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New York Times, Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Author:
Andrew J. Ries
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
178/13/20075/10/20190
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31111532
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56020
Andrew Ries

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JKQWZ} This is puzzle # 7 for Mr. Ries. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Ries notes:
Grateful acknowledgment to my good friend Victor Barocas, as this puzzle was based on a puzzle that Victor wrote for the Minnesota ... read more

Grateful acknowledgment to my good friend Victor Barocas, as this puzzle was based on a puzzle that Victor wrote for the Minnesota Crossword Tournament. I originally wrote a version of this that had all Ivy League schools doing the turning. Will thought using only Ivy League schools was "myopic," so I came up with the version you see today, using a variance of well-known universities from around the country.

I think I like my original grid a little better – some flash with I WARNED YOU next to SAKE BOMBS, etc., but I think that this final version is more Tuesday-friendly*, plus I like the bonus of NOTRE DAME "bending" in the south part of the grid, considering Notre Dame's South Bend, Indiana location.

*Which was the whole point of this puzzle, to run it on a Tuesday. According to my research, no one in the Shortz Era has "hit for the cycle" in their first seven Times puzzles, and once my Friday puzzle ran in January, I set my sights on completing the "natural cycle" with a Tuesday. I have to say, it's tough to come up with a Tuesday puzzle! You have to keep the theme mechanism accessible but you're also afforded a little more challenge than a Monday puzzle traditionally offers.

Anyway, I'm happy with the results and thrilled to complete the cycle!

Jeff Chen notes:
I must admit, when I got to UTURN, I shrugged. Answers making UTURNs (and other turns) have been done a ton. Will has mentioned that ... read more

I must admit, when I got to UTURN, I shrugged. Answers making UTURNs (and other turns) have been done a ton. Will has mentioned that he's not taking as many of them these days because they've become overdone.

Man, was I glad to think about the puzzle some more! They aren't just UTURNS. They're U-TURNS!

Okay, that was clear as mud.

The U-turning answers are Us … and (U)niversities, as in Clemson U! Great double-interpretation of those UTURNS. This is one of my favorite types of a-ha moments, when you see two disparate ideas pulled together in a surprising way.

And the execution. If there's not an emoji for *kissing the tips of your fingers like at an Italian restaurant* there ought to be. A grid like this is so tough to make. Not only do you have short, bendy themers, constraining the grid in all sorts of inconvenient places, but you have to work in long fill that sparkles enough, to give solvers some wow.

AND you have to keep your crossword glue to a minimum? Level of difficulty = through the roof, at least if you're aiming to make your puzzle sing. And wow, did it sing. EVIDENCE BAG. PARIS METRO. TRADE ROUTES. ADULTERANT. Adulterant? Wha?

Well, three for four in the long slots ain't bad at all. This sort of construction is usually hard enough to pull off with resorting to ADULTERANT-ish neutral fill. To get such nice longies without compromising elsewhere, c'est Magnifique!

Only a bit of ISS, ESE, MIO, that's pretty good for a normal puzzle. To achieve such a low level of crossword glue on a much tougher than normal construction … just goes to show how good Andrew is.

Okay, GOTYE / COMEY / HESSE will be tougher for some newer solvers. But given the news these days, you gotta know COMEY. (sadly enough)

Enjoyed the unexpected a-ha moment, and loved it when studied under a constructor's lens.

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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1128 ( 24,857 )
Across
1
Molded jelly : ASPIC
6
Pitch a tent : CAMP
10
Snoozes : NAPS
14
/ : SLASH
15
Dell competitor : ACER
16
Spoken : ORAL
17
Charley ___ : HORSE
18
Actress Taylor of "Mystic Pizza" : LILI
19
Tidbit at a Spanish bar : TAPA
20
Music conglomerate that broke up in 2012 : EMI
21
Receptacle carried from a crime scene : EVIDENCEBAG
24
Cosa ___ : NOSTRA
26
List-ending abbr. : ETAL
27
Kind of pork on a Chinese menu : MOOSHU
30
On fire : AFLAME
34
Appropriate for all audiences, as humor : CLEAN
36
Piano teacher's assignment : ETUDE
38
Fort ___, N.J. : DIX
39
Neighbor of an Estonian : LETT
40
Coat for a cat : FUR
41
"No shoes, no shirt, no service," e.g. : RULE
42
Stick in a lake? : OAR
43
"Ad ___ per aspera" (motto of Kansas) : ASTRA
45
Light purple : LILAC
46
Wallace's partner, in claymation : GROMIT
48
Div. that manager Bobby Cox won every year from 1995 to 2005 : NLEAST
50
Actor Driver of "The Force Awakens" : ADAM
52
Crowd chant to an award honoree : SPEECH
55
The Silk Road and others : TRADEROUTES
60
Fish eggs : ROE
61
Morning TV co-host : RIPA
62
Lawn mower brand : TORO
63
Mosque V.I.P.s : IMAMS
65
___ smasher : ATOM
66
City that's home to the Viking Ship Museum : OSLO
67
To the ___ (one way to dress) : NINES
68
Odorous Le Pew : PEPE
69
Beginning point for a first flight : NEST
70
Singer of the 2012 #1 hit "Somebody That I Used to Know" : GOTYE
Down
1
Wan : ASHEN
2
Lovers running to each other may be shown in it : SLOMO
3
Way to get from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon : PARISMETRO
4
Magazine unit: Abbr. : ISS
5
Root for : CHEERON
6
Colombian metropolis : CALI
7
Tums target : ACID
8
Free-for-all : MELEE
9
Paid part of a magazine : PRINTAD
10
Kind of motel : NOTELL
11
Spirited steed : ARAB
12
"Come to ___!" (gambler's cry) : PAPA
13
Refinery waste : SLAG
22
Some military hospitals, for short : VAS
23
Establishment with a brunch rush, maybe : CAFE
25
Precisely : TOAT
28
Weight : HEFT
29
Often-forbidden maneuver ... as hinted at four times in this puzzle : UTURN
31
Substance that decreases purity : ADULTERANT
32
Kunis of "Friends With Benefits" : MILA
33
One high up on the corporate ladder, informally : EXEC
34
Pipe problem : CLOG
35
Shakespearean king : LEAR
37
River to the Caspian : URAL
41
Opposite of set : RISE
43
Congressional worker : AIDE
44
Begin, as a task : STARTON
45
Running out : LAPSING
47
Title for Tussaud : MADAME
49
112.5° on a compass: Abbr. : ESE
51
Costume that might involve two people : MOOSE
53
Former F.B.I. director James : COMEY
54
German state or novelist : HESSE
55
Sand, in golf : TRAP
56
Having your first shave or buying your first bra, e.g. : RITE
57
Each : APOP
58
Website links, for short : URLS
59
Blow on a horn : TOOT
64
"O Sole ___" : MIO

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

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