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New York Times, Friday, September 4, 2015

Author: David C. Duncan Dekker
Editor: Will Shortz
David C. Duncan Dekker
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
33/7/20158/10/20160
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ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
2.22003

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 29 Missing: none – this is a TRIPLE pangram Scrabble average: 2.02 This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Dekker. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David C. Duncan Dekker notes: This puzzle turned out somewhat smooth, IMO, given the constraints of making a 72-word themeless into a triple pangram. ... more
David C. Duncan Dekker notes:

This puzzle turned out somewhat smooth, IMO, given the constraints of making a 72-word themeless into a triple pangram.

Clues I was glad to see stay:

  • "Shop class cutter" for BANDSAW, along with "Class cutter, say" for SLACKER to kick things off
  • "Float like a butterfly" for HOVER
  • "All shook up" for RATTLED

Clues I was sad to see go:

  • "Not going anywhere" for FROZEN
  • "Has nothing in common" for UNLIKE
  • A set of "Boobs" for SCHMOS & OAFS
  • "Festivous" for JOVIAL (because it makes folks think of Seinfeld — oh, Frank!)

Nice additions to the mix:

  • "Country Rockers?" for QUAKES
  • "Stock Exchange?" for LOWS
  • "Results of phoning it in?" for FAXES

Not-so-nice subtractions from the mix:

  • "Ground-breaking events" for QUAKES
  • "Weather conditions" for LOWS
  • "Paper transactions" for FAXES

In the clues that I developed for the latter three, I felt neither one of them needed a question mark, as they would have taken away from the trickery, since the question mark may instantly indicate to solvers that there IS obvious trickery going on.

Anyway ... till next time, Word Nerds!

Jeff Chen notes: I normally don't care for records in crosswords, as they're too often something that constructors prize but solvers completely miss ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I normally don't care for records in crosswords, as they're too often something that constructors prize but solvers completely miss — except for the gluey globs of fill that these record-breakers often force. Sometimes I even wonder if it's a bad thing that we keep records of such things as average Scrabble score, as it might promote this type of "do it for the record's sake" type of behavior, which too often does disservice to the solver.

Omar Sharif gets dissed by the NYT crossword

But today's is a record-breaking type that gave me huge enjoyment. David gets high on the leader board, giving us so many of the "Big Four," J Q X Z. All of these letters can be rough to integrate into a puzzle without causing compromises in smoothness, so it's amazing that David worked in three of each with only minor blights.

Not only that, but there are three of EVERY letter in the puzzle — a triple pangram!

Sure, I didn't love TESTEES (although it's technically a word). There are a few other entries that might raise an eyebrow, but I decided I liked them all:

QUIFF. Never heard of this before, but it's an easily recognizable hairstyle that was "in" back a few decades ago. Cool word!

QUIRE. Not in my knowledge base, but it's legit.

The SHARIF / QUIFF crossing. Okay, this one caused me fits, as I assumed SHARIF would be clued to the great Omar SHARIF, who recently passed. Serves me right for overthinking things, that maybe SHARIA and QUIFA might be better than SHARIF and QUIFF. Tough crossing, and I can see the argument for it being unfair, given the cluing.

There's not a lot of multi-word goodness, with just JUST A BIT, MASON JAR, LEGO SET, and MAE WEST standing out, but there's so much Scrabbliness that it won me over. Plus, SLACKER and BANDSAW are pretty nice one-word entries.

All in all, a memorable puzzle. I usually cringe a bit when I sniff a constructor trying to break a record, but this final product was smooth enough that I really enjoyed the stunt.

