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New York Times, Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Author:
Clive Probert
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
57/1/201012/6/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1003100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.65000
Clive Probert

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JKQVWYZ} This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Probert. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Stunt puzzle, every entry containing the letter M. We've seen plenty of these before, some with better raisons d'être than ... read more

Stunt puzzle, every entry containing the letter M. We've seen plenty of these before, some with better raisons d'être than others. M AND M was meant to hint at the idea? I got confused. There's just one M in most entries, right? Why is M AND M apt?

Aha, every clue starts with the letter M too. Perhaps that's our second M? It's a mark of smoothness in the cluing that I didn't notice this right away — often, it's too easy to tell when clues are stunted up because many of them sound stilted. There was only one that gave me pause: I remember thinking that MODULES and [Mathematical sets] didn't quite match. Why not just clue it as [Sets]? Ah, right. The telltale M!

As with most stunt puzzles of this nature, there's a good amount of crossword glue — stuff that editors tell you to avoid, like abbreviations, partials, deep esoterica, etc. — to wade through. I stopped counting after I hit 10. For reference, I stop thinking a grid is elegantly crafted after I hit about 3.

That doesn't mean it's a bad puzzle or a bad grid. It's just the price you pay as a constructor for being able to achieve the feat. So much of construction is about trade-offs, what you're willing to put solvers through in order to pull off your idea.

I did like some of the long entries, ALMA MATER, METRONOME, ANGSTROM, and MOMENTUM in particular. But overall, it wasn't quite enough for me to feel like all the trade-offs were worth it.

I did enjoy the moment of clarity when I realized why M AND M was a good(ish) themer though, and there was a lot of solid work in cluing, making all the M-starts sound innocently natural.

Jim Horne notes:

46 Ms is a record. In 2010, Mr. Probert tried the same trick with the letter B.

1
E
2
M
3
M
4
A
5
F
6
I
7
R
8
M
9
M
10
A
11
I
12
D
13
M
A
N
N
14
O
C
C
A
15
M
16
A
C
M
E
17
M
P
E
G
18
R
A
M
B
O
19
D
A
M
E
20
E
L
M
S
21
U
M
P
22
D
23
I
A
D
E
M
24
T
E
E
T
25
I
M
E
26
H
U
M
M
E
D
27
R
M
S
28
M
O
L
E
29
M
I
30
A
31
S
32
A
33
M
O
S
34
M
A
M
E
T
35
I
A
M
36
E
L
E
M
37
M
A
N
E
S
38
M
E
T
E
39
A
M
T
40
M
E
N
D
S
41
M
O
S
E
S
42
M
A
R
43
E
D
O
M
44
S
U
M
45
M
O
46
H
A
I
R
47
L
I
M
E
48
A
49
D
50
E
51
M
A
N
I
L
A
52
D
I
M
53
N
M
E
X
54
A
T
O
M
55
N
56
A
O
M
I
57
T
A
M
A
58
N
E
M
O
59
S
I
M
B
A
60
U
N
U
M
61
O
R
E
M
62
M
O
O
N
63
M
A
R
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 1206 ( 24,865 )

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Across
1
Miss Woodhouse, in literature : EMMA
5
Mattress description : FIRM
9
Marian, in Robin Hood legend : MAID
13
Manfred ___ (1960s band) : MANN
14
Medieval philosopher with a "razor" : OCCAM
16
Maker of outlandish products in Road Runner cartoons : ACME
17
Multimedia file format : MPEG
18
Macho stereotype : RAMBO
19
Maggie Smith, for one : DAME
20
Majestic trees : ELMS
21
Much-maligned official : UMP
22
Monarch's headband : DIADEM
24
Meeting info for golfers : TEETIME
26
Made music on a comb : HUMMED
27
Motel units: Abbr. : RMS
28
MI6 concern : MOLE
29
"Mamma ___!" : MIA
31
Member of the ancient Ionian League : SAMOS
34
Movie, play and book writer David : MAMET
35
Michelle Pfeiffer film "___ Sam" : IAM
36
Molybdenum, for one: Abbr. : ELEM
37
Mares' hair : MANES
38
Measure (out) : METE
39
Milliliter, e.g.: Abbr. : AMT
40
Makes repairs on : MENDS
41
Mount Sinai climber : MOSES
42
Mo. with St. Patrick's Day : MAR
43
Moab's neighbor, in the Bible : EDOM
44
Math calculation : SUM
45
Material from Angora goats : MOHAIR
47
Mouth-puckering drink : LIMEADE
51
Muhammad Ali fight site : MANILA
52
Muted, as lights : DIM
53
Mountainous state: Abbr. : NMEX
54
Molecular unit : ATOM
55
Model Campbell : NAOMI
57
"Memoir of Glamour and Dysfunction" writer Janowitz : TAMA
58
Marlin's son, in a Pixar movie : NEMO
59
Matthew Broderick voice role : SIMBA
60
Motto word on the Great Seal : UNUM
61
Mini-metropolis in Utah : OREM
62
Man in the ___ : MOON
63
Mount Olympus, at 72,000 feet, is its highest peak : MARS
Down
1
M. ___ Walsh, actor in "Blade Runner" : EMMET
2
Makers of cabinets and violins use it : MAPLE
3
Muse of memory : MNEME
4
Minute length : ANGSTROM
5
Meeting places : FORUMS
6
Meaning of Caesar's "Veni" : ICAME
7
Maintainer of law and order north of the U.S. : RCMP
8
Midwife to the fairies, in Shakespeare : MAB
9
Manager of a house : MADAM
10
Military schools : ACADEMIES
11
Most direct : IMMEDIATE
12
Make the judgment to be : DEEM
15
Mathematical sets : MODULES
23
Multi-Emmy-winning "How ___ Your Mother" : IMET
25
Modern communications of a sort, in brief : IMS
26
Mansions, for some : HOMES
28
"Melts in your mouth" candy : MANDM
30
Midwest college town : AMES
31
Mining find : SEAM
32
Michigan State, for a Spartans alumnus : ALMAMATER
33
Musician's tempo keeper : METRONOME
34
Main house on an estate : MANOR
37
Mean relatives? : MEDIANS
38
Motion creates it : MOMENTUM
40
More than a snack : MEAL
41
Mother's Day flower, in Australia : MUM
44
Monkey, for one : SIMIAN
46
Message on a sign at a televised game : HIMOM
47
Middle state : LIMBO
48
Microwave brand : AMANA
49
Make bones about something : DEMUR
50
Midterms, e.g. : EXAMS
51
Mexican's hand : MANO
52
Major-___ : DOMO
56
Marksman's skill : AIM

Answer summary:

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