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New York Times, Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Author:
Daniel Larsen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
22/14/20173/19/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0020000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.71001
Daniel Larsen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 83, Blocks: 40 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Larsen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Daniel Larsen notes:
I first had the idea for this theme in the summer of 2017. At the time, I was surprised by how well the theme answers worked, but I couldn't ... read more

I first had the idea for this theme in the summer of 2017. At the time, I was surprised by how well the theme answers worked, but I couldn't put the grid together. By June of the next year, my program and my word list had improved to the point that I thought it was worth giving the theme another go. I don't usually come back to theme ideas, but FILM NOIR was so lucky that I felt I had to try. Since it has eight letters, I had to make the puzzle 16 columns wide. Perhaps I could have split FILM NOIR up into, for example, ELM and NOT, letting me use a standard size grid, but I felt that would be less interesting. However, the extra space also allowed me to have two theme answers in row three.

After fiddling around for a bit, I finally found a version I was satisfied with. However, I realized that PR STUNT had an extra consecutive letter in it, the "U". I considered changing the pair to something like SIGHING and BURSTIN, but I felt that they would have been less exciting than the existing theme answers.

I'm happy to be back in the New York Times, and I hope you enjoy this puzzle.

Jeff Chen notes:
Was it EASY AS ABC to discover the theme? I was going to boldly highlight the appropriate squares, but it might be more fun if you took another ... read more

Was it EASY AS ABC to discover the theme? I was going to boldly highlight the appropriate squares, but it might be more fun if you took another look. Think about the numbers in the clues, ranging from 1 to 26 …

Excellent finds, the alphabet fully represented in strings of letters – inside symmetrical themers! That's neat. I especially liked that Daniel was able to work smoothly around the tougher letters, DJ KHALED and BACKUPQB so innocently hiding JK and PQ.

I did hesitate at the HATHA / KHALED crossing – ripe for mistakes, as HATHI / KHILED or HATHE / KHELED could seem just as right. Also, having two rappers might trigger the solvers who constantly write to me saying DON'T PUT SO MANY DAMN RAPPERS IN YOUR &#$@# PUZZLES!

I'm a fan of MOS DEF, partially because of his music, but more so because he's gotten me out of many a crossword jam.

A tiny part of me enjoys irritating those rapper-complainy solvers, too.

With so much theme material – nine of them to work around! – Daniel did an admirable job of building his grid. Even at 83 words (the max for a 16x15 grid should be roughly 81), I noticed the strain here and there, a SEISMO up in the NE, random AT TWO in the SE, a bit of ODA, ALTI, ON AT daubed on elsewhere. It's not too shabby, given the theme constraint. Don't forget that Daniel necessarily had to make a pangram; rarely an easy construction task.

I appreciated his bonuses, too. OCTAHEDRA and other Platonic solids are always interesting. SAYS WHO? Sez ARISTOTLE!

This one reminds me of a similar concept done in a Sunday grid. I finally put up a note on that one, since at three separate instances, I couldn't figure out what was going on, and then promptly forgot. I like that Daniel found a way to similarly play on the alphabet, but squeezed his into a weekday grid, allowing for a theme-dense feeling.

Jim Horne notes:

In 2014, David Steinberg went there and back in an interesting twist on the A to Z idea.

