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New York Times, Thursday, November 21, 2019

Author:
Aimee Lucido
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
69/13/20102/28/20201
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0130110
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59100
Aimee Lucido

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 79, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQUWZ} This is puzzle # 5 for Ms. Lucido. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Aimee Lucido notes:
This might have been the hardest crossword puzzle I've ever made—both to solve, and to construct. The gimmick is tricky (but hopefully ... read more

This might have been the hardest crossword puzzle I've ever made—both to solve, and to construct. The gimmick is tricky (but hopefully gratifying!) and because of the limitations it posed on the fill, it meant more hand-gridding than I've ever had to do before in order to ensure some standard of cleanliness and liveliness for the non-thematic fill. But the hope is that, because every word in the grid is affected by the theme, once you get the reveal, the whole puzzle will open up in a way that I really enjoy as a solver.

I hope you like it!

Also, buy my book! Visit my website and Twitter (@aimeelucido), too.

Jeff Chen notes:
I was so sure we'd see MIND THE GAP in a recent puzzle. Nope. but I was right today! Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds a gap. ... read more

I was so sure we'd see MIND THE GAP in a recent puzzle. Nope. but I was right today!

Sometimes even a blind squirrel finds a gap.

I've seen plenty of puzzles involving rebuses, and plenty of square-skipping ones as well. This is a fun combination of the two, the GAP rebuses needing to be skipped over to complete two-word entries like REPO MAN and ICE AGE. Far from a BAD IDEA, indeed!

It was an elegant touch not to have any other two-word phrases in the puzzle. I'm usually all about the juicy multi-word fill phrases, but today, keeping the bonuses to single-worders made the down themers pop.

I did wonder, why not go with a multi-word themer instead of SINGAPOREAN? GAP breaks across the words of the other theme phrases, so why not something like COPPING A PLEA, matched by GROWING APART?

Hey, GROWING APART would have been perfect for this theme!

Although Aimee had great flexibility in choosing her down themers — any phrase of length 4,3 for the REPO MAN slot, for example — she had to interlock two of the sets into MIND THE GAP, eating away at precious flexibility. The center shows strain with PEES and ATRA, for example. Having to spend so many black squares in that center also meant big corners that can be tough to fill. See: ESCS / ARA, etc.

Overall, a solid concept with just a few cracks — gaps, shall we say? — in the execution.

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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1121 ( 25,580 )
Across
1
Setting for "Amazing Grace," maybe : MASS
5
"___ Revere, Engineer" (best-selling picture book) : ROSIE
10
Mix, as eggs : BEAT
14
Something taught in a 101 class, so to speak : ABCS
15
Over-the-top : EXTRA
16
Shrine : ALTAR
18
Bring in : EARN
19
Barre bends : PLIES
20
Abandon, informally : DITCH
21
Dir. from Lubbock to San Antonio : SSE
22
Hard labor : TOIL
23
Classic fraternity bash : TOGAPARTY
25
New York City : THEBIGAPPLE
28
Not shoot straight : MISAIM
29
Exchange for cash : REDEEM
30
___ Pro : IPAD
32
Cavaliers, on scoreboards : CLE
33
Peak in Thessaly : OSSA
34
"Fish and visitors stink after three days," for one : ADAGE
37
"Melrose Place" actor Rob : ESTES
39
Underground warning ... or a warning about four squares in this grid : MINDTHEGAP
42
Raindrop in the sunlight, e.g. : PRISM
45
Like many theater kids : ARTSY
46
Keys often hit in panic: Abbr. : ESCS
50
"Parks and ___" (familiar name of a TV sitcom) : REC
51
Rudolph formerly of "S.N.L." : MAYA
53
How Twitter trolls often comment : MEANLY
55
Like the acid in pickle juice : ACETIC
57
Native of the Lion City : SINGAPOREAN
60
Activewear akin to leggings : YOGAPANTS
62
Suffix with thick or sick : NESS
63
Coach Parseghian : ARA
64
Get around : EVADE
65
Like Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan, by heritage : IRISH
67
Cut : SKIP
68
"King Lear" daughter : REGAN
69
"Alki," for Washington State : MOTTO
70
Black widow spiders make dangerous ones : PETS
71
Others : REST
72
Cortège : POSSE
73
Channing with a 14-year N.B.A. career (2005-19) : FRYE
Down
1
Pit boss? : MAESTRO
2
Humiliates : ABASHES
3
Lengthy rants : SCREEDS
4
Often-memorized string: Abbr. : SSN
5
Car tower : REPOMAN
6
Yellow primrose : OXLIP
7
"Doesn't matter, but ..." : STILL
8
Steam : IRE
9
Part of 21-Across : EAST
10
"Uh-oh! Don't do that!" : BADIDEA
11
Three-syllable man's name : ELIAS
12
Draw : ATTRACT
13
Able to be felt : TACTILE
17
Moan and groan, e.g. : RHYMES
22
Draw : TIE
24
German grandmother : OMA
26
Grins : BEAMS
27
Prime-time hour : EIGHT
31
Sound recording copyright symbols : PEES
35
An exhibit at F.D.R.'s presidential library is dedicated to it : DDAY
36
Some Gillette razors : ATRAS
38
Pickle unit : SPEAR
40
On the horizon : IMMINENT
41
Bit of workout gear : GYMSHOE
42
Occasion to speak up? : PRAYER
43
Get better : RECOVER
44
Long cold spell : ICEAGE
47
41-Down, by another name : SNEAKER
48
Enlightenment : CLARITY
49
It may get fired because of a thought : SYNAPSE
52
Pretense : ACT
54
Alternative to ChapStick : EOS
56
Spoken flourishes : TADAS
58
Some signatures, briefly : INITS
59
Makes a home : NESTS
61
Fool : SIMP
66
Kanga's kid : ROO
67
Beach lotion letters : SPF

Answer summary:

Found bugs or have suggestions?

See NYT Crosswords for info.