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New York Times, Saturday, January 10, 2015

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

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

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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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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.

JimH 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.
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0110 ( 23,804 )
Across Down
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
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: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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