1
B
2
A
3
N
4
D
5
S
6
A
7
W
8
S
9
L
10
A
11
C
12
K
13
E
14
R
15
A
V
E
R
A
G
E
16
H
A
N
D
A
X
E
17
L
E
G
O
S
E
T
18
A
B
Y
S
M
A
L
19
L
E
A
P
S
20
S
21
O
R
E
22
I
M
A
23
A
N
T
S
24
Q
U
A
I
L
25
S
26
K
I
X
27
D
O
E
28
Q
U
I
F
F
29
P
30
L
A
N
A
31
Q
U
I
T
S
32
F
R
O
Z
E
N
33
J
34
A
35
G
U
A
R
S
36
M
A
E
W
E
S
T
37
U
N
L
I
K
E
38
Z
A
X
E
S
39
S
N
I
P
E
40
W
I
S
E
S
41
J
42
A
43
M
44
T
O
M
45
S
46
C
H
M
O
S
47
M
O
V
E
48
A
T
P
49
R
Y
A
N
50
H
O
V
E
R
51
B
A
S
52
E
53
P
A
Y
54
J
55
O
I
N
I
N
G
56
I
T
E
M
I
Z
E
57
A
C
R
E
A
G
E
58
T
E
S
T
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59
R
A
T
T
L
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D
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 24,041
Across Down
1. Shop class cutter : BANDSAW
8. Class cutter, say : SLACKER
15. C-worthy : AVERAGE
16. Primitive cutting tool : HANDAXE
17. Makings of a miniature building project : LEGOSET
18. Horrible : ABYSMAL
19. Instances of faulty logic : LEAPS
20. Nursing a grudge, say : SORE
22. "___ mess" : IMA
23. Social group : ANTS
24. Trembles : QUAILS
26. Alternative to Corn Pops : KIX
27. No-name last name : DOE
28. Man's do with upswept hair in the front : QUIFF
29. Main course? : PLANA
31. Hangs it up : QUITS
32. Hit 2013 film with a talking snowman : FROZEN
33. South American stalkers : JAGUARS
36. Who said "It's not the men in your life that counts, it's the life in your men" : MAEWEST
37. Social networking reversal : UNLIKE
38. 3-D graph lines : ZAXES
39. Wetlands wader : SNIPE
40. Smartens (up) : WISES
41. Sticky situation : JAM
44. Major in a 1973 David Bowie hit : TOM
45. Ordinary joes : SCHMOS
47. Play in a game : MOVE
48. Court sport org. : ATP
49. 2012 running mate : RYAN
50. Float like a butterfly : HOVER
51. It often increases with a promotion : BASEPAY
54. Enlistment : JOINING
56. List : ITEMIZE
57. Extent of a lot : ACREAGE
58. Proctors' charges : TESTEES
59. All shook up : RATTLED
1. Something to slow-dance to : BALLAD
2. Skin and hair care brand : AVEENO
3. Make nothing of : NEGATE
4. Ophthalmological treatment : DROPS
5. Smart comments : SASS
6. Archaeologist's determination : AGE
7. Surfing gear : WETSUITS
8. Muslim magistrate : SHARIF
9. Record producer : LABEL
10. Countless amount? : ANY
11. 9-Down output : CDS
12. Kind of pilot : KAMIKAZE
13. Checks out : EXAMINES
14. Massage or bubble bath : RELAXANT
21. Bumblers : OAFS
24. Paper unit : QUIRE
25. Occasions that might lead to buyer's remorse : SPREES
28. Country rockers? : QUAKES
30. Stock exchange? : LOWS
31. Instance of levity : QUIP
32. Results of phoning it in? : FAXES
33. Not much : JUSTABIT
34. Comment on, in a way : ANNOTATE
35. Slight sights : GLIMPSES
36. Food container with a seal : MASONJAR
38. Once-popular alcopop : ZIMA
40. "Indubitably!" : WHYYES
41. Good-humored : JOVIAL
42. Get back at : AVENGE
43. Formed a union : MERGED
46. It's hot for a while : CRAZE
47. He's featured in Paris's Musée de l'Orangerie : MONET
50. "The Green Hornet" trumpeter : HIRT
52. Crash site figure, for short : EMT
53. One graphic means of showing percentages : PIE
55. Important Peruvian crop : OCA

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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