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New York Times, Saturday, January 10, 2015

Author:
Joe Krozel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
877/7/20066/14/201815
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1.48057
Joe Krozel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 67, Blocks: 25 Missing: {JKQXZ} Spans: 9, (3 triple stacks) Grid has mirror symmetry. This is puzzle # 72 for Mr. Krozel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Joe Krozel notes:
My last revision of this puzzle was submitted almost two years prior to the publication date, so when I sat down to solve this final ... read more

My last revision of this puzzle was submitted almost two years prior to the publication date, so when I sat down to solve this final edit I had long forgotten the fill, and Will had vastly livened up most of the clues. Hence, this would be as unbiased a solving experience as I could contrive for myself. For me, I had to confirm that a "No-Google" solver could indeed complete it, and I am happy to report that I did ... completely Google-free.

I consider the "No-Google" solvers to be one critical audience for a puzzle, and the best way to ensure their satisfaction is to minimize the density of unfamiliar content. My greatest concern during construction must have been the proximity of CHEROOT and REYNOSA in the Northeast and the crossing of TCCHEN with HSIA in the West, but they were only minor obstacles for my own solving experience. So, I'm satisfied with the way the puzzle turned out.

Just in case anyone was wondering, here are some of my own missteps while solving:

  • 13-A NOMADIC
  • 26-A MIS
  • 28-A DEY
  • 34-A SCALE
  • 50-A IDO
  • 54-A ONICE
  • 57-A ALEUTIANISLANDS
  • 3-D MARINEENGINEERS
  • 12-D PROGRAMDIRECTOR
  • 14-D CEDAR
  • 59-D CES

I'll be interested in seeing whether the regular solvers had a similar experience.

Jeff Chen notes:
Neat pattern! A visual treat to drink in this sort of wide-open grid, the likes of which I've never seen before. I love that Joe takes ... read more

Neat pattern! A visual treat to drink in this sort of wide-open grid, the likes of which I've never seen before. I love that Joe takes advantage of underused mirror symmetry to do something cool, running a set of full triple-stacks through two other sets. Eye-popping.

Han in carbonite

This new type of development is something I'm willing to bend the rules for. Typically, my themeless solve becomes troubled by the presence of five(ish) or more gluey bits. Feels inelegant; too rocky for my taste. So usually I'd give a puzzle the stink-eye if it contained AS SIN / ONT / EPI / ABOO / NSTAR / ASA / SES / ERNS, and especially the oddball IN ICE. (If only Han Solo had been frozen in ice, not carbonite!) Although I did notice the preponderance of glue globs, the huge asset of such a cool visual impact outweighs the liabilities for me.

Still not understanding the great clue [Natural thing to feel] for ONEG? I was equally ired that only people with O NEG blood types feel natural! I mean, how blood-ist can you be! Oh. It's ONE G, as in the force of gravity? Well, that's a bit more natural.

My distant relative?

I do wish there hadn't been quite as many esoteric names. DIDI CONN and REYNOSA … huh. And as much as I like seeing CHEN in the grid, I had no idea who this TC CHEN fellow was. Felt familiar, but that's just because all us Asians look alike.

And there was the RESTS ON ONES LAURELS. Er, SOARS. OARS, dang it! A quick Googling shows only about 1,000 hits (with RESTS ON ONES OARS in quotes). Not a great sign.

Overall, a neat new development with a high wow factor. Would easily have been my Puzzle of the Week if the liabilities had been cut roughly in half.

ADDED NOTE: Matt Gaffney pointed out T.C. Chen's record collapse in the 1985 US Open. After reading more about him, and seeing some clips of how good-natured he is, I decided I like him.

Plus, he probably is related to me.

Jim Horne notes:

Triple-triple stacks are not that uncommon any more but this is the first time they've intersected. All previous examples laid them out horizontally.

1
C
2
T
3
E
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A
5
M
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S
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H
9
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A
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A
B
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A
14
N
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C
H
E
R
O
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T
16
S
A
R
O
N
G
S
17
R
E
Y
N
O
S
A
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U
N
T
O
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E
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H
A
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A
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A
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A
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L
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L
A
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H
E
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D
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C
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H
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V
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U
G
H
N
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W
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D
E
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T
H
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M
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O
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S
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D
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D
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A
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O
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E
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P
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V
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F
D
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C
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C
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G
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W
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S
H
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A
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R
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O
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0110 ( 23,804 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1
Subs' subs : CTEAMS
7
"My old lady" : THEMRS
13
Many a Bedouin : ARABIAN
15
Cigar with both ends open : CHEROOT
16
Wraps around an island? : SARONGS
17
City across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Tex. : REYNOSA
18
What may precede itself : UNTO
19
Lover of Mattie in an Edith Wharton novel : ETHAN
21
Sulk : SNIT
22
Flue flake : ASH
23
Mocha alternative : CHAITEA
25
Souvenir sometimes made with shells : LEI
26
Vocalist's warm-up run : LAS
27
Gathering of stockholders? : HERDERS
28
L.A. law notable, once : ITO
29
Scorer of the first double eagle in U.S. Open history, 1985 : TCCHEN
31
"The Internship" co-star, 2013 : VAUGHN
33
"Really?" : ITIS
34
Celsius, for one : SWEDE
38
The other side : THEM
39
Noted preschool sequence? : EIEIO
41
Question of introspection : AMI
42
Four at the fore? : TETRA
43
Dolphin facility : SONAR
44
Fizzler : DUD
45
Ugly ___ : ASSIN
46
It's west of James Bay: Abbr. : ONT
47
Adrenaline, informally : EPI
49
Drug delivery options, briefly : IVS
51
Important union members? : OVA
52
Guarantor of financial accounts, for short : FDIC
54
How a champagne bottle may arrive : INICE
56
Natural thing to feel : ONEG
57
Locale of five major U.S. volcanoes : WASHINGTONSTATE
60
Big wave, e.g. : ATTENTIONGETTER
61
Takes a breather : RESTSONONESOARS
Down
1
Fighting losses : CASUALTIESOFWAR
2
Invoice information : TRANSACTIONDATE
3
Water cycle studiers, e.g. : EARTHSCIENTISTS
4
"Pink-___" (1966 Pink Panther short) : ABOO
5
One of two extremes: Abbr. : MIN
6
Nevadans : SAGEHENS
7
"Such gall!" : THENERVE
8
Common 60-Across : HEY
9
Shoreline avifauna : ERNS
10
Masterpiece designated "quasi una fantasia" : MOONLIGHTSONATA
11
Per a 1942 song, "She's making history, working for victory" : ROSIETHERIVETER
12
Radio heads : STATIONMANAGERS
14
Many an old red giant : NSTAR
15
Packing option : CRATE
20
Tucked away : HID
23
Revolutionary figure : CHE
24
Thick plank insert? : ASA
30
Early Chinese dynasty : HSIA
32
Trojans' foes : UTES
35
Joining the fray : WADINGIN
36
Dingo dodger : EMU
37
Frenchy portrayer in "Grease" : DIDICONN
40
What might be grabbed in a rush : ORE
42
Profs' backups : TAS
48
One with patches : PINTO
50
Settle a score, old-style : VENGE
53
Lemon who played for the 1984 World Series-winning Tigers : CHET
55
Langston Hughes poem with the lines "Nobody'll dare / Say to me, / 'Eat in the kitchen,' / Then" : ITOO
56
Good name for a chauffeur? : OTTO
58
Lead-___ : INS
59
French possessive : SES

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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