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73 puzzles by Zhouqin Burnikel
with constructor comments

TotalDebutLatestCollabs
7311/13/20129/7/202120
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
624217582
RebusCircleScrabblePOW
281.5613
Zhouqin Burnikel
POW Tue 9/7/2021
AWEDRICCILIDS
MAYOAPRONACRE
PRESSPOUNDBIEL
PLIEISITREAL
IDTAGSAWARDS
NANOSHENED
ACESTARSEONS
HARDWONAYNRAND
ISEEATLASKOI
PATUMPVETS
DEVITORASPED
ERICYUANALLY
VOLTCURRENCIES
IDLEATEUPREAP
LEADNODESOSHA

This theme came to me while I was brainstorming a Carnegie Great Immigrants theme for Crosswords With Friends, edited by Amy Reynaldo and Trip Payne. ERIC YUAN was one of the 2020 honorees.

Chinese has different tones, so YUAN can be a surname or Chinese currency. It can also mean "distant" or "backyard". See this full YUAN list.

POW Mon 5/10/2021
IMACSELLSNOVA
BOCAPLEATARID
MANDARINORANGES
TERRIAMASS
EGGWHITES
MEHUSHERINBOP
ERASEILKDEERE
DISKSLEISMEAR
ACHYDENNYOTTO
LABVISAGESGET
READSPAR
SPORCLEPLACEBO
HEWNADOREHEIR
URNSPILOTONES
TESTSTEMSOSLO

My husband does not have a robust appetite due to cancer. He does love a small bowl of fruit salad every day. MANDARIN ORANGES are the #1 ingredients and inspired this puzzle.

I feel this grid design works nicely for a 15/9/10/10 theme set, as long as you don't mind not having fill longer than 9.

Mon 4/5/2021
DOGOAKCHIEF
ERRPINAAGENDA
ACIDTRIPWIIFIT
NAMESTEAMSITE
RAPSCASTE
INCITERENOLCD
POODLECUTDRDRE
ADUEDENIMAHAT
SENDSLOCALDIVE
SSTMAINLOITER
YOUINPAPA
PUSHDEFERNUNS
SLEAZETAKETHAT
STARESCREWONE
TATERLYEHAM

Intersecting theme entries often makes filling easier, but it also creates knotty spots at times. Quite a few compromises in this grid's left & right middle sections.

Tue 7/21/2020
ASKNETSSTALE
CNNICETDIALED
TIESCOREIMGLAD
SPEAKMACEFRI
NEWSMAGAZINE
DAWDLEPOWER
UGHSAVERERECT
DRAGRATIOODOR
EATUPSASHAUSA
AREASHUMPTY
VISUALACUITY
ISHIRASOMBRE
ANALOGLEAPYEAR
LOMEINLUKESKI
STEELSPANTEN

I initially thought of YEAR OF THE RAT for [2020], but could not find a workable set. So I settled on the current one with a short first and last theme entry.

Tue 5/12/2020
RAFTSUNITSISI
ORIONNANOETON
MARBLECAKENABS
ARMYMACHOLST
NAETOPPRIORITY
STRAWURNAOL
CORTANAINRE
THISISNOTATOY
COEDFANFEST
ETASLRHYPES
RATTLESNAKEHUH
ELWAYSRIMORE
ALASYOYODIETER
LIVEINNSSMOKY
SEEDPACEPENAL

C.C.: I originally had a set of entries where each theme entry is clued as [This is not a toy], [This is not a joke], etc. Will and his team liked the core idea, but my set was full of issues. I emailed Tom, who came up with a consistent "This is not a toy" approach and all the theme entries. Joel helped us finesse the final set. I then took a first crack at the grid design. Tom liked it and proceeded to fill the whole grid. It was just a fun and easy collaboration with my caring friend.

TOM: It was a privilege and treat to work on this puzzle with my friend, C.C. She's as delightful as her puzzles are.

I was a little disappointed that SLINKY DRESS didn't make the cut because, as the old Slinky jingle went, "for fun it's the best of the toys." But thanks, as always, to the editing team for making the puzzle better.

We hope the puzzle spurs a memory of your favorite toy!

Thu 3/5/2020
DEFACESWEBSTER
OCANADAAMILATE
NOTABITGIGOLOS
NRAETCOWEN
APLUSESTATE
SESSIONDRAW
CLARETOTBERA
STIFFSLADIES
ARCSADSELINA
CLEFMETHREE
AMELIARUBIN
ALDIORDESO
STAINEDPANGRAM
TOWNCAREMPORIA
LINGERSINROADS

This puzzle had a revision. I goofed big in the filling process. I accidentally changed 1A to DEFACED and 40A to SNIFFS. Grateful to the editing team for giving me the second opportunity.

Thanks for including me in this special week.

Fri 12/20/2019
SITINRODEKAMA
MONACOENERGYBAR
ANNOYSDEMIMOORE
RYESHAHSTATUE
CARSTEREORIOTS
LASERPEELTNT
NUCORARENARHEA
OSAGEMINDCOAST
RUNSNANTZOUTTA
MAYLONGHORNS
LOGANSENATEBID
FURMANDEVOEVE
MANOAMANOAUSTIN
PROGRESSOGRATES
GETSSTARESPYS
Mon 10/28/2019
OSCARCARBOTS
PHOTOTONYANIT
TAKEAGANDERIMO
SHEDATABROIL
ARIANAGRANDE
KAPLANPLANB
ISAACSANEGALL
NEVESTREETGOO
GALAPUMAINERT
ORIONAMULET
COVENTGARDEN
IMSADDAHLIMP
TEDOUTOFDANGER
EGOOPARTGOOSE
SAGRIPESTRAY
Mon 9/2/2019
SPAAHAOHARE
TENSEGADMADAM
RACKGORDONJUMP
ICHINGTRILIT
PHOTOSHOOTETSY
SCOURHEWS
AMSANTIONEWAY
BENINUGGCRIME
SHONDAAUTOMAP
WOOSMAORI
RAFTCHICKENRUN
IREKOIESCAPE
PENTATHLONANTS
INCURAIDSSCOT
TAEBOTEEHPS
POW Wed 6/26/2019
BEBEAPPFARMS
OVERMAIDARIAL
BEERMAKERNINJA
SNOOTCOBBSOB
TRUEBELIEVERS
ASHSUELOLL
THENERVESTOPIT
TOROYTDGOSH
SWEDESCAMISOLE
ONTVTADREM
JAZZGUITARIST
OWEANDYSNEAD
LABORAPPRAISER
TIREDLOSESTAY
STARESADMERE
POW Wed 5/15/2019
RECESSFTCHER
EROTICCREATURE
TANTRARANSOMED
JAILHOUSEROCK
EMOIOSERTE
HAILCAESARMEN
SONARDAUNTED
DUDERANCH
SKYDOMEAETNA
SANRUSSIANMOB
USEDSENOWE
THEITALIANJOB
RIPSOPENIODINE
AMASSINGEVILER
SIDSATSINEWS

I originally had J-ROD for 55-Down slot. Will felt it was too ephemeral, so I re-did the lower right corner.

