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New York Times, Saturday, March 22, 2014

Author:
Greg Johnson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
612/16/20139/18/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0311001
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.67120
Greg Johnson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 27 Missing: {CK} This is puzzle # 2 for Mr. Johnson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Greg Johnson notes:
I've been constructing seriously now for about two years and this is one of my first themeless attempts. I learned a lot making this ... read more

I've been constructing seriously now for about two years and this is one of my first themeless attempts. I learned a lot making this one ... which was done mostly on my cell phone during work breaks.

I like ZOO EXHIBIT and HOME PORT, and even though my favorite clues were rejected, I'm still pleased overall. The clue for GRAPE JELLY was originally about meatballs.

Thanks to Will and Jeff and everyone else in the cru community. The comments provided have been most helpful.

Jeff Chen notes:
Good showing from Greg, only his second NYT puzzle. Some really nice debut entries plus a good number of tough clues made for a good ... read more

Good showing from Greg, only his second NYT puzzle. Some really nice debut entries plus a good number of tough clues made for a good hard Saturday workout. I loved seeing ZOO EXHIBITS along with its deceptive clue [One often behind bars], making me think about criminal repeat offenders. Gave me a nice smile when I finally uncovered it.

Greg brings us an unusual grid, in that the NW and SE are segmented off from the rest of the puzzle, only one entrance into those sections apiece. Typically I like to see more flow within a themeless grid — I was able to work my way into the SE fairly easily, but the difficulty of that NW section and its only entry, ZOO EXHIBIT, made it fell like a mini-puzzle I had to solve after the rest of the puzzle. Not ideal, but I'm sure many will have no problems getting into those closed-off sections.

But really, really nice job on those closed-off areas. A 6x6 region will by nature be tough to fill cleanly, as there's no short entries available to glue everything together. Greg had to work with a 6/6/6/6/5 crossing a 6/6/6/5/5 section, which is no small feat. And he comes out beautifully, nary a bad entry in either section. Some will point out YTD as not so hot, but being on two Finance Committees for local non-profits, I loved seeing it. The SE was even prettier, another Z worked smoothly in, along with SYDNEY and its good bit of trivia.

What, you thought Greenland was a continent? Ha ha ha! Only silly billys and uneducated boors and certain crossword analysts who sit on Finance Committees would think that. Ha ha ha!

Not a huge fan of certain entries like RENTABLE and ALTERANT which certainly are words, but feel like they just take up space in a themeless grid. But those parts of the grid (8x3 stack intersecting another 8x3 stack) makes it very difficult to fill both cleanly and with snazz. As with all themelesses, there are trade-off: the wide-open NE and SW corners make the beautiful NW and SE corners possible.

1
F
2
L
3
E
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W
5
B
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Y
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G
8
E
9
S
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T
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A
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T
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E
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S
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R
E
D
H
O
T
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A
L
T
E
R
A
N
T
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I
N
W
A
R
D
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Z
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P
D
R
I
V
E
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E
N
O
L
A
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T
E
X
A
S
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L
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T
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Z
O
O
E
X
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H
I
B
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T
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T
O
S
S
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E
N
D
S
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O
D
O
R
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M
A
R
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O
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P
R
E
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S
E
X
T
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N
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H
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E
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R
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A
L
D
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L
E
G
I
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N
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O
P
A
Q
U
E
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L
E
E
S
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M
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N
U
S
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T
E
A
M
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S
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A
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S
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S
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E
S
A
I
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G
R
A
P
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J
E
L
L
Y
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P
O
L
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G
R
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F
T
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U
P
P
E
D
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O
D
O
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N
N
E
L
L
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O
M
A
H
A
N
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R
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A
B
L
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A
B
L
A
Z
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T
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G
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F
O
S
S
E
Y
© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0322 ( 23,510 )

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Students & seniors
Across
1
Passed in a blur, say : FLEWBY
7
Develops gradually : GESTATES
15
Smoking : REDHOT
16
Change-making : ALTERANT
17
Where to look for self-growth : INWARD
18
Obsolescent storage device : ZIPDRIVE
19
Historic first name in W.W. II : ENOLA
20
Locale of three presidential libraries : TEXAS
21
Fried : LIT
22
One often behind bars : ZOOEXHIBIT
24
Ditch : TOSS
25
Doesn't carry on : ENDS
26
Oxygen's lack : ODOR
27
Rescuer of Princess Peach : MARIO
28
Near: Fr. : PRES
29
Churchyard gravedigger : SEXTON
30
Signs of things to come : HERALDS
34
Truckloads : LEGIONS
35
Hard to grasp : OPAQUE
36
Remains after the aging process : LEES
37
Opposite of 28-Down : MINUS
38
Santa's reindeer, e.g. : TEAM
39
Some sharp words : SASS
43
Lou's "La Bamba" co-star : ESAI
44
Concord concoction : GRAPEJELLY
46
Many a "Meet the Press" guest, informally : POL
47
Swindler's moola : GRIFT
48
Hiked : UPPED
49
She had a single-season stint on "The View" : ODONNELL
51
Many a worker at Union Pacific headquarters : OMAHAN
52
Like Enterprise vehicles : RENTABLE
53
Fired up? : ABLAZE
54
Best, as friends : TIGHTEST
55
One of Leakey's "Trimates" : FOSSEY
Down
1
Decorated band along a wall : FRIEZE
2
"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination" speaker : LENNON
3
He directed Bela Lugosi in "Bride of the Monster" : EDWOOD
4
High rollers, in casino lingo : WHALES
5
Cheap, shoddy merchandise : BORAX
6
Financial statement abbr. : YTD
7
Outdoor wedding settings : GAZEBOS
8
Alchemist's offering : ELIXIR
9
Green party V.I.P.? : STPAT
10
Three Stooges creator Healy and others : TEDS
11
Concourse abbr. : ARR
12
Personalize for : TAILORTO
13
Picture : ENVISION
14
Troopers' toppers : STETSONS
20
Almanac info : TIDES
23
Large pack : HORDE
24
Get set to take off : TAXI
27
What an 18-Across's capacity is measured in, briefly : MEGS
28
Opposite of 37-Across : PLUS
29
Message sometimes written below "F" : SEEME
30
Regular embarkation location : HOMEPORT
31
Series starter : EPISODEI
32
Left : RANALONG
33
"___ se habla español" : AQUI
34
Did an entrechat : LEAPT
36
Flier : LEAFLET
38
Voice lesson subjects : TRILLS
39
Protection for flowers in bud : SEPALS
40
Socially dominant sorts : ALPHAS
41
Dirty rat : SLEAZE
42
Biggest city on the smallest continent : SYDNEY
44
Diving bird : GREBE
45
Mammoth : JUMBO
47
Cookout irritant : GNAT
50
___ root (math quantity) : NTH
51
Bungler : OAF

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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