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New York Times, Thursday, October 20, 2016

Author: Alan Arbesfeld
Editor: Will Shortz
Alan Arbesfeld
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1188/27/198110/5/20170
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25523342515
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.605099

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 32 Missing: {GQVXZ} Spans: 4 This is puzzle # 113 for Mr. Arbesfeld. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: I used to think there was a finite number of palindrome sentences, like MADAM, IM ADAM. Imagine my surprise when at the ACPT one ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

I used to think there was a finite number of palindrome sentences, like MADAM, IM ADAM. Imagine my surprise when at the ACPT one year, there was a palindrome-writing contest! Will (Shortz) even gave the people a constraint to work with: they had to incorporate at least one X. (There might have even been another constraint, too.) I was impressed that both contestants were able to come up with something in the limited time (10 minutes?) that actually sounded like a real sentence. Pretty cool.

Alan came up with four palindromes I had never seen before, with some good results. EMUS SAIL, I ASSUME evoked a funny image, not just of an emu sailing, but of someone making the curious statement. And NO WAY, A PAPAYA WON! made me think about awestruck fans at some sort of fruit Olympics. Funny stuff.

What there really ought to be is a punchline contest. A TSAR, A NUN, and A RASTA walk into a bar … man oh man, I can't wait to find out what happens! At first I thought that palindrome was the weakest of the four since it's not a complete sentence, but adding "walk into a bar" makes pretty much everything funny.

Nice effort to work in some long fill, without resorting to very many compromises — not an easy accomplishment when all four themers are grid-spanners. I would have expected the NE and the SW corners to be the gluiest places, given that the ends of two long themers have to work together, but Alan does well in both places. Okay, ERODENT is a little wonky, and we see counselor TROI for the second time this week, but I like this trade-off. IT'S A DATE and JUBILANT in symmetrical spots is a ton of fun.

Alan could have easily placed black squares at the second U of CAUCUSED and the A of BROADWAY, making his life easier, but those are both nice answers, worked carefully in. A smooth final product, especially considering all the constraints + the bonus entries.

I can't wait to see what punchlines people send me! I'll be waiting at the bar.

1
A
2
R
3
C
4
O
5
F
6
A
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C
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E
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S
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I
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B
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M
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B
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A
K
15
D
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16
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S
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M
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W
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H
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J
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H
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B
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B
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M
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1020 ( 24,453 )
Across Down
1. Music direction meaning "with the bow" : ARCO
5. What a physiognomist studies : FACES
10. Some servers : IBMS
14. Cardinal feature : BEAK
15. Window treatment : DRAPE
16. "Star Trek: T.N.G." crew member : TROI
17. "Supposedly, some Australian birds can participate in the America's Cup," palindromically : EMUSSAILIASSUME
20. What all politics is said to be : LOCAL
21. One turned on by a rock star? : AMP
22. Can't take : HATES
23. One for the money? : UNUM
25. Tending to wear away : ERODENT
27. Peter the Great, Mother Teresa and Bob Marley, palindromically : ATSARANUNARASTA
31. Go with : SEE
32. Superficially injure : SKIN
33. Word with bar or blanket : WET
34. The last of the Pillars of Islam : HADJ
36. Last word in the Gettysburg Address : EARTH
38. Goes back : EBBS
42. Silence fillers : UMS
44. "Topaz" novelist, 1967 : URIS
46. Kia subcompact : RIO
47. "My concealment of that footwear was so unfortunate," palindromically : TOOBADIHIDABOOT
52. Many lab rats : ALBINOS
53. ___ Moss (women's clothing label) : ELLA
54. Sam of "Jurassic Park" : NEILL
55. Praise that's not prose : ODE
58. Resulted in : LEDTO
61. That tropical entry could not have captured first place in the fruit competition, palindromically : NOWAYAPAPAYAWON
64. Dash : ELAN
65. Cause of some cries from the crib : COLIC
66. Advanced high school class, informally : CALC
67. Monopoly expense : RENT
68. Official pronouncement : EDICT
69. Stevenson villain : HYDE
1. Ferrara who directed "Bad Lieutenant," 1992 : ABEL
2. San ___ (resort locale) : REMO
3. Got together for a party? : CAUCUSED
4. ___ Baiul, 1994 Winter Olympics figure skating gold medalist : OKSANA
5. Rx overseer : FDA
6. Henry Purcell's "Dido's Lament," e.g. : ARIA
7. Composed : CALM
8. Help for one with serious allergies : EPIPEN
9. Host : SEA
10. "We're on!" : ITSADATE
11. Savages : BRUTES
12. Second cousin? : MOMENT
13. Time out? : SIESTA
18. Offensive words : SLURS
19. Strengthen, with "up" : SHORE
24. Gets by : MAKESDO
26. 1960s western starring Clint Eastwood : RAWHIDE
27. Tree with "helicopter seeds" : ASH
28. Spot of ___ : TEA
29. Long in Hollywood : NIA
30. Jesse who lost the governor's race to Ronald Reagan in 1970 : UNRUH
35. Ecstatic : JUBILANT
37. Prefix with cycle : TRI
39. Where some long runs take place : BROADWAY
40. Science class, informally : BIO
41. One who has trouble passing the bar? : SOT
43. Virile : MANLY
45. Venture (forth) : SALLY
47. Worker with hides : TANNER
48. World Cup chant : OLEOLE
49. Luke's Jedi mentor : OBIWAN
50. 14-legged crustacean : ISOPOD
51. Turn white, maybe : BLEACH
56. "The Persistence of Memory" artist : DALI
57. It's a long story : EPIC
59. Related : TOLD
60. Never to be repeated : ONCE
62. Home Depot competitor : ACE
63. Pretense : ACT

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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