Lots of clue changes for this puzzle. I guess I had Monday in mind when cluing this grid, totally forgetting to consider the word count. The central crossing dictated the 72-word grid and created a few tough spots.

Tue 3/26/2019
SUNGSPACECAP
OPIEPLIESHAVE
MONTECARLOIRAN
ENORANGBRAIN
ESSOTUESBELLE
IDONAUSEA
STARERSSNRBI
WEDIDITTHURMAN
FABEURANISES
LEANTOTED
FRIARTUCKVEST
LOTSAKITEIRT
OOZEOPENINGDAY
RTESLATTEPECK
ASSDOSEDSATE
POW Mon 3/18/2019
SAINTKEDSICED
APNEATAILMARA
PLAINTOSEEPRIM
SINGEWEUSOPEN
TEHRANSTALE
SAMLAHDIDAH
LTSGOBAGSTINA
OHAREERADEETS
LANEPICNICMEH
AIMSHIGHDOT
ACUTEFANART
SPRIGSDOHMOOD
OLINTHEROYALWE
FONDOUSTELLEN
TWOSPEKESEEDS

I sent in this puzzle last April without much hope. I feared the theme might be too light for Will and his team, with only 38 squares, but I could not find one more workable theme entry. I was so happily surprised to get an email with a "Crossword — Yes" subject line.

Fri 3/1/2019
FINALSALECLIPS
ODOREATERHOWIE
XIJINPINGASANA
COEDOLDPOSSES
UTAARTEMISHOI
BINETRATMAID
CSPANSITSIDLE
IRISLEWD
HYACINTHDISCS
IONSJOESTALE
TUTPAPYRUSRON
BRIBESJONGAVE
AUGERFULLTIMER
CLUESADLIBBING
KEANERESTSEASY
Fri 1/25/2019
SCAMALERTDATA
TRUETOSIZEODES
EAGLESCOUTNOTI
IMUSTOTSTUPES
NPRBORESATTA
RANTRACKATM
ELCIDSWEETPEA
MEAGAINSOCIETY
MALAPROPANTES
ADPPARADERS
SHELINANENEC
STAVEDTBAPOLO
COLAICESCRAPER
ARODSENATERACE
RYNELETSPARTY
Sun 1/6/2019BREAKING NEWS
ELMISTIPASHAABODE
TOOGOODEVENNOWCUREL
HOLLYWOODENDINGEGGED
NEOSLUGSDEEPBARE
SOBSETIEYEOPENER
ASKSALOTSPARDA
CHILIKEDARCTICFRONT
RINGLEADERALANISXII
OVERPAYNOBLEMENOINK
EATSIMIEPISODEI
ASPERJUMPSTARTCHESS
BLACKCODOEDSLEO
HAREORDAINEDCUPOJOE
OTCANGERSSTOLETHIRD
REHABCENTEROSAGEMAD
BLOEECAMORALLY
ANYSECONDFLAKSLO
MEETTRIOISAACEVE
IXNAYDEARJOHNLETTERS
CUTIEECLIPSEIDEALLY
ASANARELOGTEMPLES
POW Tue 11/20/2018
ARCSSAGETCPA
POLOSAFLACLOU
POULTRYFARMEUR
MEARAARTNANA
RAZZIEAWARDS
LOLPOORGAGA
APEDROSSRASPS
VAMOOSEOPENMIC
SLOTHYMCAOUTA
NEHIEARPDAB
BOWLINGALLEY
ABELGUNONEAL
LEDWESTERNASIA
MSGMATTEESTER
SEEDROOLTONE
Fri 9/21/2018
CHIDECRIMEBOSS
OASESDUDERANCH
STUBSSTALINERA
SEPIATEASER
EMPTYWORDSIED
TAOSACNENEEDS
SISAVOCADOS
LEAVENDREAMS
CORNMEALRID
PISANOINKNOLE
ANOTRADEMARKS
STUCCOATARI
TATAMIMATMANOR
ICEPALACEALGAE
STRESSATESEEDS
Tue 6/26/2018
BBCENDUPPETS
AREALIETOOREO
BINSINLALALAND
YETISETHANE
FRAIDSONICKEL
ANDARADAURA
HALALFOODATARI
AMAETDAIRLOL
ZULUSIAMMALALA
ESPNINNABEL
DESIGNOMNIBUS
CAVITYARMED
ALTOGETHEROPIE
REARSHERANUKE
CORNTERSEROD

I originally thought of using the grid-spanning MALALA YOUSAFZAI and ROYAL ALBERT HALL, but the latter has an extra AL, so I went with the current set. Was very happy when the intersection worked, as I had very limited theme entry choices.

POW Mon 6/4/2018
TODDLSDBASRA
ODORACAIANTIC
TENDBALDERDASH
TOPMIAMIBEE
ARBORSHUSK
DELMONICOSTEAK
UFOPALOARMED
LEWDGLADSRENO
TRIESCIAONNE
STEALTHFIGHTER
TRIODROOLS
ESCAVOIDEAT
DOUBLETREERHEA
ISSUESILLDARN
TASTESISSTAY
Thu 2/22/2018
ADDMEAGESFOGS
DROOPNORAORAL
LANOITANATSUGUA
ENTCOLDSPLANB
ROPETOOHAUNT
ARBEGLAERP
ANNOYAIRAMY
TRISECTLEISURE
MACUMPMINIS
SREZITEPPA
ACHEDCALSTAB
FLORADAREDUSE
REVERSINGCOURSE
AXEDANTECREEP
TANSMEETKILTS

Will and the team helped me with the current theme set. I originally had SOUP OR SALAD (later on CAESAR SALAD/CHICKEN SOUP), they gently let me know that those were dishes rather than courses.

Mon 1/15/2018
STPCITGOODOR
IHOPONIONLENO
NEWRELEASEINTO
ODESPROAVIAS
ELKTAXEXEMPT
MERLINLEO
ICKMEMORYIRKS
THECOASTISCLEAR
TOGORUBBERALA
SEEEAGLES
BEGPARDONVID
EXALTARIAREA
GILAFREEATLAST
ALLYRICCISLAB
NESSINKEDSPA
Tue 1/2/2018
COMAORCASPREP
SLAMNEALECOME
TAKEITSLOWSOAR
VOLGALENSKIT
INPENPAIL
SINAIMOVEAHEAD
AHATAIWANLYLE
RAPEGGLDSEEL
ADAMERNESTART
HAVEASEATAORTA
BATSISBNS
ALLKIEVOZAWA
BALDSTEALAKISS
USESPATIOARIA
TTYLSLEDSNEAP
Tue 12/5/2017
ABCSSAUNACHIP
PLOTURGESHARE
POPEYETHESAILOR
SCARABACCENT
OREORITA
MARINEBIOLOGIST
IPODSORBROMEO
CIALEASTNET
SADDAYALGORE
CIGNAABORT
ALLENGINSBERG
AWOLANOYEOW
HASHATTIPSATE
AREOHHENRYDYE
BEDWHARTONYAK

C.C.: This puzzle was made last April. Immediately after Will introduced us, Harry sent me a few ideas. We eventually settled on today's theme set, with Will's help.

