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New York Times, Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Author: Kyle Dolan
Editor: Will Shortz
Kyle T. Dolan
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
65/22/20122/22/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1021002
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57020

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Dolan. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jeff Chen notes: Love this take on word ladders. We've seen so many crosswords with individual rungs of word ladders in the grid, like a recent BLACK ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Love this take on word ladders. We've seen so many crosswords with individual rungs of word ladders in the grid, like a recent BLACK to WHITE one, so Kyle's approach felt fresh. Excellent a-ha moment when I realized that the curious [... SLID SAID SAND SANE SINE NINE ...] clue was the middle of a SLIM to NONE word ladder!

Nice selection of themers, each of them snazzy. I say NOTE TO SELF all the time, in a humorous (or so I think) way, and HERE TO STAY and AMEN TO THAT are great too.

I would have liked a more lasting a-ha moment somehow, as once I got the trick, it was too easy to fill TO into spaces 5-6 of each themer. But it was a strong enough click; an innovative idea that managed to mostly hold my attention even after I got what was happening. Certainly memorable, and that's saying a lot.

I was curious to see how many other themers might work: COME TO PAPA, WENT TO TOWN, DAWN TO DUSK, NUTS TO THAT! Most every pair of four-letter words can be connected via word ladder, although it may have to be a very long word ladder.

Speaking of length of word ladder, check out the 11-word ladder connecting AMEN to THAT! Curious if a shorter one could be generated.

Nice gridwork. Only two feature pieces of fill in REPORT CARD and ANTISEPTIC, but both were solid. And BREXIT, SYNAPSE, O HENRY, added to the quality of solve too.

Not much to report in terms of short fill, which is exactly what you want. Short fill is like a baseball ump — he/she does a great job only when he/she isn't noticed. Some may balk at IBN, but it's a common enough word in Arabic. Minor dab of crossword glue. (BTW, LSU = Louisiana State University if you didn't know.)

I liked the twisty take on word ladders. If the a-ha moment had persisted a bit longer, or if Kyle had managed to work in a couple more long pieces of jazzy fill, this would have been my POW! choice.

1
G
2
I
3
N
4
A
5
B
6
A
7
R
8
B
9
B
10
A
11
L
12
E
13
A
D
O
R
14
E
15
O
V
E
R
16
U
N
I
X
17
S
L
I
M
T
18
O
N
O
N
E
19
S
T
E
P
20
P
E
R
I
S
H
21
N
E
X
22
T
23
I
D
O
24
E
Y
E
25
D
26
G
I
R
27
L
S
28
M
29
A
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R
S
31
N
O
32
T
E
T
O
S
E
33
L
34
F
35
A
G
E
36
T
R
I
O
37
P
U
P
I
L
38
T
I
P
39
S
Y
N
A
40
P
41
S
E
42
T
M
I
43
C
L
O
44
C
K
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S
E
T
S
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I
B
N
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H
E
R
E
T
48
O
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S
T
A
Y
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S
C
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T
O
S
C
A
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K
L
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M
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R
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E
C
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K
E
L
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P
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E
D
I
59
C
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T
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S
62
A
D
A
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M
64
A
M
E
65
N
T
O
T
H
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66
Z
E
R
O
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N
O
D
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N
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W
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 24,578
Across Down
1. Actress and former mixed martial arts champion Carano : GINA
5. Provocative remark : BARB
9. Seat at a hootenanny : BALE
13. Go crazy for : ADORE
15. Part of an order for eggs : OVER
16. Operating system with many clones : UNIX
17. ... SLID SAID SAND SANE SINE NINE ... : SLIMTONONE
19. It may help you get up : STEP
20. "... shall not ___ from the earth": Gettysburg Address : PERISH
21. Call from a counter : NEXT
23. Words often spoken with a hand on the Bible : IDO
24. Visually assessed : EYED
26. Show created by Lena Dunham : GIRLS
28. Where Matt Damon was stranded in a 2015 film : MARS
31. ... DOTE DOLE DOLL DELL SELL ... : NOTETOSELF
35. Archaeologist's estimate : AGE
36. Many a chamber piece : TRIO
37. Person at a desk : PUPIL
38. What an insider might offer : TIP
39. Impulse transmission point : SYNAPSE
42. "You've said quite enough!," informally : TMI
43. Something a cellphone can replace : CLOCK
45. 6-3, 2-6, 7-6 and others : SETS
46. Part of many Arabic names : IBN
47. ... HERD HEAD HEAT SEAT STAT ... : HERETOSTAY
50. Macbeth, e.g. : SCOT
51. Puccini title heroine : TOSCA
52. Heidi of "Project Runway" : KLUM
54. ___ department : REC
56. Growth in an underwater "forest" : KELP
58. Things handed down by kings : EDICTS
62. Man exiled from 55-Down : ADAM
64. ... OMEN OPEN OPED SPED SHED SHAD SHAM WHAM WHAT ... : AMENTOTHAT
66. Home (in on) : ZERO
67. Lymph ___ : NODE
68. "Sweet!," old-style : NEATO
69. Wraps up : ENDS
70. Fit of pique : SNIT
71. Erupt : SPEW
1. [OMG!] : GASP
2. Not in use : IDLE
3. Genre for the novelist Patricia Highsmith : NOIR
4. Hordes : ARMIES
5. What's always good in Grenoble? : BON
6. Publisher of the old All-True Detective Cases comic books : AVON
7. Fail on a promise : RENEGE
8. Portmanteau in 2016 world news : BREXIT
9. Greyhound runner? : BUS
10. Common bandage additive : ANTISEPTIC
11. Told a tale : LIED
12. Event at a convention center : EXPO
14. Online market for crafts : ETSY
18. Annual writing award : OHENRY
22. Training montages, underdog victories, etc., in sports movies : TROPES
25. Bump off : DOIN
27. The Tigers of the S.E.C. : LSU
28. 6-3, 2-6, 7-6, e.g. : MATCH
29. Nimble : AGILE
30. Progress indicator, of a sort : REPORTCARD
32. Wedding dinner speech, often : TOAST
33. Gray area : LIMBO
34. Camper's tool : FLINT
36. "For shame!" : TSKTSK
40. Pinnacle : PEAK
41. Engraver's instrument : STYLET
44. Board hiree, for short : CEO
48. Geographical quintet : OCEANS
49. Catch for a grizzly : SALMON
50. Hits hard : SMITES
53. Japanese noodles : UDON
54. Demolish : RAZE
55. See 62-Across : EDEN
57. Spa treatment, informally : PEDI
59. Bloke : CHAP
60. Museum near Westminster Abbey : TATE
61. Put away : STOW
63. Rapper ___ Def : MOS
65. Lepidopterist's aid : NET

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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