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New York Times, Saturday, January 7, 2017

Author:
Roland Huget
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
123/20/201511/5/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0110028
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.52012
Roland Huget

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 26 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Huget. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Roland Huget notes:
This puzzle was constructed in November 2015, and accepted for publication in March 2016. This is one of a trio of themeless grids of ... read more

This puzzle was constructed in November 2015, and accepted for publication in March 2016. This is one of a trio of themeless grids of similar design that I constructed in 2015, where the starting point for the fill was a central 9-letter idiomatic remark. All three puzzles were picked up, two of them here.

This fill started with ARE WE GOOD. I think idiomatic expressions make good crossword entries, especially those uttered in private or unguarded moments. To those who say WHO WAS IT is perhaps too much of a good thing, I say SPARE ME. ;-)

I like pangrams – they're fun to solve and to construct. When I solve a puzzle that's shaping up to be a pangram, I root for it to happen. The challenge in constructing a pangram is to accommodate the high Scrabble value letters without using answers that otherwise wouldn't be allowed in the grid. I think this effort was successful in that regard.

I would like to thank Will and Joel for their work on the clues. I particularly like their clues for MASSEUR (1D - One pressing the flesh) and MEAT RUB (1A – Barbecue chef's coat). As for a clue that survived the final edit, I like the one for SOFA BED (28A – All-weather convertible?).

Jeff Chen notes:
SPACE TIME crossing ARE WE GOOD in the center — love it! Themeless that feature mostly mid-to-short entries have to really make ... read more

SPACE TIME crossing ARE WE GOOD in the center — love it! Themeless that feature mostly mid-to-short entries have to really make their few long entries sing, so it's nice to get these two front and center. WIFI ZONE and IN THE BAG are pretty darn great as well.

I wasn't so sure about WHO WAS IT. Certainly a common phrase, but it feels more ho-hum, something functional in everyday conversation. CAPRICES … not a spectacular entry, but for a one-worder, it's pretty colorful. Not as sizzly as WIFI ZONE was for me, but still nice.

I'm not a fan of this sort of layout that breaks the puzzle up into so many subsections. It's all too easy to get stuck in a single region, making for a stop and go solve. Not super satisfying if there are only two ways into a corner, and you can't figure out either of them.

It sure does make construction easier, though. Once you select those entry words, you can work on that little piece of the grid just by itself, not worrying about the rest of the puzzle. I'd rather constructors avoid this crutch, as the resulting puzzle flow is so stilted and jarring for me as a solver.

That said, I really liked some of the results — it did feel more polished and snazzy than Roland's last use of a very similar grid pattern. Kicking it off with MEAT RUB is awfully nice, and a MASSEUR as [One pressing the flesh] = fantastic misdirectional clue! And I really, really enjoyed the bottom right. The rare J X in NINJAS / JUKEBOX / ROLEXES were neat, and I liked TERABIT and SEDATES with its tricky [Gives a number?] clue. (Think numb-er, as in one who numbs.)

Not as much a fan of the upper right, where PESETAS and PEERAGE takes up valuable real estate. It sure is tough to execute on triple-stacks of sevens crossing other triple-stacks of sevens.

Good workout overall, each of the five mini-puzzles taking a quite while to crack into.

1
M
2
E
3
A
4
T
5
R
6
U
7
B
8
I
9
P
10
A
11
D
12
A
13
P
14
P
15
A
C
Q
U
I
R
E
16
N
O
M
I
N
E
E
17
S
O
U
L
F
U
L
18
T
W
I
N
G
E
S
19
S
T
A
L
E
20
I
21
S
H
22
D
E
E
R
E
23
E
Y
R
E
24
L
E
P
E
25
R
26
S
L
A
T
27
U
P
I
28
S
O
F
A
B
E
29
D
30
I
G
A
31
R
E
A
32
L
T
V
33
C
A
P
R
34
I
C
E
S
35
A
R
E
36
W
E
G
O
O
D
37
W
38
H
39
O
W
A
S
I
T
40
S
I
S
41
T
42
E
43
R
44
H
A
L
45
D
E
F
I
46
N
E
D
47
E
V
O
48
A
D
E
49
S
50
T
I
M
I
D
51
A
R
I
L
52
T
A
S
T
53
E
54
Z
E
N
55
S
C
A
L
E
56
I
N
T
E
M
57
P
O
58
J
59
U
K
E
B
O
X
60
F
I
R
E
M
A
N
61
A
N
I
L
I
N
E
62
S
P
A
R
E
M
E
63
S
E
D
A
T
E
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0107 ( 24,532 )
Across
1
Barbecue chef's coat : MEATRUB
8
Angry Birds starting in 2010, e.g. : IPADAPP
15
Pick up : ACQUIRE
16
Something on a ticket : NOMINEE
17
Deeply felt : SOULFUL
18
Small stabs : TWINGES
19
Overused : STALE
20
"Kinda" : ISH
22
Company with a buck in its logo : DEERE
23
Literary character self-described as "poor, obscure, plain and little" : EYRE
24
Ostracized sort : LEPER
26
Plane wing part : SLAT
27
Inits. after a big media merger of 1958 : UPI
28
All-weather convertible? : SOFABED
30
Alternative to Food Lion or Piggly Wiggly : IGA
31
1990s "caught on tape" series : REALTV
33
Vagaries : CAPRICES
35
"No hard feelings?" : AREWEGOOD
37
Query about a phone call : WHOWASIT
40
Many a maid of honor : SISTER
44
Roach of old comedy : HAL
45
In the dictionary, say : DEFINED
47
Mitsubishi sports car, for short : EVO
48
Some thirst quenchers : ADES
50
Shrinking : TIMID
51
Seed coat : ARIL
52
Something water lacks : TASTE
54
Tranquil and minimalistic : ZEN
55
It might reveal what you've lost : SCALE
56
Up to speed, musically : INTEMPO
58
Something to pick a number from : JUKEBOX
60
One taking heat at work? : FIREMAN
61
Synthetic dye compound : ANILINE
62
"Talk to the hand" : SPAREME
63
Gives a number? : SEDATES
Down
1
One pressing the flesh : MASSEUR
2
Subspecies of a distinct geographical variety : ECOTYPE
3
Features of many doctor's office waiting rooms : AQUARIA
4
Veil material : TULLE
5
Widespread : RIFE
6
Latin American soccer powerhouse: Abbr. : URU
7
It's what you think : BELIEF
8
Assured : INTHEBAG
9
[Take THAT!] : POW
10
Within : AMID
11
Banquets : DINES
12
Not merely good : ANGELIC
13
Aristocracy : PEERAGE
14
Pre-euro money : PESETAS
21
What a wormhole is a tunnel in : SPACETIME
24
Court blowout : LOVESET
25
Took it easy : REPOSED
28
Pricey strings : STRAD
29
iPhone rival : DROID
32
Brief topic : LAW
34
D.M.V. demands : IDS
36
Hot spot : WIFIZONE
37
Thoughts of wishful thinkers : WHATIFS
38
Imbibed modestly : HADANIP
39
Ingredient in Pringles Light : OLESTRA
41
Unit in superfast data transfer : TERABIT
42
Old Scratch, with "the" : EVILONE
43
Wearable status symbols : ROLEXES
46
Stealth fighters : NINJAS
49
Provide direction : STEER
51
Express starting in 2000 : ACELA
53
Model who wrote the 1996 book "True Beauty" : EMME
55
Fall rapidly, as sales : SKID
57
Grocery brand that's also a girl's name : PAM
59
"Les Mille et ___ Nuits" : UNE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?