Harry was so warm, quick and creative. I was also surprised that he speaks some Chinese. He knows pijiu (beer), mei wen ti (no problem), etc. It's such an honor to work with a news legend.

Fri 11/17/2017
CITIBIKESLOGIC
ASIFICAREDOONE
DONOTIRONSHOED
SKOREASTOGEE
GIRTHAROLD
FELONSTOPAHEAD
FRETATIMANPRU
LATTRIBECALIV
ASSRACEETRADE
TESLACARSASYET
REOPENHUBS
SMEWWARTFIFE
CANESANALGESIA
ATOLLINNEREARS
NEWLYTOKYODOME
Fri 10/13/2017
DAMASKSCARAB
IMALONEILLINI
GERANIUMTOOBAD
IRKSFLOTSAM
TIEGEESEKAPOW
ACTORRUNSRIPE
LAWYERLOWSLEN
DNALABSRAPPORT
ADTTIPSBARTAB
TACHSIPSMOSHE
ADHOCLOINSCOR
TORTONICRUS
GIJANELEGRAISE
OREIDAWHISPER
PATROLTSKTSK
Tue 9/19/2017
ADDSOMITHOPED
PROWFOREANODE
ALGAFROSGORSE
CAMPAIGNSIGNS
HUENCAANIECES
ERAGENGHISKHAN
SATIEEONNERO
DRIBSKEE
VOTEMAARESTS
WRONGANSWEROAT
SONTAGHILOAKA
SILENTPARTNER
SPIKEERINHDTV
OSLINLENDISEE
PASTALEGSSONS

C.C.: Don came up with the idea. We settled down on our current approach after explored a few other options. This puzzle was accepted in July 2016. Our theme reveal clue did not specify G/H/W.

DON: It was quite a while ago, so the exchanges with Zhouqin are foggy. But we had a few e-mails to go by. This puzzle started out as something else. We considered making a puzzle where all the silent letters are missing. That seemed overwhelming for a number of different reasons, but in the process, one of us noticed a phrase where the silent letters were the same in each word of a phrase. That seemed interesting, so we went with it.

Silent letters are tricky, because people can interpret them differently as to what is really silent. We felt lucky enough to come up with three answers that worked. We had other possibilities, but answer length and uncertainty limited our choices.

Tue 8/15/2017
INSEAMSTABPHD
TATAMIOHHIHOE
ATARISPASSPORT
LENSISITENSE
DUETOPRAYER
GUINNESSBOOK
OFNOTEIRISBTU
BOGSNIXONBIAS
ISOMUSETOOTLE
CASHREGISTER
PAGODAPULSE
ILIADPISARTE
PASTABARREPEAL
EMTSACKDAUNTS
SOSHATSSUNDAE

I started with two 12s in Row 4 and Row 13, but the grid was quite crowded. So I changed direction.

Initially 6-Down and 27-Down were broken up with a pair of 8's alongside STANDING O and BITTER END.

Sat 7/22/2017
CLASSICATBAR
LATTEARTCLAIRE
ENTERNOWLUSTRE
ADAPTSICEMMOB
THISASTROLOGO
SONCRETEKOJAK
EREEPICWINS
FRIENDREQUEST
LOOSETEAUPS
EASEDELVISCAP
TMENSPELTLAMA
SHABASRAMIRES
LANCETTSAAGENT
INNATESIGNHERE
EDENSCENTRAL
Tue 7/11/2017
PASSJDATEATIT
ARTIPINONFINI
PEACHESANDCREAM
ANNAGAIOUSWE
YACHTSACREDCOW
ASHEATVNORA
ROMEOHOARDS
POWERCOUPLE
PERILSAPNEA
ELONDUGBAND
ACTEDCOOLESSIE
THEOAFEOSPEC
BACKGROUNDCHECK
OPTOPLACEICEE
GOSSIDLESPTSD

I tried to remove OPE, but I did not like any of the versions I had in the upper right corner. Quite a few hesitating moments when I filled this grid, including EL CHAPO, who was just recaptured when I made this grid. I did not have circles in my submission.

Fri 6/16/2017
TWISTSBATTED
RANCHOSOTHERE
ARTIERBOOTCAMP
CTRYESICANTIE
THUDLEGITMANN
SODOICIAFAXED
GENDERFLUID
SALVEMRRED
HEATSENSORS
ANGUSSADTUPAC
RAREYASIRTESH
OPIBAUHAUSPHI
MALLORCASLIPIN
ALLGONESAVEME
SMEARSOVERIT
Tue 5/23/2017
HITONALESILT
ADOREALECOBIE
TONGUELASHCELT
PIGTADSOCKEYE
IDAREMOLEN
NONPCNANETHER
AORTADASANI
IMINAWEBOREDOM
PANTRYTROUT
OTROSPOEPSYCH
EMEAIWAEOE
SATINONSHHMRI
PLUMHASKITTENS
OGREOMNITENET
TANSKALPAIRS

I wish I could remove the black squares between 24A & 26A and its symmetrical spot (REMO / LEN & EME / AIWA). I tried to give the grid more flow but failed. The theme entry choices were rather limited.

POW Mon 5/8/2017
GPAMAGOOSCOWS
OLDCLOTHIONIA
BADELLEFANNING
INLAWRUNCODE
GEEYATHINKENC
ENYAHARSH
ANTSPROMINOIL
SEEBEEBALMUMA
KITTYSILOAPEX
LEASEINST
YAKTEAKETTLES
NOTETLCANGLE
CUETHEMUSICBIC
ANTESSTARKTOT
AGENTTEXASQTS

I was hesitant putting MALIK in 36D spot, afraid that he might stump some. That was a knotty area. Quite a few unexpected knotty spots in this grid.

Mon 4/3/2017
EGOSVAPORIRIS
BERTIRATENATL
BEERBATTERECHO
SKOALERASHAT
PUMPKINCOACH
SKIROERHEAS
OILSNASAAFL
BALLPARKFIGURES
BAESALTNAPA
ALEVEACTYAP
WATERPITCHER
NTHSUMOREAMS
ITEMCEILINGFAN
NEROKALELARIA
GREWSNEAKLONG

AGNES: Prior to December 2015, my only experience with crossword puzzles was solving them, a pastime that I've enjoyed since the late 1970's. Through C.C.'s generous invitation to collaborate, I'm enjoying the challenges and rewards of the nuts and bolts of construction. Most of all, I'm enjoying working with C.C. whom I consider both a friend and mentor. I'm very excited about our New York Times debut.

