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Puzzles for August, 2013
with Will Shortz comments

Thu 8/1/2013
OBSAFIRSTTWIG
RATSLOOPSHONE
CRACKUNDERFORCE
ACTAESSAAREA
SAURONKOS
REDUCEDISTANCE
TYRANTTIME
HAZESERGCECIL
EGADICETEA
POPULATIONMASS
ONOVOLUME
THUDRANIOLES
PHYSICSFORMULAS
COMEDETROPERE
PUNSSTAINSNYX
Fri 8/2/2013
KIDNEYBEANLATE
ANYONEELSEERIS
TRENCHCOATGENT
ZEDAIRFRANCE
LULUULULATE
SHIITESLIST
WARGAMEEXTENDS
UHOHNCAA
MANTRASBRADAWL
SUVAREVERSE
SEVENAMUBER
PLECTRUMSGWB
LEGOIRAQIDINAR
IVANCAYUGALAKE
TENDEISENHOWER
Sat 8/3/2013
SOTHABERDASHER
WHOONCLOUDNINE
EPARICKYNELSON
ELFMANHANSMRT
TEARSBALEKAMA
SARIWORFANSEL
OSEWAXTABLET
PETMICEMAEWEST
HITORMISSRPI
GOETHBALKMSRP
AREAORLYTIVOS
SSWGAILWONOUT
LIEDETECTORITE
ONLINEFORUMCUR
GOLDENSPIKEEPS
Sun 8/4/2013SHOULD I CALL THE REPAIRMAN?
PACESAFTSLILTKEPI
UBOLTGAULASIADICES
RARERARBORISTSINTRA
RANGEKEEPSCUTTINGOUT
EYESHADESELITES
FDRTEASARENAIMPS
JUSTWENTDOWNGLAZERS
OBTAINUNEVENTENOR
ROOMSHASSTILLGOTBUGS
DINEBERTSLOWLANE
SEWAXEEATDAH
ADRENALSASSYRTAJ
FAILEDSOMETESTSHEAVE
RUBLETONNESMULDER
ADEPTATISONTHEBLINK
NITALATINHULASTY
PIPPINECCENTRIC
DEVELOPEDASHORTBROOM
OZARKIDENTICALPOURS
TRIESNYETDOMEINNER
SANDGEDSEASYESTOP
Mon 8/5/2013
AGITACLOCKSRA
ROGERROCHEHEN
COUNTRYSTARALA
AGASSIEARELAL
DONEFORDGALAXY
ELASTICSETTLES
SSSIFATCOAST
KEITHMOON
CASASYEPSPSA
ASCRIBENETGAIN
PHOENIXSUNIRAN
STUNGPAUPTIME
IRRDAILYPLANET
ZAGSPREEANGST
EYETEEMSNOSEE
Tue 8/6/2013
ASSDISCSWISS
DAKSERTAPINTA
DYETAKECHANCES
UNTIEITADAMS
POCKETKNIVES
HERONERODES
ELBATOREARENA
BOOCOPCARSMVP
ALOHAFATEBOYS
YAKIMAUNION
PINCHPENNIES
IRISNRAUNZIP
LIFTWEIGHTSIDA
LOSERMAMIENET
STORYPROPGRE
Wed 8/7/2013
SEISABJECTARE
CYSTPRAGUETAR
ARLORINGEDSIN
REALMONEYITEMS
EENYKUWAIT
CHINAUMAMI
ZOOMLENSESSTNS
ALTOLOOSETOUT
REAMINNAMEONLY
ESTEEXFILE
SCONCEPEAL
QUITEKILLMENOW
URNNEWDADMACH
ASKELAINEOSHA
DESSINGERNAST
Thu 8/8/2013
DOGGYBAGPAWSAT
ERASABLEAXIOMS
FISHHOOKLESSEE
LOLAYUKSSHORT
ALARMOOHBRIS
TEMPESTDIVORCE
ESPSOILTONYAS
HORSESHOE
SHRUNKDIEDMAA
MAILSINPROFESS
USDANOROINKS
SHAHSTOLDROSA
HOBOESTIREIRON
EULOGYCLEANCUT
STEPONSTARGATE
Fri 8/9/2013
OMAHAELMSSERF
HELENKICKBOXER
CAPRIGERALDINE
ATHOMESITUATED
LEANERSBEEP
CABSREFBOOST
UTENAILCLIPPER
TETANNULARELI
TRIBUTEBANDNFC
ASCOTSICPESO
AIRSREORDER
SCOTLANDTHEFED
ARTMUSEUMALIKE
KATESPADERARER
EBONSKEWEWERS
Sat 8/10/2013
GODELESCHERBACH
PRIVATEAUDIENCE
SUMANDSUBSTANCE
DESGREAT
PANESPHILINDS
OROSBETSAFOOT
TAKZORACRINGE
SPOKEOFFTHECUFF
DAMASKEROSSOA
AHINTZWEILEON
MOSSDEWYPARDO
ATARIAIM
ONESECONDPLEASE
PUTSTHEKIBOSHON
STATEASSISTANCE
Sun 8/11/2013ADDED SATISFACTION
SHAMSFLEAAJAFARAD
CABOTPOUNDLOGABIDE
RIATAOUNCEFEASTUPON
AFTERALLAHORCATTEST
MAEDLIIMPEACHES
SUBTITLESMOANSPA
JUSTSAYNOAHREARSPAY
IMOUTSADVOLTALONE
BAWDHOTDATESSTANZA
POESYIDEAMERGER
HOOKAHLINEANDSINKER
BIGKIDEVERJOLTS
STREETABSOLUTEPELT
ITEROWENSVISTUTEE
DESITINALEFTBAHRAIN
ERSMANOFIRESALES
UPHOLSTERTABCSA
CUATROAIDAUNTIEAHEM
ONTHEEDGEETHYLACERB
WIRESRAGREUNESTAVE
STIRSEYEASHYTITER
Mon 8/12/2013
FOURABBOTHUFF
DRNOVOLTAENOL
AGHAONAIRAFRO
INHIGHSPIRITS
TUTEDSCITES
UNCLESWAIN
NIHILISTICGIVE
ITENAHINTANOS
CEDEGINGIVITIS
DRONEADELA
ASTROSKINAY
STRINGBIKINIS
KIEVROBOTLIED
EPEEISEREIFSO
WEDSTEXTSEYES
Tue 8/13/2013
SPCAASHESPARE
WEANSWIRLARES
ITRYPATROLBOAT
GRETIMWILLDO
SUBMARINEPOLYP
CEASEEXPO
SHAREIPADPOWS
AIRCRAFTCARRIER
GOSHLOUTVOLTS
KILNSETTS
GIJOEDESTROYER
ONETENNOSCAY
BATTLESHIPROSA
ANTEOKAPIBOON
DEARNYJETINNS
Wed 8/14/2013
COSTAHEXADNSA
OCTETAMICIOER
NEALEVENDSDIS
JARLSBERGCHEESE
ONTTATDAMN
BIOSGOLFCOURSE
SAFERAROD
FLIMSYALIBI
EMILNONPC
WIFFLEBALLBAIL
EPEEOASSLO
THINGSWITHHOLES
BOGALIASINUSE
ANNBONGOLEMUR
RESSPOOFLAPPS
Thu 8/15/2013
WIPEDMVUSED
ADAMCRUETNEAR
ROTCRANTOPITY
SEAOFCORTEZ
EYEOFTHETIGER
CFCRTSDEBDEA
EFLATSSERUMS
LEICAMUDREPOS
ETNABANJOHOTE
BEEINONESBONNET
BASSEQ
SEEYOUINCOURT
MAWRMCGEEIOUS
IGORELGINSANE
CAKYDAYNETREX

