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New York Times, Friday, January 27, 2017

Author:
John Guzzetta
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2510/9/201211/5/20195
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1342483
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.63120
John Guzzetta

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 26 Missing: {JKQX} This is puzzle # 11 for Mr. Guzzetta. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Guzzetta notes:
I mailed this June 2015, and it was rejected for a single three-letter word (VBS = Vacation Bible School). I guess it just shows how ... read more

I mailed this June 2015, and it was rejected for a single three-letter word (VBS = Vacation Bible School). I guess it just shows how high the bar has become for themeless puzzles, and I'm thankful when I can occasionally sneak one through.

I was able to fix that word by changing two letters, and the puzzle was accepted in January 2016. The seeds were 17-Across and 25-Down. Other than that, I just tried to keep it interesting and clean.

I had no idea until I saw the preview puzzle that the spelling of 8-Down was the dreaded "var." I have since shooed it away from the pasture of my database.

Jeff Chen notes:
Classic themeless grid layout, a triple-stack of long answers in each corner. I like how John pushed it, though. Very nice to get four ... read more

Classic themeless grid layout, a triple-stack of long answers in each corner. I like how John pushed it, though. Very nice to get four additional long slots worked in — 16 long slots give you so much potential for a huge quantity of great entries.

The SE corner resonated with me, Jill and me an INTERRACIAL couple in a STARTER HOME. I asked Jim Horne the other day what he thought made for a great themeless, and his thoughtful reply was: needs a little something strong for everyone. I'm sure INTERRACIAL won't do much for other solvers, and it might even offend. Good thing there are other parts of the puzzle!

I liked that John worked in a good range of entries, from NAVEL GAZES for the introspective, to a TITLE FIGHT for boxing fans, from the OPEN BORDERS of much of the European Union to the ECOSYSTEMS a hiker might pass through as he/she ROUGHS IT.

That last answer brought a smile to my face, knowing that John and Mike Hawkins are hiking buddies. I feel privileged to have made contact with so many constructors, and seeing little flashes of their personality in a puzzle makes me appreciate it that much more.

So many of John's long entries worked well, although I didn't care for LIEGEMAN or PIMIENTO. (Mostly because PIMIENTOs are disgusting.) Not surprising to see that these particular long slots were the ones to sing the least for me, given that they 1.) run through a triple-stack each, and 2.) intersect each other. The more constraints, the harder to make your long entries sing.

A pretty clean grid, with one notable exception: DOGY. This is personal preference of course, but any time the dread "variant" tag is required = no bueno. I tend to gloss over a handful of minor RES, MOC, ETH, ELL crossword glue. Hard for me not to dwell on a DOGY; nice to see John equally thumbs-down now that he knows it is a variant.

Loved the clue for Mary SHELLEY, who wrote "Frankenstein." Created a monster, indeed!

Some strong entries, and mostly minor glue to hold everything all together.

1
O
2
P
3
E
4
N
5
B
6
O
7
R
8
D
9
E
10
R
11
S
12
A
13
B
14
E
15
M
A
D
E
A
B
O
O
B
O
O
16
M
O
C
17
A
N
Y
T
H
I
N
G
B
U
T
18
B
I
O
19
R
E
S
20
A
W
A
Y
21
G
H
22
O
U
L
S
23
O
M
A
N
24
S
H
E
L
L
E
Y
25
N
26
A
27
T
H
A
N
28
M
I
S
R
E
A
D
S
29
A
M
I
S
S
30
R
E
T
I
E
31
T
O
T
32
V
E
T
O
33
P
U
G
E
T
34
M
O
V
E
35
E
L
L
36
P
I
N
A
S
37
H
A
R
E
M
38
L
I
E
39
G
E
M
A
N
40
S
A
T
Y
R
S
41
G
O
F
O
R
I
T
42
F
E
N
S
43
A
R
I
O
S
E
44
H
O
A
G
45
V
46
H
47
F
48
Z
A
G
49
I
N
50
T
E
R
R
A
51
C
I
A
L
52
E
T
H
53
S
T
A
R
T
E
R
H
O
M
E
54
S
E
T
55
T
O
S
S
E
D
S
A
L
A
D
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0127 ( 24,552 )
Across
1
Feature of the European Union : OPENBORDERS
12
Half a ten-spot : ABE
15
Slipped : MADEABOOBOO
16
Loafer alternative, for short : MOC
17
"Definitely not THAT!" : ANYTHINGBUT
18
Part of a press kit : BIO
19
Flat, e.g.: Abbr. : RES
20
See 34-Across : AWAY
21
Grave robbers : GHOULS
23
Land in which political parties are banned : OMAN
24
She created a monster : SHELLEY
25
First name in hot dogs : NATHAN
28
Goes from stem to stern, maybe? : MISREADS
29
Off : AMISS
30
Fix, as some neckwear : RETIE
31
Bambino : TOT
32
Nix : VETO
33
Sound of the Northwest : PUGET
34
With 20-Across, relocate : MOVE
35
Many a large desk or sofa : ELL
36
Ingredients in the national drink of Puerto Rico, to Puerto Ricans : PINAS
37
An elephant seal will fight for one : HAREM
38
Vassal : LIEGEMAN
40
Part-human gods : SATYRS
41
"Be my guest!" : GOFORIT
42
Moors : FENS
43
Melodious : ARIOSE
44
Romance novelist Tami : HOAG
45
TV band : VHF
48
Part of some punt returns : ZAG
49
Like marriage supported by Loving v. Virginia : INTERRACIAL
52
End of the King James Bible? : ETH
53
Fixer-upper, often : STARTERHOME
54
Unlikely to change : SET
55
Course that offers mixed results? : TOSSEDSALAD
Down
1
Bradley with many medals : OMAR
2
One getting framed : PANE
3
Brand with the flavor French Silk : EDYS
4
It gets tons of traffic : NET
5
Where many Loyalists resettled after the American Revolution : BAHAMAS
6
Real name of Ben, in a sci-fi classic : OBIWAN
7
Actress Saoirse with two Oscar nominations : RONAN
8
Stray calf: Var. : DOGY
9
Decline : EBB
10
Camps in the wild : ROUGHSIT
11
"Told ya!" : SOTHERE
12
Not bedridden : AMBULATORY
13
Blew a gasket : BOILEDOVER
14
Caves and coral reefs, for example : ECOSYSTEMS
22
Cry when un gol is scored : OLE
23
Exceedingly : OHSO
24
The 4-Down has millions of them : SITES
25
Is way too introspective : NAVELGAZES
26
Take the edge off : AMELIORATE
27
Someone gets belted at the end of it : TITLEFIGHT
28
Actress Mullally with two Emmys : MEGAN
30
Rush : RUNAT
33
Red stuffing? : PIMIENTO
34
Sights at a martial arts center : MATS
36
What a bad cold may do : PERSIST
37
Places to fix flaps : HANGARS
39
Too-sweet sentiment : GOO
40
Prepared, as some scallops or tuna : SEARED
42
Strength : FORTE
44
For the goose, not the gander? : HERS
45
Alto clef instrument : VIOL
46
Mie ___, actress who played the Bond girl Kissy Suzuki : HAMA
47
Turned tail : FLED
50
Figures in some univ. classes : TAS
51
Dance bit? : CHA

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?