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New York Times, Saturday, November 21, 2015

Author:
Natan Last
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
277/17/200710/9/20186
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
5122098
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60350
Natan Last

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 32 Missing: {FJQVXZ} Spans: 3, (1 triple stack) This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Last. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Natan Last notes:
This was my first attempt at a triple stack; I think I'd gotten scared away by the idea that they require bad shorter fill, but after ... read more

This was my first attempt at a triple stack; I think I'd gotten scared away by the idea that they require bad shorter fill, but after finding this trio I knew I had to pursue it. I really like when themelesses open up into quadrants with space for shorter double stacks, which I've found gives you a lot of leeway to insert something fresh. Got lucky with the SW, though I tried to re-fill that corner for a while before I talked myself into allowing ETCHEDIN, which still has a funny ring to me.

On the cluing side, I'm happy a lot my clues made the final cut — YOGA PANTS, HOP ON POP, HAMPSHIRE were the ones I was most happy to see transfer. Will and Joel did a great job hacking away at my tendency, these days anyway, to write overlong trivia-laden clues :) We've got another editorial attempt to, maybe the phrase is "freshen up" the clue for MEN — this one feels as though there's more potential for empowerment.

Hope you enjoyed the puzzle! And if you're a woman interested in learning how to construct themelesses, I'd like to throw my hat in to the ring of constructors happy to mentor.

Jeff Chen notes:
What a cool grid pattern! The triple-stack down the center plus a TON of long entries — a pair of long downs in the NW / SE and ... read more

What a cool grid pattern! The triple-stack down the center plus a TON of long entries — a pair of long downs in the NW / SE and an enormous number of long acrosses — made me eager to dive in. The central stack didn't disappoint, with THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G. (I said a prayer of thanks that it was Biggie and not some new rapper I'd need every cross for) next to HATERS GONNA HATE. AMERICAN APPAREL is good, too.

(ADDED NOTE: people have been asking me about the pic of Ruth Bader Ginsberg — she's got one of my favorite nicknames, "the Notorious RBG.")

The Notorious RBG

Neat to see long answers run straight through that triple-stack. YOGA PANTS is not only a great entry, but it becomes stellar when you add a clue like [They may be put on a stretcher]. That's clue of the year material for me — I kept wondering what kind of accident victim the clue was hinting at. ART SCENE / HOP ON POP / SHAKE ON IT / I DON'T BITE also running through the stack? Yes yes yes!

ESNE? And a cutesy clue attempting to beg forgiveness for such a fusty piece of crosswordese? No no no! Along with some very minor stuff like OTO, PDS, SEP, it demonstrates the eternal trade-off of going B.I.G. (and needing to use some crossword glue), or staying more conservative (and completely smooth). I imagine Natan agonized about that corner, with such a great number of long words connecting up in the NE … but also the dreaded ESNE.

RPG is an interesting one. I'm not much of a gamer these days, but role-playing games like D&D are very familiar to me. It's going to be a toughie for some, especially when crossing GUAPOS, a word pretty deep into Spanish.

BOLLYWOOD is a great way to launch a themeless. I liked the misleading plural in [Indian pictures]. I wasn't as hot as some of the other long entries, DOCTRINAL / ETCHED IN / HAPPENED more neutral in my eyes than assets. Still, with a whopping 19 (!) long entries, Natan still converts many of those slots into POW-quality material. It just wasn't quite enough for me to be able to look the other way and give it the award this week.

