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New York Times, Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Author:
Kyle Dolan
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
105/22/20127/23/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1031122
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60120
Kyle T. Dolan

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JQ} This is puzzle # 6 for Mr. Dolan. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Love this take on word ladders. We've seen so many crosswords with individual rungs of word ladders in the grid, like a recent BLACK ... read more

Love this take on word ladders. We've seen so many crosswords with individual rungs of word ladders in the grid, like a recent BLACK to WHITE one, so Kyle's approach felt fresh. Excellent a-ha moment when I realized that the curious [... SLID SAID SAND SANE SINE NINE ...] clue was the middle of a SLIM to NONE word ladder!

Nice selection of themers, each of them snazzy. I say NOTE TO SELF all the time, in a humorous (or so I think) way, and HERE TO STAY and AMEN TO THAT are great too.

I would have liked a more lasting a-ha moment somehow, as once I got the trick, it was too easy to fill TO into spaces 5-6 of each themer. But it was a strong enough click; an innovative idea that managed to mostly hold my attention even after I got what was happening. Certainly memorable, and that's saying a lot.

I was curious to see how many other themers might work: COME TO PAPA, WENT TO TOWN, DAWN TO DUSK, NUTS TO THAT! Most every pair of four-letter words can be connected via word ladder, although it may have to be a very long word ladder.

Speaking of length of word ladder, check out the 11-word ladder connecting AMEN to THAT! Curious if a shorter one could be generated.

Nice gridwork. Only two feature pieces of fill in REPORT CARD and ANTISEPTIC, but both were solid. And BREXIT, SYNAPSE, O HENRY, added to the quality of solve too.

Not much to report in terms of short fill, which is exactly what you want. Short fill is like a baseball ump — he/she does a great job only when he/she isn't noticed. Some may balk at IBN, but it's a common enough word in Arabic. Minor dab of crossword glue. (BTW, LSU = Louisiana State University if you didn't know.)

I liked the twisty take on word ladders. If the a-ha moment had persisted a bit longer, or if Kyle had managed to work in a couple more long pieces of jazzy fill, this would have been my POW! choice.

1
G
2
I
3
N
4
A
5
B
6
A
7
R
8
B
9
B
10
A
11
L
12
E
13
A
D
O
R
14
E
15
O
V
E
R
16
U
N
I
X
17
S
L
I
M
T
18
O
N
O
N
E
19
S
T
E
P
20
P
E
R
I
S
H
21
N
E
X
22
T
23
I
D
O
24
E
Y
E
25
D
26
G
I
R
27
L
S
28
M
29
A
30
R
S
31
N
O
32
T
E
T
O
S
E
33
L
34
F
35
A
G
E
36
T
R
I
O
37
P
U
P
I
L
38
T
I
P
39
S
Y
N
A
40
P
41
S
E
42
T
M
I
43
C
L
O
44
C
K
45
S
E
T
S
46
I
B
N
47
H
E
R
E
T
48
O
49
S
T
A
Y
50
S
C
O
T
51
T
O
S
C
A
52
K
L
53
U
M
54
R
55
E
C
56
K
E
L
57
P
58
E
D
I
59
C
60
T
61
S
62
A
D
A
63
M
64
A
M
E
65
N
T
O
T
H
A
T
66
Z
E
R
O
67
N
O
D
E
68
N
E
A
T
O
69
E
N
D
S
70
S
N
I
T
71
S
P
E
W
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0222 ( 24,578 )
Across
1
Actress and former mixed martial arts champion Carano : GINA
5
Provocative remark : BARB
9
Seat at a hootenanny : BALE
13
Go crazy for : ADORE
15
Part of an order for eggs : OVER
16
Operating system with many clones : UNIX
17
... SLID SAID SAND SANE SINE NINE ... : SLIMTONONE
19
It may help you get up : STEP
20
"... shall not ___ from the earth": Gettysburg Address : PERISH
21
Call from a counter : NEXT
23
Words often spoken with a hand on the Bible : IDO
24
Visually assessed : EYED
26
Show created by Lena Dunham : GIRLS
28
Where Matt Damon was stranded in a 2015 film : MARS
31
... DOTE DOLE DOLL DELL SELL ... : NOTETOSELF
35
Archaeologist's estimate : AGE
36
Many a chamber piece : TRIO
37
Person at a desk : PUPIL
38
What an insider might offer : TIP
39
Impulse transmission point : SYNAPSE
42
"You've said quite enough!," informally : TMI
43
Something a cellphone can replace : CLOCK
45
6-3, 2-6, 7-6 and others : SETS
46
Part of many Arabic names : IBN
47
... HERD HEAD HEAT SEAT STAT ... : HERETOSTAY
50
Macbeth, e.g. : SCOT
51
Puccini title heroine : TOSCA
52
Heidi of "Project Runway" : KLUM
54
___ department : REC
56
Growth in an underwater "forest" : KELP
58
Things handed down by kings : EDICTS
62
Man exiled from 55-Down : ADAM
64
... OMEN OPEN OPED SPED SHED SHAD SHAM WHAM WHAT ... : AMENTOTHAT
66
Home (in on) : ZERO
67
Lymph ___ : NODE
68
"Sweet!," old-style : NEATO
69
Wraps up : ENDS
70
Fit of pique : SNIT
71
Erupt : SPEW
Down
1
[OMG!] : GASP
2
Not in use : IDLE
3
Genre for the novelist Patricia Highsmith : NOIR
4
Hordes : ARMIES
5
What's always good in Grenoble? : BON
6
Publisher of the old All-True Detective Cases comic books : AVON
7
Fail on a promise : RENEGE
8
Portmanteau in 2016 world news : BREXIT
9
Greyhound runner? : BUS
10
Common bandage additive : ANTISEPTIC
11
Told a tale : LIED
12
Event at a convention center : EXPO
14
Online market for crafts : ETSY
18
Annual writing award : OHENRY
22
Training montages, underdog victories, etc., in sports movies : TROPES
25
Bump off : DOIN
27
The Tigers of the S.E.C. : LSU
28
6-3, 2-6, 7-6, e.g. : MATCH
29
Nimble : AGILE
30
Progress indicator, of a sort : REPORTCARD
32
Wedding dinner speech, often : TOAST
33
Gray area : LIMBO
34
Camper's tool : FLINT
36
"For shame!" : TSKTSK
40
Pinnacle : PEAK
41
Engraver's instrument : STYLET
44
Board hiree, for short : CEO
48
Geographical quintet : OCEANS
49
Catch for a grizzly : SALMON
50
Hits hard : SMITES
53
Japanese noodles : UDON
54
Demolish : RAZE
55
See 62-Across : EDEN
57
Spa treatment, informally : PEDI
59
Bloke : CHAP
60
Museum near Westminster Abbey : TATE
61
Put away : STOW
63
Rapper ___ Def : MOS
65
Lepidopterist's aid : NET

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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