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New York Times, Thursday, November 12, 2015

Author:
David Kwong
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
204/1/20069/19/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3234521
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59432
David Kwong

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 39 Missing: {JQVXZ} Spans: 2 Grid has mirror symmetry. There are unchecked squares This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Kwong. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David Kwong notes:
So I have a secret . . . I love pandas! There, I've said it. This is my first foray into grid art. The 'eyes' of the grid came ... read more

So I have a secret . . . I love pandas! There, I've said it.

This is my first foray into grid art. The "eyes" of the grid came pretty quickly for me as a starting point. I always love pushing the rules ever so slightly, so I was pleased when the unchecked squares looked good. After that, there aren't many other placements that work for the nose and ears.

The "triple PA" was a must have for me. Once I got into the corners, it wasn't too difficult to add more PA's, especially near the bottom, which is broken up a little more. I was a little iffy on ENSE and SSTS in the South East and was willing to sacrifice one of the PA's. But Will seemed to be ok with it, so voila, there are 11 PA's That's good right?!

Have to tip my hat to Patrick Blindauer who beat me to the "panda punch" about a year ago. But I hope that with my cute and cuddly grid art, solvers find this fresh and fun.

Jeff Chen notes:
I love grid art. There's something so cool about opening a puzzle and seeing black squares arranged in some crazy pattern. I'm not ... read more

I love grid art. There's something so cool about opening a puzzle and seeing black squares arranged in some crazy pattern. I'm not sure if today's grid looked more like a PANDA's face or a zoo enclosure trapping the PANDA? (I sort of saw the face after reading David's notes, but I had to squint pretty hard.) Even if neither really came through for me, I do like seeing innovative grid patterns. Even inkblot-like ones can be fun.

Squee!

Speaking of fun, very fun to search for those P AND A = PA rebus squares. How cool is (PA)(PA)L (PA)LACE, containing three of them! I like seeing rebus strings within long answers — not only is this harder to construct around, but it makes for a more challenging solve. The PAs in FLIP(PA)NT, (PA)LIMONY, S(PA)NISH RICE, and OOM (PA)H P(AH) were a blast to uncover.

And I liked how David featured a 16-letter in KNOW NOTHING (PA)RTY — almost all 16s will be new, since few grids go to 16 columns. This one seemed slightly off to me as I know that party as the KNOW NOTHINGS, but I like it either way. SALES DE(PA)RTMENTS as a plural felt like I got cheated a bit since I've seen that answer in singular many times before, but it still works fine.

Stuffing in 11 rebus squares is a tough task. You're going to need some PAs in short answers, and stuff like I(PA)D, S(PA)Y, S(PA)T work so well. It's unfortunate to have some of them in the A (PA)L and AT (PA)R types of entries, though.

Also unfortunate was to get a smattering of SSR, SSTS, APO, LMN, ENSE, TREO, etc. throughout the puzzle. It's all relatively minor, and I wouldn't have even minded them in aggregate if there had been something stronger to make it all worthwhile. But as it is, the visual didn't have such a mind-blowing effect that it overshadowed all the gluey bits. I might have been happier having only 10 or less PAs in the grid if it meant cutting the number of gluey bits in half.

I tend to find straight rebus puzzles a bit tired these days, so it was a relief to have a lot of fun uncovering all these rebus squares today.

