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New York Times, Friday, February 26, 2016

Author:
Paula Gamache
Editor:
Will Shortz
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1085/21/20021/14/20184
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81318151217619
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1.58431
Paula Gamache

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 66, Blocks: 30 Missing: {QZ} This is puzzle # 102 for Ms. Gamache. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I loved that middle swath running down the diagonal. SO much great material packed into a small region! BE PATIENT, ESCAPE KEY, JET ... read more

I loved that middle swath running down the diagonal. SO much great material packed into a small region! BE PATIENT, ESCAPE KEY, JET SKIS, BETWEEN US …, PEN SETS, CUT TIME, even the odd but neat GUM WEED = such a snazzy solve! And I didn't even include the curious PA BARKER, which I had to spend some time on to figure out if it was ludicrous or awesome. (Still undecided.) I can't remember seeing a swath so beautiful.

No Asians at the Oscars this year yet again, OH what a surprise (sigh)

This arrangement does make for a sectioned-off feel though, the two corners nearly cut off from the middle. But I do understand why Paula might have chosen to go with it — you can almost fill the middle independently of the corners, which makes a constructor's job so much easier. And when it allows you to make a middle swath that juicy, it can be worth it.

I also loved POMPOUS ASS and SURE YOU ARE (dripping with sarcasm). The ALAMODOME feels outdated now and SIT AT HOME a bit dull (like sitting at home?), so the corners didn't do nearly as much for me as the middle. Additionally, those isolated black squares create EMP and RES and BOA and UHS. Three gluey bits out of four ...

Speaking of short answers, I don't mind a few dabs of crossword glue here or there, but I think it's much better if they come from different categories. Getting UHS, BAHS, and TATAS makes all three of them stick out, as does having three legal terms in RES, JURIS, and NISI. As a solver, that sort of concentration draws attention to these otherwise minor flaws.

Glad to see SANDRA OH get her NYT crossword debut. As much as I enjoy seeing Asians in my puzzle, my first reaction was to wonder if she was indeed crossworthy. But then I remembered how much work she's done throughout the years, having some really big roles. I particularly enjoyed her in "Sideways." So thumbs up!

Such a beautiful middle swath, that solve more than delightful enough to make up for a few blips.

1
C
2
A
3
P
4
E
5
F
6
E
7
A
8
R
9
N
10
E
11
W
12
T
13
O
14
Y
15
A
L
O
E
L
A
C
E
16
O
X
H
I
D
E
17
V
A
M
O
O
S
E
D
18
T
A
I
L
O
R
19
E
M
P
20
R
E
S
21
G
O
M
P
E
R
S
22
B
O
O
23
M
E
D
24
J
U
R
I
S
25
A
D
U
L
T
26
G
E
M
I
N
I
27
S
28
T
O
S
S
29
B
E
T
W
E
E
N
U
30
S
31
S
M
A
32
P
E
N
S
E
T
S
33
R
I
34
G
35
E
S
36
C
A
P
E
K
E
Y
37
F
E
T
A
38
S
U
B
A
R
I
D
39
L
O
Y
A
L
40
T
A
T
A
S
41
R
O
B
O
T
O
42
N
43
O
44
S
T
R
I
L
45
B
O
A
46
U
H
S
47
I
M
L
I
K
E
48
S
A
N
D
49
R
A
O
H
50
S
E
A
M
E
N
51
O
H
D
E
A
R
M
E
52
I
N
V
E
R
T
53
U
S
E
R
F
E
E
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0226 ( 24,216 )
Across
1. 1991 Scorsese/De Niro collaboration : CAPEFEAR
9. Something exciting to play with : NEWTOY
15. Fragile fabric made from certain plant fibers : ALOELACE
16. Tough leather : OXHIDE
17. Amscrayed : VAMOOSED
18. One getting lots of take-out orders? : TAILOR
19. Edward VII or VIII, in India: Abbr. : EMP
20. ___ nullius (no one's property) : RES
21. Pioneering labor leader Samuel : GOMPERS
22. Was suddenly successful : BOOMED
24. Nullius ___ (of no legal force) : JURIS
25. Like NSFW links : ADULT
26. Kennedy and Bush 41, but no other U.S. presidents : GEMINIS
28. Chuck : TOSS
29. "Mum's the word" : BETWEENUS
31. Little, in Lockerbie : SMA
32. Cross collections, e.g. : PENSETS
33. Roughneck's workplace : RIG
35. It's in the far northwest : ESCAPEKEY
37. Product of Greek culture? : FETA
38. Moderately dry : SUBARID
39. True : LOYAL
40. Splitting words : TATAS
41. "Mr. ___" (Styx hit) : ROBOTO
42. Blow hole? : NOSTRIL
45. Winner's prize on "RuPaul's Drag U" : BOA
46. Gap fillers, of sorts : UHS
47. "My response was ...," informally : IMLIKE
48. "Grey's Anatomy" actress with five straight Emmy nominations : SANDRAOH
50. Hands on deck : SEAMEN
51. Hand wringer's cry : OHDEARME
52. Flip : INVERT
53. Bridge tolls, e.g. : USERFEES
Down
1. They might spook spelunkers : CAVEBATS
2. Where the San Antonio Spurs used to play : ALAMODOME
3. Blowhard : POMPOUSASS
4. Job ad inits. : EEO
5. Broccoli bit : FLORET
6. Like pain after treatment, often : EASED
7. Nails : ACES
8. Stop sign? : RED
9. Unwanted attention : NOTORIETY
10. Checks out : EXAMINES
11. Adds with a whisk : WHIPSIN
12. Makeshift coaster, maybe : TILE
13. Reason to hold your nose : ODOR
14. Gen ___ (millennials) : YERS
21. Yellow-flowered plant producing a sticky resin : GUMWEED
23. Chicago Fire's sports org. : MLS
24. Noisy recreation vehicles : JETSKIS
26. Blanket : GENERAL
27. "Uh-huh, I believe THAT" : SUREYOUARE
29. "Hold your horses" : BEPATIENT
30. Forgo a night out : SITATHOME
32. His wife and sons were Depression-era criminals : PABARKER
34. Couple taken out on a rainy day : GALOSHES
36. 2/2, to Toscanini : CUTTIME
37. Key-ring ornament : FOB
39. Demolition cleanup machine : LOADER
41. ___ Barber, five-time Pro Bowler from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers : RONDE
42. Like some legal decrees : NISI
43. Owl's hoot, to some : OMEN
44. Pomeranian, e.g. : SLAV
45. Cross words : BAHS
48. Trifle : SOU
49. Org. in the gulf war's Operation Granby : RAF

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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