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# New York Times, Thursday, February 13, 2014

 Author: Daniel Landman Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
43/18/20134/29/20150
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0102100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.50110

## This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Landman. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Daniel Landman notes: Though this isn't my debut, I'll take this opportunity to introduce myself — I'm a 28-year old rabbinical student and ... more
Daniel Landman notes: Though this isn't my debut, I'll take this opportunity to introduce myself — I'm a 28-year old rabbinical student and part-time special ed teacher living with my wife and two sons in Alon Shevut, a town on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

On to the puzzle: I got the idea after seeing Byron Walden and Robin Schulman's "wedding puzzle," which featured nine I DO rebus squares, including the central "IDO IDO IDO IDO IDO." I wanted to do something similar, and came up with "IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD." This was late 2011, and only my second attempt at constructing (the first attempt being what eventually became my debut puzzle), and I was not aware at the time that having a 13-square central answer would make gridding such a challenge. I ended up submitting a grid that had way too many 3-letter words (many of them ugly), obscure names and a 6-letter partial (!). Will rejected it, but indicated that he liked the idea and the central answer. Thankfully, I realized that I needed to scrap the whole grid and start over, and the result is what you see here. I hope you all enjoy it!

Jeff Chen notes: Rebus puzzle today, MAD squished into eight different squares, with the marquee answer ITS A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD. That's one of the first movies I ever saw (in school, too — no wonder I didn't learn anything) and I can never remember how many MADs to use. It makes me mad mad.

Will has said he has too many rebus puzzles in the queue, so he's trying to space them out to stave off "rebus fatigue." I'll admit, I had a case of that a few months back, feeling like there was no real point to many rebus puzzles. But I think Will's tactic has helped, because I found this one to be a nice challenge. It took me a while to uncover the MAD in MADELINE/ARMADILLO (I plugged ELOISE in at first, drat!), but I found it very satisfying when I did. Extra challenge, overcome!

Daniel does a nice job segmenting his grid, making it easier to fill by placing a single MAD in each quadrant. I tend to like when rebus squares are within long answers, so ARMADILLO really did it for me, while AMADEUS/MADAM, not as much. It is much easier to incorporate rebus squares into shorter answers though, so I can see why he did that. The MADE WAVES/LADY MADONNA entries are quite nice, but there is the price to pay of AS WAS, an awkward five-letter partial, right below SEIS and UNI. A pretty typical trade-off of longer, colorful phrases at the price of a couple of no-so-great entries.

The overall construction is quite a challenge — the fact that there's a central 13 effectively splits the grid vertically in half (Daniel could have split the word SESTETS in half at the T, but that would have created many more three-letter words and also caused a ripple effect in black square placement). With such big chunks of white in each of the four corners, you're almost definitely going to see signs of stress. I really like themeless-quality fill like ED ONEILL (who will always be Al Bundy to me) and even the wacky SORE ARM. Are they worth the price of SERE and SE RI? I think so, but some will disagree. Perhaps trying a less audacious 74 words (instead of the current 72) could have cleaned things up.

All in all, a fun workout, made extra challenging by those free-floating MADs.

 1A 2K 3I 4M 5B 6O 7A 8L 9P 10A 11C 12A 13S 14R E L O A D 15I C A N T L I E 16MAD E L I N E 17T A X I F A R E 18I N F 19D R 20E S D E N 21U N I 22L E A 23N 24L A I R 25MAD D E N 26L A M E 27A R MAD A 28S E I S 29O R E G 30N O MAD 31A S W A S 32L 33A D Y MAD 34O N N A 35A 36B E T S 37MAD R E 38V 39I 40S 41A 42R O C A 43S W A T 44E C O L 45A I N T 46S C O T 47S E R I 48MAD A M 49S T A R E 50A 51T 52D E A 53E D O 54N E I L L 55M I 56A T A S 57U N T U R N E D 58I N H E R E 59S E S T E T S 60S A MAD A M S
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,473