1
S
2
C
3
I
4
A
5
T
6
I
7
C
8
O
9
S
10
M
11
O
12
S
13
I
14
S
15
O
O
M
PA
H
PA
H
16
F
L
I
P
PA
N
T
17
I
M
P
L
O
D
E
18
A
R
S
E
N
I
O
19
L
E
E
20
E
21
E
L
22
I
N
N
23
S
S
R
24
L
25
A
S
A
L
26
L
27
E
28
S
K
Y
29
S
30
A
M
P
E
C
K
I
N
31
PA
H
32
K
33
N
O
W
N
O
T
H
I
N
G
PA
R
34
T
35
Y
36
N
I
N
A
37
R
O
N
38
L
I
R
A
39
O
K
A
Y
40
P
A
N
D
A
41
PA
C
E
R
42
B
E
L
G
43
Y
E
S
44
L
E
O
N
45
A
46
H
47
I
48
U
49
M
A
50
PA
51
L
52
I
M
O
N
53
Y
54
PA
N
A
C
55
E
56
A
57
S
58
S
A
L
E
S
D
E
59
PA
R
T
M
E
N
T
S
60
S
PA
Y
61
T
I
N
Y
T
I
M
62
S
PA
T
63
E
T
A
64
S
A
S
S
I
L
Y
65
E
R
S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1112 ( 24,110 )
Across
1
___ nerve, the longest in the human body : SCIATIC
8
Learning method : OSMOSIS
15
Sound from a traditional German band : OOMPAHPAH
16
Cheeky : FLIPPANT
17
Self-destruct : IMPLODE
18
Hall of fame : ARSENIO
19
Man's name that's 20-Across backward : LEE
20
Fish dish : EEL
22
Place to stop over : INN
23
Belarus, once: Abbr. : SSR
24
University in Philadelphia : LASALLE
28
Blue shade : SKY
29
"The Wild Bunch" director : SAMPECKINPAH
32
19th-century nativist group : KNOWNOTHINGPARTY
36
First in a historical trio : NINA
37
Howard of Hollywood : RON
38
Bygone European capital : LIRA
39
"Got it" : OKAY
40
Popular zoo attraction ... or a hint to 11 squares in this puzzle : PANDA
41
Horse in a harness : PACER
42
Lux. neighbor : BELG
43
Thumbs up : YES
44
The first "L" of L. L. Bean : LEON
45
Hawaiian tuna : AHI
48
Actress who killed Bill in "Kill Bill Volume 2" : UMA
50
Portmanteau legally recognized since 1977 : PALIMONY
54
Blanket remedies : PANACEAS
58
Ones getting the business? : SALESDEPARTMENTS
60
Fix : SPAY
61
Dickens boy : TINYTIM
62
Row : SPAT
63
Subj. of a "Delayed" sign : ETA
64
With freshness : SASSILY
65
Some stammering : ERS
Down
1
Besmirches : SOILS
2
What's between here and the sun, in song? : COMES
3
Cold : IMPERSONAL
4
"Be ___!" : APAL
5
Even if, briefly : THO
6
___ Pro (2015 debut) : IPAD
7
It may come with a knife and crackers : CHEESETRAY
8
Ranging widely : OFALLKINDS
9
35mm camera option : SLR
10
Lead-in to speak or spell : MIS
11
"To his good friends thus wide I'll ___ my arms": "Hamlet" : OPE
12
Southwest side dish : SPANISHRICE
13
Permanently : ININK
14
Expressionless : STONY
21
Every last person : EACHONE
24
What's missing from a KO? : LMN
25
Abbr. on mail to a soldier : APO
26
Jeremy on the court : LIN
27
Like the Pilgrims: Abbr. : ENG
30
It's often marked with an "@" : AWAYGAME
31
Official residence at the Vatican : PAPALPALACE
32
Person's head, in slang : KNOB
33
Trophy figure : NIKE
34
Early smartphone : TREO
35
Soft ball? : YARN
46
Oscar V.I.P.s : HOSTS
47
Kipling's birthplace : INDIA
48
Up to : UNTIL
49
Oscar-winning role for Hattie McDaniel : MAMMY
50
Out : PASSE
51
Wash against gently : LAPAT
52
Three-time N.H.L. All-Star Kovalchuk : ILYA
53
Desires : YENS
54
Serial opener : PARTI
55
First word of Massachusetts' motto : ENSE
56
How some shares are sold : ATPAR
57
Boomers of old, in brief : SSTS
59
Yields : PAYS

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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