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New York Times, Friday, December 6, 2013

Author: Elizabeth C. Gorski
Editor: Will Shortz
Elizabeth C. Gorski
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2197/31/19952/23/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
6716363439243
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.5430225

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 32 Missing: {QVZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 208 for Ms. Gorski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Will Shortz notes: HARAJUKU GIRLS (51A) were new to me ... but I like the phrase. Other favorite entries here include CREAM AND SUGAR, GLORY BE, TOO BAD, CELINE DION, TUNA ROLL, GOOF ON, and TILT-A-WHIRL.
Jeff Chen notes: What a treat to get a themeless puzzle from the Sunday master! More often than not, themeless constructors use triple-stacks of 9's, ... more
Jeff Chen notes: What a treat to get a themeless puzzle from the Sunday master! More often than not, themeless constructors use triple-stacks of 9's, 10's, or 11's in the four corners, but Liz throws that all out to feature two 13's and a 15.

Not many people do this because it's tough to work 13's into a themeless, seeing as how they quickly constrain the grid. Note those two black squares at the end of CREAM AND SUGAR and at the beginning of HARAJUKU GIRLS: they're stinkers. Dirty rotten stinkers! Typically it's best to retain maximum flexibility in your black square placement in case you run into problems (or opportunities), but fixing four squares in this way ties you down right off the bat. There's a good reason why you don't see a lot of 13s in themeless grids.

But Liz does well to work around them, incorporating all sorts of good stuff. GLORY BE is a great answer, and STORYBOARD has a great clue. TILT A WHIRL sure makes a nice cross to HARAJUKU GIRLS. I like that the long answers are in little pockets rather than stuffed in the corners like usual. Nice change of pace.

I had a very hard time with HARAJUKU GIRLS, mostly because I used to do a lot of work in Japan when I was a mechanical engineer. We had clients in Shinjuku, so that word stuck in my mind. Rats! HARAJUKU GIRLS is one of those fun terms which I'm glad to have learned (although man oh man some of those "fashion" choices are highly questionable), and extra glad that all the crosses were easy for me. Woe to the solver who hasn't had a KIR Royale before though.

And as usual, there's a smattering of crosswordese to hold the puzzle together, the AGENA, SNEE, APAR kind of stuff. Speaking of the short stuff, what makes this type of grid a little more difficult to "wow" with is that it starts off with a lot of short across answers, placing a less-than-ideal first impression in one's memory. It's not really fair, but by now I'm so used to themelesses starting off with a stack of long feature answers.

A lot of great stuff, with a perspective in gridwork and clues different from any other constructor. Love the variety. Hope to see more themelesses from Liz!

1
B
2
A
3
M
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9
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© 2013, The New York TimesNo. 1206 ( 23,404 )
Across Down
1. Innocent one : BAMBI
6. Short shift? : MINI
10. Judgmental clucks : TSKS
14. Influential style of the 1960s : OPART
15. Au courant about : UPON
16. Home of Sunset and Paradise : UTAH
17. Pitching staff work areas : SALESROOMS
19. Plea opener : NOLO
20. Coffee order : CREAMANDSUGAR
22. Theology inst. : SEM
23. "Praise the Lord!" : GLORYBE
26. "Stanley & Iris" director Martin : RITT
29. A bit of cheer? : RAH
32. "Aw, sorry about that ..." : TOOBAD
33. Here, to Henri : ICI
34. B, to scientists : BORON
36. Untwisted silk fibers : FLOSS
37. Ganache ingredient : MELTEDCHOCOLATE
40. Brisbane buddies : MATES
41. Country that split in two in 2011 : SUDAN
42. 22-Across subj. : REL
43. Puts on a pedestal : EXALTS
45. Door sign : MEN
46. Combines : ADDS
47. Cold war defense system : DEWLINE
49. Semi part : CAB
51. Dancers known for their Japanese street-style wardrobe : HARAJUKUGIRLS
57. Water bearer : PAIL
59. Singer whose first top 10 hit was "Where Does My Heart Beat Now" : CELINEDION
60. In Australia her name is Karen : SIRI
61. 1980s Chrysler offering : KCAR
62. Harper Lee's given name : NELLE
63. Castaway's spot : ISLE
64. Amtrak stops: Abbr. : STNS
65. "Skyfall" singer : ADELE
1. "The aristocrat of pears" : BOSC
2. On ___ with : APAR
3. Like one end of an electric cord : MALE
4. Nursing locale : BREAST
5. "Hello, ___" : ITSME
6. Subatomic particle more massive than an electron : MUON
7. Many a museum audio guide : IPOD
8. Chinese menu words : NOMSG
9. Relative of a raspberry : INSULT
10. Sushi order : TUNAROLL
11. Plot device? : STORYBOARD
12. Early "Doctor Who" villain : KAL
13. "Nurse Jackie" channel, for short : SHO
18. Musket loader : RAMROD
21. Make jokes about : GOOFON
24. Like many turkeys : BASTED
25. Collectible cars : EDSELS
26. Encircled : RIMMED
27. Producer of cold cuts? : ICEAXE
28. Carnival ride since 1927 : TILTAWHIRL
30. Ones going in circles? : ARCS
31. [Zzzzz] : HOHUM
34. Get moving : BESTIR
35. Anatomical knot : NODE
38. Prevaricate : TELLALIE
39. Popular spring break locale : CANCUN
44. They may be offered by way of concessions : SNACKS
46. Withstood : ABIDED
48. Deplane in moments : EJECT
50. NASA's Gemini rocket : AGENA
52. ___ Bator : ULAN
53. Wine-and-cassis drinks : KIRS
54. Make angry : RILE
55. Idle : LOLL
56. "The Mikado" weapon : SNEE
57. Penultimate Greek letter : PSI
58. Grafton's "___ for Alibi" : AIS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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