I don't know how Jeff thought of the theme examples. They're very cute. My favorite, of course, was SEE YOU IN COURT.

Because the four long answers in the puzzle are essentially unclued, I tried to make the rest of the clues slightly easier than for the usual Thursday.

Fri 8/16/2013
ATWARFLEESAPS
BURMARAILCLAW
ONIONRINGSRENE
DESKONTHELEVEL
ESTPUGETEWELL
BALLERINAS
PRAGUENEEDPBS
DYNASTSSAFARIS
QEDSTEPRODEOS
PIEALAMODE
GEORGTACITMAP
ERGONOMICSLPGA
IRISBATESMOTEL
COVEITESIRENE
ORESTEDSLEDTO
Sat 8/17/2013
ABLEMSNBCABRA
NAANILIEDMEAN
TYPEWRITERSTAND
FADHOTSPOTRDA
ARENASMECCAN
RESETANNPOULT
MAKEMINEADOUBLE
DELICIOUS
SIDEWALKARTISTS
OTEROLSDSNARE
MESSRSMISLED
EMERADIOADTVA
SORRYFORTHEWAIT
ANTIELATEEINE
YESMSENORTROD
Sun 8/18/2013EDGINESS
TELEPHONEBARCLOTHES
INITIALEDRUERAVIOLI
CHASTISEDATLUNENDED
KAIROSYCOINSRESEE
ELSISNOREPEATED
TOEATNANIFFIERCAF
DOGGRAILTERIGARR
OFMERICONOPARVERGE
FOESALOUETTEDESREE
FUNTBRONTERISESINT
ERNEBORDERLINESMETH
NCOSAYSTBIMINIASIR
SONTAGHORSECARNONO
ILIEDBEENETETEGNAW
VOTEDFORIDLEESSE
ERELIBIDOARRGRIND
ENSCONCEETATDOO
PICASLAUDESTUBITT
IMALONESODFINALEDIT
PAPEREDEMEPRECIPICE
EXPRESSREDDEDICATED
Mon 8/19/2013
YAKSLEAPERAMP
ADAMALPINEGEE
OMNIPOPPYSEEDS
OGRESLEAXOUT
SNAKEEYESRINSE
FIRODEDOGEAR
OSOSAERATE
HONORSTUDENTS
ORATORTRIM
TRACEDASAADA
HEROSWALLPAPER
ECONBAGIPODS
CAMERAFILMROLL
ONAORELSETOIT
WTSBERETSARPS

