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New York Times, Thursday, December 29, 2016

Author:
Kevan Choset
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
279/30/200312/29/20163
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22105701
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53520
Kevan Choset

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 27 for Mr. Choset. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kevan Choset notes:
This puzzle's been through several iterations over a few years and started when I was randomly on Prince Charles's Wiki page. (Many of ... read more

This puzzle's been through several iterations over a few years and started when I was randomly on Prince Charles's Wiki page. (Many of my puzzles start from the rabbit hole that is Wikipedia.) I was surprised and amused that he has so many titles, so figured they'd make a slightly educational theme. Early versions of the puzzle had CHARLES as a revealer in the center, but then when the CH in CHESTER jumped out at me, I realized that I could spell the full word using his titles. I also tried to keep PRINCE OF WALES for the lowest location in the grid and DUKE OF CORNWALL for second-to-last, on the assumption that those would be the ones most familiar to the average solver.

Jeff Chen notes:
Who knew Prince CHARLES had so many titles? The PRINCE OF WALES, yes, but how cool to be the DUKE OF CORNWALL. And the EARL OF ... read more

Who knew Prince CHARLES had so many titles? The PRINCE OF WALES, yes, but how cool to be the DUKE OF CORNWALL. And the EARL OF … CHESTER? The BARON OF … RENFREW? Huh. You'd think that being a prince and all would allow you to make up your own titles. LORD HIGH MAGE OF THE HOLY BRIGADE ... I call that one!

Pretty cool that all the letters in CHARLES's name can be found — in order — in these four titles, and that the titles just happen to exhibit crossword symmetry It's almost like the British had planned all this out several centuries ago, waiting for just this moment. Ba-bam! *mic drop* (Or, scepter drop. Whatever it is that the British royalty does.)

Note how little flexibility Kevan had in placing his themers. EARL OF CHESTER and PRINCE OF WALES are 13 letters apiece, what constructors call an "unfortunate length." That's because they can't be placed in rows 3/13 like usual — those black squares at the end create problems — so they must be squished into rows 4/12, taking away flexibility by reducing spacing.

Note then how tricky it is to fill between/around EARL OF CHESTER and BARON OF RENFREW, given how close together they are. Same goes for DUKE OF CORNWALL and PRINCE OF WALES. Not a surprise that the northwest and south regions — both need a lot of entries crossing two closely-packed themers — are the roughest. To kick off the puzzle with ENGR and ECOL in one section wasn't great, but sometimes these things happen, and both are relatively minor.

It was all reasonably smooth, though, until I hit KNIFERS. Oof, one of those -ER-added, tinny-sounding entries. And then to get APERS crossing it felt even more inelegant. (RAVER ... I think that is a thing.)

There were a few tough entries like ALECTO, one of the Fates, and TABOR, the type of drum, but I like seeing some new words and vocabulary on a Thursday. (Just as long as they are crossworthy, which I feel strongly that these are.)

Three of the titles were mystifying for me, but it was a nice CH A R L E S find.

1
E
2
N
3
G
4
R
5
T
6
A
7
B
8
O
9
R
10
I
11
T
12
C
13
H
14
P
O
L
O
15
I
L
L
G
O
16
T
E
R
I
17
E
C
O
L
18
F
E
A
R
S
19
S
A
Y
S
20
E
A
R
L
21
O
F
C
H
E
S
22
T
E
R
23
S
R
I
24
B
A
T
25
S
O
L
D
26
T
27
O
28
B
A
29
R
O
N
O
30
F
31
R
E
N
F
R
E
W
32
U
E
Y
33
R
I
A
S
34
O
R
E
35
R
36
A
37
B
E
38
B
O
P
39
R
P
M
S
40
E
L
I
41
T
42
O
B
Y
43
K
44
F
C
45
D
U
K
46
E
O
F
C
O
47
R
N
W
A
48
L
49
L
50
O
M
E
A
R
A
51
I
I
I
52
A
I
53
X
54
P
R
I
N
55
C
56
E
O
F
W
57
A
L
E
S
58
P
59
L
A
N
60
E
L
A
T
E
61
F
A
S
O
62
T
A
T
E
63
R
A
V
E
R
64
A
L
O
U
65
A
D
H
D
66
A
P
E
R
S
67
R
A
N
T
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1229 ( 24,523 )
Across
1
Many a SpaceX worker: Abbr. : ENGR
5
Small drum : TABOR
10
Yearning : ITCH
14
See 16-Across : POLO
15
"Send me" : ILLGO
16
With 14-Across, "Meet the Parents" co-star : TERI
17
Climate change subj. : ECOL
18
Being in the dark, maybe, and others : FEARS
19
"Goes" : SAYS
20
One title for this puzzle's subject, spelled in order by the circled letters : EARLOFCHESTER
23
Foreign title of address : SRI
24
Club : BAT
25
Unloaded on : SOLDTO
28
Another title for this puzzle's subject : BARONOFRENFREW
32
180 : UEY
33
Narrow estuaries : RIAS
34
Material in the game Minecraft : ORE
35
Broccoli ___ : RABE
38
Jazz with rapid chord changes : BOP
39
Turntable speeds, briefly : RPMS
40
Crimson rival : ELI
41
___ Ziegler, Richard Schiff's Emmy-winning role on "The West Wing" : TOBY
43
Colonel's chain : KFC
45
Another title for this puzzle's subject : DUKEOFCORNWALL
50
1998 Masters champion Mark : OMEARA
51
The last "Back to the Future" : III
52
___-en-Provence : AIX
54
Another title for this puzzle's subject : PRINCEOFWALES
58
A is the best one : PLAN
60
Gladden : ELATE
61
Burkina ___ (African land) : FASO
62
English poet laureate Nahum : TATE
63
Many a techno concert attendee : RAVER
64
Baseball's Felipe : ALOU
65
Adderall target, briefly : ADHD
66
Copycats : APERS
67
Many a one-star Yelp review : RANT
Down
1
Relatives of sabers : EPEES
2
Like some extreme diets : NOCARB
3
Stepmom of Mitchell and Claire on "Modern Family" : GLORIA
4
Sushi plate item : ROLL
5
Younger Trump daughter : TIFFANY
6
One of the Furies : ALECTO
7
Boring : BLAH
8
Grendel in "Beowulf," e.g. : OGRE
9
Antarctic waters : ROSSSEA
10
The "ipso" in ipso facto : ITSELF
11
Common pendant shape : TEARDROP
12
Show happiness or sadness, say : CRY
13
Word on a towel : HIS
21
High wind : OBOE
22
A lot : TONS
26
Semester, e.g. : TERM
27
Has a mortgage, say : OWES
29
Regret : RUE
30
Often-swirled food, informally : FROYO
31
Halloween decoration letters : RIP
35
Control+Y on a PC or Command+Y on a Mac : REDO
36
Many a college interviewer, in brief : ALUM
37
One may run through a park : BIKEPATH
38
"Sherlock" airer : BBC
39
Record label for Miley Cyrus and Pitbull : RCA
41
Doughnuts, in topology : TORI
42
Tied to a particular time : OFANERA
43
Certain assailants : KNIFERS
44
Qualifier in texts : FWIW
46
Made : EARNED
47
Disturber of the peace : RIOTER
48
Fingers-in-ears sounds : LALALA
49
Rests atop : LIESON
53
Deletes : XSOUT
55
Show one's appreciation, in a way : CLAP
56
Wasp's nest site : EAVE
57
In the distance : AFAR
58
Educ. supporter : PTA
59
Little guy : LAD

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?