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New York Times, Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Author:
Tom Pepper
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
82/6/20122/12/20193
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0321200
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64011
Tom Pepper

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Pepper. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Tom Pepper notes:
I like words that can be parsed in a way that has a completely different meaning. I had a similar puzzle a few years ago about ... read more

I like words that can be parsed in a way that has a completely different meaning. I had a similar puzzle a few years ago about neckwear: PROPER TIES, CASUAL TIES, etc. My original submission for this puzzle was a 15x16 grid that led off with PRO VISIONARY and ended with PRO VOCATIONS. That version had 4 nice long non-theme downs, fewer 3-letter words, and placed the title entry at the end where I liked it.

Unfortunately, PROVISIONARY doesn't Google very well compared to "provisional," so Will and Joel asked if I could replace that theme answer. PRO TESTER was the best I could find. However, that meant placing the singular PRO VOCATION in the center of the new 15x15 grid, losing the long downs and forcing the two Utah-shaped black blocks on the left and right. In the end, it comes down to trade-offs, and the stronger theme answers make the revised version a better puzzle than the original grid that arguably had more interesting non-theme material.

My favorite clue—35D "Person who had a major part in the Bible?"—is the work of the editorial crew, whose efforts greatly improved the puzzle, as always. Thanks, Will and Joel—that made me smile! I hope the puzzle brings a smile or two to everyone else as well!

Jeff Chen notes:
Great wordplay today, with five PRO- words split up and given a kooky interpretation. What a clever revealer for these 'professions' ... read more

Great wordplay today, with five PRO- words split up and given a kooky interpretation. What a clever revealer for these "professions" in PRO VOCATION! So much fun to get PRO TESTER as "a professional in testing," and then even more fun to get that spot-on revealer. Awesome solving experience.

At first I hitched on PROPOSER. Is that a real word? Turns out it is, especially when referring to Parliamentary procedure. I also wondered if a CURER was a real word (from PROCURER). Hmm. And it would have been nice if PROFILERS had been singular, like the other themers.

Then I decided I was being way too nit-picky and I should just sit back and enjoy Tom's finds.

A couple of nice bonuses, in PANORAMA / EARDRUM and YOURE ON! ANDERSON isn't as colorful to me, especially since the cross-reference made me jump around the grid, but it still works. (I have "Aqualung" stuck in my head now — thanks a lot, Tom.) I really appreciated Tom's effort in those two corners, since he could have easily put more black squares at the R of OPENER and D of DRIVEL and made his life easier at 78 (instead of 76) words.

In terms of smoothness, I didn't care for the ARA / HROSS / LIS section — three dabs of crossword glue glaringly concentrated in one place — but again, I liked the theme so much that it didn't bother me as much as it usually would. Anyway, this is a common region of stress for puzzles that utilize a central 11-letter themer — once you place those black squares at the sides, you take away a ton of flexibility.

Overall, such a joy to solve.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1019 ( 24,452 )
Across
1
Twosome on TMZ, e.g. : ITEM
5
Level : RAZE
9
Put down for the count : KAYO
13
Touch emotionally : MOVE
14
Bakery employee : ICER
15
Mazatlán mister : SENOR
16
SAT administrator, by trade? : PROTESTER
18
City where Galileo taught : PADUA
19
Cremains holder : URN
20
"I did it!" : YES
21
Game one : OPENER
23
Fiddle (with) : TINKER
25
Doctor, by trade? : PROCURER
27
Biblical garden : EDEN
28
Word before bump or pump : FIST
29
Great Lakes canal name : SOO
30
Dizzying designs : OPART
33
Marzipan component : ALMOND
36
Apt title for this puzzle : PROVOCATION
38
Sweetie pie : DEARIE
40
Politico Perot : HROSS
41
With 10-Down, lead vocalist and flutist for rock's Jethro Tull : IAN
42
Perlman of "Cheers" : RHEA
44
Beige-ish : ECRU
48
Model, by trade? : PROPOSER
51
Boozehounds : LUSHES
53
Claptrap : DRIVEL
54
Candy in a dispenser : PEZ
55
Farm mama : EWE
56
Last word of "The Star-Spangled Banner" : BRAVE
57
Manicurists and tax preparers, by trade? : PROFILERS
60
Bit of gossip : RUMOR
61
Green shade : MINT
62
Jacob's womb-mate : ESAU
63
One of a Latin trio : AMAT
64
Risqué, maybe : EDGY
65
Captain Sparrow portrayer : DEPP
Down
1
Attribute (to) : IMPUTE
2
Hot and then some : TORRID
3
Goolagong who won seven Grand Slam singles event titles : EVONNE
4
Ran into : MET
5
Choir's support : RISER
6
Doesn't just talk : ACTS
7
Waltz ending? : ZEE
8
Using "effect" for "affect" and vice versa : ERRORS
9
"The Matrix" star Reeves : KEANU
10
See 41-Across : ANDERSON
11
"I'll take that bet!" : YOUREON
12
"... man ___ mouse?" : ORA
15
Something a journalist may work on : SPEC
17
Feature of a 22-Down : EYE
22
Something to make a hash of? : POTATO
24
Bouillon brand name : KNORR
25
Pub purchase for the table : PITCHER
26
Implement for an angler : ROD
28
To's opposite : FRO
31
Dish baked in an imu : POI
32
Disinclined (to) : AVERSE
34
Fleur-de-___ : LIS
35
Person who had a major part in the Bible? : MOSES
36
View through a wide-angle lens : PANORAMA
37
Coach Parseghian : ARA
38
Bad news in the polls : DIP
39
Part of the body studied by otolaryngologists : EARDRUM
43
"S O S" : HELPME
45
Word that brings a smile : CHEESE
46
Fix, as a bandage : REWRAP
47
Consumes : USESUP
49
Cagey debater's tactic : PIVOT
50
"Your turn to talk," on radio : OVER
51
Liberal, disparagingly : LEFTY
52
Israeli gun : UZI
54
Beer ___ : PONG
56
Commercial ending with Wonder : BRA
58
Dispose (of) : RID
59
Was like Fred Astaire to Ginger Rogers : LED

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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