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New York Times, Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Author: Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor: Will Shortz
Zhouqin Burnikel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3711/13/201212/17/201615
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
51395311
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56261

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJKQVXYZ} This is puzzle # 15 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Zhouqin Burnikel notes: This puzzle was accepted in June 2013. I was not fond of having a 8-letter entry as a reveal. They force stacked 6's ... more
Zhouqin Burnikel notes:

This puzzle was accepted in June 2013. I was not fond of having a 8-letter entry as a reveal. They force stacked 6's immediately (in the SW and NE corners) and way too many 3-letter entries for my skill level back then. Will saved me again with a clearer clue for the reveal entry.

Jeff Chen notes: It's a trap, indeed! TRAP gets appropriately hidden in four theme answers. As a bonus, three answers are starred as types of TRAPs: ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

It's a trap, indeed! TRAP gets appropriately hidden in four theme answers. As a bonus, three answers are starred as types of TRAPs: BEAR trap, TOURIST trap, and RAT trap. Sometimes "a single word hidden inside theme answers" gets a bit old, so I appreciated C.C.'s effort to go one step further.

It confused me a bit to run randomly into those BEAR, TOURIST, and RAT traps, so I highlighted them below. Hey! It just dawned on me that I missed an important element: each one of the three types of trap actually intersects a hidden TRAP! It's like the TOURIST actually gets trapped in the TOURIST / TRAP. Very cool.

I feel like "The Icarus Trap" really ought to be a thing

Honestly, I thought at first that the BEAR, TOURIST, and RAT words were haphazardly placed, but now that I see this extra element, it makes me really appreciate C.C.'s extra effort. It might have been cool to get a fourth trap intersecting the revealer — maybe GREASE at 52-down? — but that might be too much to ask for.

Already, C.C.'s grid is very constrained given where the sets of themers had to go. Not a surprise to see some of the gluey bits right in those crossings — EIS right by the TOURIST / TRAP; ACS and TCI by the RAT / TRAP crossing. Before fully grokking the whole theme, I wasn't sure if those compromises were worth the price, but I have a better appreciation for the difficulties now.

Finally, I like C.C.'s use of cheater squares in the very NE and SW. Tough to cleanly fill triple-stacked 8s. Not a huge fan of OTT and ERG and EIN (especially when combined with EIS) but C.C. sure gives us a lot of good material in those corners. ABC NEWS next to RED STATE and ESCARGOT is a lively stack.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 23,892
Across Down
1. Chicago paper, briefly, with "the" : TRIB
5. Subj. for a citizenship applicant : ESL
8. Largo, for one : TEMPO
13. Monotonous learning : ROTE
14. Country music's ___ Young Band : ELI
15. Coiner of the term "doublethink" : ORWELL
17. Gillette razor brand : ATRAPLUS
19. Country that's south of South Sudan : UGANDA
20. City near the only remaining wonder of the ancient world : CAIRO
21. Bryn ___ College : MAWR
23. Captain's post : HELM
24. Hot time on the Riviera : ETE
25. Mo. with Patriot Day : SEP
27. Frozen Wasser : EIS
29. Dweller along the Mekong : LAO
30. Marsh plants : SEDGES
32. Jack or jenny : ASS
33. First National Leaguer with 500 homers : OTT
34. Conductor's place : ORCHESTRAPIT
38. The "A" of BART : AREA
41. Tram's cargo : ORE
42. Dunham of "Girls" : LENA
43. Grammy category won five times by Eminem : BESTRAPALBUM
48. Org. featured in "Outbreak" : CDC
49. Carrier units, briefly : ACS
50. Alley-oop pass, maybe : ASSIST
54. U.S. counterpart to Britain's GCHQ : NSA
55. Cable co. acquired by AT&T in 1999 : TCI
56. J.F.K. posting: Abbr. : ARR
57. Miler Sebastian : COE
58. French 101 verb : ETRE
60. Calls off : ENDS
62. Royal bride of 1981 : DIANA
64. Showed some puppy love? : WAGGED
66. Warning to the answers to the three starred clues regarding the word hidden in 17-, 34- and 43-Across : ITSATRAP
68. Cheap smoke : STOGIE
69. Poop out : DIE
70. Camera setting : AUTO
71. Some British jackets : ETONS
72. "Good ___!" : ONE
73. Aspiring atty.'s exam : LSAT
1. Tiny amounts : TRACES
2. Reposition, as tires : ROTATE
3. "Gave it my all" : ITRIED
4. *Tough test, slangily : BEAR
5. ___ roll (sushi item) : EEL
6. Batter's nightmare : SLUMP
7. Bart's toon sister : LISA
8. *Fodor's guide buyer : TOURIST
9. Tiny bit of work : ERG
10. Sound of an air kiss : MWAH
11. Cruz with a 2008 Oscar : PENELOPE
12. Cato the Elder's language : OLDLATIN
16. Boxer Jake a.k.a. Raging Bull : LAMOTTA
18. Head-scratcher : POSER
22. Underhanded sort : WEASEL
26. "Exit full screen" key : ESC
28. One of a geog. 15, once : SSR
31. Year of the ___ (most of 2015) : GOAT
35. Joins for a ride : HOPSIN
36. Steroid ___ (1990s-early 2000s, in baseball) : ERA
37. Poor box contents : ALMS
38. Stephanopoulos's employer : ABCNEWS
39. Republican stronghold : REDSTATE
40. Mollusk on la carte : ESCARGOT
44. *Mob hit victim : RAT
45. Gives in : ACCEDES
46. Happy hour spot : BAR
47. Old nutritional fig. : USRDA
51. Wax-winged flier of myth : ICARUS
52. "Moonlight ___" : SONATA
53. Darjeeling server : TEAPOT
56. Sean of the "Lord of the Rings" movies : ASTIN
59. Toaster waffle brand : EGGO
61. First queen of Carthage : DIDO
63. Stressed type: Abbr. : ITAL
65. A, in Aachen : EIN
67. "Get it?" : SEE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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