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New York Times, Thursday, March 10, 2016

Author:
Ed Sessa
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
379/10/200710/16/20180
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4967452
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.64251
Edward Sessa

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 31 for Mr. Sessa. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
I enjoy puzzles that play with shapes of letters. This one uses two Vs squeezed into a single square in the horizontal direction, but ... read more

I enjoy puzzles that play with shapes of letters. This one uses two Vs squeezed into a single square in the horizontal direction, but which get interpreted as a W in the vertical. Sometimes these letter squishing puzzles don't work well because people write letters in all sorts of ways — uppercase / lowercase, shorthand, etc. — but this is just about perfect, as V and W don't have a lot of variation.

A ton of exciting developments in the search for an HIV VACCINE

I really liked HIV VACCINE, a modern, fresh, upbeat entry. TECH SAVVY is also nice, although I've seen it before in crosswords, in one with the same conceit. That one included DIVVIED UP, which to me is a more colorful answer than REVVING UP.

I also enjoyed FLIVVER, a new term to me (old slang for a junker or rustbucket), but I would have really liked all the themers to be long — themers of six letters tend to get lost in the shuffle. CIVVIES could have been lengthened to IN CIVVIES, perhaps?

A construction like this might seem tough, but you can just put a W in those special squares and build the grid like normal. So although I did like some of the bonus fill Ed worked in, like Donne's THE FLEA, A PRIORI, ID SAY SO, it would have been nice to get more. Still, the grid is pretty clean aside from a few minor ATL, ALAI, KAN bits, plus he worked in the apt revealer — VWS — in a perfect location.

A few clues I had to think about:

  • WBA = World Boxing Association, so it contains "ring masters."
  • A DECK of cards holds 5,148 flushes? The math goes like this: 13 choose 5 (unique combinations of 5 cards out of 13) = 1287, times 4 for the four suits = 5,148.
  • How could an inanimate SLED be inclined to provide entertainment for kids? When (physically) inclined down a hill! Nice wordplay.

So although I've seen several puzzles of this ilk (UU = W, D over D = B, VV = W, etc.), I thought this one was generally well-made and enjoyable.

1
A
2
T
3
A
4
D
5
C
6
A
7
M
8
U
9
S
10
B
11
A
12
R
13
I
14
T
H
E
E
15
O
Z
O
N
E
16
O
D
E
D
17
L
E
O
N
18
L
U
C
I
A
19
B
U
N
S
20
F
L
I
21
VV
E
R
22
T
I
23
O
24
L
E
A
25
C
L
I
M
B
S
26
T
E
C
H
27
S
A
VV
Y
28
Y
E
A
29
A
L
30
A
I
31
E
M
O
T
E
S
32
D
A
N
33
S
34
A
L
E
35
C
36
A
L
E
R
O
37
H
38
I
VV
A
C
C
39
I
N
E
40
A
41
S
42
L
A
N
43
S
L
E
D
44
D
45
E
46
C
47
K
48
P
E
O
R
I
49
A
50
I
D
O
51
S
52
P
O
I
53
R
E
VV
I
N
G
54
U
P
55
L
A
56
S
H
A
T
57
I
T
T
58
K
A
N
59
C
I
VV
I
E
S
60
O
H
I
61
O
62
S
T
63
A
R
Z
64
E
D
T
65
V
66
R
E
D
D
67
S
I
R
E
E
68
G
R
E
W
69
I
D
E
E
70
I
L
I
E
D
71
E
A
R
S
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0310 ( 24,229 )
Across
1. Not much : ATAD
5. French writer who co-founded the newspaper Combat : CAMUS
10. Adriatic port : BARI
14. Pronoun in "America the Beautiful" : THEE
15. It covers the globe : OZONE
16. Had too much ecstasy, for short? : ODED
17. Former C.I.A. director Panetta : LEON
18. Donizetti's lady of Lammermoor : LUCIA
19. Rolls for dogs : BUNS
20. Old jalopy : FLIVVER
22. Spanish uncle : TIO
24. Pasture : LEA
25. Mounts : CLIMBS
26. Proficient, computerwise : TECHSAVVY
28. Pro vote : YEA
29. Jai ___ : ALAI
31. Overplays one's role : EMOTES
32. In: Fr. : DANS
34. Former British P.M. Douglas-Home : ALEC
36. Old Olds : ALERO
37. Subject of medical research since the 1980s : HIVVACCINE
40. Big cat in Narnia : ASLAN
43. It's inclined to provide entertainment for kids : SLED
44. It holds 5,148 potential flushes : DECK
48. "Will it play in ___?" : PEORIA
50. Exchange at the altar : IDOS
52. Hawaiian bowlful : POI
53. Gunning : REVVINGUP
55. Attack : LASHAT
57. Former communications corp. : ITT
58. Where Dodge City is: Abbr. : KAN
59. Mufti : CIVVIES
60. Answer to the old riddle "What's round on the ends and high in the middle?" : OHIO
62. "Taking you places" network : STARZ
64. 1999 Ron Howard satire : EDTV
66. Foxx of "Sanford and Son" : REDD
67. Emphatic follower of yes or no : SIREE
68. Evolved : GREW
69. ___ fixe : IDEE
70. "O.K., you caught me" : ILIED
71. "Antenna" : EARS
Down
1. N.B.A. div. : ATL
2. John Donne poem with a line starting "It suck'd me first ..." : THEFLEA
3. Wind-blown : AEOLIAN
4. Blue material : DENIM
5. One side of a diner? : COLESLAW
6. Shade of bleu : AZUR
7. Soft shoe, for short : MOC
8. Marxist exhortation to "workers of the world" : UNITE
9. Polar bear habitat : SEAICE
10. Head motion : BOB
11. Put on a pedestal : ADULATE
12. Longtime subscriber, maybe : RENEWER
13. "Sounds right" : IDSAYSO
21. Ring master's org. : WBA
23. "Jeez!" : OHMAN
25. Dancer Charisse : CYD
26. Item often kept with cuff links : TIECLIP
27. Did a cobbler's job on : SOLED
30. "Ah, well" : ALAS
33. Lewis who voiced Lamb Chop : SHARI
35. Sent a dupe email to : CCED
38. How contracts are signed : ININK
39. Put on a pedestal : IDOLIZED
40. Based on deduction rather than experience : APRIORI
41. Smoldered with rage : SEETHED
42. When a sandbar may appear above the waterline : LOWTIDE
45. F.D.A.-banned weight-loss supplement : EPHEDRA
46. The drink's on me : COASTER
47. Young fox : KIT
49. Andre who wrote "Open: An Autobiography" : AGASSI
51. Perform some millwork : SAW
54. Up to : UNTIL
56. Wait-'em-out strategy : SIEGE
59. Saskatchewan native : CREE
61. Shelley's "To a Skylark," for one : ODE
63. Jackie O's man : ARI
65. Bugs, e.g. ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme : VWS

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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