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New York Times, Friday, October 11, 2013

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1105/2/200610/16/201912
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
612253714106
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.565313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 30 Missing: {JQZ} Spans: 6 This is puzzle # 72 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:
Well, the seed entry of this one was WHERES THE REMOTE — something that anyone with kids has uttered too many times to count. My ... read more

Well, the seed entry of this one was WHERES THE REMOTE — something that anyone with kids has uttered too many times to count. My goal was to have interlaced 15-letter entries, but I wanted to stick to 15-letter entries that hadn't been used in the NYT before. I almost achieved my goal — MEAT THERMOMETER has been used a couple of times. But the other five are debuts, as are the two ten-letter entries (ARMY STRONG and OXYGENATED). The down side of this kind of grid layout is there aren't the usual wide swaths of open space as there are on many other themeless puzzles.

I see fellow Ann Arborite Jason Flinn constructed the NYT puzzle a couple of days ago. If you haven't caught on yet, it's all part of our plan to elevate Ann Arbor to the cultural center of the universe. Worldwide domination will soon follow.

First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin.

Will Shortz notes:

All six intersecting 15-letter answers in this puzzle are pretty nice, I think. I also like ARMY-STRONG and HEY MAN.

Jeff Chen notes:
A ton of nice debut stuff from Pete today. SETTLES THE SCORE, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, and especially WHERES THE REMOTE with its brilliant ... read more

A ton of nice debut stuff from Pete today. SETTLES THE SCORE, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, and especially WHERES THE REMOTE with its brilliant clue. It's not often we see five debut 15's in a single puzzle; cool feat Peter's pulled off. I got a thrill typing those beauties in (what can I say, I'm easily amused).

Unusual arrangement, not only incorporating four 15's in the across direction, but interlocking them with two 15's in the vertical. Building a themeless grid in this style is daunting, because it creates so many subsections, each one with high constraints. Quite a challenge to find a set of six 15's which allows for reasonable fill. I really appreciated hearing Pete's comment about trying for six debut 15's, but settling for five in order to give the solver a better experience. I love hearing a constructor prioritize the solving experience rather than the construction feat.

While the arrangement of 15's is awfully nice, the surrounding fill suffers a tad. We get an assortment of partials (A STAR, USE AS), crossing awkward abbreviations (CTN/CWTS), French words crossing (ETAT/LYCEE), and a dash of crosswordese (ENOTE, REE, SERE), but I appreciate that Pete has carefully spread it out amongst the different categories so we don't get a ton of one type or another. Still, there was enough of the suboptimal stuff that I noticed it during the solve, and it made me think about the trade-offs Pete must have been weighing as he chose his 15's and filled the grid.

Quick observation about SERE, which has been a crossword staple for decades because it contains common letters. 149 instances in 12 years of the Maleska era (thanks David Steinberg for adding pre-Shortz puzzles to the master database, process still ongoing), 98 from 19 years of the Shortz era. I like this trend, as it discourages the idea that you need to know a totally different language in order to do crosswords. Perhaps with more of this kind of thoughtful progress, crosswords will one day be more popular than baseball.

A guy can dream, can't he?

Good workout today plus some very nice debut entries.

1
F
2
A
3
W
4
N
5
A
6
B
7
B
8
A
9
T
10
A
11
S
12
K
13
S
14
E
C
H
O
15
H
E
A
R
16
I
R
E
N
E
17
M
E
A
T
18
T
H
E
R
M
19
O
M
E
T
E
R
20
A
S
T
A
R
21
T
R
Y
M
E
22
T
W
A
23
H
R
A
24
P
25
S
A
G
26
A
L
27
P
28
L
A
Y
M
E
29
O
30
R
T
R
A
D
E
31
M
32
E
33
S
A
P
34
S
O
X
E
R
35
P
I
S
A
N
36
E
S
P
37
O
38
N
Y
T
O
39
L
40
A
T
N
O
41
U
S
E
A
42
S
43
G
I
N
O
44
S
45
H
O
T
46
D
O
N
T
E
47
V
E
N
G
O
T
48
H
E
R
E
49
S
H
E
E
N
50
P
I
E
S
51
C
52
T
N
53
K
E
A
54
T
55
S
56
L
Y
C
57
E
58
E
59
W
H
E
60
R
E
S
T
H
E
61
R
E
M
O
T
E
62
T
A
X
E
R
63
E
U
R
O
64
A
R
A
L
65
S
I
T
E
S
66
D
R
E
W
67
N
E
T
S
© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1011 ( 23,348 )

