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New York Times, Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Author:
Patrick Blindauer and Tony Orbach
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
677/21/20059/4/201922
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
14661417118
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59262
Patrick Blindauer
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
264/6/20043/3/201915
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
16044101
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
2
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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A
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J
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N
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V
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P
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P
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A
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K
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S
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S
T
A
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E
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A
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A
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F
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H
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C
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B
A
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A
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O
L
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L
O
U
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I
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S
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H
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N
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P
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A
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A
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K
E
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N
N
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A
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L
E
D
G
E
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H
G
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V
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S
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J
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D
E
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G
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A
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X
A
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S
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T
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O
N
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L
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K
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D
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A
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U
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Y
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P
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E
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S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1017 ( 25,180 )
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: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?