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New York Times, Thursday, December 29, 2016

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

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQZ} This is puzzle # 27 for Mr. Choset. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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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. ... more
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 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 ... more
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 … 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
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A
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 1229 ( 24,523 )
Across Down
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
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.

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