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# New York Times, Wednesday, March 22, 2017

 Author: Jeffrey Wechsler Editor: Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
187/17/19699/12/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0145710
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.581101

## This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 79, Blocks: 38 Missing: {FJQXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 14 for Mr. Wechsler. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeffrey Wechsler notes: This puzzle has a relatively simple theme concept that I think turned out nicely (YMMV). Either the word TRICYCLE or PENTAGON occurred ... more
Jeffrey Wechsler notes:

This puzzle has a relatively simple theme concept that I think turned out nicely (YMMV). Either the word TRICYCLE or PENTAGON occurred to me initially (I don't recall which) as a basis for repeating the latter part of the word as many times as its numerical prefix suggested — thus creating a "literal" variation of the word. Despite the standard 15-square width of a grid, it was immediately apparent that a "quad" prefix would force a 16-square width, with the latter part of the "quad" word comprising four letters. The word QUADRANT was chosen.

It's unusual to have only three theme entries, especially in the New York Times, where some puzzles seem to strive to fill the thematic level to near bursting. That can be dangerous! Such ventures are occasionally called out for substandard fill by the ever-vigilant squad of bloggers and commenters. But the "tri" prefix could provide a 15-letter entry, as could the "penta" entry. With one 16 and two 15's, that was that. "Hexa" couldn't work, and a six-letter ending for a "bi" word would yield a 16-letter entry, which wouldn't allow standard symmetry among the theme entries, following the logical progression of bi, tri, quad, and penta. So, three was the limit.

On the whole, I thought this concept might produce a reasonable "aha moment", and since it was accepted by Will, I suppose it did so.

Jeff Chen notes: Three phrases literalized, TRICYCLE (tri CYCLE) presented as CYCLECYCLECYCLE, QUADRANT = RANTRANTRANTRANT, PENTAGON = GONGONGONGONGON. I've ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Three phrases literalized, TRICYCLE (tri CYCLE) presented as CYCLECYCLECYCLE, QUADRANT = RANTRANTRANTRANT, PENTAGON = GONGONGONGONGON. I've seen a ton of repeated word themes, i.e. JEOPARDYJEOPARDY = double jeopardy, but this is an interesting twist on the theme trope. I particularly liked GONGONGONGONGON, since GON is such an odd-looking chunk of letters by itself.

Would have been nice to get a progression from UNI to PENTA, but at least TRI, QUAD, PENTA gives a logical sequence. And Jeffrey brings up a good point about crossword symmetry. He would have had to go up to five themers, with the first being UNI+15 letters. Not many options for that, and something like (uni) FORMITARIANISTS would have been pretty dull.

It's okay with me to get just three themers instead of the usual four (or more, these days) if 1.) they're all snazzy and 2.) the grid features a ton of bonus entries. I liked some entries — ARE YOU IN, ANACONDA (always makes me think of the "Baby Got Back" lyrics), and even EVOLVE, KENKEN. Not nearly as much as I'd hope for given only three themers, though.

And RED CHINA … I know it's a historical term, but having heard this used as a SLUR for Asian folks, left me uncomfortable. (I've also heard it used against Korean and Vietnamese friends, which makes me laugh. Sort of.)

A couple of blips in APACE (odd word), MSEC (millisecond never written this way in real life), ANO, but not bad at all. I did struggle with CUTCO and ODETS, but thankfully the clue [Big brand of kitchen knives] made the CUT part of CUTCO gettable, once I did a *headdesk*.

PASTAS sure got an odd clue in [Nonmeat choices at a deli counter]? I fought mightily with that corner, as I thought it had to be TEMPEH or SOY or something with meat-like consistency. Feels like this clue could have been just as "accurate" if the answer had been WATER or COOKIES.

It's a reasonable puzzle, although I would have liked more themers or more bonus fill, especially given that Jeffrey is a seasoned constructor.

