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New York Times, Thursday, October 29, 2015

Author:
Sam Trabucco
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2210/29/201510/26/20190
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3102358
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.67150
Sam Trabucco

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQZ} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Trabucco. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Sam Trabucco notes:
Hey all! Excited to be making my NYT debut today. I came up with this puzzle during my last few weeks of college (I know, I was ... read more

Hey all! Excited to be making my NYT debut today.

I came up with this puzzle during my last few weeks of college (I know, I was pretty wild). I'd only recently begun constructing seriously, and was brainstorming phrases I could literalize in some new way. I hit upon TIMESHARE, I think, and thought of the sharing mechanic you see here. In that version, just the first four theme entries would have had the sharing mechanism, but luckily I hit on the dual theme entry/revealer LION'(S)HARE at some point before getting too far along. This way is much more elegant.

This was actually one of the first puzzles I ever finished. Were I to redo this I'd definitely have put more effort into getting rid of some of the gluier bits of fill (IGA, LUC, UAE, AVI, ANSE, IPSO stick out), but overall I am happy with this puzzle. I like the long downs a lot, and the medium-length stuff is generally OK too. I wish my original clue for TENT [Pitcher's base?] had been retained, but I'll get over that (in time). The cluing was definitely improved overall.

Until next time, happy solving!

Jeff Chen notes:
It's very infrequent that I see a debut this smooth, this colorful, this well-executed. Fun theme — L I O N repeated in ... read more

It's very infrequent that I see a debut this smooth, this colorful, this well-executed.

Pretty sure there are lions being shared in there

Fun theme — L I O N repeated in four themers, all at the end of one word and the beginning of another for perfect consistency. How cool is it that the LIONS SHARE revealer exhibits the exact same quality!

Sam doesn't push the boundaries too much today, what with a 78-word puzzle (the maximum allowed), but he executes on it so well. Look at the long fill: IDIOT PROOF and SEE IF I CARE. Great choices; colorful answers. The 7-letter ones are excellent too, DR SEUSS and INKBLOT. Even tossing in some MYSTIC PRIEST helps with zest.

And such little glue to hold it all together. I like that Sam has the self-awareness to point out some of the gluey bits he really wanted to work out, but I actually don't mind AVI. The one-named author (real name: Edward Irving Wortis) is a giant in kidlit, having won one Newbery Medal and two Newbery Honors. Agreed that ANSE is pretty esoteric, but he's more crossworthy than the lesser-known of the Kenan and KEL duo, isn't he? And I don't mind UAE and IGA at all, as they're commonplace acronyms. So I think Sam did a tremendous job in his short fill.

With all the gushing praise, why didn't I give this the POW? As much as I enjoyed the solve, I found it too easy, especially with the circles giving away the game. It also would have been nice to have the five circles appear a bit less haphazardly — probably too much to ask given the constraint of the theme — but I could have forgiven the circles if they had all been in a straight line. Plus, given how smooth Sam made this puzzle, I wanted to see him challenge himself to go with a 76- or 74-word puzzle and incorporate more long fill.

But those are minor details. I debated between today's vs. yesterday's puzzles for the POW. Looking forward to more from Sam.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1029 ( 24,096 )
Across
1
Co. that bought out Applebee's in 2007 : IHOP
5
Rest : EASE
9
Some causes of insomnia : DRIPS
14
Come down hard : POUR
15
Hunk : SLAB
16
Dangerous emission : RADON
17
Party-going and such : SOCIALLIFE
19
Skyline feature : SPIRE
20
Final answer? : OTHER
21
Unnatural, in a way : EERIE
23
Number of monosyllabic U.S. state names : ONE
24
One whose work is going downhill? : SKIINSTRUCTOR
27
Rasputin, for one : MYSTIC
30
Very quickly : ASAP
31
OPEC member: Abbr. : UAE
32
Locale for snow leopards : NEPAL
36
Backpack part : STRAP
39
Sign at the front of some bars : CLEF
41
Second chance : DOOVER
43
Bothered : SORE
44
1881 novel "for children and those who love children" : HEIDI
46
"Cars" producer : PIXAR
48
___ change : OIL
49
Rat : FINK
51
Skim : NONFAT
53
Campbell's variety : CHICKENNOODLE
58
Director Besson : LUC
59
Like some turns and dates : BLIND
60
Where to see Spaceship Earth : EPCOT
64
Message from a server : EMAIL
66
Almost all ... and a hint to the five circled letters : LIONSSHARE
68
Pass up : FORGO
69
Stuff of legends : LORE
70
Like 2016, but not 2015 : EVEN
71
Pay for : TREAT
72
Addie's husband in "As I Lay Dying" : ANSE
73
Into the sunset : WEST
Down
1
___ facto : IPSO
2
Call at night : HOOT
3
"You got me" : OUCH
4
Father figure : PRIEST
5
Subj. for 6-Downs : ESL
6
See 5-Down : ALIEN
7
Some hotel conveniences : SAFES
8
Friedrich ___, first president of the German Republic : EBERT
9
Source of the line "There is no one alive who is you-er than you!" : DRSEUSS
10
Knock : RAP
11
Easy-to-use : IDIOTPROOF
12
Film unlikely to have a costume designer? : PORNO
13
Mean grin : SNEER
18
Hollywood's Alan or Adam : ARKIN
22
Org. from which Óglaigh na hÉireann split off : IRA
25
Put away : ICED
26
Burmese and Himalayans : CATS
27
A lot : MUCH
28
Big lock maker : YALE
29
"Do what you want!" : SEEIFICARE
33
Father figure : POP
34
Bird: Prefix : AVI
35
Big Apple thoroughfare, informally : LEX
37
Las Vegas casino opened in 2009 : ARIA
38
Hide : PELT
40
Banking inits. : FDIC
42
South African money : RAND
45
Matter of interpretation : INKBLOT
47
Parts : ROLES
50
Partner to Kenan in a 1990s Nickelodeon sitcom : KEL
52
Dewey, to Donald : NEPHEW
53
Chin feature : CLEFT
54
"___ me" : HUMOR
55
Nabisco wafer : NILLA
56
Bagel variety : ONION
57
Aerosol targets : ODORS
61
Give in : CAVE
62
Contents of veins : ORES
63
Part of a hobo city : TENT
65
Supermarket chain : IGA
67
Formerly known as : NEE

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?