C.C.: This puzzle was accepted last Sept. Agnes and I were fairly conservative in our grid design due to theme entry length. I started making puzzles with Agnes in Dec. 2015 and we've had a few puzzles published by Rich (Jeff: Rich Norris, the LA Times editor). Agnes was eager to learn, and she learned so fast. She also works incredibly hard and is unfailingly kind, patient and accommodating of my background. I enjoy very much working with her.

Mon 2/27/2017
CANDOLIMAEPPS
BLEAKAPOPALOE
STARESDOWNTAPE
ATTENDSEASIER
SFOFADNYE
ARPFUDGEAMPED
PEACETIMEMAA
EXPOSEALSUPON
ELITIMEPIECE
RERANELENARTE
EXPSADSIM
DOLAPSSEENOTE
STAGDOWNSTAIRS
EINEOVIDENEMY
ACESIAMSRADAR
Mon 1/30/2017
DEEMSLAYABHOR
EXPATAPENOIRE
UTICASTAGNATED
COCKTAILHOUR
ELFSKYOLDVIC
ACESADSIPO
LIETESTSAPAL
BULLETPROOFVEST
ONUSREFRAINS
HARAMYANAT
OREIDAMSTRUB
BUCKEYESTATE
MALELEADSPINTA
BLOATRIOARCED
ALUMSLAPSEERS

I don't normally stack themers when there are five or more overlapping letters, afraid of iffy crossing fill. But sometimes this setup seems to work better than unstacked grid, especially when there is a central spanner.

Sat 12/17/2016
TWITTERBOTSPAT
VOGUEPARISARNE
DOUBLETALKGOYA
AHALENDSRAMIN
DONESELLSNIDE
SOARSREINSSEC
RANECOFREAK
MOOLAHKNEADS
SERRANOSEEK
ODDMOTHSDEPTS
FIERISAMPDART
ACRESPLEATRIO
RANGHEALTHPLAN
ATOIALLTHERAGE
SEWSGLASSYEYED

I'm not good at themeless and seldom venture out of the standard grid layouts. As friendly as this grid setup was, I still had a tough time finding nice answers for these bridging slots: 33A / 39A (ECOFREAK / SERRANOS) and 21D / 27D (RSSFEED / SALAMIS) — I had filled and locked the two triple-stacked 10s earlier on.

Mon 11/14/2016
CAMPSPURSIDLE
AVEOTORAHDCON
MONKEYINGAROUND
INDEXSEMINES
REINANTI
LOPMOUSINGOVER
AWEPUTINGENE
LEASTMRTKARTS
ATRAEERIESET
WOLFINGDOWNERS
SEGOSONS
TABOPTSYEMEN
SQUIRRELINGAWAY
PUCKORATERASP
SAKEBIGOTSHED
Thu 10/13/2016
REPORTSRWANDAN
ATHEARTARGONNE
WHOOPIEGARBAGE
BINSPFSTOOTED
ACEDEARTHDELI
RAMISNATDYSON
SLEEPYSOHOTUG
MADEPALE
OCSTSARGOLEMS
RAILSCOPREMAP
IRMASHOUTMETE
GAMBLEFREERIC
AVERAGEINSTANT
MARACASSTANLEE
INSTYLETHUNDER

While doing a search, Don saw the phrase GARBAGE BAG, and noticed how the BAG was repeated in sequence and together in the preceding word. Having already seen a similar phrase, it gave him hope that there would be more examples. Don asked Zhouqin to help in the search, and both came up with enough phrases to make it work. This was all completed before a similar puzzle was published in the NYT in May.

Sun 10/2/2016PAPER JAM
HASTEPAIDBOASTS
BURIALBOCCEELIROTH
FREEDOMOFTHEPHDRADIO
LAYSSALTEDDISSORE
ICLOUDSAYLAUNCH
TEEBERETJANEDOETPS
SSWETESPUTTTRYHAW
INREDPASTICHEBETA
SASECOLETTEAESICON
ARARATASIFATTHOHOS
LENDTOSTOODINCAMETO
SADIEWTOROMAANACIN
ACTEAHISTRAPONSKEG
BOHRSANTAHATTUTSI
ADEAITRIELARCOSEG
RENPRISONRTEAKSIDO
TENANTAASSHONDA
MYSTCTNNOPROBUTIL
DELILAHFIRSTPASTTHEP
SWINDLEMCGEELEVEES
SMALLWSKYSDEADM

In my first submitted grid, the papers were jammed all over the place — some in the start of the theme entry, some in the middle, some in the end. Will helped me picking up new theme entries and tightening up the approach. Each paper is now jammed in the end and all long theme entries contain the article THE.

Mon 9/19/2016
ENDSMAMBASCRAM
ROOTANDESRHODE
NINEMONTHSSIMON
RUPPAILNERD
THEFOURSEASONS
BAHGLENTILT
AMOIANDORDER
HOLLYWOODSQUARES
AKELAICUPERV
ALSONAIFSOP
SIXTEENCANDLES
TREETIAALES
AURALONEFINEDAY
GLOSSNIXONNUDE
SEXEDSTERNAPES

For the original grid I sent in, I used a Left/Right grid with four broken pieces. Will & Joel found the theme entry split-up off-putting.

Felt sheepish about OENO and a few other entries in the revised grid. Just could not get a cleaner grid due to the themer lengths.

Mon 8/8/2016
MIAMIAPPSEGGS
URBANDARNTREE
GRANDHOTELVENN
DISNEYHOARD
LASAGNASUITES
ACUTEIGNOBLE
REPENTIANASHY
VIETITANICCOE
ATRALENCABALA
STREETSLOPES
OTITISTALLEST
DAZEDVIOLAS
OREMBIGPICTURE
ROMPBLOBAESOP
STETCARYBRATS

When I sent this idea to Don, there was no TITANIC. Don is always looking for ways to enhance a theme, and one is to cross theme answers in the center. He realized soon after GIANT was proposed for the center by me that TITANIC could cross it. Creating puzzle themes works well with our collaboration, because it encourages much exploration of ideas, which leads to creative thought. We draw inspiration from the process.

Joel redid our lower right corner, as it had a few unfriendly Monday entries.

Fri 6/17/2016
ESPNRADIOTEBOW
STONECOLDEMOTE
TAKESHOLDRIOTS
ATETOMBKITKAT
DIANOSIRISSWE
OCTETTIMACAN
VOICECOMMAND
COARSEONIONS
WINDOWSPHONE
RASAEARTBARS
ABCNARITAASHE
PARLORMODSSON
STEAKCARDIGANS
UTERIATMINSIDE
PANDABEETSALAD

This puzzle was accepted in Feb 2015. Since then I've learned not to be obsessed with packing grids with never-seen-before entries for themeless grids. Cleanness should always be the #1 priority, then freshness. Otherwise, junk fill will follow me wherever I go. I doubt this puzzle would be accepted with Will's high standards these days: two partials, one plural name, etc.

