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New York Times, Wednesday, December 6, 2017

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

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 ... more
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 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.

JimH 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 Down
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
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: 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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