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New York Times, Friday, November 25, 2016

Author:
Patrick Berry
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2297/11/199911/4/20182
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
741241679512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980
Patrick Berry

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JKQZ} This is puzzle # 217 for Mr. Berry. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Beautiful puzzle; quintessential Patrick Berry. Here a few identifying factors that I identify with PB's themelesses: A ... read more

Beautiful puzzle; quintessential Patrick Berry. Here a few identifying factors that I identify with PB's themelesses:

  • A wide-open, well-connected grid with no real choke points
  • Well under the maximum of 72 words, creating a good challenge for solvers
  • Interesting layout of black squares, always trying something new
  • Some very good long answers like TEA CADDIES, HEAVEN SENT, RISING STAR, SPACE SUITS
  • Very little to no gluey short answers needed to hold everything together
  • Some neutral answers converted into assets through the use of a great wordplay clue, i.e. [Immersive experience] misleading toward a surround-sound theater experience, away from a dunking BAPTISM
  • No really flashy answers, but also no trendy answers that might mystify / dissatisfy big chunks of the solving population

Themelesses always involve trade-offs, and each constructor has his/her own weightings on how important each of the above categories are. Some do low-word count puzzles with a lot of neutral / bleh answers, some have really flashy entries with a ton of crossword glue holding everything together, etc. Patrick's blend of factors works really well for me.

I don't always absolutely 100% love Patrick's themelesses — there's rarely a single mind-blowing entry that makes one of his stick in my mind — but they hit every criterion I use for evaluation at such a darn high level. I really, really, enjoyed this one, an ultra-smooth, wide-open solve with a lot of very good entries and not a single hiccup in gluey short fill.

1
B
2
A
3
S
4
H
5
B
6
E
7
A
8
M
9
H
10
A
11
L
12
L
13
A
L
C
O
14
H
O
L
R
U
15
B
16
E
P
E
E
17
P
A
R
T
I
A
L
I
T
Y
18
Y
O
G
A
19
T
R
A
W
L
20
A
D
E
P
21
T
22
S
O
D
23
I
M
P
A
L
24
A
25
R
U
26
S
T
L
E
27
S
E
E
R
28
L
29
E
30
S
31
S
O
N
P
L
A
N
32
M
D
S
33
T
E
A
C
A
D
D
I
E
S
34
T
A
X
R
E
T
U
R
N
35
B
36
R
I
T
A
N
N
I
C
A
37
H
38
E
39
M
40
H
E
A
V
E
N
S
E
N
T
41
C
O
M
E
42
A
C
C
O
R
D
43
S
44
H
A
R
I
F
45
M
A
E
46
S
E
47
D
48
A
49
N
50
A
T
A
R
I
51
L
U
C
52
Y
53
R
I
S
I
54
N
G
S
T
A
R
55
E
S
A
U
56
S
P
A
C
E
S
U
I
T
S
57
T
E
R
M
58
S
P
E
W
59
P
O
E
T
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1125 ( 24,489 )

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Across
1
Strongly disparage : BASH
5
4x4, e.g. : BEAM
9
College building : HALL
13
Sore muscle treatment : ALCOHOLRUB
16
Pentathlete's need : EPEE
17
Special fondness : PARTIALITY
18
Class with a flexible schedule? : YOGA
19
Drag out of a bed? : TRAWL
20
Versed : ADEPT
22
Nursery purchase : SOD
23
1958 Chevrolet debut : IMPALA
25
Take stock? : RUSTLE
27
Future reporter : SEER
28
Teacher's homework : LESSONPLAN
32
Ward healers, for short : MDS
33
Gunpowder containers : TEACADDIES
34
Prepared statement : TAXRETURN
35
Pax ___ (century preceding W.W. I) : BRITANNICA
37
Sewer's edge : HEM
40
Arriving at just the right moment : HEAVENSENT
41
Make it : COME
42
Mutual understanding : ACCORD
43
"Genghis Khan" star, 1965 : SHARIF
45
"___ West Lips Sofa" (Dalí piece) : MAE
46
Car buyer's option : SEDAN
50
Early Nintendo competitor : ATARI
51
Archaeological find of 1974 : LUCY
53
Person who's getting bigger : RISINGSTAR
55
Hairy one in a Bible story : ESAU
56
Landing gear? : SPACESUITS
57
Contract stipulation : TERM
58
Expel : SPEW
59
Meter user : POET
Down
1
Immersive experience : BAPTISM
2
Like many an emergency door : ALARMED
3
Difficult situations : SCRAPES
4
Open hostilities : HOTWAR
5
Showgirl prop : BOA
6
Actress Raines of "Tall in the Saddle" : ELLA
7
Like most of Mauritania : ARID
8
Cello attachment near the bridge : MUTE
9
Affronted shout : HEY
10
Paul or Simon : APOSTLE
11
Orlando Bloom's "The Lord of the Rings" role : LEGOLAS
12
Spiritless : LEADEN
14
Marathon runner's bane : HILL
15
Unlooked-for results : BYPRODUCTS
21
Land beyond the tree line : TUNDRA
24
Creamy cocktails : ALEXANDERS
26
Top motion : SPIN
29
Has every right to do : EARNS
30
Show piece? : SCENE
31
Necktie material : SATIN
33
Thanksgiving side dish, informally : TATERS
34
It lets you see what you missed : TIVO
35
Unconvincing response to "Why?" : BECAUSE
36
Numbered vehicle : RACECAR
37
Speaker of the line in 40-Down : HORATIO
38
Dubai, for one : EMIRATE
39
Selfishly eager cry : MEFIRST
40
Play containing the line "Good night, sweet prince" : HAMLET
41
Stuff sold in squeeze bottles : CATSUP
44
Fairy tale cacklers : HAGS
47
Dramatic dance moves : DIPS
48
Straightaway : ASAP
49
"I'm impressed!" : NICE
52
"Dee-lish!" : YUM
54
In need of orientation, say : NEW

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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