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New York Times, Saturday, January 25, 2014

Author: James Mulhern
Editor: Will Shortz
James Mulhern
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2211/16/200910/22/20165
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01200910
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 29 Missing: {JQVX} This is puzzle # 3 for Mr. Mulhern. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
James Mulhern notes: This was my first attempt at themeless construction. It has some definite creakiness I'm not thrilled with, looking at it with ... more
James Mulhern notes: This was my first attempt at themeless construction. It has some definite creakiness I'm not thrilled with, looking at it with today's eyes, but I still think it has some nice stuff in the longer spots. ZAGAT RATED / ZOMBIE, GLUTEN-FREE, and NUTELLA were the main seed entries, and many of the other long entries are strong (SURE ENOUGH, SWAMPED, ONE TOO MANY, SOBER UP, TACITUS, NUMBSKULL, STONER, WORD OF GOD). I particularly like GLUTEN-FREE, which is modern, fresh fill that isn't a proper noun (and therefore (hopefully) more familiar to more people). Enjoy!
Will Shortz notes: I accepted today's puzzle by James Mulhern in August 2012. A few weeks ago, just as I was editing it, he wrote me again out of the ... more
Will Shortz notes: I accepted today's puzzle by James Mulhern in August 2012. A few weeks ago, just as I was editing it, he wrote me again out of the blue that he wanted to improve the construction. Was there time, he wondered? Well, yes. Good timing. And he made the grid better, too. I admire James's attention to quality.
Jeff Chen notes: Now that's a great 1-across clue. (For all you non-physics nerds out there, Newton's first law of motion is often quoted as 'a body ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Now that's a great 1-across clue. (For all you non-physics nerds out there, Newton's first law of motion is often quoted as "a body at rest tends to stay at rest.") ZOMBIE in itself is a very fun answer, but the clue makes it golden.

I really appreciated the cluing today; a bevy of nice ones. Typically fun wordplay clues rely on a question mark, which gives away the fact that it's a fun clue. But "It's not normal" for ANOMALY, "Drink that often makes a person sick" for ONE TOO MANY, and "Get off the drive, say" for DELETE are really nice, all enhancing my solve. Beautiful stuff.

This puzzle is a great example of one having some fantastic, marquee entries at the price of a good amount of crosswordese. ZAGAT RATED, GLUTEN FREE, SURE ENOUGH, SO SUE ME, and NUMBSKULL crossing BOOB with the same clue, that's some great stuff. ULU, OFT, NAUT, ATO, ENL, SSW... that's not. At 72-words, it contains enough great answers to make me happy, but enough ugly stuff that people will complain.

What's going on? Let's take a look at the SE corner. Notice how the triple-stack of 10s turns the corner, forming an ell (where DR LAURA is)? That, combined with the fact that the stack must connect at the SOBER UP area, makes construction very difficult. Not only are there 10 across entries that must be filled in through that triple-stack, but so many of the slots are long. Not an easy task to accomplish.

And now look at the NE corner. See how small it looks in contrast to the SE? James does an admirable job in this corner, with some nice answers (WORD OF GOD!) and only SSW as the price to pay. Typically themeless constructors try to segment their grids into four roughly equally-sized subsections, each of moderate difficulty. But today's xw is a tale of four corners: two easy to fill, two hard.

Fun workout today, the clever cluing helping to make up for some of the uglier entries.

1
Z
2
O
3
M
4
B
5
I
6
E
7
S
8
W
9
A
10
M
11
P
12
E
13
D
14
A
N
O
M
A
L
15
Y
16
S
O
S
U
E
M
E
17
G
E
T
I
N
T
O
18
W
R
I
T
E
I
N
19
A
T
O
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S
O
D
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A
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D
A
I
N
T
Y
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T
O
R
24
A
25
N
E
W
26
T
O
N
S
27
R
O
C
C
28
O
29
L
O
A
F
30
M
31
S
32
G
33
S
34
A
M
Y
T
A
35
N
36
L
P
G
37
A
38
U
L
U
39
T
A
C
I
T
U
40
S
41
S
O
B
42
E
R
U
P
43
E
N
L
44
S
M
O
45
G
46
D
E
L
E
T
E
47
D
Y
E
48
S
49
B
O
O
50
B
51
S
H
E
E
R
52
T
53
E
S
T
B
A
54
N
55
I
N
N
S
56
U
57
N
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L
O
C
K
59
S
N
E
60
E
61
O
F
T
62
R
A
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N
O
U
63
T
64
D
R
L
65
A
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R
A
66
N
U
T
E
L
L
A
67
S
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N
G
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R
68
S
T
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69
S
A
S
H
E
S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,454
Across Down
1. Body that doesn't remain at rest? : ZOMBIE
7. Having way too much on one's plate : SWAMPED
14. It's not normal : ANOMALY
16. Dismissive confession follower : SOSUEME
17. Start liking a lot : GETINTO
18. Rare electee : WRITEIN
19. ___ B : ATO
20. Ingredient in an Americano : SODA
22. Like Fabergé eggs : DAINTY
23. Repeated battle cry : TORA
25. Megadyne fractions : NEWTONS
27. Chef DiSpirito : ROCCO
29. Dog it : LOAF
30. Texts, e.g.: Abbr. : MSGS
34. "The Valley of Amazement" novelist, 2013 : AMYTAN
36. Org. for female shooters : LPGA
38. Inuit knife : ULU
39. Writer of the ethnography "Germania" : TACITUS
41. Get out of the blasted state? : SOBERUP
43. What isn't the small print?: Abbr. : ENL
44. Suffocating blanket : SMOG
46. Get off the drive, say : DELETE
47. Food factory stock : DYES
49. Ninny : BOOB
51. Utter : SHEER
52. 20th-century treaty topic : TESTBAN
55. Priceline possibilities : INNS
56. Release : UNLOCK
59. 2012 Pro Bowl player Chris : SNEE
61. Once-common "commonly" : OFT
62. Game that can't be played : RAINOUT
64. She wrote "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" : DRLAURA
66. "Spread the happy" sloganeer : NUTELLA
67. Queen's weapon : STINGER
68. Producing zip : STERILE
69. Strips at a pageant : SASHES
1. Given a 20 for food, say : ZAGATRATED
2. Drink that often makes a person sick : ONETOOMANY
3. Road hog : MOTORCYCLE
4. Record label abbr. : BMI
5. Johns of Britain : IANS
6. John of Britain : ELTON
7. Recife-to-Rio dir. : SSW
8. Bible : WORDOFGOD
9. Like Huns : ASIAN
10. Refusal to speak : MUTISM
11. Flatten, as a rivet : PEEN
12. Throw out : EMIT
13. Keep from : DENY
15. Demonstrate a wide range on a range? : YODEL
21. Gone private? : AWOL
24. Early CliffsNotes subheading : ACTI
26. Restin' piece? : TAPS
28. Energy bar ingredients : OATS
31. "You guessed it ..." : SUREENOUGH
32. Like some diets that avoid pasta : GLUTENFREE
33. People people : SUPERSTARS
35. Ninny : NUMBSKULL
37. Lincoln and others : ABES
40. Diesel discharge : SOOT
42. Primary and secondary, briefly : ELHI
45. Bunches : GOBS
48. Habitual high achiever? : STONER
50. Label stable : BANDS
53. C.D.C. concern : ECOLI
54. "Phooey!" : NERTS
56. Some heavy planters : URNS
57. Like some flags: Abbr. : NAUT
58. Not full-bodied : LITE
60. "Modern Gallantry" pen name : ELIA
63. Swimming gold medalist Park ___-hwan : TAE
65. Key component: Abbr. : ANS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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