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New York Times, Friday, May 26, 2017

Author: Robyn Weintraub
Editor: Will Shortz
Robyn Weintraub
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
113/28/20115/26/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0232040
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 31 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 11 for Ms. Weintraub. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Robyn Weintraub notes: When I opened my Crossword folder to review the history of this puzzle, I was surprised to find just one lonely little file in ... more
Robyn Weintraub notes:

When I opened my Crossword folder to review the history of this puzzle, I was surprised to find just one lonely little file in the folder. Most of my puzzles go through many variations, with file names that include "rev.", "v.6" or other indications that I've gone back to the drawing board multiple times.

Even with puzzles that fall into place relatively quickly, I still often pull out my least favorite 50% or so, redo those sections, and then compare the two versions side by side; the better version gets clued and submitted. Apparently, this one was a keeper from the get-go. I hope you agree.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Jeff Chen notes: Robyn has a knack for packing vivid, colorful answers into her themelesses. Today, she used a grid featuring 14 long slots, and she ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Robyn has a knack for packing vivid, colorful answers into her themelesses. Today, she used a grid featuring 14 long slots, and she managed to convert almost all of them into sizzling material like CATS PAJAMAS, ATOMIC CLOCK, RIDE SHOTGUN. Along with MOOD MUSIC / FINE PRINT, FUN FACTS, I'd say NOT TOO BAD at all. Felt like there was great material everywhere I looked.

I so badly wanted to give this one the POW! — so much sizzling fill! — but my stupid constructor's brain held me back. As with some of her other puzzles, there was too much segmentation in this grid, the diagonal of black squares splitting up the puzzle, with just two entries connecting the halves: TIMESTAMP and SOLDIER ON.

The segmentation makes construction easier, as you can work on one half of the puzzle independently of the other. But it makes for a choppy solve that can feel unfair if the solver gets stuck in one half or the other.

Sometimes wonder if my standards for short fill have gotten too strict. After I see about five dabs of crossword glue in a themeless, my constructor's brain sends up a yellow flag. So ACS, JCT (junction?), ACCTS in just the starting corner was already nearing too much for me. Throw in some ENGS, STA, STD, ONT / DEO, and it took away from my enjoyment.

And the clue for CATS PAJAMAS … as much as I love the entry itself, [Living end] didn't make sense to me. (Probably generational?) I wish there had been clever cluing rather than the oblique approach, as the clue sapped my enjoyment of the entry.

But overall, a lot of great material and an entertaining solve. I wonder if this is a Stephen King situation: some critics say that his earlier work, though rougher, was more entertaining than his recent work, which follows "the rules" of writing too tightly?

Stupid constructor's brain.

1
C
2
A
3
T
4
S
5
P
6
A
7
J
8
A
9
M
10
A
11
S
12
M
13
F
14
A
15
A
T
O
M
I
C
C
L
O
C
K
16
O
I
L
17
F
O
R
I
N
S
T
A
N
C
E
18
O
N
T
19
F
L
U
T
E
20
R
I
T
E
21
D
E
O
22
E
L
S
E
23
T
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I
M
E
S
T
25
A
M
P
26
L
A
C
E
S
27
C
U
R
28
E
29
C
30
O
31
N
32
V
E
N
E
D
33
C
34
O
U
S
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35
A
V
O
I
D
E
D
36
S
O
A
R
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G
37
B
E
T
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A
Y
38
F
U
N
F
A
C
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S
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S
R
T
A
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R
O
M
A
S
41
S
O
L
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D
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I
E
R
O
N
44
L
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E
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S
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S
48
E
L
O
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A
L
E
C
50
B
A
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O
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W
E
B
52
R
I
D
E
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S
54
H
O
T
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E
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K
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0526 ( 24,671 )
Across Down
1. Living end : CATSPAJAMAS
12. Writer's deg. : MFA
15. What doesn't have a second to lose? : ATOMICCLOCK
16. Cruet contents : OIL
17. "Here's one example ..." : FORINSTANCE
18. Neighbor of N.Y. : ONT
19. Glass with bubbles : FLUTE
20. Coronation, e.g. : RITE
21. To God, in a hymn : DEO
22. Alternatively : ELSE
23. Feature of some digital photos : TIMESTAMP
26. Puma parts : LACES
27. Quinine, for malaria : CURE
29. Met : CONVENED
33. Cricket, to a grasshopper, or vice versa : COUSIN
35. Skirted : AVOIDED
36. Highly inflationary : SOARING
37. Unknowingly reveal : BETRAY
38. Amusing bits of trivia : FUNFACTS
39. Dora the Explorer, for one: Abbr. : SRTA
40. Some plum tomatoes : ROMAS
41. Persevere : SOLDIERON
44. Taking away : LESS
48. "Strange Magic" band, for short : ELO
49. Smart ___ : ALEC
50. Bear in "The Jungle Book" : BALOO
51. Woven trap : WEB
52. A back-seat driver can't do this : RIDESHOTGUN
55. Org. that promotes Energy Star Day : EPA
56. "Tell me more ..." : KEEPTALKING
57. Part of E.S.T.: Abbr. : STD
58. Miscellany : ODDSANDENDS
1. ___ mocha : CAFFE
2. Something ring-shaped : ATOLL
3. Something ring-shaped : TORUS
4. Bible belt? : SMITE
5. Fragrant wood : PINE
6. They're often installed in the spring, for short : ACS
7. Highway sign abbr. : JCT
8. More than concerned : ALARMED
9. They're tender : MONIES
10. Places to keep 9-Down: Abbr. : ACCTS
11. Sport featuring clay disks : SKEET
12. Tunes to accompany dimmed lights : MOODMUSIC
13. Content often written by lawyers : FINEPRINT
14. Choir part : ALTO
23. Chief justice in the Dred Scott verdict : TANEY
24. Finished up, as cupcakes : ICED
25. Honda's luxury brand : ACURA
26. Mother of Helen of Troy : LEDA
28. Some Caltech alums: Abbr. : ENGS
29. They're hailed on Broadway : CABS
30. Stayed out when you shouldn't have? : OVERSLEPT
31. "I'm pleasantly surprised" : NOTTOOBAD
32. How some YouTube videos go : VIRAL
33. Talk show hosted by a Harvard grad : CONAN
34. Lumbering sorts : OAFS
36. Sport for rikishi : SUMO
38. Surgical tool : FORCEPS
40. Like clarinets : REEDED
42. Donnie of a 2001 cult film : DARKO
43. Terse admission of guilt : ILIED
44. Hanukkah serving : LATKE
45. The ___ Marbles (British Museum holding) : ELGIN
46. Solid : SOUND
47. Some tracks : SONGS
48. Feta sources : EWES
50. Gutsy : BOLD
53. Victoria, e.g.: Abbr. : STA
54. River or dynasty name : HAN

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle.

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