This is the first of four crosswords used last Saturday at the 4th annual Pittsburgh Crossword Tournament, where all proceeds go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You can read about the previous year's tournament.

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

(In response to Jeff's comments): What percentage of solvers are tackling a Tuesday puzzle for the first time? It must be a fraction of a fraction of 1%. While I do keep beginners in mind, I'm most mindful of the fact that the vast majority of Times solvers are regulars. That's who I'm trying to entertain.

The real question regarding the KUNTA/ASSAM crossing is...is it fair? For a Times audience, I think yes. Kunta Kinte was the lead character in the most popular TV miniseries of all time — he's a cultural icon — and Assam is a celebrated state of India, with a rich history, famous for its tea and silk. These are things Times readers should know, in my opinion. And if they don't, they have failed the test. I'm not editing crosswords for supermarket tabloid readers. I'm editing for a sophisticated, educated Times audience.

My goal is not to guarantee readers error-free solutions. The Times crossword is supposed to be a challenge. That's part of what makes it interesting. I don't think watering down Tuesday's grid with more of the standard 3-, 4- and 5-letter words — with the loss of ABS SYSTEM, LAB COATS, PATTY DUKE, etc. — would have been an improvement. Easier, maybe. But better? No. Well, (as Jeff says), there's no right or wrong opinion.

Wed 8/21/2013
STANDANATOWNS
SINEWDECOWAAC
WAITANDSEEISTO
REOUNHAT
GOOFFONATANGENT
MARASURFSSTY
CHACHASURAL
SULTANATEOFOMAN
ARDORSENORA
GIALOUISGEAR
INSTANTANEOUSLY
JAPANANN
OTISUNATTESTED
EIREZINCICARE
SEEDITCHLINES

The large amount of theme material in this puzzle impacted the grid in some unappealing ways. Balancing quantity of theme and quality of fill is always tricky. At 35A, the constructor had SERAL ("Of ecological stages"). I thought SURAL was better, but probably not by much.

Thu 8/22/2013
CTHEDOGSOFFBAC
IHAVENOIDEAAPB
ORIOLESNESTTHO
POLATSEACROIX
EWESWISCAANS
PROPHTTP
ALGAEORRSETA
DONTCUSWELLCYOU
SOULROETIERS
EMITDODO
APSOSHETNCAR
CHIENCAPESAMO
AOLGUADALCANAL
TRESTPAULIGIRL
CASTOOCLOSETOC

E-mail from Rachel Colangelo, organizer of the Pittsburgh Crossword Tournament: "We had another successful event and 64 participants helped to raise over $2,200 in support of the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In the finals (today's puzzle), the three solvers were stumped for some time, but once they caught on to the rebus trick they flew through the solution. Mike Wilhelm, our winner, was a very impressive solver — he finished the Monday puzzle in 3.5 minutes."

