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New York Times, Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Author:
Jim Hilger
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1312/11/200811/19/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0115600
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62320
Jim Hilger

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQX} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Hilger. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jim Hilger notes:
Hi to everyone. It's great to have a crossword in the Times again. I built this puzzle back in the fall of 2016. The published version ... read more

Hi to everyone. It's great to have a crossword in the Times again. I built this puzzle back in the fall of 2016. The published version looks very similar to what I originally submitted, but with some clues simplified for a Tuesday-level solve. (Clue that survived: "Rear admiral's rear" for STERN. Clue that did not survive: "TX separatists, loosely speaking?" for UVW.)

I remember reworking the bottom of this grid just barely pre-submission, once it occurred to me that I could not only have the SPREAD revealer but could reuse its "E" to unfold a BEDSPREAD in the bottom row. Somehow, that "aha" moment made the puzzle an extra-fun one for me to have constructed.

Hopefully, the slowly appearing circled answers will result in spreading some fun "aha" moments among the solvers, somewhere around mid-solve.

Jeff Chen notes:
Everyone, SPREAD out! At first, I was turned off by the visually jarring shotgun spray of circles strewn across the grid, but I ended ... read more

Everyone, SPREAD out! At first, I was turned off by the visually jarring shotgun spray of circles strewn across the grid, but I ended up liking the general effect after figuring out what was going on. The longer ones — MAGAZINE and MIDDLE AGE spreads — were particularly nice.

I've seen this concept with various letters SPREAD through a single entry many times, most recently a few months ago, but never spread across a full row. Nice way to get the longer SPREADs worked in.

Being able to spread letters across an entire row gives a ton of flexibility. Look at how many spots the letters W I N G can go. Shift them all around to heaven and back!

Using six theme rows — plus the SPREAD revealer! — takes most of that flexibility away, and then some. It's particularly difficult in the middle of the puzzle, where you have so many MAGAZINE and MIDDLE AGE letters that get crammed into those two close rows. Not a surprise to get some A MEMO SEM OBOLI there.

And UVW, oof! These types of crutch entries are so inelegant that I would have restarted the entire puzzle if it ever came to something like this. Will has his own "puzzle-killers" that DQ a grid just by themselves, and this would have been one of mine.

There's way too much crossword glue needed to pull this audacious grid off. Given how much more impressed I was with MIDDLE AGE (compared to WING), I think sticking to just the four long SPREADs would have resulted in a better puzzle. Might have also allowed for a snazzier long entry than WHERESOEVER — something like CHECK PLEASE or HEATED SEATS or HORSE SENSE.

I like the twist on the SPREAD idea though, using entire rows to accomplish the goal. Great way to pull off the longer SPREADs that other constructors using this concept haven't been able to use.

1
T
2
W
3
O
4
R
5
E
6
I
7
G
8
N
9
S
10
S
11
L
12
O
13
G
14
A
I
R
15
O
C
T
A
N
E
16
T
A
K
E
17
C
P
A
18
W
H
E
R
E
S
19
O
E
V
E
R
20
T
E
N
21
S
I
O
N
S
22
A
B
R
A
D
E
23
G
E
N
24
C
M
O
N
25
A
26
V
E
N
G
27
E
28
R
29
R
E
L
30
U
31
V
32
W
33
M
A
R
S
34
G
A
35
Z
A
36
I
37
N
N
E
R
38
E
L
I
E
39
O
P
E
D
40
S
41
O
P
R
Y
42
M
I
N
D
43
Y
44
I
D
L
E
45
R
A
G
E
46
O
D
D
47
A
48
C
E
49
E
M
50
P
T
I
E
R
51
C
H
A
R
52
L
O
D
53
S
54
O
55
S
O
O
N
56
I
57
S
58
T
A
N
B
59
U
60
L
61
P
R
E
M
O
N
62
I
T
I
O
N
63
I
T
O
64
E
Z
R
A
65
E
M
E
R
G
E
66
L
E
A
67
C
O
B
S
68
S
P
R
E
A
D
69
L
S
D
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0123 ( 24,913 )
Across
1
Value of snake eyes in craps : TWO
4
Rules as a monarch : REIGNS
10
Difficult endeavor : SLOG
14
Put on TV : AIR
15
87, 89 or 93, on a gas pump : OCTANE
16
With 25-Down, office request : TAKE
17
Pro at tax time : CPA
18
In any place : WHERESOEVER
20
Counterparts of compressions, in physics : TENSIONS
22
Wear away : ABRADE
23
___-X : GEN
24
"Get serious!" : CMON
25
Member of a Marvel Comics group : AVENGER
29
Divinity school subj. : REL
30
T-X connection : UVW
33
Neighbor of the asteroid belt : MARS
34
Strip discussed in the Oslo Accords : GAZA
36
Word with circle or ear : INNER
38
Nobel laureate Wiesel : ELIE
39
Opinion pieces : OPEDS
41
Nashville venue, informally : OPRY
42
Mork's TV pal : MINDY
44
Wait for a green light, say : IDLE
45
Fire and fury : RAGE
46
Peculiar : ODD
47
It doesn't get returned : ACE
49
Less sincere, as a promise : EMPTIER
51
Make black, in a way : CHAR
52
El Al hub city : LOD
53
"Already?" : SOSOON
56
City straddling Europe and Asia : ISTANBUL
61
Foreboding : PREMONITION
63
Judge Lance of the O.J. trial : ITO
64
Book after Chronicles : EZRA
65
Surface : EMERGE
66
Grazing area : LEA
67
Drakes : ducks :: ___ : swans : COBS
68
Apt word to follow each row of circled letters : SPREAD
69
Subtext of Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" : LSD
Down
1
Diplomat's skill : TACT
2
Film editor's gradual transition : WIPE
3
Leftover in a juicer : ORANGERIND
4
Olympic sport with strokes : ROWING
5
Repeat : ECHO
6
Calif.-to-Fla. route : ITEN
7
Elongated, heavily armored fish : GARS
8
U-turn from SSW : NNE
9
Opening word? : SESAME
10
Rear admiral's rear : STERN
11
___ flow : LAVA
12
Green-lit : OKED
13
Richard of "Unfaithful" : GERE
19
Coins of ancient Athens : OBOLI
21
Picked up on : SENSED
24
Place to sing "Rock-a-Bye Baby" : CRADLE
25
See 16-Across : AMEMO
26
Bona fide : VALID
27
A narcissist has a big one : EGO
28
Relative of an épée : RAPIER
30
Concern for a debt collector : UNPAIDBILL
31
Brink : VERGE
32
More sardonic : WRYER
35
End of a line on the Underground? : ZED
37
Antivirus software brand : NORTON
40
Divinity sch. : SEM
43
Logo with an exclamation mark : YAHOO
48
Annual French film festival site : CANNES
50
Smoothed out : PLANED
51
Deep sleeps : COMAS
53
Particular in a design : SPEC
54
Ricelike pasta : ORZO
55
Belgrade denizen : SERB
56
Anatomical canal : ITER
57
Royal title : SIRE
58
Outfit in Caesar's senate : TOGA
59
Pac-12 team : UTES
60
Mutual fund consideration : LOAD
62
Little rascal : IMP

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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