1
C
2
A
3
P
4
S
5
L
6
O
7
O
8
M
9
U
10
N
11
F
12
A
13
I
14
R
15
O
C
T
A
16
H
E
D
R
A
17
S
E
I
S
M
O
18
E
A
S
Y
A
S
A
B
C
19
M
O
S
D
E
F
20
D
I
D
S
T
21
S
A
22
R
A
23
C
O
A
L
24
W
H
25
A
26
M
27
W
E
I
28
G
H
I
N
29
D
30
J
31
K
H
A
L
E
32
D
33
F
L
E
E
34
R
E
N
O
35
T
A
U
36
S
37
A
R
38
R
39
I
40
D
41
I
D
O
42
F
I
L
M
N
43
O
44
I
R
45
E
R
A
46
P
I
X
47
I
E
48
B
O
N
N
49
L
U
A
U
50
N
E
51
R
52
O
53
B
A
C
54
K
U
P
Q
B
55
P
56
R
S
T
U
N
57
T
58
T
A
R
S
59
R
I
O
T
60
P
E
E
61
L
62
A
T
63
T
64
W
65
O
66
U
V
W
A
67
V
E
68
X
Y
69
Z
70
A
F
F
A
I
R
71
G
O
E
T
H
E
72
A
R
I
S
T
O
T
L
E
73
S
T
R
E
S
S
74
S
A
P
S
75
R
A
T
S
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0319 ( 25,333 )
Across
1
Places for baseball team insignia : CAPS
5
Weaver's device : LOOM
9
Rigged : UNFAIR
15
Eight-sided solids : OCTAHEDRA
17
Shaky beginning? : SEISMO
18
Simple, simple, simple [1,2,3] : EASYASABC
19
Half of the rap duo Black Star [4,5,6] : MOSDEF
20
Performed, to Shakespeare : DIDST
21
Gilbert of "The Conners" : SARA
23
Santa's "gift" for bad children : COAL
24
"Pow!" : WHAM
27
Prefight ritual [7,8,9] : WEIGHIN
29
Singer with the 2010 3x platinum single "All I Do Is Win" [10,11] : DJKHALED
33
Hightail it away : FLEE
34
Gambling locale : RENO
35
Greek T's : TAUS
37
Ban competitor : ARRID
41
Response to a court oath : IDO
42
Dark movie genre [12,13,14,15] : FILMNOIR
45
Stat for a pitcher : ERA
46
Mischievous fairy : PIXIE
48
Capital of West Germany : BONN
49
Island party : LUAU
50
Emperor who rebuilt Rome after it burned : NERO
53
Substitute for Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, informally [16,17] : BACKUPQB
55
Silly marketing ploy designed to get attention [18,19,20] : PRSTUNT
58
Covers with black goo : TARS
59
Real comedian : RIOT
60
Hightail it away, with "out" : PEEL
62
When some lunches end : ATTWO
66
Tiny bit of sunlight, for short [21,22,23] : UVWAVE
68
Diplomatic controversy of the 1790s [24,25,26] : XYZAFFAIR
71
Author of "Faust" : GOETHE
72
Tutor of Alexander the Great : ARISTOTLE
73
Underline : STRESS
74
Patsies : SAPS
75
"Phooey!" : RATS
Down
1
Open to both men and women, as a college : COED
2
Palm berry : ACAI
3
Veteran's woe, for short : PTSD
4
"Oh, yeah?" : SAYSWHO
5
"___ Miz" : LES
6
Room in a harem : ODA
7
Crystal balls, e.g. : ORBS
8
Colorful parrot : MACAW
9
Post office service : USMAIL
10
Prefix with conservative : NEO
11
Bobby who defeated Boris Spassky at the 1972 World Chess Championship : FISCHER
12
"Same here!" : ASDOI
13
"Like ... um ..." : IMEAN
14
"Hilarious!," online : ROFL
16
Kind of yoga : HATHA
22
Call, as a soccer game : REF
25
Some choir voices : ALTI
26
Repast : MEAL
28
Boots, mask, etc., for a firefighter : GEAR
29
Evidence of a leak : DRIP
30
Obi-Wan Kenobi, for one : JEDI
31
Kentucky's Fort ___ : KNOX
32
Like a "doh!" moment : DUMB
36
Condescending sort : SNOB
38
Enlist again : REUP
39
Where the Tigris and Euphrates flow : IRAQ
40
Paint carelessly : DAUB
42
Parts of a yard : FEET
43
Go ___ great length : ONAT
44
Ancient speakers of Quechua : INCA
47
Like some tuition at public universities : INSTATE
49
Hotly desire : LUSTFOR
51
Coins in India : RUPEES
52
United : ONE
54
Big name in cheese : KRAFT
55
Change direction sharply : PIVOT
56
To whom a coxswain calls : ROWER
57
Houston's home : TEXAS
59
Toupees, in slang : RUGS
61
Vega's constellation : LYRA
63
"So long!" : TATA
64
Droop from lack of water : WILT
65
Things assayers assay : ORES
67
DVD forerunner : VHS
69
"___ your lip!" : ZIP
70
Obstinate animal : ASS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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