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New York Times, Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Author:
Emily Carroll
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
88/22/20168/22/20190
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1113200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55130
Emily Carroll

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 35 Missing: {JQVZ} This is puzzle # 3 for Ms. Carroll. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Emily Carroll notes:
The idea for this puzzle stemmed from the first one I ever constructed which had 'break a leg' as the revealer with different leg ... read more

The idea for this puzzle stemmed from the first one I ever constructed which had "break a leg" as the revealer with different leg bones broken across my theme answers. At the time I thought it was sensational, but it was rejected, and I can see why. As with many of my early attempts, it was, to put it nicely, hot garbage. Looking back at it now is like the crossword equivalent of finding an old middle school yearbook photo.

Later, when the very talented Sam Donaldson made a much more successful broken bone themed puzzle (published on my birthday of all days) I took it as a sign that I should revisit the "broken" theme concept. I was hitting a brick wall until I tried breaking the houses over different answers as opposed to trying to find individual theme answers that would work. This also allowed for less constrained fill and some more interesting long non-themed answers. So overall I'm pretty happy with the result, but my eye always goes to LYCRAS which I hate and realize is a stupid plural, but marginally less not-a-real-thing than LUCRES which was my other alternative in that spot.

Jeff Chen notes:
For early-week puzzles, I like to play the 'guess the theme' game. If I can guess it within one or two themers, I usually feel like ... read more

For early-week puzzles, I like to play the "guess the theme" game. If I can guess it within one or two themers, I usually feel like it's too simple. After uncovering just AF/RAME, I rolled my eyes and said SPLIT LEVEL HOUSE. What a great surprise to have the much more fun HOUSEBROKEN!

Nice to get a humbling Jeff-is-wrong moment once in a while.

(There are a lot of them.)

Something so pretty about those circled letters. Often, circles in puzzles tend to distract me, but I liked these.

Not a lot of sizzling themers, but RAMEN NOODLE and LEXICON were both strong. (READ UP and OLAF aren't going to win any awards. EPOCHAL … huh. It's dictionary supported.)

If Emily had only broken CHALET into CHA/LET, making way for something more interesting, like CAPTCHA … or I GOTCHA!

Speaking of I GOTCHA, I thought Emily shined in her gridwork. URBAN SPRAWL and PENNANT RACE were both fantastic, as were I GOTCHA and SHERMAN, especially working in his "WAR is hell" quote. I even dug THRACE, a throwback to my favorite world history classes.

And then there was the short fill. Great attention to detail! Emily did have a great deal of flexibility, the ___RAN, CH___ patterns having a ton of possibilities, for example. But with so many of them to fill around, many constructors would have ended up with a lot more crossword glue.

Finally, loved that WELSH clue. What a crazy awesome WELSH name, Llwynywermod.

All in all, an excellent Tuesday puzzle, one I'd be happy to recommend to newer solvers. Nothing flashy, but very solid.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0130 ( 24,920 )
Across
1
Sun Devils' sch. : ASU
4
Like the Llwynywermod royal estate : WELSH
9
One free carry-on bag, for many domestic flights : LIMIT
14
Large body of eau : MER
15
Welcome on Waikiki : ALOHA
16
Light-footed : AGILE
17
Collar : NAB
18
Japanese soup tidbit : RAMENNOODLE
20
"Frozen" snowman : OLAF
22
Like the lion's share : LARGEST
23
Pavarotti, for one : TENOR
25
Part of a barn where hay is stored : MOW
26
Ones approving fin. statements : CPAS
30
Hot and arid : SAHARAN
33
Iota preceder : THETA
34
Wisconsin city that's home to Lawrence University : APPLETON
36
Coco of couture : CHANEL
37
___ Spiegel (German newsmagazine) : DER
38
Piglet producer : SOW
39
Something to shoot for : PAR
40
Hip-hop artist with the #1 album "Hip Hop Is Dead" : NAS
41
Study, with "on" : READUP
43
Large Greek olive : KALAMATA
45
Actor Cary of "The Princess Bride" : ELWES
46
Dictionary : LEXICON
47
Bombard : PELT
48
Red Sox archrival, on scoreboards : NYY
49
Jazzy James and Jones : ETTAS
52
Historically significant : EPOCHAL
56
Land celebrated on March 17 : ERIN
57
Like most pet dogs ... or a hint to this puzzle's circled letters : HOUSEBROKEN
61
Big fuss : ADO
62
Evicts : OUSTS
63
O'Connor's successor on the Supreme Court : ALITO
64
Company V.I.P. : CEO
65
Extract forcefully : WREST
66
Title for un hombre : SENOR
67
Medium power? : ESP
Down
1
Juvenile retort : AMNOT
2
Bobby who co-founded the Black Panthers : SEALE
3
Growing problem in cities? : URBANSPRAWL
4
"___ is hell" : WAR
5
Israeli carrier : ELAL
6
___ Linda, Calif. : LOMA
7
General who said the quote at 4-Down : SHERMAN
8
"Not so fast!" : HANGON
9
Vientiane's country : LAOS
10
"Ha! You fell for my trick!" : IGOTCHA
11
Central : MID
12
Feeling down : ILL
13
Simple top : TEE
19
Unfamiliar : NEW
21
Stable newborn : FOAL
24
Monkey often used in research : RHESUS
27
Subject of some September sports reporting : PENNANTRACE
28
Irritated no end : ATEAT
29
Lively Latin dance : SALSA
31
Riding, say : ATOP
32
Ticket info : ROW
33
Ancient Balkan region : THRACE
34
"Mad Men" type, informally : ADREP
35
"Get Out" director Jordan : PEELE
36
City WSW of Bogotá : CALI
39
Opposite of bellum : PAX
42
Hates : DETESTS
43
Peeper's vantage point : KEYHOLE
44
Speck : MOTE
46
Stretchy materials : LYCRAS
48
San Francisco's ___ Hill : NOB
50
West Wing workers : AIDES
51
Poke around : SNOOP
53
Annoyance : PEST
54
Similar (to) : AKIN
55
Jared who won an Oscar for "Dallas Buyers Club" : LETO
57
Word after show or know : HOW
58
Sharer's word : OUR
59
"It's no ___!" : USE
60
Neither's partner : NOR

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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