About the Gail Collins Crossword Puzzle

Both authors attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City, and were Math Team Captains in consecutive years. While pursuing divergent professional paths, they kept up over the years via e-mail on topics of common interest, and one such middle-of-the-night exchange spawned an intense, focused collaborative effort the fruits of which you see here.

With most of the letters in the filled grid locked in, our focus switched to providing thoughtprovoking, topical, and/or amusing clues. Two sub-themes emerged, one relating to the canine species, and the other to political, historical, and/or geographical matters. There follows brief discussion and documentation of some of the more unusual clues. The solver/reader can easily conduct additional Google searches based either on our clues or on the answer words.

25A While there are many ways to clue LAD, we chose a character in a book that has been popular since its introduction a century ago, according to Wikipedia and Amazon.

31A Our Spanish phrase may not be a correct idiomatic translation of "every dog has its day", but it appears widely on the Internet, e.g., at this Peruvian site. Another version is "todo perro tiene su día."

41A References for Lucy Lou, the dog mayor include Wikipedia and this.

54A Moses Malone's first pro team was the Utah Stars in the American Basketball Association (ABA), which could provide an alternate clue for 76D. Inspired by one of the puzzle's authors, Moses went directly from high school to the big leagues, skipping college.

7D The Hightower quote was used as the title of Chapter 6 of his book Thieves in High Places.

11D Inspired by a program in Tallahassee, Florida, we considered, but eventually rejected, the clue: "Acronym for Florida-based program to teach dogs social skills."

14D The year was 1969 (the Miracle Mets). Their centerfielder, Tommie Agee, made two of the all-time great catches in World Series history, during game 3 at Shea Stadium.

15D The year was 1973. After a long and illustrious career with the Giants, first in New York, and then in San Francisco, Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays played his final season and a half back in New York, with the Mets.

21D References for "Rudd" Weatherwax, the dog (including Lassie, Old Yeller, and Homer, the team mascot of the New York Mets) trainer include Wikipedia and the Weatherwax family itself.

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