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# New York Times, Friday, March 17, 2017

 Author: Jacob Stulberg Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2912/25/201310/8/20180
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3448640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.59790

## This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 32 Missing: {QWXZ} Spans: 4, (2 double stacks) Grid has up-down mirror symmetry. This is puzzle # 19 for Mr. Stulberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes: In the version of this puzzle that I sent to the Times, each of the 'foolish' answers had its own clue — e.g., [___ straw] ... more
Jacob Stulberg notes:

In the version of this puzzle that I sent to the Times, each of the "foolish" answers had its own clue — e.g., [___ straw] for SILLY. INANE was clued as [Synonym for four of this puzzle's answers...or, with two spaces, how those answers are arranged]. Even after sending in the grid, I was uncertain whether Will and the solvers would accept SENSELESS as a synonym for INANE, so I was glad to see the final version elegantly sidestep this issue.

(Fun fact: the quotation in 24-Down's clue follows the line "I am too childish-foolish for this world.")

Jeff Chen notes: Neat mini-theme — did you catch the giant E made of INANE words? I've highlighted them below. Fun to parse INANE as IN AN E, ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Neat mini-theme — did you catch the giant E made of INANE words? I've highlighted them below. Fun to parse INANE as IN AN E, accurately describing the shape.

Top-bottom symmetry is rare. Will has rejected one of mine where I've used up-down symmetry, saying that it just looks odd. (I tend to agree, looking back on it.) I like the novel image today's presents, but my left-right eyes want me to turn my head 90 degrees so that symmetry will be more pleasing.

At first, I wondered why Jacob didn't use regular crossword symmetry — or even left-right — by shifting the giant E one space over to the right. But that would have forced him to use a symmetrical answer to SENSELESS, requiring a Y???Y???Y pattern. I couldn't find anything that would work with all those pesky Ys.

Stupid crossword gods!

As much as I like the INANE IN AN E notion, I felt like EMPTY and SAPPY didn't quite hit home. Yes, both are in the thesaurus for INANE, but it would have felt much more powerful to me if somehow Jacob could have used ABSURD, ASININE, DAFT, STUPID, etc. (I didn't mind SENSELESS as much as Jacob did.)

Stupid English language, not conforming to what crossword constructors want!

I can see why Will ran this as a "themeless," as it would have felt like a very thin theme on a Wednesday or Thursday. And there were some nice bonuses like MADE TO LAST and ON THE SLY.

Themelesses are rarely done with left-right (or up-down) symmetry because normal symmetry allows for so many more long grid entries in general — the typical themeless uses a set of triple-stacked long answers in each corner, which left-right (or up-down) symmetry does not allow.

Jacob does well to get in four grid-spanning entries, but none of them did much for me. Along with some minor LPS, SRS, LTRS, ETDS, ETAS holding it all together, it didn't give me the same impact as a typical themeless.

Tough, when you have to work with that inflexible giant E formed in the center of the grid.

Wish the a-ha moment had been stronger, but I do like the creative thinking here.

JimH notes: This is only the third NYT crossword with up-down mirror symmetry. Here are the first two.
 1H 2A 3H 4A 5R 6A 7M 8P 9S 10G 11A 12M 13E 14E T A S 15A T A R I 16A M I S 17L T R S 18M A D E T 19O L A S T 20L E D 21S I L L Y 22V I T A E 23O N T 24H E S L Y 25J U L E P S 26D O I N 27C O M E U P 28B A S E S 29A 30L 31A R Y 32E R R 33S 34A N T 35E M P T Y 36F O R 37M C A 38L L I S T E 39R 40S O P S 41E R I E 42R A 43P T O R 44A S B E S 45T 46O 47S 48P A R T I 49I 50S H O 51S A P P 52Y 53L A B A N 54K E A 55N 56T R I O 57S O N A T A 58M E R E 59A A N D P 60G L E N 61E T D S 62S H E A F 63E L S E
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0317 ( 24,601 )
 Across Down 1. "Hilarious!" : HAHA5. Flight alternatives : RAMPS10. Tag, for example : GAME14. HH : ETAS15. Centipede creator : ATARI16. "Lionel Asbo: State of England" novelist, 2012 : AMIS17. Some paperwork: Abbr. : LTRS18. Well-built : MADETOLAST20. Ran : LED21. Foolish : SILLY22. Curriculum ___ : VITAE23. Sub rosa : ONTHESLY25. Bourbon drinks : JULEPS26. Off : DOIN27. Arise : COMEUP28. Amount before bonuses : BASESALARY32. Slips : ERRS34. Hill dweller : ANT35. Foolish : EMPTY36. Dedicated to : FOR37. Fort ___ (Civil War landmark near Savannah) : MCALLISTER40. Gravy go-withs : SOPS41. City on Amtrak's Boston-to-Chicago line : ERIE42. Osprey, for one : RAPTOR44. Once-common building material : ASBESTOS48. Sequel : PARTII50. "Homeland" airer, for short : SHO51. Foolish : SAPPY53. Jacob's father-in-law : LABAN54. Thomas who headed the 9/11 Commission : KEAN56. Bach's "Musical Offering" includes one : TRIOSONATA58. Simple : MERE59. Supermarket chain until 2015 : AANDP60. ___ Rock, N.J. : GLEN61. Displays near gates, briefly : ETDS62. Stack of papers : SHEAF63. "Who ___?" : ELSE 1. When its second syllable is drawn out, "Are you out of your mind?!" : HELLO2. Skipping record? : ATTENDANCESHEET3. Command for turning sharply right : HARDTOSTARBOARD4. Biblical mount : ASS5. "Groundhog Day" director : RAMIS6. Whatsoever : ATALL7. How one might fall in love : MADLY8. Hunted : PREY9. Be idle : SIT10. Region bordering Lebanon : GALILEE11. Recreational soccer, to Brits : AMATEURFOOTBALL12. Embezzles, e.g. : MISAPPROPRIATES13. ___ Park : ESTES19. Sex-ed subject : OVUM21. Foolish : SENSELESS24. "___ thee to hell for shame": "Richard III" : HIE25. Beatitude : JOY27. Jon of "Two and a Half Men" : CRYER28. Comic book sound effect : BAM29. Question in response to an insult, maybe : AMI30. Some wax : LPS31. Phone inits. : ATT33. Top class: Abbr. : SRS38. Be idle : LIE39. Grammy category : RAP40. Off : STRANGE43. ___ Alto : PALO44. "Shoot!" : ASKME45. Byes : TATAS46. The "O" in television's OWN : OPRAH47. Title locale : SPINE49. Foolish ... or, when read as three words, how this puzzle's other four "foolish" answers are arranged : INANE52. Robe-wearing trainer of cinema : YODA55. Dr. Mario console : NES57. Abbr. in a beach bag : SPF

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 2 debuted here and reused later.

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