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New York Times, Friday, December 21, 2018

Author:
Peter A. Collins
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1085/2/20064/7/201912
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612253614105
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.565313
Peter A. Collins

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 28 Missing: {FJQZ} This is puzzle # 105 for Mr. Collins. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Peter A. Collins notes:

I'd like to dedicate this one to Dorothy.

Jeff Chen notes:
I'm a big fan of two feature entries: UNION CARD and WHERE'S WALDO. The former got a lovely clue playing on 'labor party,' making for ... read more

I'm a big fan of two feature entries: UNION CARD and WHERE'S WALDO. The former got a lovely clue playing on "labor party," making for such a nice "click" when I finally got it.

The latter might have hit me more strongly than others, being a children's book writer. I've read close to 1000 middle grade / young adult books in the past ten years, and yet it was the ubiquitous WHERE'S WALDO that I couldn't locate in my memory banks. How appropriate!

72-words, the max allowable for themelesses – not daring, but still fine if executed very well. Standard triple-stacks-in-each-corner … except for one major difference.

Look at the NE vs. the SE. Both are sort of choked off from the rest of the grid, so they might seem about as easy to fill. But see how the SE has to "turn the corner" with BELLI / ARDEN / GEORG, and then keeps on going with BODY BAG? Makes it much, much harder than the NE.

Not surprising then, to see the killer cross of HULLO / UREY. I couldn't remember the spelling of Harold UREY (okay, this physics nerd sheepishly admits that he didn't know him), so HALLO / AREY seemed like the best option. A constructor's job is to set up solvers for a win – I think this is a fail.

I think solvers ought to at least hear of POLSKA kielbasa, but I'd be sympathetic to complaints about that UREY POLSKA BELLI GEORG concentration.

The NE came out much better, although Steve VAI = whoa. The entry hasn't been used since the Maleskan era in 1979, and every time back then, it was clued to the effect of "Liberian native." Huh.

Some nice moments in my solve, the clue for HANDS in particular – [They operate around the clock] had to be PARENTS OF TWO TODDLERS CLINGING ONTO MY LEGS, right? But overall, I would have liked a smoother grid, especially given the mostly standard themeless layout.

ADDED NOTE: I read Pete's note with curiosity. After studying the grid, I asked him if his wife's name is Dorothy? Nope. An hour of searching later, I finally saw LIONS, TIGERS, and BEARS — OH MY! Fun mini-theme, although I think the effect would have been much stronger if DOROTHY had been in the center of the grid, not unlike another of Pete's hidden themes. I would have forgiven a lot more of the grid trade-offs, too.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 1221 ( 25,245 )
Across
1
Striped sea predators : TIGERSHARKS
12
Whirlpool site : TUB
15
Shot : INOCULATION
16
Not you specifically : ONE
17
Entertainment for a long ride, perhaps : BOOKSONTAPE
18
Honoree on the third Friday of Sept. : MIA
19
Business ___ : END
20
Fountain fare : SODAS
21
Expressionist painter James : ENSOR
23
Sends anew : RESHIPS
25
Arugula and escarole : GREENS
26
When the French Open starts : MAY
27
One way to ride : BAREBACK
29
Use, as a mattress : LIEON
32
Having zero interest, say : BORED
33
Steve of rock guitar fame : VAI
34
"Look at me, ___ helpless ..." (opening to "Misty") : IMAS
35
Flock : LAITY
36
Alpine capital : BERN
37
Exclamations of exasperation : OYS
38
Premonishes : WARNS
39
"Where ___ fail, music speaks": Hans Christian Andersen : WORDS
40
Making a mark of a sort : NOTCHING
42
Album fill, informally : PIX
43
Relief : SUCCOR
44
"CSI" prop : BODYBAG
48
"Yuck!" : GROSS
49
Greeting in Britain : HULLO
51
Ahead of, poetically : ERE
52
Org. with a serpent in its logo : AMA
53
1987 children's best seller : WHERESWALDO
56
Some grad students, for short : TAS
57
Person depicted on the Alabama state quarter : HELENKELLER
58
Denizen of Fangorn Forest : ENT
59
Repeated phrase in the chorus of a classic folk ballad : OHMYDARLING
Down
1
River near the Pantheon : TIBER
2
See 55-Down : INONE
3
Stock : GOODS
4
Johann ___, 16th-century defender of Catholicism : ECK
5
Dressing choice : RUSSIAN
6
Title girl in a 1965 #1 hit : SLOOPY
7
They operate around the clock : HANDS
8
Encouraging start? : ATTA
9
Shore indentations : RIAS
10
Keystone enforcer : KOP
11
Displayed derision : SNEERED
12
Hall-of-Fame pitcher who once struck out 10 consecutive batters : TOMSEAVER
13
Labor party member's holding? : UNIONCARD
14
Hides in a cabin, perhaps : BEARSKINS
22
Mo. neighbor : NEB
24
Coverage options, briefly : HMOS
25
Overcast, in Britain : GREY
27
Comics sound : BOING
28
They may be dark or fine : ARTS
29
Film distribution company for "The Hunger Games" : LIONSGATE
30
Declaration from a volunteer : IMYOURMAN
31
Locale of many a red-eye destination : EASTCOAST
32
Traditionally red structure : BARN
35
Retreat : LAIR
36
Squarish : BOXY
38
Elite group : WHOSWHO
39
Mr. Rochester in "Jane Eyre," e.g. : WIDOWER
41
Mails a dupe : CCS
42
Warszawa's land : POLSKA
44
Harmonize : BLEND
45
Casus ___ (action justifying a war) : BELLI
46
"As You Like It" forest : ARDEN
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Captain von Trapp's given name : GEORG
49
Bridge position : HELM
50
Manhattan Project scientist Harold ___ : UREY
54
Bit of derisive laughter : HEH
55
With 2-Down, multipurpose : ALL

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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