POW Wed 5/18/2016
AVAFAMINESAME
MOCOCELOTTRAY
ANTARCTICCIRCLE
ZAIREHAHRESTS
EGOISMDEFOE
DENEELONTAPE
SENATORRHEA
THATSAMOOTPOINT
HAIRCARRIED
ENDIVETENFAT
KESHASIMONE
IRKEDORETORTS
FANTASYBASEBALL
SNOWPAYSINYEA
OTTOASSERTSRS

I normally avoid 3/6/4 edge breakup, but the theme intersection in this grid made the design necessary. It gave me the smoothest fill.

Mon 4/11/2016
CARGOEPSPANTS
ABHORNEOACURA
SLOPECRURODIN
KEMOCHORERIPE
BOWLINGLANE
FOULRAPS
TSPREALALEPTA
ATOLLDIPSWIRL
MOOEDATEUNTIL
PALACESSKIBAGS
THURATAB
BRAPOCKETSRAT
LABSIRISHLENO
UGLYCANTIOATS
RUEDAWGEEODES

RON:

Though not a great solver, I've been a puzzle enthusiast for a long time. Early in 2009 I discovered C.C.'s Crossword Corner blog, and by the end of the year I was a contributing blogger. I now post there two Wednesdays per month. A couple of years ago she invited me to work on a puzzle with her, and we've done a few collaborations since. She's been an inspiring and generous mentor to me and several other partners in puzzle construction.

I'm a retired Materials Engineering manager from a major car company. My lovely wife Gloria and I have 11 wonderful, talented grandchildren, and following their various activities help keep us busy.

I love word play of all kinds and occasionally amuse myself by writing haiku and limericks. My other love is music. I'm an active amateur musician, playing trombone in two local jazz bands, a concert band and a symphony orchestra. The jazz bands have been willing to play some music I wrote and arranged.

C.C.:

Will & Joel asked us to remove NLE (15A) from our original grid. They also felt that PHO/OTRA (24A/36D) crossing might be hard for a Monday grid. The puzzle was officially accepted on May 6, 2015. I had fun fiddling this grid with Ron. He's incredibly patient and creative.

Tue 3/22/2016
BOMBATALLATMS
ODIEDETOOCOOK
BOCADEFOGHOJO
ONADIETSISENOR
TRIBECA
KOALAMENPIQUE
AMIESENSEDULL
TARGETDASANI
ORSTOVWAXYAZ
HOMEGAMES
SPCAPSATSAMFM
LEASTPIKFLORA
ALPHABETIZATION
SLEEPERNOWORSE
HARDEESSONNETS

Don: There is no memorable inspiration for this puzzle. It probably grew out of thinking about alphabetic order. Why not just order the consonants? The "how" of it proved to be more challenging than one might first imagine.

It was decided to confine alphabetically-ordered letters in sequences of words that fill entire rows. We did not know how many rows this would take. It turns out that three were enough. Designing a grid was a challenge. We ended up having to use a grid with right-left symmetry.

An experienced solver can tell just looking at the grid that we're up to something difficult, since there are not many long answers and the top corners are very simple in design. The word ALPHABETIZATION worked well as a reveal answer for the theme, a nice 15 to cross the grid.

C.C.: We accidentally put SRS in 44-Across spot (where ORS is) in our submitted grid. Thankfully Will & Joel caught our goof and redid that section of the grid.

Thu 2/11/2016
EBBSPRONGOILS
REAPSAUCEKNOW
MARIEANTOINETTE
AMSTELCOYOTE
TOMARNOLD
TRACNEOLOLA
AMOKADMITKINK
LAYETTESILENTE
ENOAMAEMODEN
ROBINSERTA
LEBRONSERENA
OMIGOSHMINIVAN
COSAIOWANPANG
ATONDRANKUNOS
LENSEASESPSST
POW Tue 1/12/2016
LONGBAREDEBAY
OBOEEMOTESLIRA
FARMANIMALSSTIR
AMTLEDAATETAD
TAEBOSNOWANGELS
OMITPARLOR
MUSCATPEROEDS
INTERIORDESIGNER
REELSESTOLDYA
ALSACERUNE
RADIORANGEIDSAY
AMYSYRISLAAAA
DOJOANKLEINJURY
ARODNOODLEATOM
REBSDIALSGENE

This puzzle was accepted on Sept 6th, 2014. As you can see from my original grid, Will removed the circles and re-did the upper left corner. Maybe he did not like ADOBO (26-A) on a Tuesday?

Mon 12/28/2015
SINSWALLETTAP
OBOEICEAXEERR
SEALTEAMSIXLGA
OTHERMESGLUT
SILVERTEASET
IRABEELET
LANAATOMSLATE
SINBADTHESAILOR
ALARMESAICENT
BOOTLCSEE
SPEAKTOOSOON
COLDELOGORGE
OILSTEMTOSTERN
USETROPICCLAD
TEESASHESHOMS

This is my oldest puzzle in Will's queue. It was made when the movie "No Easy Day" was just released, and accepted in Feb. 2013. Thanks to SEAL TEAM SIX, I was able to get five entries with different middle words.

As you can see from my original grid, Will and Joel quietly did their job and removed a few crosswordese entries from a few spots, notably LST (31A), ENARM (43A) and HODS (71A).

POW Sun 12/27/2015BINARY CODE
SIPONABASESTEAMO
UNLOADNATASHAAVIANS
SHOPPINGCENTERGARRET
SAWAGELONGRUTSFRAY
ELMIRONRHYMECAIRN
DEADENDSDIALSPAREME
SNORTSINTLELATED
MAONCAAFINALSCOT
BLOTFOESCBSAURORA
LEEOSLOAAASTPAULS
ICANWINDOWFRAMESPEE
SODAPOPCHEMUSHLAD
LOOTERBOGALOTEVEN
ELFONIONRINGSGIL
FARINAENTSCANALS
ADDLINGBAASJAZZDUET
BOOLAODETSRUDEDVR
BLURPTASEVERESTDEY
ALBINOMINNESOTATWINS
SALSASEDASNERTOOTAT
REESEEVENTSPOEMS

DON:

What started me on this theme was ONION RINGS — I just happened to notice that the O's were described by RINGS. I thought if we simply write OO, one could literally say they are ONION RINGS. I started to think of other possibilities. DD came easily, DEAD ENDS. Enlisting the help of a co-constructor is very profitable in this situation. Zhouqin came up with some great ones, like AA: NCAA FINALS, NN: MINNESOTA TWINS.

We got too ambitious with the grid design. With nine theme answers, one needs to be very careful. We had too many short answers that were unacceptable. The puzzle was accepted for the theme, but we needed to clean it up. We decided the best route was to start over completely. It paid off well because in a reasonably short time we were able to construct a grid that was acceptable. This is another case where having a co-constructor is ideal, because starting over completely may seem overwhelming by oneself, but much easier with some assistance.

