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New York Times, Friday, October 7, 2016

Author: Robyn Weintraub
Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
163/28/20117/20/20180
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0232081
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Robyn Weintraub

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 9 for Ms. Weintraub. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Robyn Weintraub notes: One day I got bored with my usual conventional grid layouts, so I decided to experiment with something a little funkier. I ... more
Robyn Weintraub notes:

One day I got bored with my usual conventional grid layouts, so I decided to experiment with something a little funkier. I began playing around with black squares, and came up with this design. It's hardly earth-shattering, but I'm pretty happy with the general swoopiness (can I use that word in my next puzzle?) and will likely continue experimenting with more interesting grids in the future.

As for the fill, one would think I was a big "Star Wars" fan, starting with 1A JEDI MASTER, plus the cameo appearance of an EWOK at 53A. Truth be told, I've never seen a single one of the movies. However, I do adore MIRACLE MAX from "The Princess Bride", so I'm glad he has finally made an appearance in the NY Times Crossword.

Hope you enjoy this puzzle, and have fun storming the castle!

Jeff Chen notes: What a northwest corner! I know it's not going to play as well for everyone — just us awesome dorks who know every line of ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

What a northwest corner! I know it's not going to play as well for everyone — just us awesome dorks who know every line of "Star Wars" and "The Princess Bride" by heart — but to get JEDI MASTER and MIRACLE MAX in one area, along with ALOHA STATE? With no real crossword glue? Inconceivable! Perhaps my favorite themeless corner all year.

A lot more great material all throughout, too, the puzzle playing to lovers of all things fantasy. JURASSIC (I mentally said "Park" afterward), TOY (Story) BOXES, even an EWOK. So much fun for us escapists.

I wanted so badly to give this the POW! but had enough hesitations that I couldn't quite do it. The first issue popped up immediately when I saw how sectioned-off the grid was. As much as I loved that NW corner, it choked off into the middle, and I had to squeeze through three more openings to complete the puzzle. Some people don't care about this sort of issue, but I strongly prefer to solve a single 15x15 puzzle rather than five mini-puzzles only kind of linked. It's also much, much easier to construct a single stellar corner with a choked-off grid than a wide-open, interconnected one.

The other issue started showing its head in the middle of the puzzle, with OLA. That's not a terrible entry, although it's not great, as an uncommon suffix. IN A ROW felt a bit partialish to me, and then I struggled with DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution?). I was prepared to brush those gluey bits aside, but then there was EERO in the SW, and a concentration of SMU, STOMA, OTOS, with the puzzle ending on SNERD.

Now, all of those things are real, no doubt. I don't have any problem with any of them, although they are ones I shy away from when I construct, since they're crutches given all those common letters. But when there's so many of them, my stupid constructor's brain can't ignore the total effect. Not as elegant as I like to see.

But that's way too many words dedicated to the negative. Overall, I had SO much fun storming the castle with this one!

1
J
2
E
3
D
4
I
5
M
6
A
7
S
8
T
9
E
10
R
11
S
12
P
13
A
14
M
15
A
L
O
H
A
S
T
A
T
E
16
N
O
N
E
17
M
I
R
A
C
L
E
M
A
X
18
A
L
A
N
19
E
X
I
T
20
A
P
P
S
21
P
A
C
S
22
S
I
T
E
23
N
S
A
24
I
25
N
A
R
O
W
26
R
O
I
27
L
28
A
C
E
T
O
N
E
29
T
O
30
Y
31
B
32
O
X
E
S
33
I
D
A
34
A
35
S
36
H
37
G
O
A
L
I
E
S
38
D
A
R
39
U
T
A
40
J
U
R
A
S
S
I
41
C
42
D
E
N
43
M
A
R
K
44
E
A
45
R
46
L
47
I
M
G
A
M
E
48
S
49
M
50
U
51
S
E
E
52
S
53
E
W
O
K
54
O
T
O
S
55
E
V
A
N
56
N
A
V
E
57
C
H
O
R
U
58
S
L
I
N
E
59
C
R
E
D
60
D
O
M
E
A
F
A
V
O
R
61
E
E
R
O
62
S
H
A
L
L
O
W
E
N
D
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1007 ( 24,440 )
Across Down
1. Yoda, e.g. : JEDIMASTER
11. Communication problem? : SPAM
15. Last of a series of nicknames : ALOHASTATE
16. Zero : NONE
17. Billy Crystal's role in "The Princess Bride" : MIRACLEMAX
18. Enigma machine decoder Turing : ALAN
19. It's not a welcome sign : EXIT
20. Facebook and others : APPS
21. Primary funding sources, briefly : PACS
22. Facebook, for one : SITE
23. Org. whose symbol is an eagle atop a key : NSA
24. How garden vegetables may be planted : INAROW
26. Upset : ROIL
28. Manicure destroyer : ACETONE
29. Hot Wheels garages? : TOYBOXES
33. Rhoda's TV mom : IDA
34. Emerald ___ borer : ASH
37. Expert savers : GOALIES
38. Constitution Hall grp. : DAR
39. Marathon champ Pippig : UTA
40. Mesozoic Era period : JURASSIC
42. Home of Queen Margrethe II : DENMARK
44. Rank below marquis : EARL
47. "Let's do it!" : IMGAME
48. Sch. whose first building was Dallas Hall : SMU
51. Matches, at a table : SEES
53. "Caravan of Courage: An ___ Adventure" (1984 "Star Wars" spinoff) : EWOK
54. Some Siouans : OTOS
55. Bayh of Indiana politics : EVAN
56. Flock gathering place : NAVE
57. Group getting its kicks? : CHORUSLINE
59. Rep : CRED
60. "I could use some help here ..." : DOMEAFAVOR
61. First name in architecture : EERO
62. Place to test the water : SHALLOWEND
1. Harry Potter's father : JAMES
2. Alchemist's concoction : ELIXIR
3. Frito-Lay chip : DORITO
4. "Bleah!" : IHATEIT
5. El Capitan platform : MAC
6. Literary hero whose name is Turkish for "lion" : ASLAN
7. Parts of a flight : STEPS
8. 2012 Republican National Convention host : TAMPA
9. Connection concerns, for short : ETAS
10. "Toy Story" dino : REX
11. Show impatience with : SNAPAT
12. Developing company? : POLAROID
13. Wrapper that's hard to remove? : ANACONDA
14. It's tailored to guys : MENSWEAR
24. Drinks with domed lids : ICEES
25. Interest for a cryptozoologist : NESSIE
27. Impasse : LOGJAM
28. Quadrant separator : AXIS
30. "___ serious?" : YOURE
31. Lab report? : BARK
32. Pay termination? : OLA
34. Nielsens measure : AUDIENCE
35. Fancy glasses : STEMWARE
36. Malady with many "remedies" : HANGOVER
41. Legal precedents : CASELAW
43. Get by : MAKEDO
45. Awaken : REVIVE
46. Get support from : LEANON
48. Photosynthesis opening : STOMA
49. Interest of a mycologist : MOREL
50. Quotidian : USUAL
52. Old dummy : SNERD
54. "Wait, I know that!" : OHOH
57. Some savers' assets : CDS
58. Main hub for Virgin America, for short : SFO

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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