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New York Times, Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Author:
Alex Vratsanos
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
166/13/20112/26/20193
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3142213
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60040
Alex Vratsanos

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FQYZ} This is puzzle # 16 for Mr. Vratsanos. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Alex Vratsanos notes:
I came up with this idea in late 2015, being inspired by two prior Tuesdays: May 1, 2007, and November 16, 2010. It struck me that ... read more

I came up with this idea in late 2015, being inspired by two prior Tuesdays: May 1, 2007, and November 16, 2010. It struck me that they both had a "pinwheel" pattern of long answers that did not have anything to do with theme, just to help set up the actual themers, and that they fit the simple "word that comes before/after" theme type. JOINT then struck me as both a description of the 90-degree turn and something with a more definite list of potential themers, and so I set to work on it.

I considered JOINT RESOLUTION in the center, but I wasn't sure how familiar it would be, nor could I think of any meaningful reason for RESOLUTION other than that it would make the revealer 15 letters long. It hit me immediately after trying the revealer in its current form that it would allow for two more themers. As I went along filling and cluing it, I was afraid that not all the joints being hinge joints, like their arrangement seemed to indicate, would be cause for rejection. There is always some such kind of risk that you take whenever you submit a puzzle, though, so I kept going and was thrilled when Will accepted it last May 18.

Thank you, solvers, for taking the time to try this. A puzzle is never truly happy until it is solved by you :-)

P.S. I must give a big shout-out to Tim Croce, who is a very good friend of mine... and, as of February 16, a dad!

Jeff Chen notes:
JOINTs represented in the grid, showing them as they're bent. REEFER, DOOBIE, FATTY, BLUNT … oops! That's something different. ... read more

JOINTs represented in the grid, showing them as they're bent. REEFER, DOOBIE, FATTY, BLUNT … oops! That's something different.

Audacious to use eight JOINTs, plus the revealer. Working around a single bent themer is hard enough, but eight is asking for trouble. I knew I was in for a rough ride when 1-A was [Some foreign river].

Oh wait, was that 10-Down? SOMME foreign river indeed!

But I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn't a flood of crossword glue; more like a splattering. Alex was careful to not have a concentration in any one category — some foreign rivers, outdated names (MINOLTA ICHAT), initialisms (PTL RPI), foreign words (RAITA, KNUT). Something for everyone!

I would have liked something more elegant — perhaps fewer joints, but placed in anatomical order? An example: NECK to SHOULDER to HIP to KNEE to ANKLE. That would have felt more planned, instead of an etude in building up construction skills.

Don't get me wrong — it's a ridiculous feat of construction to work so many JOINTs into a single grid, without using an entire bottle of crossword glue. Heck, there's even RUN A TAB and OAK LEAVES; solid bonuses.

But overall, it felt more like it was done for construction's sake — is this feat possible? — rather than for solver pleasure.

1
E
2
L
3
B
4
E
5
D
6
A
7
N
8
K
9
A
10
S
11
A
12
H
13
I
14
L
I
O
N
15
E
M
I
L
16
B
O
X
U
P
17
M
E
W
S
18
M
A
T
E
19
O
M
E
G
A
20
O
N
E
H
21
O
U
R
22
P
23
A
L
M
24
E
I
R
E
25
T
R
I
E
26
S
27
T
28
E
29
S
30
I
31
S
A
L
32
T
33
R
O
I
S
34
T
I
L
35
K
N
U
T
36
E
T
A
37
S
H
38
O
U
L
D
39
I
N
C
H
40
J
O
I
41
N
T
42
A
C
T
E
43
M
A
K
E
44
M
E
45
T
A
O
46
K
C
A
R
47
P
T
L
48
I
C
49
H
A
T
50
C
L
O
T
S
51
S
E
E
52
I
N
T
O
53
U
54
T
N
E
55
D
O
S
T
56
R
U
N
A
57
T
58
A
59
B
60
K
61
N
62
E
L
L
63
W
64
R
I
T
65
V
A
N
E
66
G
R
E
E
T
67
A
P
S
E
68
E
V
A
C
69
B
A
L
S
A
70
R
I
T
E
71
S
I
L
K
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0226 ( 25,312 )
Across
1
River that formed part of the border between East and West Germany : ELBE
5
Cold and moist, as a cellar : DANK
9
Brewery in the Nikkei 225 : ASAHI
14
MGM symbol : LION
15
Jannings who won the first Best Actor Oscar (1928) : EMIL
16
Put in a crate : BOXUP
17
British term for a row of houses converted from stables : MEWS
18
Chess ending : MATE
19
Ω : OMEGA
20
What's gained or lost with daylight saving time : ONEHOUR
22
What a psychic may read : PALM
24
Dublin's land : EIRE
25
Italian port on the Adriatic Sea : TRIESTE
29
Rope fiber : SISAL
32
Deux + un : TROIS
34
"Open ___ ..." (store sign) : TIL
35
Bronze coin in the Harry Potter books : KNUT
36
Flight board posting, for short : ETA
37
Is obliged to : SHOULD
39
1/12 of a foot : INCH
40
What each set of shaded letters in this puzzle represents : JOINT
42
Entr'___ : ACTE
43
Challenge to a bully : MAKEME
45
Confucian philosophy : TAO
46
Classic Chrysler product : KCAR
47
"The ___ Club" (1970s-'80s televangelist show) : PTL
48
Bygone Apple messenger : ICHAT
50
Coagulates : CLOTS
51
View, as the future : SEEINTO
53
___ Reader : UTNE
55
Biblical verb with "thou" : DOST
56
Not pay for each drink individually, say : RUNATAB
60
Sorrowful bell sound : KNELL
63
Legal order : WRIT
65
Barn topper : VANE
66
Say hello to : GREET
67
Religious setback? : APSE
68
Emergency operation, for short : EVAC
69
Raft-making wood : BALSA
70
Any sacrament : RITE
71
Smooth sheet material : SILK
Down
1
"Tickle me" doll : ELMO
2
Protection for a lender : LIEN
3
Ring champ Riddick : BOWE
4
Cover, as a knife : ENSHEATHE
5
Take exception to something : DEMUR
6
Liqueur whose name is Italian for "a little bitter" : AMARETTO
7
Critical point? : NIT
8
Prefix with -mania : KLEPTO
9
Formally end : ABOLISH
10
French river in fierce W.W. I fighting : SOMME
11
Green Knight's weapon in "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" : AXE
12
What an "O" means in XOXO : HUG
13
Bitter beer, briefly : IPA
21
Shell's industry : OIL
23
Blue-blooded Brit : ARISTO
26
Stone face? : STUCCO
27
Clash with : TILTAT
28
Tribal chiefs, typically : ELDERS
29
Economizes maybe too much : SKIMPS
30
God-given, as abilities : INNATE
31
Nurse, as a newborn : SUCKLE
33
Indian yogurt dip : RAITA
36
Kicks out of the game : EJECTS
38
Cluster around an acorn : OAKLEAVES
41
Believer in nudism : NATURIST
44
Former competitor of Nikon and Canon : MINOLTA
49
Active conflict : HOTWAR
50
Channel founded by Ted Turner : CNN
52
Wastes gas, maybe : IDLES
54
Student with a private teacher : TUTEE
57
Kipling's "Rikki-Tikki-___" : TAVI
58
Obsessive about details : ANAL
59
Partner of call : BECK
60
C.I.A.'s Soviet counterpart : KGB
61
Org. whose monthly magazine advertises magazines : NRA
62
Sushi bar fish : EEL
64
Upstate N.Y. school : RPI

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

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