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New York Times, Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Author:
Jules Markey
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
185/10/201210/30/20180
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0155700
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58461
Jules P. Markey

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 14 Words: 73, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQWX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 18 for Mr. Markey. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jules P. Markey notes:
This puzzle and another one published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on 1/10/14, are the direct results of solving one ... read more

This puzzle and another one published in The Chronicle of Higher Education on 1/10/14, are the direct results of solving one of my all-time favorite NY Times crosswords. That puzzle was by Joel Fagliano published on 8/1/11. Joel's was a 15x15 with 8 10-letter theme entries and a 15-letter revealer, quite impressive. This puzzle's skeleton remained in my folder for years until 2017, when I finally fleshed it out ( both puns intended).

Thanks to Will and Sam for their editing, and to Joel for the inspiration. And, oh yeah…. BOO!

Jeff Chen notes:
Funny that Jules should mention Joel's puzzle! That was the first time I ever saw this type of theme; a trigram moving ... read more

Funny that Jules should mention Joel's puzzle! That was the first time I ever saw this type of theme; a trigram moving through a puzzle. I was so impressed with Joel's creation that it was one of the reasons I wanted to start blogging about puzzles. It's such a delight to be able to gush.

Big smile when I got to today's revealer, GRAVEYARD SHIFT, indicating that the RIPs are shifting down the diagonal. An apt concept for the day before Halloween.

I would have liked the gravestones to be spaced out a little bit more, though. Having two RIPs atop each other felt like something else was going on, like a commentary about cemeteries saving space by burying bodies atop each other. (My mind goes to gruesome places, doesn't it?) Placing the second RIP in row 4 instead of row 3 seems like it would have made for a better visual.

Alternately, I would have been happy with just four RIPs – once you fill in two of them, you get the sense that you're supposed to put in RIP for the rest. This would have also had the added benefit of allowing for better fill.

Don't get me wrong; I thought Jules did wonderfully on one of the two criteria I use to judge fill: color. GO FLY A KITE! STYLIZED. MYRIAD of nice bonuses.

The other criterion, smoothness, is where the puzzle suffered. Any time you need to use the "old-style" or "old" descriptor (RFD), it's probably a sign to go back and rework. Same goes for the "var" tag (EGIS). Toss in the tough LENAPE, both DAMA and SRA, some ERL EDA and you have a zombie apocalypse!

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1030 ( 25,193 )
Across
1. Riding on : ATOP
5. Place to get pampered : SPA
8. Summoned on an intercom, say : PAGED
13. Witty comebacks : RIPOSTES
15. University town named for an Indian chief : ORONO
16. Picture often used as an altarpiece : TRIPTYCH
17. Combs (through) : SIFTS
18. Oozing : SEEPY
19. Word before status or studies : SOCIAL
21. Golfer Ernie : ELS
23. Corruption from deep inside : ROT
24. Puppy's cry : YIP
27. "Talented" title character portrayed by Matt Damon : MRRIPLEY
30. Lady of Spain : DAMA
31. Assent at sea : AYE
32. Veer the other way : ZAG
33. Swell : AOKAY
34. Late night for a working stiff ... or a hint to the shaded squares : GRAVEYARDSHIFT
38. Came to the rescue : AIDED
39. Help in finding buried treasure : MAP
40. "The ___ of Pooh," 1982 best seller : TAO
41. It's prologue, they say : PAST
42. Put on a windowsill to mature, say : SUNRIPEN
45. Author LeShan : EDA
46. Samovar, e.g. : URN
47. Schubert's "The ___ King" : ERL
48. Delaware Valley tribe : LENAPE
51. Too, in Toulouse : AUSSI
55. Like a river at its mouth, not at its head : BROAD
57. Narcissists' excursions? : EGOTRIPS
59. Coming in handy : OFUSE
60. Care about something, in slang : GIVEARIP
61. More curious : ODDER
62. Government org. for retirees : SSA
63. Microscope part : LENS
Down
1. Theater, dance, etc. : ARTS
2. Firestone product : TIRE
3. Member of the Sons of Anarchy on FX's "Sons of Anarchy" : OPIE
4. Device used with corn kernels : POPPER
5. Hog heaven? : STY
6. Bench presser's pride, informally : PECS
7. Off the main : ASHORE
8. Put forth : POSIT
9. Met solo : ARIA
10. "Get lost!" : GOFLYAKITE
11. "The Lord of the Rings" creature : ENT
12. First of two lists in fashion advice : DOS
14. Like the artists' names P!nk and Ke$ha : STYLIZED
20. Playing hard to get, say : COY
22. Neuter : SPAY
25. "Your work is awesome!" : IMAFAN
26. Words before a name on a check : PAYTO
27. Big number : MYRIAD
28. Says the words on the page : READSALOUD
29. JFK alternative : LGA
30. "Stupid me!" : DOH
31. Slack-jawed : AGAPE
33. Say the "h" in "historical," say : ASPIRATE
35. Dog doc : VET
36. J.F.K. alternative in 1960 : RMN
37. Venture : DARE
42. Lady of Spain: Abbr. : SRA
43. Removes, as from a fixed rate : UNPEGS
44. Like ghosts and goblins? : PLURAL
46. Six feet ___ : UNDER
49. Relaxation : EASE
50. Protection: Var. : EGIS
52. Beget : SIRE
53. What a pool shark puts on a ball : SPIN
54. Comcast Xfinity and others, in brief : ISPS
55. Halloween cry : BOO
56. Old postal letters : RFD
58. In vitro fertility needs : OVA

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?