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New York Times, Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 219 for Ms. Gorski. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jeff Chen notes: My wife and I are obsessed with 'The Great British Bake-Off,' so I enjoyed this puzzle. There's something so soothing, so comforting ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

My wife and I are obsessed with "The Great British Bake-Off," so I enjoyed this puzzle. There's something so soothing, so comforting about seeing people create pieces of art, and seeing the judges take such care to be both tactful and supportive in their constructive criticism. It's neat to see contestants flourish in that environment.

I've had this strange craving for tea and crumpets for ages now ...

I particularly enjoyed the topmost of the LAYER / CAKES, the imagery of a CHEESEcake atop a layer of MARBLE cake = mouth-watering. And a CARROT cake layered on a SPONGE cake? I'd try that too.

A PATTY (cake) sandwiched in between a CRUMB cake and a SHEET cake, though? I can't decide which is more disturbing, the idea of a hamburger PATTY inside cake, or the inconsistency of having a sole PATTY cake which is not an actual cake like the others.

Whenever you stack two or more entries, you're bound to need a little crossword to hold things together. The bottom stack for example has CRO (prefix), ERN (suffix) and ETE (crosswordy bit of French). That's passable, but not ideal.

I've found that filling a section like this can actually be easier by expanding it. Counterintuitive, right? Turns out that a little 6x3 section has such little flexibility, that you can't really play around much. If that area had been 6x4, ETE could be BETE, FETE, PETE, etc. Then you can further play around with the EOCENE slot.

I did like Liz's work in the middle — any sort of triple-stack is tough, no matter how short the words are. Liz does very well to escape with just the awkward plural PCPS. I'd bet she tried all sorts of combinations there, even cycling in ANGEL, CREAM, FRUIT, POUND, SPICE, etc. in an effort to create clean crossings. It's just too bad that PATTY is such an outlier.

If you haven't tried GBBO, you're in for a treat. The peace and delightful calm I get from watching that show is similar to that which I get from doing Liz's generally delightful puzzles.

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0223 ( 24,213 )
Across Down
1. It's often said with a smile : CHEESE
7. Madrid-to-Lisbon dir. : WSW
10. Black & Decker competitor : SKIL
14. Medium for Michelangelo : MARBLE
15. Characters on a wanted poster : AKA
16. Bone parallel to the radius : ULNA
17. Remove from practice : DISBAR
18. Loved, as archaeological work? : DUG
19. Forbid : DENY
20. "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" blonde : LORELEI
23. Word with cream or cutie : PIE
24. Volley : SALVO
28. Inquires about : ASKSAFTER
30. Come out on top : TRIUMPH
32. Call on a dairy farm : MOO
33. Non-pro? : ANTI
34. Tiniest leftover : CRUMB
38. Ones watching their plates? : UMPS
41. 2012 election name : MITT
42. One of two in a Big Mac : PATTY
43. ___ land : LALA
44. Bombard : PELT
45. Makeshift ghost costume : SHEET
46. One for Caesar? : UNUM
47. Countless centuries : EON
49. Bowling : TENPINS
51. Pink shade : CARNATION
56. One terminus of a Japanese bullet train : OSAKA
57. Former ember : ASH
58. Aids for some urban commuters : BUSMAPS
60. Evil "Get Smart" group : KAOS
62. Office PC setup : LAN
63. Epoch when modern mammals arose : EOCENE
68. It's a small whirl after all : EDDY
69. Sundial three : III
70. Stick : punishment :: ___ : reward : CARROT
71. Simon ___ : SAYS
72. BlackBerry, e.g., briefly : PDA
73. Freeloader : SPONGE
1. Military authority: Abbr. : CMD
2. Beijing's river basin : HAI
3. Nurse settings, briefly : ERS
4. Flow back : EBB
5. Skiing event with gates : SLALOM
6. Dulles airport designer Saarinen : EERO
7. Goes in up to one's knees, say : WADES
8. Hide in the shadows : SKULK
9. Fights, as war : WAGES
10. Direction opposite nord : SUD
11. Problem with lifting? : KLEPTOMANIA
12. Belly button type : INNIE
13. With 51-Down, description of the shaded answers? : LAYER
21. Enthusiastic : RAHRAH
22. Sam-___ (Seuss character) : IAM
24. Passport certification : STAMP
25. Golfer Palmer, informally : ARNIE
26. Another nickname for the Ocean State : LITTLERHODY
27. Big name in luxury bags : VUITTON
29. Bunglings : FOULUPS
31. H.M.O. doctor designations : PCPS
35. Southwest Indian : UTE
36. Virgil described its eruption in the "Aeneid" : MTETNA
37. Tiny storage unit : BYTE
39. Drop heavily : PLUNK
40. "The Metamorphosis" protagonist : SAMSA
48. Slap handcuffs on : NAB
50. "Can't do it" : NOSOAP
51. See 13-Down : CAKES
52. Carne ___ (Mexican restaurant order) : ASADA
53. Black flower in a Dumas title : TULIP
54. "Let me repeat ..." : ISAID
55. In ___ paratus (ready for anything) : OMNIA
59. Muscles above the abs : PECS
61. Part of DOS: Abbr. : SYS
64. ___-Magnon man : CRO
65. Suffix with north : ERN
66. Nutmeg-topped drink : NOG
67. Summer on the Seine : ETE

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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