a four-letter final word (which could be evenly split) and finally ones whose first word ended with ING or IN'. Hopefully you appreciated this tightening of the theme.

Since the New York Times has such a wide range of solvers, I wanted to make sure there was a song for everyone in the puzzle. Something from your youth or an old favorite to help get your foothold in this puzzle. It's a bit of a tricky theme for a Wednesday, but I think it's fair considering the high word count and repetition in the gimmick.

Looking at the clues in the final edit, I was happy to see that many of my clues were unchanged or only slightly altered. I like to think this means I'm getting better at matching The New York Times Crossword Clue Voice. I was particularly pleased to see my math, mythology, and TV references survive the cut in clues for AUNT, STYX, and ISLAND, respectively. That said, Will and Joel came up with [OMG, like, the greatest pal] for BFF, which put a big smile on my face, and crossword mastermind Erik Agard helped me out with the clue for FOUND MONEY: [Change out of an old pair of pants?].

Tue 12/8/2015
RABBIEDAMPENN
PALEDLIRAALOE
MAUVEFAIRYDUST
EYEDATMDEW
GPSFAMILYCREST
ROTIROCRAO
ALAXENONBROS
FATHERKNOWSBEST
TREESCOREDAR
STLUNIXSKA
FALSEARRESTHAY
ARIABETAXI
BREAKFASTPORED
LOGSEMIREXTRA
EWESESPYSOSAD

The grid I submitted to Will had a few differences. At 38- and 39-Down, I had ASICS and STEIN, respectively, and at 53-Down, I had ARRAY. I appreciate the change to OSAKA and STRAY, as I think that's cleaner than what I have. And while I feel bad for sticking Tuesday solvers with the crossing of RAO and ROBB, I'm a bit relieved to know that Will and his crack team couldn't get rid of that blemish either!

Tue 3/12/2013
LAPDARABOFFER
AREARENORALLY
WINDINGTOACLOSE
SANDSIZZYSPAS
YEASERIE
IMHOSTOREFRONT
MAISEEKSNIPER
ARTIEREWOBAMA
PIECESMEATREP
COMEDYGOLDETAS
TYRALAID
OSLOIZODVWBUS
FOUNTAINOFYOUTH
FUNGINENEORNO
SPASMGLEEDYED
Thu 5/3/2012
JUNOPCBSSMASH
ATANARIAHIREE
GENEOLOGYELCAR
SPOUSESLELAND
PERSEVERENCE
ISMMERCINEED
KIMONOIRANI
EXECSMCSBUDGE
CASASSAMIAM
ERMAKNOLLNYU
QUESTIONAIRE
USESUPSPACERS
ASTIRMISPELLED
LIMONSMEEALBA
SAENSUSSRTEAK