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New York Times, Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Author:
David J. Kahn
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1843/15/19948/14/20195
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4451326571326
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5514231
David J. Kahn

This puzzle:

Rows: 16, Columns: 15 Words: 85, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 180 for Mr. Kahn. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
David J. Kahn notes:
Often I find that when I'm vacationing somewhere, an idea for a puzzle will come to mind. My wife and I were in Paris last summer when ... read more

Often I find that when I'm vacationing somewhere, an idea for a puzzle will come to mind. My wife and I were in Paris last summer when the theme for this puzzle popped up. The goal was to find as many French things as would fit (6 here) without creating a lot of crosswordese and place them in a way that would tie into the theme.

(If solvers want to say the puzzle is "well-executed," that's okay, I won't groan.)

Jeff Chen notes:
FRENCH REVOLUTION, interpreted as 'words that can follow FRENCH, arranged in rings.' I was utterly baffled for an embarrassingly long ... read more

FRENCH REVOLUTION, interpreted as "words that can follow FRENCH, arranged in rings." I was utterly baffled for an embarrassingly long time by FRENCH TRYPAS. Even more embarrassing was the fact that I shrugged it off as something I was too uncultured to know.

These types of themes are notoriously difficult to construct around. Every time you lock a circled letter in place, it creates so much grid inflexibility, stressing the surrounding region.

David did something very smart, placing black square(s) in the middle of each revolved word, which makes the filling job ten times easier. He also allowed himself to start the theme words at any random position, which helped out even more. Given the level of difficulty, I expected a lot of glue in the fill, but I was pleased to see it kept to a passable amount, with the AREEL / FARO / ESTERS / DRT / OSSO the only region that bugged my constructor's sensibilities.

It felt odd though, to have CUFF, DOOR, POODLE, and KISS start in the same(ish) position, but not HORN and STRYPA – er, PASTRY. I'd have preferred more randomness overall, so the outliers didn't feel like such ... well, outliers.

I wonder if using French FRIES and TOAST (or BREAD) would have been better, even if they didn't produce quite circle-ish shapes. Would likely have made the construction job that much easier, too.

1
R
2
I
3
B
4
M
5
I
6
F
7
F
8
T
9
A
10
P
11
P
12
E
13
D
14
O
N
E
15
L
I
N
E
R
16
O
R
E
L
S
E
17
G
A
T
O
R
A
D
E
18
S
T
R
A
T
A
19
U
P
T
O
20
N
I
N
21
E
S
22
Y
E
N
23
E
T
E
24
H
E
N
C
E
25
A
26
P
S
E
S
27
R
28
O
O
29
H
O
30
W
T
O
31
B
32
A
D
A
C
33
T
34
O
R
35
H
A
W
36
K
37
E
38
D
39
O
L
A
F
40
U
S
E
41
R
I
D
42
I
R
E
43
A
M
Y
44
F
L
A
V
O
R
45
O
C
T
A
46
R
A
S
47
C
A
L
48
O
N
L
49
O
O
K
E
R
50
A
R
E
51
E
L
52
A
P
U
53
T
54
E
55
M
P
O
56
R
U
57
B
58
I
K
59
P
60
A
61
D
62
O
L
E
63
O
A
T
E
S
64
I
A
G
O
65
W
I
E
66
L
67
D
S
68
I
N
E
69
S
C
R
O
W
70
E
S
T
E
R
S
71
O
N
R
E
C
O
R
D
72
D
E
S
O
T
O
73
N
Y
E
T
74
W
A
Y
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1128 ( 25,222 )
Across
1
Roast a bit : RIB
4
Tee off : MIFF
8
Called on : TAPPED
14
Roast bit : ONELINER
16
Words in a threat : ORELSE
17
Contents of a football "shower" : GATORADE
18
Echelons : STRATA
19
As many as : UPTO
20
Last readout before an odometer rolls over : NINES
22
Kobe cash : YEN
23
Juillet's season : ETE
24
Accordingly : HENCE
25
Church recesses : APSES
27
A. A. Milne hopper : ROO
29
Self-help genre : HOWTO
31
Miscreant : BADACTOR
35
Peddled : HAWKED
39
One of Snoopy's brothers, in "Peanuts" : OLAF
40
Surfing moniker : USERID
42
Wrath : IRE
43
Actress Adams : AMY
44
Strawberry, e.g. : FLAVOR
45
Numerical prefix : OCTA
46
"Little" one of old TV : RASCAL
48
Witness : ONLOOKER
50
Staggering : AREEL
52
"The Simpsons" clerk : APU
53
Beat : TEMPO
56
Noted Hungarian puzzler : RUBIK
59
Inflate, as a bill : PAD
62
Oaxaca whoop : OLE
63
2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee John : OATES
64
"I am not what I am" speaker : IAGO
65
Exerts : WIELDS
68
How some deposits are held : INESCROW
70
Fragrant compounds : ESTERS
71
Public : ONRECORD
72
Contemporary of Pizarro : DESOTO
73
Da's opposite : NYET
74
Course of action : WAY
Down
1
Good-for-nothing : ROGUE
2
Not pertinent : INAPT
3
What things on the downslide may have "seen" : BETTERDAYS
4
Old space station : MIR
5
Ludicrous : INANE
6
Provided, as data : FEDIN
7
Historical event suggested by each of the six groups of circled letters : FRENCHREVOLUTION
8
Coin ___ : TOSS
9
"What you can get away with," according to Andy Warhol : ART
10
For each : PER
11
What Ascap counts for purposes of royalties : PLAYS
12
First name in skin care : ESTEE
13
Emory board feature? : DEANS
15
Lav, in Leeds : LOO
21
Abbr. in help-wanted ads : EEO
24
Ad ___ committee : HOC
25
Not much : ATAD
26
Punch line? : POW
28
Big lug : OAF
30
Attempt, informally : WHIRL
31
Wild pig : BOAR
32
President Coin in the "Hunger Games" series : ALMA
33
Veil material : TULLE
34
Spanish she-bear : OSA
36
Start some trouble : KICKUPAROW
37
Harper's Bazaar cover designer : ERTE
38
Pricey : DEAR
41
Darling of baseball : RON
44
Betting game popular with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday : FARO
45
Alley-___ : OOP
47
Limit : CAP
49
Symbol of durability : OAK
51
Big time : ERA
53
Like most repos : TOWED
54
Beethoven honoree : ELISE
55
Pool competitions : MEETS
57
Andersson of Abba : BENNY
58
It merges with the Rhone near Valence : ISERE
60
Old Greek square : AGORA
61
Old-fashioned in attire : DOWDY
63
___ buco : OSSO
64
Govt. watchdog until 1996 : ICC
66
Sign of summer : LEO
67
Richard Gere title role : DRT
69
Goal for one trying to "collect 'em all" : SET

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?