C.C.:

I love when Don's theme proposal clicks with me immediately! I had fun finding LEADOFF DOUBLE, NCAA FINALS, JAZZ DUET & WINDOW FRAME. The other few (MARRIED COUPLE, SHOPPING CENTER & MINNESOTA TWINS) are just there waiting for us.

Don designed both our grids. I still have difficulty making 140-worder (maximum word count) happen.

Thanks for the new title, Will and Joel!

Sun 11/1/2015FRAME JOB
SPAREMEJOBCUTSFARGO
WIRETAPARALSEAALERT
ANIMALSANCTUARYALLOT
GEDSLONEFRETGAPE
DENTBARBARABOXER
ASCIIFAUNARAN
DILLSHARDENSWOREAT
ALEESORASTHERIOMRI
PLATENUMBERMAILFRAUD
TYRPASLEDOUTOZMA
GARAGERITESLISBOA
ROSEHOAGIEASINNE
COMICBOOKPRIORARREST
ASUHELPEDTENGOOCHO
EDWARDSOHISEEMAHON
TIECACTICROWS
CLEANANDJERKOFFS
LOFTLIRAETALSMUT
ORIONCOPACABANABEACH
VALUEEMERITACRUELLA
EXERTREDARMYYESDEAR

Will changed quite a bit of the 88A/93A area, which was also the part I fought the hardest in the filling process. Elsewhere, 26A & 70D have new answers also.

I admire those constructors who go low on Sunday puzzles. I still struggle with 144-word grids for Rich & Patti. I try my best not to waste long slots and avoid those wobbly fill, but sometimes the grid won't cooperate.

POW Tue 10/6/2015
INFOCSISDOGS
PARRTRITERANI
OPEDWENTTOOFAR
DANECOOKILOST
CRYLIONEL
RAHNOENDSOCAL
IGOTITGOVVASE
CAPECODROBERTA
EVENHEFCURLED
SENDSFEDEXORS
EASTEROKS
STRUTLETMESEE
STEALAKISSSLAV
PANGGINSUHIRE
ANTEEDGYAMPS
POW Mon 9/14/2015
MAPONAIRRUB
ARABHEIDICASE
LOSANGELESKINGS
IDOTOOKITKAT
BUDWEISER
PUTONHANVIALS
ASHYFORTECNET
GMAROLEXDOE
OATSOPERASRTA
DRIVESMRCOOL
ASSESREYCOILS
HALLMARKCARDS
SALTADANONOTE
ELIERATONSNOW
ESECROWNEYE

Joel said, "We're interested in your CROWN puzzle if you can revise the fill a bit. In particular, we'd really prefer if the weirdly spelled TFAL could be removed. Aim for Monday-level vocabulary, as that's probably what this would be."

I removed T-FAL, then decided to add a cheater to remove NE-YO (65-Across) as well. I was concerned that his name was not Monday-friendly either.

I love Will's USGA clue. I had a boring "121-year-old course server: Abbr." there. Will changed a ton of my clues. I just don't seem to get better as my clues.

And I'm a HAN (28-Across), like over 92% of the Chinese. I'm guessing Jeff Chen is a Han too. Maybe Kevin Der as well.

Sun 8/16/2015AS IT WERE
AFFIANCEDBRELGUAM
RAINDANCEATRIALANZA
MINKSTOLESEATTLESLEW
STEPTAPASSTRANGERS
ATHEISTICLASORDA
LANDHORELHEETRI
IVEOUTTAKENBYELDER
POWERSAWWIENIESLONE
ONYXERNEDRATTEDGSA
OPSOBLADIINCOLOR
HAROLDALPINESTONERS
AWKWARDPEGGEDNOG
LAMTOOTALLGARPFLEA
OREOPROTEINMARKFELT
SETHSSKEPTICYENFAT
PTSYEATOSSUBTLY
GALILEOYARDWASTE
HOMECOURTSOFASALAS
BREAKGROUNDINTHEPAST
AMASSOSTEOSERENADER
RENEESAIHEARTLESS

A theme like this instantaneously reveals itself. Don noticed a phrase, MINK STOLE, where the last word doubles as a noun and the past tense of a verb not related to the noun. This is a quirky sort of aspect of our language that we thought would be interesting for the crossword puzzle solver.

We intuited that there are many similar examples, and that such a theme had the potential for a Sunday-sized puzzle. To find such phrases, it was helpful to look at a list of verbs and their past tense forms. We did find quite a large number of examples — it is not often that we 1.) have quite a few theme entries to choose from and 2.) make the intersection of two theme answers possible.

Don created a grid design that did not fill easily. Zhouqin finished off the design, and that was when she noticed two pairs of theme answers could cross. After we were done inserting theme answers, Don saw that there was still space to enter one more down the middle at 45D.

It is risky to have so many theme answers and still be able to come up with good surrounding fill. We give great credit to Will Shortz and Joel Fagliano for encouraging us to find better fill in the NE and SW corners after our submission. Those were difficult areas to fill, and we thought we had exhausted the possibilities before. But having a fresh start on it, we were able to improve the areas greatly.

We will admit that sometimes we force a fill because we like certain words or phrases, and that may have been the case here. It is difficult to admit to oneself that the fill is not good enough, and to better keep looking — we are glad that we have editors who cared enough to point this out.

This was a puzzle where the title came after the fact (sometimes the title drives the theme idea). Don came up with AS IT WERE almost immediately, without thinking much about it. It just sounded right!

Mon 7/27/2015
RECAPRATEDGET
ECOLIIGIVEERA
MONICASELESORR
MAVENNIMROD
ADORETOSUGLY
GRANDENOLTE
RORYNAMEATTAR
AMYYOKOONOEGO
BALSARENUGNAT
HIPPODAREME
OMANINSGRATE
BANGORPAEAN
ANNPALINDROMES
MIAATONEALAMO
AAHLEPEWTAROT

SCOTT: We made this puzzle last August and it was accepted on Oct 3, 2014. We were happy to give YOKO ONO such a place of prominence after all the help she has given constructors through the years, not that we had better choices for a central entry.

