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New York Times, Thursday, November 7, 2019

Author:
Joe DiPietro
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1338/26/199511/7/20191
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
291072342283
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59336
Joe DiPietro

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 31 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 133 for Mr. DiPietro. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
What a shame that THELUCYSKY wasn't in the middle of this grid. We've highlighted the five diamonds below, in case you missed ... read more

What a shame that THELUCYSKY wasn't in the middle of this grid.

We've highlighted the five diamonds below, in case you missed the concept: FAUX diamond, HOPE diamond, etc. Not a huge a-ha impact, but I did like how the theme made the shotgun blast of circles transform into something well-ordered.

I prioritize quality of fill way more than Jim Horne, who joyfully prizes clever themes. It amused me that he was the one who noted this puzzle's dabs of crossword glue, making for a sticky solve. No doubt, crossing FROZONE / AZOLE / DENEB is rough, and if you've never seen "Happy Days," MRSC is four random letters strung together (it's "Mrs. C." as in "Mrs. Cunningham." Keep MRC in your head; it occasionally comes up in crosswords!).

Oddly, I didn't mind these blips as much. I like LAC, IGAS, WEEB less than most people, but when you have 24 letters fixed into place, there are bound to be compromises.

Interesting choice to not run the themers clockwise. That would have had the bonus of making them easier to understand – I pondered for way too long what a FAXU or HEPO could be – but that would make the BASEBALL diamond go in reverse. Although, the action rarely starts at second base and circles back around to second. Hmm.

I enjoyed the puzzle much more after Jim animated the diamonds. There's something elegant about those five shapes creating order out of chaos. If only there had been more elegance in the presentation of the diamond themers, and/or a more memorable way to reveal what was going on.

1
M
2
R
3
F
4
I
5
X
6
I
7
T
8
G
9
O
10
T
11
A
12
H
13
I
14
T
15
I
C
A
N
T
G
O
16
F
R
O
Z
O
N
E
17
M
A
N
X
C
A
T
18
O
C
T
O
P
U
S
19
O
D
D
S
20
S
A
21
B
R
A
22
L
O
T
T
23
S
O
U
24
L
A
C
25
D
E
N
E
B
26
A
M
E
27
S
28
A
L
L
E
29
L
E
30
I
R
A
31
S
E
L
A
32
S
S
I
E
33
A
L
34
S
T
O
N
35
S
H
O
E
36
H
U
L
L
37
D
38
A
39
S
H
I
N
40
W
O
R
S
E
41
O
42
F
43
F
44
E
L
I
45
P
E
46
S
E
T
A
47
W
I
L
E
48
B
A
L
49
K
S
50
N
E
W
51
L
O
T
52
A
M
E
N
53
M
O
B
I
54
L
55
M
R
S
C
56
T
O
N
E
57
S
U
P
58
N
I
59
C
E
I
S
H
60
E
S
T
E
L
L
E
61
G
R
A
N
N
I
E
62
S
A
I
D
Y
E
S
63
S
A
V
A
G
E
D
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 1107 ( 25,566 )
Across
1
Handy guy : MRFIXIT
8
Singled or doubled : GOTAHIT
15
Words declining an invitation : ICANTGO
16
Character voiced by Samuel L. Jackson in "The Incredibles" : FROZONE
17
Stimpy, on "The Ren & Stimpy Show" : MANXCAT
18
Tako, on a sushi menu : OCTOPUS
19
9 to 5, e.g. : ODDS
20
One born on a kibbutz : SABRA
22
Senate majority leader between Dole and Daschle : LOTT
23
Pittance : SOU
24
Sealing wax ingredient : LAC
25
First-magnitude star in Cygnus : DENEB
26
College city on I-35 : AMES
28
Mutated gene : ALLELE
30
Investment inits. : IRA
31
Rastafari messiah : SELASSIE
33
Walter ___, 1950s-'70s Dodgers manager : ALSTON
35
One tapped for a stage show? : SHOE
36
Prow's place : HULL
37
Enter quickly : DASHIN
40
In poorer financial shape, say : WORSEOFF
44
Country music's ___ Young Band : ELI
45
100 céntimos : PESETA
47
Trick : WILE
48
Pitching no-nos : BALKS
50
Ad word often written with an exclamation point : NEW
51
Park place? : LOT
52
"Can I get an ___?" : AMEN
53
Gas giant : MOBIL
55
"Happy Days" character played by Marion Ross, informally : MRSC
56
Gets a six-pack, say : TONESUP
58
Kind of kind : NICEISH
60
George's mother on "Seinfeld" : ESTELLE
61
Family nickname : GRANNIE
62
Agreed : SAIDYES
63
Criticized severely : SAVAGED
Down
1
Drinks in flutes : MIMOSAS
2
Former Indiana arena that hosted four Final Fours : RCADOME
3
Big fantasy sports betting site : FANDUEL
4
Rock band with the 1988 #1 hit "Need You Tonight" : INXS
5
Onetime British band whose name consists of letters suggesting "bliss" : XTC
6
Alternatives to Krogers and Safeways : IGAS
7
Blatant falsehood : TOTALLIE
8
Something everyone on earth experiences : GFORCE
9
Swimmer with big calves : ORCA
10
Squirt : TOT
11
Nitrogen compound : AZOLE
12
"Get going already!" : HOPONIT
13
Still being developed : INUTERO
14
Détente issue : TESTBAN
21
Bundle up : BALE
25
Wooded valleys : DELLS
27
Military band : SASH
28
United : ASONE
29
___ Ingalls Wilder, author of "Little House on the Prairie" : LAURA
32
They can be used as icebreakers : SHIPS
34
Whole bunch : SLEW
36
Spicy finger food : HOTWINGS
37
Highlights of some political campaigns : DEBATES
38
Colorado city on the Rio Grande : ALAMOSA
39
Character in "Friends" : SILENTI
40
Hall-of-Fame coach Ewbank : WEEB
41
Engine part that distributes lubrication evenly : OILRING
42
A Bobbsey twin : FLOSSIE
43
Sold for : FETCHED
46
Online buster of myths : SNOPES
49
Weak-___ : KNEED
53
Half-assed sort? : MULE
54
100 kurus : LIRA
55
Actress Suvari : MENA
57
Roguish : SLY
59
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse player, for short : CAV

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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