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New York Times, Friday, February 9, 2018

Author:
Brendan Emmett Quigley
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1808/7/199612/24/201816
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
355152017472615
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.635213
Brendan Emmett Quigley

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 30 Missing: {WX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 177 for Mr. Quigley. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Brendan Emmett Quigley notes:
This is one of my go to grids when making themelesses. Peter Gordon was the first (I believe) to do a pattern like this with the 12s ... read more

This is one of my go to grids when making themelesses. Peter Gordon was the first (I believe) to do a pattern like this with the 12s and the stacked 7s. Basically it allows for some solid anchoring phrases and enough room to breathe to have clean fill in the remaining corners.

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun to get that pile-up of rare letters in the middle of the puzzle, Q J J Z Z nearby. Loved it! I like BOOK PROPOSAL a lot, ... read more

Fun to get that pile-up of rare letters in the middle of the puzzle, Q J J Z Z nearby. Loved it!

I like BOOK PROPOSAL a lot, being a writer and all, and EMPHASIS MINE was strong too.

It's so tough to feature 12-letter entries in themelesses. Look at how those three black squares at the end of EMPHASIS MINE and the start of BOOK PROPOSAL fix so much into place. Themelesses often benefit from shifting black squares around like crazy, testing, testing, testing. Not easy to do when you already start with some fixed black squares.

I didn't know what a SQUAT JUMP was, but it seemed self-explanatory (starting from a squat … and then jumping?). Neat how it interlocked with the 12s above, and also PORTRAIT GALLERY. Strong backbone to the puzzle.

But also a fairly inflexible one. BEQ did well to work in LAZY BONES and TROMBONE (still waiting for someone to use the awesome SAD TROMBONE), but that further rigidified things. Not a surprise to end up needing some LST (yikes), ONEL in the SW, along with the more-neutral-than-positive SCENE II and TO HELEN.

In general, it's so tough to make 7-letter entries stand out. I did like LE MONDE, and I INSIST was a nice one too. But COLLATE, LEASE TO, ROOT FOR, ESTEEMS … just taking up valuable real estate.

ROOT FOR actually did get elevated by its clue — I was so confused, wondering what the back rows of a stadium were called. Nope, "back" as in support! That's the way to make a dull entry stand out.

A neat skeleton structuring this 72-word grid. But as a 72-worder — the max number of allowable words in a themeless — I wanted a little more juice. Those corners full of 7s are so tough to make sing.

1
I
2
I
3
N
4
S
5
I
6
S
7
T
8
C
9
O
10
L
11
L
12
A
13
T
14
E
15
S
T
E
A
M
E
R
16
A
V
I
A
T
O
R
17
L
E
A
S
E
T
O
18
R
O
O
T
F
O
R
19
E
M
P
H
A
S
I
20
S
M
I
N
E
21
A
N
A
22
Q
E
D
23
C
24
A
25
B
26
S
27
Z
28
A
29
N
Y
30
G
31
A
U
L
32
L
A
P
E
L
33
A
P
E
34
B
O
L
A
35
L
O
L
I
T
A
36
P
O
R
37
T
R
A
I
T
38
G
A
L
L
E
R
Y
39
P
L
U
R
A
L
40
J
A
Z
Z
41
C
U
E
42
E
L
D
O
N
43
R
U
B
Y
44
F
E
E
D
45
R
O
A
M
46
J
A
M
47
B
48
O
O
49
B
50
O
O
K
P
51
R
O
P
O
52
S
53
A
54
L
55
L
56
E
57
M
O
N
D
E
58
O
N
A
D
A
T
E
59
S
C
E
N
E
I
I
60
M
E
R
I
N
O
S
61
T
O
H
E
L
E
N
62
E
S
T
E
E
M
S
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0209 ( 24,930 )
Across
1
"No, really" : IINSIST
8
Sort : COLLATE
15
Carpet cleaner : STEAMER
16
High-minded sort? : AVIATOR
17
Give a flat fee? : LEASETO
18
Back in the stadium : ROOTFOR
19
[Can you believe they wrote this?!] : EMPHASISMINE
21
TV commentator Navarro : ANA
22
Abbr. in math class : QED
23
Stock at a wine bar : CABS
27
Off the wall : ZANY
30
Battle of Soissons setting : GAUL
32
Place for a miniature flag : LAPEL
33
Goon : APE
34
Weapon with a rope and balls : BOLA
35
Literary nickname for Dolores : LOLITA
36
One of the Smithsonian buildings : PORTRAITGALLERY
39
What "they" can only be, to grammar sticklers : PLURAL
40
Enliven, with "up" : JAZZ
41
Signal : CUE
42
Iowa town where Grant Wood's "American Gothic" is set : ELDON
43
Shade of red : RUBY
44
Word with chicken or news : FEED
45
Go here and there : ROAM
46
Tight spot : JAM
47
Scare quote? : BOO
49
Pitch to a publisher : BOOKPROPOSAL
55
Paper that runs mots croisés : LEMONDE
58
Seeing someone, say : ONADATE
59
When Caesar says "Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look" : SCENEII
60
Prized sheep : MERINOS
61
1831 Poe work : TOHELEN
62
Prizes : ESTEEMS
Down
1
Carnival Cruise stop : ISLE
2
Twosome : ITEM
3
___ tide : NEAP
4
Walk alluringly : SASHAY
5
"Well ..." : IMEAN
6
Aspires to do something : SETSAGOAL
7
"Star Trek: T.N.G." role : TROI
8
Mount near Haifa : CARMEL
9
Like a squashed circle : OVOID
10
Peugeot symbol : LION
11
It may come long after the play : LATECALL
12
Gangbusters, for short? : ATF
13
"___ soon?" : TOO
14
Go astray : ERR
20
Exercise started by crouching : SQUATJUMP
24
Per : APIECE
25
Not stray : BETRUE
26
Did phenomenally onstage : SLAYED
27
Debugging tool? : ZAPPER
28
Cyclops killer of myth : APOLLO
29
Poet who wrote "Tonight I can write the saddest lines" : NERUDA
31
Ayaan Hirsi ___, Somali-born advocate for women's rights and religious freedom : ALI
32
Online hilarity : LOLZ
34
Healthful breakfast choice : BRAN
35
Do-nothing : LAZYBONES
37
Ska band instrument : TROMBONE
38
Be garrulous : GAB
43
Make hand over fist : RAKEIN
44
Epicure : FOODIE
46
"Doctor Who" actress Whittaker : JODIE
48
Good genre for a maze maker : OPART
50
Intro to Torts student : ONEL
51
"The Bicycle Thief" setting : ROME
52
All together, so to speak : SANE
53
Bond collector? : ATOM
54
Not so great : LESS
55
W.W. II craft: Abbr. : LST
56
Pro-sustainability, in lingo : ECO
57
"It doesn't excite me" : MEH

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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