Mon 7/13/2015
ARLOAHABSNACK
COATDAREUPTON
LIKEWHITEONRICE
USERIDTVSTOE
GILEILEEN
ONECOMMENTCAVA
DONODIESALON
ORESDRAMAAMID
RAVENNAPAOLE
SHAREPRICESNAS
TWEETSSTD
SHESSTPEORIA
FACEBOOKBUTTONS
PHOTOREARACTI
DANDYTAMELAOS
Mon 5/4/2015
DOHAPESOSALAS
AVERENERORISE
HAMANDEGGSCOIL
LLAMAMAYORNFL
SNAPPYCITI
ILODREAMACT
TRACEROAROMAR
AAHSTEPMOMERE
DDAYILEIAGREE
SAMADAMSCRO
ROMAFACETS
IBMNADIRISAAC
FLEXIAMACAMERA
SINEDRAMAABIT
OPTSSEXEDDOSE
Sun 4/19/2015DOUBLE DOWN
CHEAPMKTCHINTHIGH
EATSALONEWHAMOHOSEA
DIRTYINENHEARTARMING
EGERFREERANGEROOSTS
ASTOTETEALBEE
URIHEELSAYIDORIFT
SOMMERAJAMNYUKENDO
ATPAREBONIESARCSIN
GOODATUREDFINALOTICE
ERRORALSSNIPBUN
STRAYEDPRESSUP
QUMKOANSAPORALF
LAUNCHARTYEVENINGTAR
ALONSORESEEDSBEIGE
ROTITITIESSARATOUT
DEANBAABAATREENES
GORENASWEEARL
MIKADOTACOSALADATRA
STATIONAGONPAPERRAIL
ROYALIRONSOVERACTED
PROBETANSEARGHANA

DON: The German physician Franz Mesmer inspired this theme. The name MESMER has always intrigued me, and I noticed that it nearly repeats itself except for the last letter. I started looking for other similar words. Then I came up with the theme idea to introduce the words into a puzzle. I asked Zhouqin to join me in the search. I can't remember who or how, but we decided to have half of the down theme words repeat the first two letters of a six-letter word, and half would repeat the last two letters. This made it much easier to find down theme answers and to fill the grid. Funny thing is, MESMER did not make it into the puzzle.

ZHOUQIN: I remember we rebooted several times in the filling process because of the dupes. So easy to dupe those little three words in our Down theme entries.

Wed 4/8/2015
TRIBESLTEMPO
ROTEELIORWELL
ATRAPLUSUGANDA
CAIROMAWRHELM
ETESEPEISLAO
SEDGESASSOTT
ORCHESTRAPIT
AREAORELENA
BESTRAPALBUM
CDCACSASSIST
NSATCIARRCOE
ETREENDSDIANA
WAGGEDITSATRAP
STOGIEDIEAUTO
ETONSONELSAT

This puzzle was accepted in June 2013. I was not fond of having a 8-letter entry as a reveal. They force stacked 6's immediately (in the SW and NE corners) and way too many 3-letter entries for my skill level back then. Will saved me again with a clearer clue for the reveal entry.

Mon 12/15/2014
SLAPBETTECRAW
EUROUSHERRAGE
ACTISTANLEYCUP
SKINNYDIPSPENT
YETIMEHTA
ALAELASHES
BRATTVSTAREMU
LILSKITRIPAMP
OFFOILPANPDAS
WEAPONMEMO
RATSOEROS
EPOCHSTEELTRAP
SUMMERCAMPABLE
AREAOAKIELIVE
IRONCRETESTOP

C.C.:

Original grid

Dennis and I made this puzzle in the spring of 2012 when he finally settled down in Florida. Will changed the middle & lower right corners and removed a few icky entries (see right). He also changed most of the clues and cleared up our vague reveal entry clue.

DENNIS:

As most new constructors collaborating with Zhouqin will tell you, she does most of the heavy lifting. I'm shocked and grateful that our first submission of an NYT puzzle was accepted, albeit with Will's deft "adjustments."

Wed 9/17/2014
TERIREDOSESTP
BEEFIMEASYWEE
IRISHCOFFEEENT
RIGEEROBEENE
DENSEYESMASTER
UPNHELOTS
ECCEORDEALASH
LAOSHOSEDPLEA
MMMSELLTOOKED
BEETLEWAG
PROSEPOEMFORAY
RIFLELOSTATE
EDAPOLLINATION
EGGELOISEISNT
NEEDELETEPEEL

C.C.:

I'd like to share the first email exchanges I had with Don regarding this theme:

C.C.: "Don, can we put BEE? words on top of various flowers and have POLLINATION as title?

Don: "You are too funny. Are we talking weekday or Sunday puzzle? Better yet, find flowers that can be masked, like ASTER in EASTER, etc. This may require circles. I suppose we should look at a list of flowers first to see if that is possible. There is IRIS in IRISH, ROSE in PROSE. Maybe that is all we need. I don't think we can do a big puzzle with this theme. Having three flowers embedded with BEE words above and POLLINATION in the grid is enough. Want to give this a try? ..."

This is how Don rolls, always improving on a simple idea I have and making things happen.

DON:

I will add that there seems to be a synergy to collaborating on an idea. Most likely, neither of us would have come up with this idea, but by throwing it around, we see things that we otherwise would not see.

Wed 8/20/2014
HARDGLILACRAG
ABHORAMISHESL
RRATEDMOVIEDIA
MAPWEAKSSTAR
SEWERUPSTAGE
TROWEPRICEEGOS
SIDEAFLATS
AMYRELEASECEO
SYRIAALLAH
ONTVLFRANKBAUM
FORESEELOESS
NSYNCFISTSAE
OHSESTREETBAND
TETNOMENLUCKY
EDSESSESESTAS

Will tweaked a few entries (32A, 35A, 67A & 68A) of my original submission and changed lots of clues. He probably needs extra strong coffee to edit my grids. Original grid

The reason 8 is considered LUCKY (66A) in China (Japan as well) is because its pronunciation is similar to an image meaning "Prosperity".

4, on the other hand, is profoundly unlucky. It sounds like Chinese character for "death". So, you might not find 4th or 14th floor in some Chinese buildings.

Tue 7/15/2014
LABSSCAMBAJA
ELIAUNDOODELL
TEDTURNERRAFTS
BREEZEOVERFED
EONBCESIDEB
DEAREDOETS
YESIKNOWAMAZON
STARSEASOFA
ENMESHBREAKSUP
RAWCAPMVPS
AERIESOPALE
WALMARTLLAMAS
ONTOPSTEVEJOBS
ENOTEIONEAREA
ONESTOTSRELY

This puzzle was accepted in August 2012. I was inspired by ELON MUSK, but could not make him work due to the short letter count.

Tue 6/17/2014
SAPPREZPSYCHO
CFOREDOIHEARD
HOWEMIRLOATHE
WRECKITRALPH
AEROMOMAJAM
PLANEPROPOSE
EELLENSMEHTA
DJANGOUNCHAINED
GENOALOANGRE
ACTRESSALITO
RTSPASTEONS
KNIGHTANDDAY
AMBIENARNOMIR
BOOTIERENOALI
SILENTKEENNSA

As you can see from my original submission, Will did major surgery on the grid and greatly improved the fill.

Brad Wilber sent me this link explaining why the D is silent in Django Unchained.

Wed 4/30/2014
MOBIMMADOPTS
ETASAUCEANOUK
STRIPCLUBREPRO
HORNACRSMACKS
NEWHARTLUSH
BASINSDROLL
OSHEACAANTUB
NIAMACVSPCUSO
EARERASASRED
PALINBLUESY
MACELIPBALM
ITUNESARTACAI
LORENTRUMPCARD
ELVISOSCARREO
SLEDTEENYPAL

I had quite a few PC & MAC candidates to choose from, so gridding was not as challenging as I had imagined. Still a bit tricky at spots. I hope foodies and food bloggers spread "pomegranate arils" & "acai bowl" quickly so ARIL will not be treated as crosswordese, and ACAI will not be just a a trendy berry that often stumps some on our blog.

