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New York Times, Monday, October 13, 2014

Author:
Greg Johnson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
712/16/20133/30/20190
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0311002
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65120
Greg Johnson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {FJZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Johnson. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Greg Johnson notes:
Coming up with suitable 7-letter games to fit this theme left me some interesting choices. I left out YAHTZEE because the surrounding ... read more

Coming up with suitable 7-letter games to fit this theme left me some interesting choices. I left out YAHTZEE because the surrounding fill was not what I wanted ... SCRABBLE, because it seemed obvious ... and OLD MAID for consistency's sake. Also, I wanted to include a variety of options, not just board games or card games.

It's not the usual theme density, but 7-letter games (and the fact there are 7 of them) seemed like a good idea after thinking of TWISTER to accompany the center revealer. I don't have my old notes, but I'm hard pressed to think of another option with an S in the middle at this moment. All those 7s forced me to down to 34 blocks and that was a challenge in itself.

Hope you enjoy...

Will Shortz notes:
I've been saving this puzzle for about a year, to run around the time of the baseball playoffs and the World Series. The double nature ... read more

I've been saving this puzzle for about a year, to run around the time of the baseball playoffs and the World Series. The double nature of the theme — that the grid contains seven games and they're all seven letters long — is what sold me on this. Simple and elegant, with a funny reveal, perfect for a Monday.

Jeff Chen notes:
Delightful offering from Greg today, a listing of seven common games, all with seven letters, thus GAME SEVEN. Fun interpretation of a ... read more

Delightful offering from Greg today, a listing of seven common games, all with seven letters, thus GAME SEVEN. Fun interpretation of a timely phrase. I always loved Reggie Jackson's "Mr. October" moniker. I only get called "Mr. Denny," as in "Dr. and Mr. Denny." Harrumph.

What most impressed me was how smooth Greg managed to get this puzzle. I think Mondays ought to be accessible to newcomers — not necessarily easy, though. That's a big difference. I didn't see any little bits that an outsider would scratch their head at, and that's such an huge accomplishment in a Monday puzzle. Extremely tough to achieve, as so often a constructor must rely on a little glue to hold the grid together.

Okapi

Some people are going to cry foul at OKAPIS, and I agree that it's a tough entry to figure out. But as much as I think the Monday puzzle should be accessible, I don't want it to be palp, either. Each of the crossings is fair, and it reminds me of a story about a guy I met in El Salvador. He was from South Africa and had recently traveled to America for the first time. When I asked him what the highlight of trip was, he said "seeing those funny animals, with the cute little noses, and the fuzzy tails… you know..." (He couldn't pull the name out after five minutes of trying, and it took me forever to figure out to what he was referring.) I'm sure OKAPIS are as well-known to him as SQUIRRELS are to us. I like Monday crosswords that expand one's world view, as long as they do so in a fair way.

I wondered why the six themers around the perimeter weren't all the way on the edge. Seems to me that would be a more elegant way to execute this idea. I can see that the V of REVERSI is much easier to use in the ????V? pattern than the horribly constrained ?????V pattern though. I almost always prefer themers in elegant spots, but if it's a choice between elegant spots or clean fill, I'll almost always opt for the latter.

Interesting idea, well executed. So hard to make those 7x3 chunks smooth, but Greg did it six times around the perimeter with nary a hiccup.