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Across
1
Forest newcomer : FAWN
5
Group whose last Top 40 hit was "When All Is Said and Done" : ABBA
9
To-do list : TASKS
14
Sound after call waiting? : ECHO
15
Sense, as a 14-Across : HEAR
16
Nobel winner Joliot-Curie : IRENE
17
Turkey sticker : MEATTHERMOMETER
20
"Everybody Is ___" (1970 hit) : ASTAR
21
Response to a threat : TRYME
22
Old co. with overlapping globes in its logo : TWA
23
1960s civil rights leader ___ Brown : HRAP
25
Katey who portrayed TV's Peg Bundy : SAGAL
27
Benchwarmer's plea : PLAYMEORTRADEME
33
Drain : SAP
34
Bobby's follower? : SOXER
35
Fibonacci, notably : PISAN
36
Hockey Hall of Fame nickname : ESPO
38
Alternative to ZzzQuil : NYTOL
40
Stat. for Re, La or Ti : ATNO
41
"___ needed" : USEAS
43
Papa ___ (Northeast pizza chain) : GINOS
45
Now in : HOT
46
"That subject's off the table!" : DONTEVENGOTHERE
49
Luster : SHEEN
50
They have edible shells : PIES
51
Whse. sight : CTN
53
"Philosophy will clip an angel's wings" writer : KEATS
56
French class setting : LYCEE
59
Universal query? : WHERESTHEREMOTE
62
Uncle Sam, say : TAXER
63
One featuring a Maltese cross : EURO
64
Turkic word for "island" : ARAL
65
Browser history list : SITES
66
Couldn't discard in crazy eights, say : DREW
67
Court suspensions : NETS
Down
1
Relief provider, for short : FEMA
2
Blasts through : ACES
3
"And now?" : WHATHAPPENSNEXT
4
Sealing worker : NOTARY
5
"Per-r-rfect!" : AHH
6
___-red : BEET
7
Alfred H. ___ Jr., founding director of MoMA : BARR
8
Like G.I.'s, per recruiting ads : ARMYSTRONG
9
Interval : TIMEGAP
10
Were present? : ARE
11
Gets payback : SETTLESTHESCORE
12
Sensed : KNEW
13
They may be used in veins : SERA
18
They may be used around veins : TRAMS
19
All-Star Infante : OMAR
24
Drone : PEON
26
1998 hit from the album "Surfacing" : ADIA
27
False start? : PSEUD
28
Stockholder? : LASSO
29
Like some hemoglobin : OXYGENATED
30
___-A : RETIN
31
Plantation habitation : MANOR
32
Cybermemo : ENOTE
37
Something taken on the stand : OATH
39
Ring : LOOP
42
They're on hunts : SEEKERS
44
Revolving feature : STILE
47
Revolving features? : VEES
48
"Psst ... buddy" : HEYMAN
51
1/20 tons: Abbr. : CWTS
52
Whence the word "bong" : THAI
54
Day of the week of Jul. 4, 1776 : THUR
55
Wizened up : SERE
57
Indiana, e.g., to Lafayette : ETAT
58
Some use electric organs : EELS
60
River Shannon's Lough ___ : REE
61
Sudoku segment : ROW

Answer summary: 9 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?