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New York Times, Friday, October 7, 2016

Author:
Robyn Weintraub
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
233/28/201111/1/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
02320133
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
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 ... read more

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 'Star ... read more

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 )

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Across
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
Down
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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