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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 )
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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