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Simon Marotte author page

8 puzzles by Simon Marotte
with Constructor comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
83/9/20218/14/20233
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0421010
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11.5917%
Simon Marotte
Puzzles constructed by Simon Marotte by year
Mon 8/14/2023
LAPSBOSSYCHIP
EPICEVITELIMA
GOTOELEVENAGES
SPARKRAPTWHAT
NEILPLUSONE
RATSNOSEPAC
ASHSCOTKETTLE
PARTAKETENAIM
SPIRESMENDNET
LENISAYFESS
HALFOFFMAMA
ACRELONGANGUS
STIRONEANDDONE
NODEALAMOONIT
TREETYPEDMETS

TRENTON: Simon and I had been discussing possible themes for a while when he got the idea of answers doubling as arithmetical instructions. We quickly hit upon a few that would work well on their own, but after this promising start, it began to seem unlikely that we would find all the answers we needed — ones that could be arranged in a sequence that led to a satisfying revealer. Still, we liked the idea and were just close enough to making it work that we agreed to stick with it a little longer.

It was late in the evening, and I took a break to walk a dog, leaving Simon bent over his laptop. I'd hardly made it a block when I heard Simon call after me.

"Hey!" he shouted. "Half off!"

"Oh, nice!" I shouted back.

If any neighbors heard this exchange, they must have assumed we'd just gotten word of a very exciting sale.

Mon 3/27/2023
SASHMASSFESS
HYPEAUTODELTA
YEARINONEATEN
COUNTINGCROWS
CRESTSCENANSA
OARAASTUFT
SMASHINGSUSHI
TECHLLAMASLOT
SNEERPUMPKINS
DAMPMBADEM
BRACIAORIBEYE
ROLLINGSTONES
ALIENOTISAHEM
GOBAGDELIDOPE
ASIFAREASWAT

TRENT: As the author of several children's novels featuring puzzles and riddles, I might reasonably be assumed to be a long-time fan of crosswords, but my love for them came late — only a few years ago, really, when Simon first began constructing. Our conversations about the process revealed similarities between what he was doing and I was doing — the wordplay, the misdirection, the pleasure in creating something satisfying to solve — and we agreed it would be fun to collaborate on a puzzle one day.

We made no definite plan, but occasionally I'd have an idea about a theme and ask Simon if anyone had done one like it. If the idea was promising, it inevitably had been done. If it weren't promising (or even feasible), Simon would diplomatically explain why. But eventually, I had an idea with potential, Simon said he'd tinker around with it, and the next thing I knew, we were cluing the puzzle. It was great fun to work on, and I'm delighted to see our first collaboration appear in the NYT.

SIMON: Since they didn't make the cut, I recommend solving to the Talking Heads' This Must Be the Place.

POW Fri 11/25/2022
ATLASIRANRICE
LOADEDDICEOGRE
PIZZAROLLSPOOL
SLYLINEUPETSY
WEPTRUINS
GOBADWINESNOBS
IPODMARISATRI
REDSSNOGSSHES
TRYPONCHOPIES
HADABLASTSANDY
HORSYSCUM
POUTMOCHASAPE
RUBSPRAIRIEDOG
ISLEIANFLEMING
MEETALITQUADS

I'm thrilled to have my first themeless in the Times! I have to give credit to constructors Robyn Weintraub, Nam Jin Yoon, Caitlin Reid, and Ryan McCarty (to name a few) whose puzzles inspired me to challenge myself to construct a fun Friday crossword. Hope this was a gratifying solve!

P.S. Shout out to the Daily Princetonian puzzle section! I've recently joined as a contributing constructor & I highly recommend checking out its website, where puzzles are published every Tuesday and Friday.

Mon 8/15/2022
MCRIBBOMBATMS
ARENAOWIEDRAT
NEWBALANCEDUNE
CAREUSERMEDIA
ASIDESDONEDEAL
VETAHSSEWACT
EDENSLILYPUSH
STRIKEONE
SELAEPEEEPICS
AGEANNPOMNAP
YOGAPOSEDOODLE
STOUTLETOSOON
IRANMINORCHORD
DIRTEDITEERIE
OPTSTEESLASER

When cluing 63-Across, I took inspiration from the musings of the great musician Nigel Tufnel. Here's a short video where he discusses his "Mach"-style piece.

