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New York Times, Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Author:
Patrick Blindauer and Tony Orbach
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
657/21/200510/17/201821
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
14561317118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59252
Patrick Blindauer
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
254/6/200410/17/201814
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
15044101
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.67021
Tony Orbach

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QWZ} Grid has mirror symmetry. Grid has repeated answers This is puzzle # 65 for Mr. Blindauer. This is puzzle # 25 for Mr. Orbach. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes:
We like to break the rules, as long as it's for a good reason, so this started with the desire to do a repeated word theme. Various ... read more

We like to break the rules, as long as it's for a good reason, so this started with the desire to do a repeated word theme. Various sandwiches with their layers of BREAD were discussed, but eventually a stack of flapjacks was selected. The theme square count was a little shy, so a couple of syrup options were added. Maybe we'll do a tribute to waffles next.

Jeff Chen notes:
Jeff and Jim Cross Words! We've decided to run this feature on days where we have differing viewpoints on a puzzle. PANCAKEs! I ... read more

Jeff and Jim Cross Words! We've decided to run this feature on days where we have differing viewpoints on a puzzle.

PANCAKEs! I like pancakes. I like syrup. Three PANCAKEs, two syrups down the sides, what's not to like?

It is an interesting visual, but I spent a lot of time thinking about why this one didn't hit me very strongly. Not badly, just not very strongly. I did think the repetition of PANCAKE with three different definitions was fun. There haven't been very many repeated word puzzles in the NYT's history.

Was it the floatingness of the PANCAKEs, hovering above each other? Or the PAT of butter soaring sky-high like a UFO? With the PLATE at bunker level?

The syrup running down the sides was a nice touch. AUNT JEMIMA came immediately to mind. Not so much with HUNGRY JACK, though. I'm ashamed to say that I initially wrote in SIMPLE JACK. (That's the role within a role Ben Stiller plays in "Tropic Thunder." Ahem.)

And no syrup on top of the PANCAKEs? I would have loved to see the syrup brands starting from the top middle of the highest PANCAKE, then making a turn as they ran down the side. It'd have made AUNT JEMIMA look bizarre with AUNT running right to left before JEMIMA flowing down. But this is a Wednesday puzzle! Some craziness would have been great.

Overall, I thought it was a fun visual concept that didn't quite hit with its execution.

Jim Horne notes:
Samuel Taylor Coleridge famously coined the phrase 'suspension of disbelief.' You can't enjoy fiction without it. You can't enjoy any ... read more

Samuel Taylor Coleridge famously coined the phrase "suspension of disbelief." You can't enjoy fiction without it. You can't enjoy any art without it. Art and Nature are two different things; non-overlapping magisteria. A painting of a pipe is not a pipe.

To me, a triple stack of PANCAKEs on a PLATE with a PAT of butter on top and syrup dripping down the sides all within a 15x15 block of black-and-white squares full of fun words is close to miraculous.

Crossword commentary decrying the lack of accuracy in grid images confounds me. Of course, this breakfast isn't exactly what you find at IHOP. Jeff complained last September that the chemical bonds represented in this puzzle didn't show the correct angles, and that last year's Space Needle didn't have quite the right dimensions. Of course not. Use your imagination. It's fun!

At a software company I used to work for, I got to know some of the artists who created icons. It's a crazy, specialized skill to make something so small represent something recognizable, but they had a couple of advantages over constructors — even at the smallest size of 32x32 pixels, that's four and a half times the number of squares available in today's puzzle, and they got to take advantage of subtle color tricks to fool the eye into seeing detail and dimensionality that wasn't really there. Crossword art is necessarily more primitive.

Finally, and this might seem unfair, I seem to recall a Christmas puzzle last year by Mary Lou Guizzo and her collaborator. Who was that again? Oh, right, it was Jeff. Call me crazy, but I've never encountered a reindeer that looked exactly like this.

Jeff and I love to argue crosswords. Now and then, one of us even manages to change the other's mind. It's fun either way.

1
M
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A
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G
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I
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C
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P
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N
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H
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K
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L
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H
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S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1017 ( 25,180 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1. Sorcery : MAGIC
6. Serving of butter, as might go on top of several answers in this puzzle : PAT
9. Welds : JOINS
14. "Let's see what you've got," in poker : ICALL
15. Linguistic ending : ESE
16. Menace in the 1957 film "The Enemy Below" : UBOAT
17. Car company headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif. : TESLA
18. Cancel : NIX
19. 1992 Joe Pesci title role : VINNY
20. Kitchen shortening? : TSP
21. Kind of makeup : PANCAKE
24. Instrument with a notable solo in Springsteen's "Born to Run" : SAX
25. Keeps it together : STAYSSANE
27. Hearing-related : AURAL
28. Christianity, for one : FAITH
30. Swim with the fishes, maybe : SCUBA
32. Internet messaging pioneer : AOL
34. One of 18 French kings : LOUIS
37. Mama lobster : HEN
38. Flatten : PANCAKE
41. Vane dir. : NNE
42. ___ noche (tonight: Sp.) : ESTA
44. Spot for a flowerpot : LEDGE
45. "Love It or List It" channel : HGTV
46. Hospital patron : STJUDE
48. Opposite of paix : GUERRE
50. Siri's digital cousin : ALEXA
51. Carrier to Oslo : SAS
54. Assess, as a dress : TRYON
55. On the ___ (fleeing) : LAM
56. Breakfast food item : PANCAKE
59. Au ___ (how a French dip is served) : JUS
60. Like a superfan : AVID
62. "Later!" : SEEYA
63. Broccoli ___ (leafy vegetable) : RABE
64. 10 bucks, in slang : DIME
65. Totally committed : ALLIN
66. Sch. whose colors are "true blue" and gold : UCLA
67. Info for a graduate : YEAR
68. Item that might go under several answers in this puzzle : PLATE
69. Gets by on, with "out" : EKES
Down
1. Ball catcher : MITT
2. Terrific, in slang : ACES
3. [Horrors!] : GASP
4. "Licensed to ___" (1986 Beastie Boys album) : ILL
5. Nonsense : CLAPTRAP
6. Place that's "beneath the blue suburban skies," in a Beatles song : PENNYLANE
7. Big name in athletic shoes : ASICS
8. Banner with a single star : TEXASFLAG
9. Minor : JUVENILE
10. Tie that binds, in Japan? : OBI
11. Charged particles : IONS
12. "Peter Pan" dog : NANA
13. River in which Achilles was dipped : STYX
22. Designation for the Buffalo Bisons and the Durham Bulls : AAA
23. Snake in "The Jungle Book" : KAA
25. Footlong, for one : SUB
26. W.W. II arena : ETO
27. Syrup brand : AUNTJEMIMA
29. Syrup brand : HUNGRYJACK
30. 1971 Tom Jones hit : SHESALADY
31. "Them's the breaks," genteelly : CESTLAVIE
33. Hoarder's possible condition, briefly : OCD
35. Imperiled : INTROUBLE
36. All the oceans, colloquially : SEVENSEAS
39. With 40-Down, something tapped at a pub : ALE
40. See 39-Down : KEG
43. "La Cage ___ Folles" : AUX
45. Nameless woman : HER
47. Fist-bump : DAP
49. Great Basin people : UTE
51. Fishhook line : SNELL
52. Train from Boston to Washington : ACELA
53. "Don't hold back!" : SAYIT
57. "Stat" : ASAP
58. Title film character based on William Randolph Hearst : KANE
61. ___ Spiegel : DER
63. Regret : RUE

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

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