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New York Times, Friday, December 26, 2014

Author:
Patrick Berry
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2297/11/199911/4/20182
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
741241679512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980
Patrick Berry

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 30 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 192 for Mr. Berry. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Ah, such a pleasure to see Patrick's name on a byline, indicating that I'm in for 15-20 minutes of an awesome PBJ (Patrick Berry Jam). ... read more

Ah, such a pleasure to see Patrick's name on a byline, indicating that I'm in for 15-20 minutes of an awesome PBJ (Patrick Berry Jam). It's also really neat that he's continually shaping, experimenting, trying new things with 66-70 word grids, introducing new patterns which will undoubtedly be copied by lesser mortals such as myself.

There's quite a bit of strong material here, highlighted by a quartet of nice long entries. 14s are notoriously hard to build around, and given that both of them are new to the NYT xw, I bet Patrick started by placing these two bad boys and arranging black squares from there. Most people would try to separate two 14s with more than just a single row — that wide open center is daunting as it is. To get the 14s strung through it all is an audacious undertaking.

The STEN

It's interesting to me that PB takes more risks in this puzzle than usual. That center section is really nice with the SOFT SCIENCES and GRAMOPHONES running through everything as well. But I was a bit surprised to uncover the STEN gun, a piece of glue usually to be avoided. And then finding the odd duck, LONGIES … some trade-offs involved. Still, I applaud the master's desire to try something extremely challenging.

Similarly, it was great to see the three Xs, not something PB usually aims for in his puzzles. A great success in this regard, as they were all integrated so seamlessly. Love the striving for more Scrabbly goodness.

Usually PB's themeless flow so beautifully, but I felt like this one didn't quite do that, as the NW and SE were more sectioned off than desirable. It does allow the constructors to work on each piece individually, a huge boon, but it also can leave the solver stranded in an individual chunk.

Another aspect I've come to expect from the PB themeless is great cluing. The clue on WINE was a fantastic use of a fun quote, for example. And [Page with many views] pushing the solver to go down the road of a web page? Excellent. I did feel like a few uncharacteristically didn't hit squarely, though. [Letter's capital?] is a nice idea, hinting at a "capital letter," but it wasn't close enough for my taste. Same with [Stand-up guy Dave]. That one had a lot of potential to play on "stand-up guy," but the phrasing felt off.

So perhaps not the usual PBJ today, but I like his pushing of the boundaries.

1
A
2
C
3
T
4
S
5
T
6
U
7
N
8
G
9
S
10
W
11
E
12
P
13
T
14
S
O
R
15
E
L
O
S
E
R
16
C
I
G
A
R
17
I
N
A
M
O
R
A
T
A
18
A
N
G
I
E
19
A
K
I
M
B
O
20
M
21
R
D
E
E
D
S
22
G
E
N
A
23
S
24
H
O
E
S
25
D
O
S
26
O
R
E
27
S
28
L
O
O
P
S
29
M
O
U
E
30
S
E
31
A
T
O
F
T
H
E
32
P
A
N
T
S
33
R
E
N
T
M
O
N
E
Y
34
S
35
A
36
V
I
N
G
S
A
N
D
L
O
37
A
38
N
39
O
P
E
D
40
I
C
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S
T
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N
O
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W
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A
P
T
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V
E
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L
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F
I
V
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P
R
E
47
C
I
S
E
48
H
49
E
R
M
E
S
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B
O
R
A
X
51
N
52
A
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V
Y
S
E
A
L
S
54
O
V
A
T
E
55
C
H
A
P
P
E
L
L
E
56
X
E
N
O
N
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E
A
T
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N
58
S
A
X
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 1226 ( 23,789 )

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Across
1
Take measures : ACT
4
Deeply offended : STUNG
9
Did a little housekeeping : SWEPT
14
One who gets upset twice? : SORELOSER
16
Thick smoke : CIGAR
17
Ladylove : INAMORATA
18
Love ballad from the 1973 album "Goats Head Soup" : ANGIE
19
Way to bear arms : AKIMBO
20
Frank Capra title character : MRDEEDS
22
Oscar nominee Rowlands : GENA
23
They're often underfoot : SHOES
25
Bobs, e.g. : DOS
26
Some slurry stuff : ORE
27
Vessels of the Napoleonic Wars : SLOOPS
29
Silent "ick" : MOUE
30
Based on instinct and guesswork : SEATOFTHEPANTS
33
Letter's capital? : RENTMONEY
34
Thrift : SAVINGSANDLOAN
39
Page with many views : OPED
40
Most treacherous for driving, maybe : ICIEST
41
Trendy : NOW
43
Fitting : APT
44
Hides : VEILS
45
Maximum on a hurricane wind scale : FIVE
46
Detail-oriented : PRECISE
48
Caduceus carrier : HERMES
50
Soft white mineral : BORAX
51
Operation Neptune Spear group : NAVYSEALS
54
Like aspen leaves : OVATE
55
Stand-up guy Dave : CHAPPELLE
56
First inert gas made into a compound : XENON
57
In the pit of one's stomach? : EATEN
58
Instrument in Glenn Miller's "Pennsylvania 6-5000" : SAX
Down
1
Often-grated cheese : ASIAGO
2
Game played by British schoolkids : CONKERS
3
Recent staff addition : TRAINEE
4
Home wrecker? : SLOB
5
John Deere rival : TORO
6
Ryder Cup side : USA
7
URL ending : NET
8
Record holders of old : GRAMOPHONES
9
A whole bunch : SCADS
10
"It makes a man mistake words for thoughts," per Samuel Johnson : WINE
11
Given encouragement : EGGEDON
12
Disbursed : PAIDOUT
13
Head set? : TRESSES
15
Miss Woodhouse of Highbury : EMMA
21
Forwards : RESENDS
23
Psychology or sociology : SOFTSCIENCE
24
Web-based service succeeded by Outlook in 2013 : HOTMAIL
27
Acronymic weapon name : STEN
28
Winter underwear, informally : LONGIES
29
Ingredient in Marie Rose sauce : MAYO
31
Uninteresting : ARID
32
Hide : PELT
34
Something to express views on : SOAPBOX
35
O.K. : APPROVE
36
Longtime : VETERAN
37
Fabled characters? : ANIMALS
38
Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," e.g. : NOVELLA
42
Alfred the Great's kingdom : WESSEX
44
Yuletide team member : VIXEN
45
Not occupied : FREE
47
Punic War agitator : CATO
48
Talk up : HYPE
49
"Outside the Lines" broadcaster : ESPN
52
Sound of a light going on? : AHA
53
Tanyard sight : VAT

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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