Mon 5/23/2022
BARSGPASASSET
EXECRENTFIERI
ALSOOLDEFLEAS
NETNEUTRALITY
ETCEMIRADS
SETAHAAMULET
PLAYPOSSUMTATI
OLLIEAUGSATAN
KEEPSPELLCHECK
ERNESTYERRHO
NYTPUTTGUM
SHADOWCABINET
ADHOCGILLMAGI
SNOREACAIIDOL
PAWNSSENDCAST
Tue 4/26/2022
JIGTDPASSDROP
ODEORACLEROBE
ILLMANHUGECON
NESTEGGREMAKES
ESQAPLOMB
LACEUZISTOOTH
IRANEARSENTRY
BINDECKOUTTOM
REDFININGMOON
ASYLAASEAAMPS
HONORSRPM
SEESAWSAREARUG
ERASNOCLUEERR
WIREUNRESTEGO
NETSPSYCHEFEW

I hope you enjoy solving this puzzle as much as I did making it! This one's dedicated to my siblings, Ethan and Olivia, who are twins, and who are celebrating their 20th birthday today! Love you guys.

Wed 12/29/2021
ORALBOATCHEST
PITAARCHHILLS
EMMYEMCEEITSOK
CESARYOGAMATS
NARCAPE
SHOECAGEYENEMY
WINGALLSETLEE
OMEGALOPSALES
LOUMEMOIRRITE
EMPTYTEPEEMESS
OATSPAR
SLAMDUNKBEARD
CIRCAEASYESSAY
ATEAMALOETAKE
BEATSTEXTSPED

SIMON: It's great to be back in the Times! This was my first puzzle ever accepted, so it has a special place in my heart. Judge Vic and I originally came up with a concept for the puzzle that played with the initials of the theme entries:

*Media Event's Moderating Celebrity? (MEMC)

*Knowingly Guarded Naturally Malevolent Entity? (KGNME)

*Markedly Tenantless Tent Pad? (MTTP)

*Especially Zippy Student Assignment? (EZSA)

We did notice, though, that once a solver noticed the gimmick, it would be pretty easy to fill in the rest of the theme. Thankfully, the Editorial Team introduced the "lettered" angle, which we thought was clever and difficult enough for a Wednesday. We're super happy with the way this turned out, and we hope you enjoy it!

POW Tue 3/9/2021
BORATSAGAPROM
IRISHICESLOVE
FALSETEETHAMEN
FLEABAGSECARD
YOREPARE
LATEXLAURABUSH
ELIDEDTRIONCE
APRREVERSECOW
SHESLIUENSURE
HADNOHOPEANTED
EVILVICE
APNEATENTACLE
DEARKUBLAIKHAN
DAMEISAYNEATO
SLEDDARNGROSS

It is such a joy to be making my NYT debut! I am a 16-year-old from Conway, Arkansas, and I am actually pretty new to the crossword scene — I started solving at the beginning of quarantine last year. I began constructing in the summer after stumbling upon a mind-blowing instructional video by David Kwong. Without a doubt, my decision to reach out to Judge Vic Fleming, an experienced NYT constructor in my area, catalyzed my path to success due to his invaluable mentorship and advice. I would highly encourage new constructors to pursue a mentorship, as it was so helpful to me. Mentorship resources can be found at the Crossword Puzzle Collaboration Directory on Facebook or the Crossword-related Discord Server. And, of course, the practice of solving every day and reading great crossword blogs (Wordplay, XWord Info, Rex Parker, Crossword Fiend, etc.) has certainly made me a better constructor.

The idea for this theme came to me while I was half asleep, surprisingly, and after waking up, I reached for my phone and quickly began researching car brands that could be reversed and fit into phrases. While I made my way through the list of brands, I eliminated the ones that obviously wouldn't work (I'm looking at you ZNEB-SEDECREM) and avoided brands that aren't as common on the road. Filling the grid was a bit tough considering the constraints of the revealer, so it was difficult to really open up the grid and allow for some sparkly long downs. Nevertheless, I'm pretty happy with the result, especially with 1-Across to kick things off.

Thanks to the NYT Editing Team for the cluing changes, and thanks to all who have supported me in my puzzling efforts!

Hope you enjoy it!

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