POW Fri 8/23/2013
PEDICABBRAPADS
ARIGATOEATENUP
PANARABRIHANNA
ASKLLBTSARISM
TOOLSINLETS
JUSTASECOND
UNIONSHOPSMOET
BURPSENEWELSH
AMISMACNCHEESE
RIDESHOTGUN
STRAWSSEALS
WEELASSCLEIRE
APLENTYRUBSOUT
BEARDENEPICWIN
SEXTAPETATIANA
Sat 8/24/2013
XENOALISTGRAF
ATONLENTOHALO
CHOCOLATESHAKES
TAKENOPRISONERS
ONSCUTANDPASTE
GUTMOT
ZAIRESEAWORTHY
ARNOSPURNASIA
KICKSTARTONKEY
PERMFG
IMAGINETHATSAM
COMETOTHERESCUE
APPLEPIEALAMODE
RULEARUDEUNIT
EPEEDENSEGETS
Sun 8/25/2013CAPITAL L'S
EWERNAPAEELERCACTI
BARITONESUVULAORLON
BRIGHTESTROCKCONCERT
SENSORTOPEKAENVATE
RECORDESQDENVER
JUNEAUIONSUTERO
MANIDOSAGEREISSUING
TRIPTYCHSATEENENDUE
ASTEROEDLABRATCEDE
RIDLOSETOCAVESIN
SAPBOSTONAUSTINTEA
PREMEDSDOESNTLET
RONAOHDARNDESCITES
IMACSORDEALRISKFREE
GALAPAGOSTERESAFONZ
RINGOCECEALBANY
HELENAPARATTLEE
ITOCIDPIERRETRAVIS
THISISATESTINPATIENT
UNSETLORCAABUGSLIFE
POESYYOYOSLCDSSLOW
Mon 8/26/2013
LEGITGLOOBAMA
ALITOAOLTUDOR
MANUPSWEETTALK
PLANBSHOVEMES
EASYAIRAS
FRESNONFLRACE
LEAADAGEBIPED
ARSONMIRLAPSE
SUTRAENNUILAN
KNOBANGSNEERS
RSVPFEEDS
OVANEARSDPLUS
CENTERCUTAIOLI
HIGHCTIETENET
SLEEKSTSEDGES

Ian worked as my assistant back in the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011. It was the first puzzle job he'd ever had, beneficial for both of us. He's now at Penny Press puzzle magazines in Connecticut. Ian's constructions are always super clean (like this one), and he's very flexible. Easy, medium or hard — he can construct an elegant puzzle at any skill level.

Tue 8/27/2013
CLAMANGLEABBY
AIDAROLEXSALA
STORMFRONTSCUM
TURBOMOTOUKES
SPELLSMOLARS
ETCHGETBY
HOSSHOLDMEARA
ENTTWODOORGAP
ACEEATSUPBETS
PEEVEREBA
LODGESROTGUT
INTOANNESHOVE
NERDFRENCHOPEN
CIAOFORGOIRAE
ALPOENTRYLOST
Wed 8/28/2013
BABEEMITSITCH
ICESNASALSOLO
THESULTANOFSWAT
SERENITYWOUNDS
SISPARE
HATSTATUTEHST
OAHUETONGRATE
PRESIDENTHOOVER
EGRETAGEEDRIP
SHEARMADASENS
ALESRUB
HORRIDMAKEUPTO
IHADABETTERYEAR
TITOARGONERIC
SOARTEEMSRUTH

Erik's a pretty good clue writer. I changed fewer clues in this puzzle (about a third) than I do in most. I look forward to more puzzles from him.

Thu 8/29/2013
TTADROLDEMYHR
YHTNAMOELIOTE
RETRACENACIRRUH
OSHOERDNALOC
AELSTOTSTIMO
EUGESANIRTAK
KRYPTOAIG
GIMLETEOFNEWT
APOSEINES
TYPHOONBRIDE
REUSEIPUTELY
ANTGLENSEWES
BROOKLYNCYCLONE
BORNEOEIREHOV
INSEAMROTSCHE

A longtime solver told me recently that his all-time most-hated New York Times crossword was the one by Elizabeth Long on April 1, 2011, in which all the vertical answers on the right side of the grid ran upward. Of course, at the time he solved it, he didn't realize it was an April Fool's puzzle. I'm thinking he's going to hate this puzzle by Timothy Polin even more.

Fri 8/30/2013
MICHELEBACHMANN
STRATEGICROUTES
THELATELATESHOW
ATTSRIPSEEN
NCISSIOUXDIAZ
CANEPAULETSTE
ONSTARSCRAMMED
ASIFOOPS
AFLUTTERXESOUT
DOESERAPESVSO
ORALSRTASBEBE
SVENARITERP
HUEVOSRANCHEROS
URBANDICTIONARY
PEERASSESSMENTS

PEER ASSESSMENTS running across the bottom row is a little cheap, and I didn't care much for ATTS and EGERIA. Still, overall this is a pretty spectacular construction. I'm impressed.

POW Sat 8/31/2013
JIMMYFALLONPBJ
AREYOUREADYALA
KINGSRANSOMROC
ESSOLBSRERACK
SHADSICKTICKS
OSCARSSHAQ
TISSUEPIEKUDU
OTHELLOSAGETEA
GAOLMACMODEST
ALOEATOAST
PITCHSNLOMEGA
ACETICSAWALUM
RIMMAGINOTLINE
TZUORIGINALSIN
YEPMEANSTREETS

Josh is a twenty-something constructor who puts together both a mean grid and clues. Most Friday/Saturday Times puzzles get heavy editing, but this is an exception. Most of the clues here are Josh's, including the very pretty 23A, 27A, 47A, 3D, 12D, 32D, and 55D.