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New York Times, Monday, December 22, 2014

Author: Lynn Lempel
Editor: Will Shortz
Lynn Lempel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
7912/9/19799/26/20172
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654132130
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.610712

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 69 for Ms. Lempel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Lynn Lempel notes: It's often hard to remember what actually triggered a puzzle. In this case, I think I was pondering 'crossings,' like RR ... more
Lynn Lempel notes: It's often hard to remember what actually triggered a puzzle. In this case, I think I was pondering "crossings," like RR crossings — which didn't seem to have much of a future. But PED looked promising, and here is the result. My serendipity moment came with cluing the center revealer, when I hit on the link between the PEDXINGs being at corners and at corner locations in the puzzle. It was submitted in August of 2013.

Will made a slight grid change. I'd submitted the puzzle with INTEL at 31D and SCADS at 32D. And not surprisingly, he changed a fair number of clues. I usually balk at too-obvious gimmes (like Will's "Where China and India are" for ASIA at 14A), so my clues probably tend toward Tuesdayish. I'll try to mend my ways with future submissions.

My only quibble with a clue change is for SALE at 58D. As I write this the week before Christmas with sale inserts spilling out of the paper, "Post-Christmas store event" just doesn't seem quite on target.

For all of you devotees who keep us constructors in business, here's to a 2015 full of great puzzling!

Jeff Chen notes: Nice start to the week from Lynn, featuring four PED XINGs, literally the PED trio of letters crossing in four corners (as ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Nice start to the week from Lynn, featuring four PED XINGs, literally the PED trio of letters crossing in four corners (as highlighted below; so nicely symmetrical!). Fun to have the theme be opaque until hitting that revealer.

I liked the touch of having most of the PEDs be part of long answers, and a few of them related to PED XINGs — I pictured a driver hitting the BRAKE PEDAL upon coming to a PED XING sign. (SPED AWAY … well, we won't go there.) SHARP EDGE and PIPE DREAM are both strong phrases in their own right, and they do a fine job of hiding their respective PEDS.

The grid is nice and clean, too, just an ERGS and an ESO in the liabilities column. It's a nice balance for a Monday puzzle; some sparkle but also smooth as silk.

I might personally have liked a little more ambition in the theme execution, though. I appreciated the long phrases hiding the PEDs — such nice NW and SE corners!) — and I might have given this the POW if all eight of the phrases hiding PED were as long and colorful as PIPE DREAM. Given that PEDXING takes up important real estate in the middle of the grid, that would have been really tough, forcing all sorts of extra constraints, with quite a bit of overlap/interlock between themers. (Maybe a set of themers intersecting PED XING, for example?) This would have almost definitely caused more compromises, but I think the extra snazz could have been worth it. I don't mind a handful of liabilities if I can get more pizzazz.

Finally, loved the clue for SNIT, a playful one simple enough for novice solvers to comprehend and appreciate. [Pique performance?] = a wonderful repurposing of "peak performance." Great to see that type of wordplay in an early-week puzzle.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1222 ( 23,785 )
Across Down
1. Slur over, as a syllable : ELIDE
6. ___ David (presidential retreat) : CAMP
10. Boozer's binge : JAG
13. Uncle who told Br'er Rabbit tales : REMUS
14. Where China and India are : ASIA
15. Push's opposite : PULL
16. Stares open-mouthed : GAPES
17. What a whetstone gives a knife : SHARPEDGE
19. Hurriedly left by car : SPEDAWAY
21. Highway divider : MEDIAN
22. Repeated word in "The Banana Boat Song" : DAYO
23. Derrière : REAR
24. Pique performance? : SNIT
26. Jottings : NOTES
29. Write-up on the recently deceased : OBIT
33. Weighty books : TOMES
35. Survey anew : REMAP
37. Genetic stuff : RNA
38. Be behind in bills : OWE
39. Something often seen on a street corner, briefly ... or, literally, something seen in each corner of this puzzle : PEDXING
41. Follower of Mar. : APR
42. Hurried : RAN
43. Fido tormentors : FLEAS
44. Quizzed : ASKED
46. Story set on Mount Olympus, e.g. : MYTH
48. Dadaist Max : ERNST
50. "___, meeny, miney, mo ..." : EENY
51. Ugly Middle-earth creatures : ORCS
53. Gunslinger Wyatt : EARP
55. "Enough!" : STOPIT
58. Panicky onrush : STAMPEDE
62. Wishful fantasy : PIPEDREAM
64. Helpers around the House, say : AIDES
65. Gung-ho : AVID
66. Capri, for one : ISLE
67. Rapscallion : SCAMP
68. Fish eggs : ROE
69. Director Joel or Ethan : COEN
70. Wise man : SOLON
1. Measures of work, in physics : ERGS
2. High jump : LEAP
3. Roadblock : IMPEDIMENT
4. What a pregnant woman or a library book has : DUEDATE
5. Op-ed piece, e.g. : ESSAY
6. Hidalgo home : CASA
7. Like a post-volcanic landscape : ASHY
8. Hamm in the National Soccer Hall of Fame : MIA
9. Cheese to sprinkle on spaghetti : PARMESAN
10. Dame Dench : JUDI
11. Simple aquatic plant : ALGA
12. Narrow valley : GLEN
15. Martinez with three Cy Young Awards : PEDRO
18. Split-___ soup : PEA
20. Got the gold : WON
23. Neglectful : REMISS
24. Attack violently, as a fortress : STORM
25. "Can't be done!" : NOWAY
27. Buys on Amazon, say : ORDERS
28. Lyndon Johnson or George W. Bush : TEXAN
30. It may bring you to a screeching halt : BRAKEPEDAL
31. How many forms are filled out : INPEN
32. Late : TARDY
34. Beach lotion letters : SPF
36. Links org. : PGA
40. Thrilling : ELECTRIC
45. Title cop played by Al Pacino in 1973 : SERPICO
47. Had aspirations : HOPED
49. Lipton product : TEA
52. Free (of) : RID
54. Gather : AMASS
55. Practice boxing : SPAR
56. Recorder for couch potatoes : TIVO
57. Mayberry boy : OPIE
58. Post-Christmas store event : SALE
59. Feds who catch counterfeiters : TMEN
60. Floor model, often : DEMO
61. Channel with many game highlights : ESPN
63. That: Sp. : ESO

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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