1
B
2
A
3
B
4
Y
5
T
6
H
7
A
8
N
9
E
10
O
11
A
12
K
13
P
O
L
L
O
14
H
A
M
P
S
15
H
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R
E
16
A
L
L
A
Y
17
E
T
E
R
N
A
L
L
Y
18
C
L
U
B
O
19
W
N
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20
E
P
E
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S
21
K
Y
D
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M
A
O
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I
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S
24
P
D
S
25
E
W
E
26
A
R
T
S
C
E
27
N
E
28
R
O
D
29
E
30
Y
O
G
A
P
A
N
31
T
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S
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S
O
T
T
34
O
35
R
O
N
36
N
E
H
I
37
S
38
D
O
C
T
39
R
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N
A
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L
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D
A
D
E
42
H
O
P
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P
O
43
P
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T
E
D
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D
46
O
E
47
G
U
A
P
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S
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S
K
A
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B
I
R
D
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S
H
A
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E
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S
B
A
R
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U
P
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I
D
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B
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57
D
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K
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M
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H
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G
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O
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S
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 1121 ( 24,119 )
Across
1. Coddle : BABY
5. ___ of Glamis (Shakespearean epithet) : THANE
10. So-called "monarch of the forest" : OAK
13. Option at una taquería : POLLO
14. First U.S. college to divest from apartheid South Africa : HAMPSHIRE
16. Calm : ALLAY
17. Forever : ETERNALLY
18. Night-life industry bigwig : CLUBOWNER
20. Cousins of colichemardes : EPEES
21. Dramatist Thomas who was a contemporary of Shakespeare : KYD
22. People visited by Captain Cook in 1769 : MAORIS
24. Groups in blue, for short : PDS
25. Animal that Poseidon turned Theophane into, in myth : EWE
26. Bohemians are part of it : ARTSCENE
28. Went on : RODE
30. They may be put on a stretcher : YOGAPANTS
33. ___ voce : SOTTO
35. Wood of the Rolling Stones : RON
36. Beverages in orange, grape and peach flavors : NEHIS
38. Like matters of orthodoxy : DOCTRINAL
41. Florida's ___ Battlefield Historic State Park : DADE
42. Book with the line "My father can read big words, too. / Like Constantinople and Timbuktu" : HOPONPOP
44. "How I Met Your Mother" narrator : TED
45. Female kangaroo : DOE
47. Handsome hombres : GUAPOS
48. ___ punk (hybrid music genre) : SKA
49. Ones sending out tweets : BIRDS
51. Come to an agreement, say : SHAKEONIT
53. "M*A*S*H" watering hole : ROSIESBAR
55. Like some hockey passes : UPICE
56. "It's O.K., you can come closer" : IDONTBITE
57. Wallops : DECKS
58. "Luxuries," not "necessities," per Cher : MEN
59. Secretary of defense after Panetta : HAGEL
60. Low notes : ONES
Down
1. Indian pictures : BOLLYWOOD
2. Referenced : ALLUDEDTO
3. Not be a good confidant : BLAB
4. Musician who performed at Obama's first inauguration : YOYOMA
5. "Mo Money Mo Problems" rapper : THENOTORIOUSBIG
6. Modern-day "You can't please everyone" : HATERSGONNAHATE
7. Los Angeles-based clothing giant : AMERICANAPPAREL
8. "This is ___" (broadcast tagline) : NPR
9. A slave to crosswords? : ESNE
10. Stewed : OILED
11. Much-painted city in Provence : ARLES
12. You might give them a ring : KEYS
13. Major pro team with the smallest home city : PACKERS
15. Went down : HAPPENED
19. Guarded : WARY
23. Intl. Day of Peace month : SEP
27. Old ___, "Game of Thrones" character : NAN
29. Forever a part of : ETCHEDIN
31. "Good for you" : THATSNICE
32. Seconds : SIDEKICKS
34. Plains folk : OTO
37. Calms : SEDATES
39. Dungeons & Dragons, e.g., for short : RPG
40. "Here's the thing ..." : LOOK
43. Fake : PSEUDO
45. Current path? : DIODE
46. Science fiction novelist ___ Scott Card : ORSON
49. Tipping point? : BRIM
50. Biblical character who lived 912 years : SETH
52. Welcome sign : OPEN
54. Loan-giving org. : SBA

Answer summary: 13 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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