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New York Times, Saturday, July 19, 2014

Author: Barry C. Silk
Editor: Will Shortz
Barry C. Silk
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
929/1/20037/8/20166
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358532741
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.651215

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 30 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 83 for Mr. Silk. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Barry C. Silk notes: I first came across the term PRETZEL LOOP reading an article about roller coasters and thought that would make a cool entry in a ... more
Barry C. Silk notes: I first came across the term PRETZEL LOOP reading an article about roller coasters and thought that would make a cool entry in a themeless puzzle. So my seed entries for this puzzle were PRETZEL LOOP and WILDCARD TEAM. While constructing the puzzle, I filled in the longer entries first and with CARL SAGAN in place at 31-Down, I noticed that COSMOS could serendipitously fit at 1-Across. Before the puzzle was officially accepted, I was asked to fix the SE corner to make it "livelier." I don't remember the original version of the puzzle that I submitted, but I do recall working to make sure that I could keep CARL SAGAN in place.
Jeff Chen notes: Like Ian Livengood yesterday, Barry Silk is another constructor I admire because of the diversity of his gridwork. As you can see on ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Like Ian Livengood yesterday, Barry Silk is another constructor I admire because of the diversity of his gridwork. As you can see on his constructor page, most of his puzzles are themeless. I enjoy scanning through all his thumbnails, in awe at how many grid patterns he's used. A mark of a real themeless professional, someone who can adjust a grid, even demolish it and start from scratch, to suit the specific needs of whatever seed entries he chooses.

Also like Ian, Barry is a sports fan, Philly sports in particular if I'm not mistaken. I've struggled with a few of his constructions in the past, like SIXERS GAME so it was nice to get answers from a variety of fields today. Some astronomy (COSMOS and CARL SAGAN), pop entertainment (PRETZEL LOOP and FOR YOUR LOVE), zippy phrases (GO TO YOUR ROOM and GO ALL OUT), and yes, even some sports (WILD CARD TEAM and HURLER). As a solver, I almost always enjoy variety in a themeless puzzle, so I thought this mix was well-selected.

Yet again like Ian, Barry's puzzles tend to be wide-open, with an easy flow. Notice how each subsection can be entered with multiple different words? In fact, there isn't a single space that can't be entered by at least three entries. That type of open feel really helps me as a solver, giving me multiple shots on goal to crack into any one region. For instance, that SE corner (and NW, similarly) is the most chunked off of any area, but if you can't figure out any of the answers within that corner, you have FOR YOUR LOVE, ODESSAN, and CARL SAGAN to help you break in. Well thought out. It makes construction more difficult to have such wide open flow, and this solver really appreciates the extra effort.

Finally, in the "nice clue saves a glue entry" department: who knew EL AL had a King David Club? What an interesting piece of trivia. Now if only EL AL would get as big as UNITED or SOUTHWEST and make its common letters more crossworthy…

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 23,629
Across Down
1. It has many giants and dwarfs : COSMOS
7. Profit-sharing figure: Abbr. : AGT
10. Part of the former Republic of Pisa : ELBA
14. Run down a mountainside : SCHUSS
15. Pour it on : GOALLOUT
17. One who winds up on a field : HURLER
18. A kid might be punished for showing it : ATTITUDE
19. Scores : ALOT
20. Marked up, say : WROTEON
21. Something pocketed in Italy? : RAVIOLI
24. Like Princess Leia vis-à-vis Luke Skywalker : YOUNGER
27. Roller coaster feature with a food name : PRETZELLOOP
29. Celle-là, across the Pyrenees : ESA
30. Movie with the line "I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not" : AMADEUS
31. Be a very fast learner? : CRAM
32. Title woman in a "Paint Your Wagon" song : ELISA
35. Hybrid, maybe : CAR
36. Do a 35-Across chore : GASUP
37. Romp : LARK
38. Brave, e.g. : WARRIOR
40. "Who ___?" : AMI
41. 1965 Yardbirds hit : FORYOURLOVE
45. Like many rodeo animals : LASSOED
47. Dweller near the Potemkin Stairs : ODESSAN
48. Best seller : HOTITEM
50. In : AMID
51. Track on "Beatles '65" : IMALOSER
53. "Out!" : BEGONE
55. Scarab, e.g. : TALISMAN
56. Tip for slips : ERASER
57. Barreled : SPED
58. Like some broody teens : EMO
59. Folks working on courses? : DINERS
1. D preceder : CSHARP
2. Telescope part : OCULAR
3. Tuesday preceder : SHROVE
4. Be a juggler? : MULTITASK
5. Ending of saccharides : OSE
6. Letters in old atlases : SSR
7. Seaweed derivative : AGAR
8. Call for a timeout : GOTOYOURROOM
9. Some body work : TATTOOS
10. John in an arena : ELTON
11. Chaises, in Cheshire : LOUNGERS
12. Flower child? : BUD
13. Had dogs, e.g. : ATE
16. Fail at falling asleep : LIEUP
20. Underdog playoffs participant : WILDCARDTEAM
22. Character in many Baum works : OZMA
23. Where Gray's "lowing herd wind slowly" : LEA
25. Biblical venison preparer : ESAU
26. Artery connection : RAMP
28. Noted acid studier : LEARY
31. Noted 1-Across studier : CARLSAGAN
32. Company with the King David Club : ELAL
33. "Lost Horizon" figure : LAMA
34. St. Patrick's Day order : IRISHALE
36. "Saw" sights : GORE
38. Pity party plaint : WOEISME
39. Alternative to the pill, briefly : IUD
41. Snaps : FOTOS
42. Slip through, say : OSMOSE
43. Like Cinderella's stepsisters vis-à-vis Cinderella : VAINER
44. "___ Game" : ENDERS
46. Not iffy : SOLID
49. Hungarian name meaning "sincere" : ERNO
51. "___ me" : ITS
52. Battle-planning aid : MAP
53. Spring place : BED
54. "Cap'n ___" (1904 novel) : ERI

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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