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New York Times, Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Author:
Sam Buchbinder
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
48/19/201410/4/20160
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0130000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62020
Sam Buchbinder

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 37 Missing: {FJQWZ} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Buchbinder. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Notepad: The circled letters in this puzzle provide a hint to the starts of the answers to the four starred clues.
Sam Buchbinder notes:
I really enjoy puzzles that have a visual component to them, since it is something that adds an extra dimension to a crossword puzzle. ... read more

I really enjoy puzzles that have a visual component to them, since it is something that adds an extra dimension to a crossword puzzle. In this puzzle, I first came up with the idea to have each word start with something you can bet on for a roulette wheel. I originally attempted to fit in a Zero theme answer as well, but couldn't work it in without sacrificing the fill too much. Without the fifth answer, I wanted to add something to it to make it stand out, and so I figured out that ROULETTE could be input as a visual center to the puzzle in a circle, around the black square.

Finally, I really enjoy working with larger corners, even in early week puzzles, which is where some of my favorite answers are found, including MIX TAPE, ANTHRAX and ON AND ON.

Hope you enjoy!

Jeff Chen notes:
A visually represented ROULETTE wheel, fun! I liked seeing EVEN / ODD and BLACK / RED in the themers too, covering the bets most ... read more

A visually represented ROULETTE wheel, fun! I liked seeing EVEN / ODD and BLACK / RED in the themers too, covering the bets most people think about with roulette.

BASS ALE in the background of a Manet painting

I also liked the big swaths of white space in the four corners, giving the puzzle a themeless vibe. I imagine that was more of a by-product of having spent so many black squares around the center, but still, it gave Sam a chance to work in juicy fill like BASS ALE and NICE TRY. Strong mid-length fill.

Big spaces often come with compromises, and it's not ideal to get AN IN and SANA (Rich Norris doesn't accept this spelling of SANAA) in one corner, and a smattering of A PAR, OSH, ENO … I'd actually be okay with that amount of glue, but when you toss in ABEAM, it's harder to overlook.

My favorite types of puzzles are the ones that spur my brain on. How cool would it have been if the black squares in the middle of the puzzle were in the shape of a circle? As it is, those black squares form sort of a figure 8. Not very roulette-ish.

Making a more circular pattern of black squares would have meant the center would be much harder to fill, but I would have been forgiving of a few more compromises to get it. I wasn't too happy about getting a variant (TIPI) and more importantly ETTE when the theme is ROULETTE (the "ette" in "roulette" is a diminuitive for "roue," or "wheel"). Give me a circular pattern of black squares and I'd happily brush those concerns aside.

I would have also liked BLACK and RED to be opposite, and EVEN and ODD as well — makes for a better feeling of symmetry. And while I'm ticking off a wish list, how cool would it have been to dot the grid with some black squares and some red ones! Sigh, technology not keeping up with the times …

Overall, a very nice idea and some strong mid-length fill. Several gluey bits here and there, but on the whole, an enjoyable solve.

Jim Horne notes:
1
A
2
B
3
E
4
L
5
D
6
E
7
A
8
L
9
B
10
E
11
M
12
A
13
D
14
P
A
N
A
15
S
O
N
I
C
16
O
V
I
N
E
17
B
L
A
C
K
G
O
L
D
18
S
E
X
T
S
19
A
B
E
A
M
20
T
E
N
T
H
S
21
S
N
L
22
A
23
S
24
T
25
O
R
26
H
A
R
E
27
A
C
E
28
R
29
B
30
T
I
P
I
31
A
P
A
R
32
S
E
D
E
R
33
R
O
U
T
34
N
E
X
T
35
D
O
36
M
E
37
L
E
38
A
D
39
B
40
O
41
T
S
42
E
T
43
T
E
44
R
E
45
N
46
T
47
S
48
A
N
I
N
49
E
C
O
N
50
I
D
I
O
T
51
S
A
N
A
52
T
H
A
T
53
S
54
C
U
E
55
S
N
I
P
56
E
S
57
P
58
O
59
K
E
R
60
A
D
E
P
T
61
O
62
D
63
D
I
S
N
T
I
64
T
65
L
O
S
E
S
66
D
A
R
K
H
O
R
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E
67
E
N
T
R
Y
68
S
M
E
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69
B
Y
T
E
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1020 ( 24,087 )
Across
1. Genesis brother : ABEL
5. An "art" for Donald Trump : DEAL
9. "If you want to throw a fit, fine" : BEMAD
14. Japanese electronics giant : PANASONIC
16. Like lambs and rams : OVINE
17. *Oil, informally : BLACKGOLD
18. Some titillating messages : SEXTS
19. Perpendicular to a ship's midline : ABEAM
20. Amounts after a decimal point : TENTHS
21. Longtime Lorne Michaels-produced show, for short : SNL
22. Lady ___, first female member of Parliament : ASTOR
26. Long-eared hopper : HARE
27. Bitter : ACERB
30. Home on the range: Var. : TIPI
31. On ___ with (comparable to) : APAR
32. Passover meal : SEDER
33. Trounce : ROUT
34. Call from behind the deli counter : NEXT
35. Feature of Rome's Pantheon : DOME
37. Modern paint no-no : LEAD
39. Droids : BOTS
42. Feminine ending : ETTE
44. Monopoly card listings : RENTS
48. Has ___ (is connected) : ANIN
49. Supply-and-demand subj. : ECON
50. Dodo : IDIOT
51. Yemeni capital : SANA
52. "___ how I roll" : THATS
54. Stick with a blue tip, maybe : CUE
55. "Blade" star Wesley : SNIPES
57. Casino staple : POKER
60. Skilled : ADEPT
61. *"Weird, huh?" : ODDISNTIT
65. Misplaces : LOSES
66. Surprise winner : DARKHORSE
67. Diary part : ENTRY
68. Captain Hook's sidekick : SMEE
69. Small memory amount : BYTE
Down
1. Alert for a fleeing prisoner, in brief : APB
2. Account amount : BALANCE
3. Made possible : ENABLED
4. Veil material : LACE
5. You better believe it : DOGMA
6. Ambient musician Brian : ENO
7. Suffer : AIL
8. 20, for 1/4 and 1/5, e.g.: Abbr. : LCD
9. Big name in stereo speakers : BOSE
10. *Fair : EVENHANDED
11. Personal music compilation : MIXTAPE
12. Hazardous mailing : ANTHRAX
13. Back-page menu item, maybe : DESSERT
15. Cousin of reggae : SKA
20. Overused : TRITE
21. Carrier to Sweden : SAS
23. Warm up before exercising : STRETCH
24. Juan's uncle : TIO
25. Lavish : OPULENT
28. *Colorful Gulf Coast fish : REDSNAPPER
29. Homie : BRO
36. Big track events : MEETS
38. Bush press secretary Fleischer : ARI
39. Popular British brew : BASSALE
40. Endlessly : ONANDON
41. Like the pinky compared to the other fingers : TINIEST
43. Burned ___ crisp : TOA
45. "Almost got me!" : NICETRY
46. One seeing the sites : TOURIST
47. Canonized woman of Fr. : STE
53. Feature of a punk hairdo : SPIKE
56. Online crafts site : ETSY
58. ___Kosh B'Gosh : OSH
59. Radio dial : KNOB
61. Has too much, informally : ODS
62. Beaver's construction : DAM
63. Hip-hop's Dr. ___ : DRE
64. Gym shirt : TEE

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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