New York Times, Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Author: Jacob McDermott
Editor: Will Shortz
Jacob McDermott
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
38/27/201311/18/20140
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0021000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. McDermott NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob McDermott notes: Initially I had TWODOOR as 45-down with CARFIRE symmetrically placed in the 4-down slot. This led to some uninspiring fill, a ... more
Jacob McDermott notes: Initially I had TWODOOR as 45-down with CARFIRE symmetrically placed in the 4-down slot. This led to some uninspiring fill, a change of plan, and the theme placement as you see it today. Thanks to Nancy Salomon for help on the development of this theme.
Jeff Chen notes: Congrats Jacob on your debut and excellent work coming up with such a cleanly-filled puzzle! A nice example of the 'both words can ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Congrats Jacob on your debut and excellent work coming up with such a cleanly-filled puzzle!

A nice example of the "both words can precede X" theme type. Note the "pinwheel" arrangement which typically allows for easier filling, since each themer has its own quasi-contained quadrant of the puzzle. The trade-off is that this pattern makes it more difficult to work in fun longer fill. Jacob has some nice stuff (ROTGUT, BATH OIL, MARBLES, VOODOO) but it's usually nice as a solver to get longer (8+ letters) fill.

Compare and contrast today's puzzle with last week's Tuesday. Similar theme types, but last week had more really good long fill with a higher overall difficulty level, while today's is likely more accessible to newer solvers. I'm glad to have both ends of the spectrum.

Finally, a tiny nit to pick. Even though the puzzle is squeaky-clean overall, the east section contains ARA, which I would love to see less of in early-week puzzles (GET IT? / AKA / GIN / BEDS could be an alternative). ARA isn't a "bad" entry, but I prefer for early-week puzzles to contain no "crosswordese" (answers seen much more frequently in crosswords than in real life), because for me, it provides a more elegant and satisfying solve.

This is a subjective matter though, since a case can be made for ARA being something people ought to know. As a further example of crosswordese's subjectivity, I'm perfectly fine with an answer that some constructors hate, OBI, because I've seen OBI on Japanese friends before. Now if it were ADIT (old term for a mine opening), the gloves would be coming off. =]

1
C
2
L
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A
4
M
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A
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N
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G
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L
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E
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A
11
B
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B
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Y
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A
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D
A
15
R
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X
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S
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A
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T
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M
F
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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 23,303
Across Down
1. Chowder ingredient : CLAM
5. Go fish : ANGLE
10. "Dear" advice-giver : ABBY
14. Opera set in Egypt : AIDA
15. Pricey watch : ROLEX
16. Hacienda room : SALA
17. Product of colliding weather systems : STORMFRONT
19. Lowlife : SCUM
20. Extra-powerful engine : TURBO
21. Mr. ___ (Peter Lorre role) : MOTO
22. What some strummers strum, informally : UKES
23. Fainting fits, e.g. : SPELLS
25. Grinders : MOLARS
27. Carve in stone : ETCH
29. Manage : GETBY
32. "Bonanza" brother : HOSS
35. 1982 Fleetwood Mac hit whose title is sung three times after "Come on and" : HOLDME
39. Altar constellation : ARA
40. Tolkien creature : ENT
41. Coupe, e.g. ... or a hint to 17- and 64-Across and 11- and 34-Down : TWODOOR
42. Breach : GAP
43. Expert : ACE
44. Really enjoys : EATSUP
45. "All ___ are off!" : BETS
46. Annoy : PEEVE
48. McEntire of country : REBA
50. Rustic accommodations : LODGES
54. Cheap booze : ROTGUT
58. Digging : INTO
60. Meara of comedy : ANNE
62. More than elbow : SHOVE
63. Weenie : NERD
64. Annual tennis tournament played on clay : FRENCHOPEN
66. "Bye now" : CIAO
67. Do without : FORGO
68. "Dies ___" (hymn) : IRAE
69. Bowlful for Bowser : ALPO
70. Admittance : ENTRY
71. At sea : LOST
1. Flings : CASTS
2. Began to smoke : LITUP
3. Dig, so to speak : ADORE
4. Children's game in which players "knuckle down" : MARBLES
5. Kennel sound : ARF
6. Usual figure : NORM
7. Melancholy : GLOOM
8. Slow, musically : LENTO
9. Laud : EXTOL
10. Give one's word : ASSURE
11. Behind the scenes : BACKSTAGE
12. Feeling down : BLUE
13. Thanksgiving dish : YAMS
18. Shed : MOLT
24. Vowel sound represented by an upside-down "e" : SCHWA
26. Teen follower : AGER
28. Happening with lots of laughs : HOOT
30. Sitter's headache : BRAT
31. Goes on and on and on : YAPS
32. Bucket of bolts : HEAP
33. How many times Laurence Olivier won a Best Actor Oscar : ONCE
34. Metaphor for a sharp mind : STEELTRAP
36. Mormon Church inits. : LDS
37. Forbidding, as an expression : DOUR
38. Sullen sort : MOPER
41. Angry, with "off" : TEED
45. Aromatherapy purchase : BATHOIL
47. Kind of doll : VOODOO
49. Claptrap : BOSH
51. Faux pas : GAFFE
52. Noted bankruptcy of 2001 : ENRON
53. Hägar the Horrible's dog : SNERT
55. Switch from amateur status : GOPRO
56. Eye parts : UVEAS
57. Article of faith : TENET
58. Ancient Andean : INCA
59. Dog on TV's "Topper" : NEIL
61. M.I.T. grad, often: Abbr. : ENGR
65. Coquettish : COY

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

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