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New York Times, Monday, November 12, 2018

Author:
Kathy Bloomer
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
111/12/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0100000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Kathy Bloomer

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QXZ} Spans: 2 This is the debut puzzle for Ms. Bloomer. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kathy Bloomer notes:
When I retired from my Seattle pediatric hospitalist job in 2014, I became interested in crossword construction. The Diagramless ... read more

When I retired from my Seattle pediatric hospitalist job in 2014, I became interested in crossword construction. The Diagramless Puzzle has always been my hands down favorite, and I wondered if that might translate into success in puzzle construction. I made a bucket list and publication in the NYT was the only thing on it. After many attempts and great feedback from Will and Sam, this goal has been achieved. Thanks, guys!

Jeff Chen notes:
A proper debut! How well-mannered, using colorful phrases with a FORK, SPOON, KNIFE, wrapped up by a call to COME TO THE TABLE. I ... read more

A proper debut! How well-mannered, using colorful phrases with a FORK, SPOON, KNIFE, wrapped up by a call to COME TO THE TABLE. I liked how the TABLE was set following all the rules, the fork going on the (racing to read Wikipedia) FORK to the left of the knife, and the KNIFE and SPOON set to the right of the FORK. Just like at my dinner table!

Okay fine, I never use a KNIFE. That's what the side of the FORK (and your teeth) are for. Don't get me started on the uselessness of spoons. Drink straight from the dang bowl, and you have fewer utensils to wash.

I have hundreds of these genius ideas that save oodles of hours.

(My wife begs to differ)

I usually don't like seeing long theme answers run vertically – horizontal ones are so much easier to read – but today I would have liked an exception. Pretty much every table setting diagram I reviewed (in my hopes of pretending that I'm no barbarian) are set with the utensils pointing up.

Oh, and how cool would it have been if there had been a circular "plate" made of black squares right in the center of the puzzle! That would have made for a very difficult grid, but I think it would have been doable.

Okay, this grid is already hard enough to fill cleanly. For example, check out the west region, almost always a trouble spot with long themers. I think the black squares ought to have been rejiggered to avoid the troublesome ?G?U sequence. When your only options are IGLU (ugly variant) and OGPU, it's time to restart with a modified grid skeleton. There would still likely be some trickiness in that west region, but I'm sure it could have been done with a much more minor ding.

Overall, I appreciated the proper ordering of the place settings, as well as the great phrases. More testing on the grid skeleton before filling would have helped, though.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1112 ( 25,206 )
Across
1. Walk in the kiddie pool : WADE
5. Org. for the Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty : WNBA
9. Minor fight : SCRAP
14. Affordable German car : OPEL
15. Garden worker : HOER
16. "Star Trek" lieutenant who speaks Swahili : UHURA
17. Drops dead : KEELSOVER
19. Tilts : CANTS
20. Declare something completely finished : STICKAFORKINIT
22. Cain or Abel, to Adam and Eve : SON
23. Tiny : WEE
24. "___ we can" (2008 campaign slogan) : YES
25. Self-proclaimed greatest boxer : ALI
28. One-named soccer great : PELE
31. Sis's sibling : BRO
33. Expression of disgust in Valley Girl-speak : GAGMEWITHASPOON
39. Give the glad eye : OGLE
40. Grp. to call to get a tow : AAA
41. Site with a "Shop by category" button : EBAY
42. Have surgery : GOUNDERTHEKNIFE
47. Not worth a ___ : SOU
48. One-named singer with the 1985 hit "Smooth Operator" : SADE
49. Concorde, e.g., for short : SST
50. Ingested : ATE
53. Org. with the longtime leader Wayne LaPierre : NRA
55. QB's mistake: Abbr. : INT
57. Show up for negotiations ... or a hint for 20-, 33- and 42-Across : COMETOTHETABLE
63. ___ Gay (W.W. II plane) : ENOLA
64. Act all hoity-toity : PUTONAIRS
66. Indian princes : RAJAS
67. Felipe ___, first Dominican manager in M.L.B. history : ALOU
68. Small construction unit? : LEGO
69. Lose in a staring contest : BLINK
70. Littlest in a litter : RUNT
71. Sexual appetite : LUST
Down
1. Moo goo gai pan pan : WOK
2. Residents of a 1968 movie "planet" : APES
3. Mosquito repellent brand : DEET
4. ___ Island, immigrants' landing spot, once : ELLIS
5. Comment after an amazing fact is stated : WHOKNEW
6. ___ Scotia : NOVA
7. Meat in a burger : BEEF
8. --> or <-- : ARROW
9. Chumps : SUCKERS
10. Spiced tea from the East : CHAI
11. Like some noses and egg yolks : RUNNY
12. Bandleader Shaw : ARTIE
13. Histories : PASTS
18. Listerine competitor : SCOPE
21. McEntire known as "The Queen of Country" : REBA
25. Eagerly expectant : AGOG
26. Italian body of water : LAGO
27. Inuit shelter: Var. : IGLU
29. Pinocchio, notably : LIAR
30. Les ___-Unis : ETATS
32. Request from a dentist : OPEN
34. Clothing department with jackets and ties : MENS
35. [LOL] : HAHA
36. Japanese sashes : OBIS
37. Clods : OAFS
38. No, in Moscow : NYET
43. "You wouldn't believe it if I told you" : DONTASK
44. Currency unit worth a little more than a dollar : EURO
45. Delete from a manuscript : EDITOUT
46. Longtime "S.N.L." cast member Thompson : KENAN
50. Sour : ACERB
51. Like music with traditional harmony : TONAL
52. Smiley face with hearts for eyes, e.g. : EMOJI
54. Equal to face value : ATPAR
56. Pre-Little League game : TBALL
58. Panache : ELAN
59. Giant in streaming video : HULU
60. School attended by princes William and Harry : ETON
61. In ___ of (replacing) : LIEU
62. Units of work in physics : ERGS
65. Drunkard : SOT

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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