 1B 2R 3A 4C 5E 6C 7L 8A 9W 10M 11I 12N 13E 14R 15R E R U N 16R I P E 17S T A V E 18O D E T S 19O V A L 20E R R O R 21C Y C L 22E C Y C L 23E C Y C L E 24S H O O E D 25E S L 26O V A 27L I U 28R U 29M 30P 31L 32A 33P S E D 34U N I 35S 36O U 37T 38H E R E 39R A N T 40R 41A N T R A N T R 42A 43N 44T 45A E R O S O L 46K N O W 47P 48A 49S T A S 50T E 51A 52K 53A L I 54A N O 55O 56I 57L 58D E 59A C O N 60G O N 61G 62O N G O 63N 64G O N G O N 65E M A I L 66A V E R 67K I N G 68S 69R I N S E 70V E R A 71E L D E R 72S E T T O 73E D D Y 74N E A R S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0322 ( 24,606 )
 Across Down 1. "___ yourself!" : BRACE6. Crayfish feature : CLAW10. Figure of the underground economy? : MINER15. Fresh air's opposite? : RERUN16. Well positioned (for) : RIPE17. Barrel part : STAVE18. "Waiting for Lefty" playwright : ODETS19. Many a toy train track : OVAL20. Variable estimated by pollsters : ERROR21. Kid's transport, literally : CYCLECYCLECYCLE24. Drove off : SHOOED25. Night class subj. : ESL26. Cells for new generations : OVA27. Sch. with campuses in Brooklyn and Brookville : LIU28. ___ steak (British term for a sirloin cut) : RUMP31. Unrenewed, as a subscription : LAPSED34. Les États-___ : UNIS36. Present location, when visiting the boondocks : OUTHERE39. Graph section, literally : RANTRANTRANTRANT45. Secret application, perhaps : AEROSOL46. "False face must hide what the false heart doth ___": Macbeth : KNOW47. Nonmeat choices at a deli counter : PASTAS50. With 55-Across, preservative for fine wood furniture : TEAK53. Laila of the ring : ALI54. Many meses in México : ANO55. See 50-Across : OIL58. Mass figure : DEACON60. Military headquarters, literally : GONGONGONGONGON65. Hacking target : EMAIL66. State firmly : AVER67. Biblical book duo : KINGS69. Salon procedure : RINSE70. Designer Wang : VERA71. Descriptor of many statesmen : ELDER72. Brawl : SETTO73. Stream disturbance : EDDY74. Edges up to : NEARS 1. "Dude!" : BRO2. Cold War threat : REDCHINA3. Dealer's query : AREYOUIN4. Big brand of kitchen knives : CUTCO5. Eve who wrote "The Vagina Monologues" : ENSLER6. Swamp critter : CROC7. Early historian of ancient Rome : LIVY8. Quickly : APACE9. "The Shape of Things to Come" author : WELLS10. Brief period in nuclear physics: Abbr. : MSEC11. Modest response to a compliment : ITRY12. D.E.A. agents, informally : NARCOS13. Change through time : EVOLVE14. Like favorite literary passages : REREAD22. Part of the URL for 27-Across : EDU23. Popular afternoon talk show : ELLEN24. "You lowdown, no-good bum," e.g. : SLUR29. One-track : MONO30. Sets (down) : PUTS32. "The supreme ___ of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting": Sun Tzu : ART33. Corner office, maybe : PERK35. R.B.I., for one : STAT37. Accelerated pace : TROT38. In the pink : HALE40. Actor Stephen : REA41. Basis of some insurance fraud : ARSON42. Amazon menace : ANACONDA43. What "ex-" means : NOLONGER44. Duplicate : TWIN47. Obsolescent communications devices : PAGERS48. Severe malaise : ANOMIE49. Like "n" and "r," in phonetics : SONANT51. Kerfuffle : ADO52. Popular puzzle invented in Japan : KENKEN56. Words on some blood drive stickers : IGAVE57. Enjoyed immensely : LOVED59. Like "Dancing With the Stars" dancers : AGILE61. Basic concept : GIST62. Nondairy substitute : OLEO63. Jerry Lewis's "Nutty Professor" was an early example of one : NERD64. Overcast : GRAY68. Most AARP members: Abbr. : SRS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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