Thu 2/20/2014
CHIPSTOCKPILE
LENOLADLEADOS
AARPAROARDORM
PREDATORYARNIE
ICESCOSET
CARVERWORKBIN
AGUAGAUZEUNE
ROBWOODROWYAW
ORIADIETSINE
MANWINDCUTTER
SLANGRONA
TATASORIGINALS
ONESEVADECROP
OKIETETONECRU
LANDCRAFTSHED

ZHOUQIN (C.C.):

This idea occurred to me when I put WOODROW in a down slot one day & misread it as the two-word WOOD ROW. Don did all the hard work on the grid design. I initially used a 5 & 5 & 3 word break on the very top & bottom rows. Simply could not make the grid work, not to mention including a few long downs.

DON:

This idea places a burden on the construction, because we were stuck using lengths of words that must work out to rows and be symmetrically arranged. And then sticking WOOD ROW in the center made it even more difficult.

CC and I share filling and cluing. On a personal note, I was happy to get RUBINSTEIN into the grid. That was on my half of the grid. Way back when I was a senior in high school (1972), Rubinstein came to Cleveland to perform a recital of all Chopin music. I was in heaven, being a Chopin fan and a Rubinstein fan. I was witness to an extraordinary event. Other than that answer, it is not a very exciting grid for us to design, because we both like more complexity, with some longer entries. The theme really limited what we could do.

Mon 1/6/2014
OBEYSRIDESKIP
HAVOCEMIRMESA
MNIGHTSHYAMALAN
SELANEOALLOT
MBUTTERFLY
GOKARTLEIGAM
ANITALEILARPI
VCRSXACTOTEAL
ELKMERGETHERE
LEGINAPLENTY
IAMAMERICA
AMBLEBINLAUD
VISFORVENGEANCE
ELOIAIRSEMILE
RENEGATEROMAN

I normally can handle 60 theme squares, but this one was a bit challenging. Probably because the limited supply of M * & V * candidates & the exact MMXIV order the theme demands. I just could not come up with a cleaner lower right corner.

Happy New Year!

Tue 11/26/2013
EDICTARCSABAB
DANNOHUITLENA
GRANOLABARIATE
ALPTABLOIDBUZZ
RATIONESPRIT
DODOOSIER
CASESAMUELFLU
ESCALATORCLAUSE
LAOITSAGOPLED
SPOCKETRE
BLENDSOAXACA
YOYODIETINGDOS
ENDSTRADEMARKS
OTOEEMILATEIN
WOODSANENAPES

Don:

I remember clearly that I was in my car in Columbus, Ohio, listening to a local radio show host, John Corby of 610 WTVN, and the subject was "words that were at one time trademarked but have now become accepted everyday words". It seemed like an excellent topic because I was not aware of many of the entries on his list. I thought that if we could make phrases with some of the words, it would be fun. Many thanks to John Corby.

Beyond that, I can't remember how we approached the construction, but most likely, my resourceful partner, C.C., came up with a thorough list of qualifying words, and we both made phrases from these, and chose the ones we thought worked best. We always share the construction and cluing about 50/50, as we like it to be a complete collaboration.

Zhouqin:

As Don mentioned earlier, we narrowed down our choices to words that were once trademarked but have since lost their legal status. Lots of words that we use generically are still trademarked.

This is actually the first puzzle that Mr. Shortz said "Yes!" to us. Don and I were very excited when we got the "congrats and welcome aboard!" from Paula.

Mon 10/14/2013
TAPEGAPENALA
NEINALOTMOTOR
USAINBOLTATTIC
TONGAUSUALFARE
POMPSBLARED
BASINSARI
SEASBOSCARTSY
PARUSBPORTATE
ARSONLYLEULEE
IRAEDANSK
MILLERMOORE
USERSFEESIPADS
GETITUSHEREDIN
GROGSRAILNINA
YENSOINKSOAP

C.C.:

This theme came to me while reading an article on Sergio Garcia's temper tantrums at the 2002 U.S. Open (Bethpage Black). Scott, who blogs for our L.A. Times Crossword Corner on Mondays and Tuesdays, is an avid golf fan, so this was a great project for us to collaborate. Since the theme entries are all rather short, we decided to overlap the top and bottom entries, which gave us the best fill.

SCOTT:

How did I get into constructing puzzles? C.C., she won't take no for an answer...and I'm glad she didn't. I am glad I could help. If I had known how the course at Ardmore would tame the PGA Tour this year, I would have strived to place Merion in the puzzle somewhere. It would have been a unique word.

Tue 9/10/2013
KUMQUATTYPHOON
ATEINTOHORMONE
LETDOWNEDASNER
ERASTEAMEDAGO
SILKRELAY
SAINTSOATS
HYUNDAIKOWTOW
AAAKETCHUPODE
GUNGHOHORATIO
ELKOBOTTLE
BARAKCHOW
EBBBOREDOMIMO
MARCONICHATTER
ALADDINCOLUMNS
GINSENGCHINESE

I sifted through all the English words with Chinese roots and came up with the current set. I avoided words with obvious Chinese ties like Mahjong or Feng shui. I also shunned words with controversial origins like Tofu or Ramen.

I found it tricky to work with theme entries of short length. I'm so used to the conventional grids with 4 or 5 long theme entries.

Tue 8/20/2013
INTOROSAPASTA
NORIOBISARNEL
FIELDWORKTRINI
ADAUSEFSTOPS
METOOHOLYWEEK
YAYSTHERODDUI
KASEMUNAPT
LABORMARKET
STARSICEES
NOBSONNETTERM
LUCKYDOGASTER
SOUSEDRATUGH
PLANTDOUBLEDAY
BETTEEVILMELD
ASSAMDONEISEE

Don: I heard the name Abner Doubleday and thought it was interesting. Knowing how CC feels about baseball, I thought she would enjoy it.

Mon 6/10/2013
NICEARTYCRTS
IMUSLOEWELOIN
PATPAULSENAUTO
PGSSNEERCIGAR
YESPARTPAYMENT
HISCBS
AMORCREATELOP
PARALLELPARKING
TOTLADIESIKEA
EARGTE
PAJAMAPARTYIPO
OPERAADLERCUB
INSTCOMETOPAPA
SETHELISETRIM
EASYLOTSSELA
Tue 11/13/2012
MELDSJAYSLAMP
UMIAKALECERAS
SCARYMETAPHORS
KENNYGIMEANIT
YEAVACSPERON
MOLOKAIFAD
IMBADSYRRASTA
DRUNKIFAINKED
LOTSAGABSAYSO
ECTUNLINKS
TILESLARYYEP
HONOREDAMPERE
OBSESSIONOASIS
EEKSUNDOVNECK
DRYSPOETESSAY