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New York Times, Friday, February 26, 2016

Author:
Paula Gamache
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1085/21/20021/14/20184
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
81318151217619
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
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 The ALAMODOME feels outdated now and SIT AT HOME a bit dull (like sitting at home?), so the corners didn't do nearly as much for me as the middle.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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