1
P
2
O
3
R
4
S
5
C
6
H
7
E
8
S
9
P
10
A
11
C
12
E
13
L
14
Y
15
C
R
O
Q
U
E
T
16
C
A
N
A
S
T
A
17
S
E
C
U
R
E
D
18
O
N
E
T
E
R
M
19
A
L
L
20
G
N
A
W
S
21
P
22
S
23
A
T
S
24
L
A
C
Y
25
C
26
A
27
R
28
S
29
A
N
D
S
30
C
O
M
E
31
V
A
L
E
T
32
N
O
D
33
S
A
K
E
34
G
E
N
E
V
A
35
D
O
S
36
T
W
I
S
37
T
E
R
38
R
E
T
39
O
K
A
40
P
I
S
41
E
E
L
Y
42
T
R
I
43
R
E
L
A
X
44
T
V
A
D
45
A
L
S
O
46
A
R
T
S
47
C
H
E
R
48
K
E
Y
I
N
49
S
50
A
L
O
N
51
H
E
R
52
C
53
H
54
E
A
T
E
R
55
H
E
R
O
56
I
57
C
58
S
59
H
A
N
G
M
A
N
60
M
A
R
B
L
E
S
61
I
N
V
E
S
T
S
62
S
P
I
E
S
O
N
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1013 ( 23,715 )
Across
1
German auto whose logo depicts a rearing horse : PORSCHE
8
___ Sprockets, George Jetson's employer : SPACELY
15
It's played with mallets and wickets ... : CROQUET
16
... with 108 cards : CANASTA
17
Fastened : SECURED
18
Six years, in the U.S. Senate : ONETERM
19
Reply ___ (email option) : ALL
20
Chews like a beaver : GNAWS
21
Exams for H.S. juniors : PSATS
24
Frilly, as lingerie : LACY
25
Autos : CARS
29
No ifs, ___ or buts : ANDS
30
"Here, boy!" : COME
31
One whose job is to park 25-Across : VALET
32
Silent "yes" : NOD
33
Japanese rice wine : SAKE
34
Swiss watch city : GENEVA
35
___ and don'ts : DOS
36
... with a mat with colored circles : TWISTER
38
Like one after work?: Abbr. : RET
39
Cousins of giraffes : OKAPIS
41
Slippery : EELY
42
Prefix with cycle : TRI
43
"Don't worry about it!" : RELAX
44
Infomercial, e.g. : TVAD
45
Additionally : ALSO
46
___ and sciences : ARTS
47
Chaz Bono's mom : CHER
48
Enter, as data : KEYIN
49
Place to get a perm : SALON
51
Counterpart of his : HER
52
Test taker going "Psst!," say : CHEATER
55
Brave deeds : HEROICS
59
... with dashes on paper : HANGMAN
60
... with steelies and aggies : MARBLES
61
Plays the market : INVESTS
62
Watches secretly : SPIESON
Down
1
Dell and HP products : PCS
2
Mined rocks : ORE
3
Bird in "Arabian Nights" : ROC
4
Leg-building exercises : SQUATS
5
Biceps-building exercises : CURLS
6
Achilles' weak spot : HEEL
7
When to expect takeoff, for short : ETD
8
Ornamental light fixture : SCONCE
9
Philippine island in W.W. II fighting : PANAY
10
From square one : ANEW
11
X-ray type : CATSCAN
12
WNW's opposite : ESE
13
8 1/2" x 11" paper size: Abbr. : LTR
14
Candied Thanksgiving food : YAM
20
Playoff series finale ... or an apt title for this puzzle considering the number and length of its theme entries : GAMESEVEN
21
Box opener of myth : PANDORA
22
... with cues and 22 balls : SNOOKER
23
Season to taste, in a certain way : ADDSALT
24
Trickster of myth : LOKI
26
With attentiveness : ALERTLY
27
... with black-and-white disks : REVERSI
28
Depot : STATION
30
Crows' cries : CAWS
31
Extremely : VERY
33
Pixy ___ (candy) : STIX
34
Neuter, as a male horse : GELD
37
Rip : TEAR
40
Book excerpt : PASSAGE
44
Roses' defenses : THORNS
45
Oxygen-needing bacterium : AEROBE
47
Baseball shoe feature : CLEAT
48
___ Walsh, three-time Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist : KERRI
50
Convenience store conveniences : ATMS
51
Pile : HEAP
52
White Sox home, for short : CHI
53
___ Solo of "Star Wars" : HAN
54
It's stamped at the P.O. : ENV
55
"___ Pinafore" : HMS
56
They, in Paris : ILS
57
Corp. bigwig : CEO
58
Fig. in the form XXX-XX-XXXX : SSN

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle.

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