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# New York Times, Thursday, November 17, 2016

 Author: Timothy Polin and Joe Krozel Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3412/11/20113/5/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
52631602
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61480
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
847/7/20061/12/201715
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4147222521
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48055

## This puzzle:

Rows: 16, Columns: 15 Words: 63, Blocks: 57 Missing: {FJQVXZ} Grid has mirror symmetry There are unchecked squares This is puzzle # 29 for Mr. Polin. This is puzzle # 83 for Mr. Krozel. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: In the print version of this puzzle, the five squares in 50-Across each have a small number in them, as follows: 5 | 29 | 47 | 34 | 43
Constructor notes: JOE: Tim bounced a preliminary idea off of me for a pyramid puzzle, and I responded with suggestions on how he might cut down the ... more
Constructor notes:

JOE: Tim bounced a preliminary idea off of me for a pyramid puzzle, and I responded with suggestions on how he might cut down the black squares and incorporate additional theme. Later, I was delighted when he came back to me and asked to make this a collaboration. I have thoroughly enjoyed the collaborations I've had with Tim ... and all the other constructors I've made puzzles with over the years (Peter, Martin, Victor).

TIM: Thanks very much to Joe for working with me on this.

I'd built a mirror grid with a smaller pyramid/entombed mummy and the four theme answers, but it felt like the puzzle was in this weird area between the theme's not being rich enough and the grid's not being visually distinctive enough. There was too much noise for the pyramid to stand out; too little theme to compensate.

Assistance was required. On went the Bat-Signal.

Joe liked the idea but agreed that the grid needed revamping. He expanded it vertically while adding in the larger pyramid at the bottom and the three others around the sides.

Incidentally, King Tut's tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Kings, not in a pyramid. We weren't sure whether to include him anyway, but decided to after seeing that he could be tucked in under the barrow-like central block formation.

Thank you also to Will and to the enfant terrible of crosswords, David Steinberg, for their help in revising the theme. Specifically: how to link MUMMY with the outside fill. The notepad/numbers idea was all theirs.

Jeff Chen notes: I'm a sucker for visual puzzles, and simply having a MUMMY buried within a pyramid of black squares might have gotten this puzzle the ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I'm a sucker for visual puzzles, and simply having a MUMMY buried within a pyramid of black squares might have gotten this puzzle the POW! alone. What a brilliant image!

I had the luck to go to Egypt a few years ago before things started getting unsafe, and that made this puzzle even more enjoyable. Descending into those claustrophobic pyramids during 120-degree weather was harrowing, but what a once-in-a-lifetime experience. All those stories about lost tombs and building projects of massive scale … wow. Just, wow.

As if that wasn't enough, Tim and Joe give us some more pyramid graphics in other back square patterns, plus some fun theme material. PYRAMID SCHEME, TOMB RAIDER, PHARAOH ANT are more indirect than TUT, but they gave me enough to feel like the puzzle wasn't just a pretty picture.

And bonus fill to boot, with a themeless-esque open feel! I loved uncovering RARE GAS, MEGAWATTS, LAST GASP, even RASTAMAN (are you singing Bob Marley's RASTAMAN Vibration now too?), and TEA BAGS that come with strings attached.

Not all the fill was great, but that's to be expected with such wide-openness. TWO HEARTS felt partial-ish, and crossing TWICE was inelegant. I doubt many people will like seeing ANIS, but that's the only real glob of crossword glue, and I found it worth the price of LITHUANIA / LAST GASP. Tim and Joe could have cleaned up that region by putting a black square at the T or G of LAST GASP, but I like their decision here.

It also would have been nice to get less random-ish placement of the M U M M Y letters, but I can't think of a better way to do it (maybe have those letters be part of theme answers? or have them regularly spaced somehow?).

I imagine TOMB RAIDERs slipping diagonally into the pyramid from the T of MAD AT or first A of AMANA, just like I crept through chutes into the real pyramids. Totally tickled by this puzzle; a perfect example of the astounding creativity crosswords can exhibit.

 1A 2L 3B 4O 5M 6T 7W 8I 9C 10E 11P E E P E 12R 13S W A T A T 14R A R E G A 15S 16L O O T E R S 17P Y R A M I 18D S C H E M E 19L A W B R E A K E R S 20S A L E S T E A M 21T E T E S 22S T R A 23P 24T O R T S 25S T I H 26L 27R A M I S 28T 29U 30T 31S N A I 32L 33A B B A 34M U S I 35C 36S R T A 37S L R 38C A G E D U 39P 40A H S 41T E A 42B A G S 43Y E L 44L O U T 45A L I E N S 46S E A H A G 47M A D A T 48A M A N A 49A M E N 50M U M M Y 51A N I S 52N P R 53T A P
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 24,481
 Across Down 1. Mitch who wrote the best seller "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" : ALBOM6. Careful way to think : TWICE11. Tree frog with a distinctive call : PEEPER13. Go after, as a fly : SWATAT14. Krypton, for one : RAREGAS16. Extras in many apocalyptic movies : LOOTERS17. Common scam : PYRAMIDSCHEME19. Criminals : LAWBREAKERS20. Company's marketing group : SALESTEAM21. Nice ideas come from them : TETES22. Leave in a bad way : STRAP24. Class for a one-L : TORTS25. Big name in chain saws : STIHL27. Harold who directed "Groundhog Day" : RAMIS28. King of the 18th dynasty : TUT31. Dawdler : SNAIL33. Bishop's title in the Coptic Church : ABBA34. "The only sensual pleasure without vice," per Samuel Johnson : MUSIC36. Latina title: Abbr. : SRTA37. Camera variety, briefly : SLR38. In pen? : CAGEDUP40. Reactions of wonderment : AHS41. They come with strings attached : TEABAGS43. Cry : YELLOUT45. One of the eggs used in this 1986 film is now exhibited at the Smithsonian : ALIENS46. "Popeye" villain who sailed the Black Barnacle : SEAHAG47. Fed up with : MADAT48. Whirlpool subsidiary : AMANA49. Comment to a brother or sister : AMEN50. See Notepad : MUMMY51. Black birds : ANIS52. Longtime home of the Tappet Brothers : NPR53. When repeated, testing of a mic : TAP 1. Passover mo., often : APR2. Get off the ground? : LEAP3. Color akin to turquoise : BERYL4. Work not of the buffa style : OPERASERIA5. Power plant quantity : MEGAWATTS6. They beat as one, in a U2 song : TWOHEARTS7. Hookups for hydrants : WATERMAINS8. Things : ITEMS9. Give a rip : CARE10. French connections : ETS12. Doesn't stick to the topic : RAMBLES13. Eyes, shoulders and knees have them : SOCKETS15. Father figures : SIRES16. Exams with a max. score of 180 : LSATS18. Académie ___ Beaux-Arts : DES21. Video game featuring an archaeologist heroine : TOMBRAIDER23. Insect with multi-queen colonies : PHARAOHANT24. Piece of living room décor : TABLELAMP26. Eurozone member beginning in 2015 : LITHUANIA27. Dreaded guy? : RASTAMAN28. Big jerks? : TUGS29. Walk all over : USE30. Having everything in its place : TIDY32. Done in desperation : LASTGASP34. Hot rod wheels : MAGS35. Prompts : CUES38. Jargon : CANT39. Sentence shortener, at times : PLEA42. Hit on the head : BEAN44. High priest? : LAMA

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?