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New York Times, Friday, January 15, 2016

Author:
Patrick Berry
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2297/11/199911/4/20182
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
741241679512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980
Patrick Berry

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 32 Missing: {BQX} This is puzzle # 208 for Mr. Berry. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Check out that big swath running from top left to bottom right! It's one thing to work in four nice long answers — SISTERS IN ... read more

Check out that big swath running from top left to bottom right! It's one thing to work in four nice long answers — SISTERS IN LAW (with its sneaky plural NOT ending in S), ONLINE POKER, LADIES FIRST, and HOMESTEAD ACT — but check out how the pairs of entries are locked so cleanly together by all those six and seven-letter answers in the middle. The more I stare at it, the more impressed I am.

The APENNINES in Italy

And crossing a double-stack of long answers into a triple-stack like APENNINES (the Italian range) / WENCESLAS (with a clever clue nodding to Carole King) / NEOLATIN = a real feat. Constructors usually try to separate all their stacks as far away as possible, but Patrick crosses them together so smoothly. (Yes, some solvers say EPEE gets overused in crosswords, but it's a perfectly legit word.)

There were a few long answers that I thought were just neutral — ENSCONCED … okay, just ENSCONCED. Pretty amazing.

Given the high bar Patrick has set for himself, I wasn't as taken with the top right and bottom left corners. They were nice bonuses — many constructors would have been happy with just the NW to SE swath — but STEALTHIER feels just neutral to me, and LENS COVERS doesn't hit my ear nearly as well as LENS CAPS.

Additionally, Patrick's layout in those corners uses many more three-letter words than usual, which tends to make the puzzle too easy. For example, if you have a three-letter word referring to a bathroom, it's going to start with L (LOO or LAV). And entries like ALE and ELM and LYE have been used so many times that it's tough to come up with a new and devious clue. Those two corners fell all too easily for my taste.

As always, I love Patrick's innovations and experimentation in grid design. So cool to always see him work with a totally new grid design.

1
P
2
A
3
W
4
N
5
S
6
T
7
E
8
A
9
L
10
T
11
H
12
I
13
E
14
R
15
E
P
E
E
16
W
A
L
L
A
W
A
L
L
A
17
R
E
N
O
18
I
N
M
E
M
O
R
I
A
M
19
U
N
C
L
20
O
G
S
21
R
A
T
S
22
N
E
A
P
23
Z
24
I
25
P
26
C
O
D
E
27
S
I
S
T
E
28
R
29
S
I
N
L
A
W
30
O
N
L
I
N
E
P
O
K
E
R
31
M
32
E
33
W
34
D
E
A
N
35
N
I
N
J
A
36
R
O
N
A
37
A
S
S
38
L
A
D
I
E
S
39
F
I
R
S
T
40
H
O
M
E
S
T
E
A
D
A
C
T
41
P
42
R
E
T
E
R
M
43
V
E
T
O
44
A
R
A
L
45
S
46
E
A
S
O
N
47
S
48
W
I
N
E
49
S
50
E
51
L
52
L
E
R
53
O
R
C
A
54
O
Z
O
N
E
L
A
Y
E
R
55
F
I
E
F
56
L
E
N
S
C
O
V
E
R
S
57
F
A
D
E
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0115 ( 24,174 )
Across
1
Little man : PAWN
5
Less likely to be caught : STEALTHIER
15
Dueler's option : EPEE
16
Washington city famous for its sweet onions : WALLAWALLA
17
Virginia and Truckee Railroad terminus : RENO
18
Grave words : INMEMORIAM
19
Keeps from backing up : UNCLOGS
21
Disappointed outburst : RATS
22
Spring's opposite : NEAP
23
Number of letters : ZIPCODE
27
Women who might share the same surname : SISTERSINLAW
30
Net game? : ONLINEPOKER
31
Pet sound : MEW
34
Administrative title : DEAN
35
Man in black, perhaps : NINJA
36
Novelist Jaffe : RONA
37
Dimwit : ASS
38
Rule of order? : LADIESFIRST
40
Lincoln signed it into law in 1862 : HOMESTEADACT
41
Like some deliveries : PRETERM
43
"I forbid," to Caesar : VETO
44
___ Sea (the "Sea of Islands") : ARAL
45
Collections of episodes : SEASONS
48
Cab supplier : WINESELLER
53
Part of a pod : ORCA
54
Chlorofluorocarbons damage it : OZONELAYER
55
Vassal's reward : FIEF
56
Shot blockers : LENSCOVERS
57
Lose vividness : FADE
Down
1
Major quinoa exporter : PERU
2
Boot hills? : APENNINES
3
Carol king : WENCESLAS
4
Taxonomic terms, for instance : NEOLATIN
5
Big gulp : SWIG
6
Tropical acquisitions, maybe : TANS
7
Classic vineyard tree : ELM
8
Cask beverage : ALE
9
Fly the coop : LAM
10
Smallest prime : TWO
11
School attended by Churchill : HARROW
12
Old war story : ILIAD
13
Give a lift to : ELATE
14
Merlin Olsen's team : RAMS
20
Pro-am tourney, often : OPEN
23
"Der Judenstaat" movement : ZIONISM
24
Laser alternative : INKJET
25
What parents might prompt kids to say : PLEASE
26
Exec's perk : CAR
27
Tom Collins ingredient : SODA
28
Handle again? : RENAME
29
Eight-footer? : SPIDER
31
Suspensions of activity : MORATORIA
32
Nestled : ENSCONCED
33
Steam engine pioneer James : WATT
36
Leaves, as in a western : RIDESOFF
38
Multiplicity : LOT
39
Broad bean : FAVA
40
Mount St. ___ : HELENS
41
Won thing : PRIZE
42
Talked ad nauseam : RANON
44
Not on base? : AWOL
45
Future reporter : SEER
46
Needs to make a retraction : ERRS
47
On base : SAFE
49
Dry, on Champagne bottles : SEC
50
"Rockaria!" band, briefly : ELO
51
Place to go, for short : LAV
52
Strong base : LYE

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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