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New York Times, Friday, February 28, 2014

Author:
Martin Ashwood-Smith
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
866/5/19913/29/201910
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000246416
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.520017
Martin Ashwood-Smith

This puzzle:

Rows: 16, Columns: 15 Words: 73, Blocks: 36 Missing: none – this is a pangram. Spans: 4, (1 quad stack) This is puzzle # 73 for Mr. Ashwood-Smith. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Martin Ashwood-Smith notes:
Who needs indie puzzles with their fancy new phrases and risqué words, when you can get a delightful disease-oriented 15-letter ... read more

Who needs indie puzzles with their fancy new phrases and risqué words, when you can get a delightful disease-oriented 15-letter entry like MALARIA PARASITE in one of my NYT crosswords?

All kidding aside, I was hesitant about sending this puzzle to Will, precisely because of this 15-letter entry. Fortunately (for me), Will didn't seem to have a problem with it, and I hope most solvers feel the same way!

For those interested, here's a slightly earlier version of today's puzzle. I rejected it because I wasn't too wild about having the relatively lacklustre word RECREATIONS crossing the stacked 15s. Also overall I felt the shorter fill words were not as good.

But that's just my opinion... what do you think?

Jeff Chen notes:
Another quad-stack from the Master of All Stacks, Martin Ashwood-Smith. Every time I see these gigantic wide-open spaces, it awes me. ... read more

Another quad-stack from the Master of All Stacks, Martin Ashwood-Smith. Every time I see these gigantic wide-open spaces, it awes me. It's still one technical construction ability I haven't been able to master (or even make a dent in) yet, so it's pretty neat to see something I can't personally achieve.

I quite liked the quad-stack and its crossings today. TRADITIONAL IRAS will be boring to most normal people — thankfully I don't qualify! (I enjoy helping friends and family out with investment planning and management.) Sure, as with any quad-stack, there are the usual IANA, AT EM sort of things, but we also get treated to the long crossers that MAS has been working in as of late: ANTI-RIOT, HAD A TIN EAR, WHAT IS THIS, and (I think this is someone I should know?) AARON CARTER. Throw in some TEXAS SIZE and LIVING WAGE and that's a lot of great stuff.

Where I had some difficulty was in the corners. Shorter answers tend to be clued harder in themelesses, and that SW was a killer. I do love the XXX and its "Really dirty" (tee hee) clue, but AT SIX feels so arbitrary. It's still probably a fair price to pay given that it allows for BOTOX and BRONX in there too, but it still makes me wince a little. Perhaps if ABBE had been clued a little easier, it would have stopped me from trying ONE PM, TWO PM, TEN PM, ONE AM, etc.

And while I love the entry TEXAS SIZE, probably my favorite of the grid, the SE corner feels like there's maybe one too many Scrabbly letters down there. I didn't notice that it was a pangram until I started writing my notes, but I did notice the fill felt a bit rocky given all the names jammed in there with opaque cluing. My fault on not grokking WALT Disney, but does IVANA trump still qualify as a "socialite"? In this case, I'd have much preferred to either 1.) skip the pangram in order to work in one fewer name down in that corner (adding one more fun, wordplay-type clue) or 2.) make the cluing of the names a little easier for at least one of the three.

Great workout, tough to crack those corners, but a great feeling of satisfaction to do so.

Jim Horne notes:

"Carlito's way" is an awesome clue for VIA.

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0228 ( 23,488 )
Across
1
Modern-day locale of ancient Nineveh : IRAQ
5
People down under? : CAVERS
11
Exceeds the speed limit? : ODS
14
Exceed the speed limit, maybe : RACE
15
Company with an Energy Boost line : ADIDAS
16
Minim : JOT
17
Terse admission : IDID
18
It'll keep a roof over your head : LIVINGWAGE
20
Fall, in a way : SIN
21
Like a good lookout : ALERT
22
Bouillabaisse seasoning : THYME
23
They soar at the opera : HIGHNOTES
25
When to do a pressing job : ASAP
26
Mitochondrion-made material, briefly : ATP
27
Back, to a shellback : AFT
29
Investments since 1975 : TRADITIONALIRAS
38
What a tropical tourist definitely doesn't want to bring home : MALARIAPARASITE
39
It helps you let go : EMOTIONALOUTLET
40
Many of them play at the Olympics : NATIONALANTHEMS
41
Some Windows systems : NTS
42
Shakespeare sonnet mentioning Philomel's mournful hymns : CII
43
Title for Liszt : ABBE
46
Gigantic : TEXASSIZE
52
Text with Numbers : TORAH
54
Patent : OVERT
55
Carlito's way : VIA
56
Street view : STOREFRONT
58
First name in popular shorts : WALT
59
Bond bit : ION
60
Coors Field player : ROCKIE
61
Almost never : ONCE
62
Really dirty : XXX
63
Try again : REHEAR
64
Salk Institute architect Louis : KAHN
Down
1
From Galway, say : IRISH
2
Cuts into a pizza, often : RADII
3
Sailing through : ACING
4
Last thing seen by a proof reader? : QED
5
Some Wall Street contracts : CALLOPTIONS
6
Go on ___ : ADIET
7
Exist abroad? : VIVRE
8
Applies polish to? : EDITS
9
Flew : RAN
10
Squad cmdr. : SSGT
11
R&B group with the 1972 hit "Back Stabbers," with "the" : OJAYS
12
Proselytizers push it : DOGMA
13
Pickle, e.g. : STEEP
19
Finder's query : WHATISTHIS
21
Like some helmets and shields : ANTIRIOT
24
Couldn't hit pitches : HADATINEAR
27
Singer who's a Backstreet Boy's brother : AARONCARTER
28
Sir James Galway, e.g. : FLAUTIST
29
Dodgers' foes : TMEN
30
Hindu hero : RAMA
31
Legions : ALOT
32
Suffix with Edward : IANA
33
It's around 6 on the Mohs scale : OPAL
34
"The Lion King" lion : NALA
35
Get to : RILE
36
"Let me ___!" : ATEM
37
Philatelic goals : SETS
43
When the first dogwatch ends : ATSIX
44
It's not a cheap shot : BOTOX
45
Bombers' locale : BRONX
46
Spelunker's aid : TORCH
47
Conjure : EVOKE
48
City with major avenues named Cincinnati and Columbus : XENIA
49
First name among socialites : IVANA
50
It means nothing : ZILCH
51
All gone : EATEN
53
Mann's man : HERR
57
Ill-wisher : FOE
58
Thai pan : WOK

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

Found bugs or have suggestions?