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New York Times, Friday, January 15, 2016

Author: Patrick Berry
Editor: Will Shortz
Patrick Berry
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2277/11/199911/10/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
721241679512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 32 Missing: {BQX} This is puzzle # 208 for Mr. Berry. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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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 ... more
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 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 Down
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
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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