Art Nouveau – The New York Times

In other words, the seven circled Cs not only form the shape of the number 7, but each of the theme entries containing those Cs is the name of a SEA, clued as something completely different.

Hows that for layered?

Theres not a lot thats new (or GNU, as in 39A) here, but sometimes fresh is not the point. Mr. Eaton-Salners presents his idea very cleverly here, and I liked it very much. He was obviously very constrained and yet he managed to pull this off in a very elegant way. Also, the clues are razor sharp, which added to my enjoyment of the puzzle.

Conquering complex constraints compels careful crossword construction.

Here, the hardest thing to get right was the shape of the 7 created by the seven Cs. Only a few well-known seas have a C in them. And, the location of the Cs within those seas are fixed. Thus, it took many iterations to whip this puzzle into shape (hah!).

Of course, theres still always flexibility. I originally submitted a grid with CASPIAN and CHINA swapped and with BLACK one row lower. That version had some limiting fill constraints (e.g., _ _ LN in the upper right from CORAL and CASPIAN), and I had to rework the puzzle to remove them.

That said, the current configuration is still pretty constrained. There are three Downs (BEANIE, ROBOTIC and RELEASE DATE) that intersect three theme entries and 10 more that intersect two theme entries. And in four of those 10, the two fixed letters are consecutive (which are typically harder).

Im lucky that SEVEN SEAS and CARIBBEAN are the same length and that CARIBBEAN is a good candidate for the top-left point of the 7 glyph, which means SEVEN SEAS can be symmetrically placed as a revealer. If that hadnt worked out, I would have used a stacked SEVEN/SEAS revealer in the lower-right corner.

If you ever visit Horseshoe Falls, allow plenty of time to find parking. When we went, all the lots were full and it took quite some doing to find an open space. Unfortunately, we had a flight to catch that afternoon, so we could only run to the falls, take a quick peek and then hustle back to the car. Next time, Id like to meander over to the Canadian side, check out the Cave of the Winds viewing area behind Bridal Veil Falls and ride the Maid of the Mist.

Almost finished solving but need a bit more help? Weve got you covered.

Warning: There be spoilers ahead, but subscribers can take a peek at the answer key.

Trying to get back to the puzzle page? Right here.

Your thoughts?

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Art Nouveau - The New York Times

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