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New York Times, Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Author:
Andrew Reynolds
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
59/18/20123/30/20160
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1021100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.53050
Andrew Reynolds

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 36 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Reynolds. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Andrew Reynolds notes:
Like any global climate change negotiations, this puzzle took shape with a lot of give and take. Once I came up with 5 theme answers I ... read more

Like any global climate change negotiations, this puzzle took shape with a lot of give and take. Once I came up with 5 theme answers I thought I was headed for a 76 or 78-word puzzle for sure, but with the relatively tame letters that made up my theme answers, I realized I could get more aggressive and ended up with a 72-word puzzle. This sacrificed some quality in the shorter answers (sorry), but I now have an even greater appreciation for those constructors out there that make 72-word themed puzzles look squeaky clean. Also, with a nine-month old in the house, who has time to write four to six extra clues?

I hope you were able to sit outside and bask in the warmth of an extra 1-2 degrees while enjoying this puzzle. And if you didn't enjoy it, please toss it in the recycling and not the trash. The planet thanks you.

Jeff Chen notes:
CLIMATE CHANGE interpreted as 'anagram the letters in CLIMATE within phrases.' Normally I'm not a huge fan of this theme category, ... read more

CLIMATE CHANGE interpreted as "anagram the letters in CLIMATE within phrases." Normally I'm not a huge fan of this theme category, since placing a string of letters anywhere within a phrase is too easy for my taste. But a string of seven letters is no joke, especially when you throw that C in there. Plus, MEAL TICKET is a great entry, DIRECT MAIL isn't bad, and SATELLITE CAMPUS / CHEMICAL TESTING are pretty good.

Bring back memories?

I appreciated the extra layer Andrew worked in — did you notice that the shaded strings of letters are symmetrically placed? That's not necessary to do with this theme type, but I liked the extra effort.

This is a very theme-dense puzzle, with five long themers, two of them being grid-spanners. That causes all sorts of difficulty, because you have so many down entries that must run through at least two themers. So many highly-constrained sections! Check out the ends of CHEMICAL TESTING and MEAL TICKET, for example. You need a five-letter word to sandwich in between them, and then you have five vertical answers to incorporate. A tough task! I really liked what Andrew did in that corner, even working in a long answer, GUARANTEE, with just the price of ASSN. And KINDA and STINKO are both fun entries.

The center does get strained what with ALGERIA running through three themers. That's the only place I hitched a bit, with LAIC (which really is a perfectly fine word, so that's likely just my personal bias) and IER. Otherwise Andrew does a pretty good job spreading his glue around the grid, a CUL here, an SSE there. A very nice job given that it's a low word-count (72) puzzle.

I did wonder about his choice to work NORSEMEN and GRILL PAN next to each other; a difficult arrangement especially already having a theme-dense puzzle. I think LOC, UNI, and SSE could have been eliminated by breaking up GRILL PAN at its second L. But ultimately, I think GRILL PAN is an interesting entry, and it symmetrical partner, SKEE BALL, is really good. So I think that's a reasonable trade-off.

1
P
2
A
3
S
4
S
5
E
6
A
7
C
8
E
9
D
10
A
11
S
12
S
13
N
14
F
A
K
E
R
15
G
U
A
R
16
A
N
T
E
E
17
C
H
E
M
I
18
C
A
L
T
E
S
T
I
N
G
19
E
P
C
O
T
20
K
I
N
D
A
21
T
22
O
B
E
23
M
E
24
A
25
L
26
T
I
C
K
E
T
27
S
T
A
R
28
R
29
S
L
A
I
N
30
O
R
E
31
P
I
L
F
E
32
R
33
G
I
G
34
C
L
I
M
A
35
T
E
C
H
36
A
37
N
38
G
39
E
40
I
E
R
41
T
H
O
R
A
42
X
43
A
44
T
45
O
46
S
T
A
I
47
R
48
A
R
I
S
E
49
D
I
R
50
E
C
T
M
A
I
51
L
52
S
L
E
D
53
D
R
A
M
A
54
V
O
55
W
E
L
56
S
A
T
E
L
57
L
58
I
59
T
E
C
A
M
P
60
U
61
S
62
O
N
O
R
A
B
O
U
T
63
W
E
A
N
S
64
N
A
R
Y
65
J
U
G
S
66
A
N
N
I
E
© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0330 ( 24,249 )
Across
1
So last year : PASSE
6
Got one's serve past : ACED
10
One of the A's in A.M.A.: Abbr. : ASSN
14
Flopper in basketball, e.g. : FAKER
15
Buyer's protection : GUARANTEE
17
Some lab work : CHEMICALTESTING
19
Home of Spaceship Earth : EPCOT
20
Rather, informally : KINDA
21
"Hamlet" soliloquy starter : TOBE
23
Source of income : MEALTICKET
27
Fab Four surname : STARR
29
Whacked, so to speak : SLAIN
30
Vein find : ORE
31
Filch : PILFER
33
Musician's booking : GIG
34
Environmentalist's concern ... or a hint to the circled letters : CLIMATECHANGE
40
Front end? : IER
41
Part of an insect's body that holds the legs : THORAX
43
___ Z (the works) : ATO
46
Way up or down : STAIR
48
Crop up : ARISE
49
Like some ad campaigns : DIRECTMAIL
52
"Calvin and Hobbes" conveyance : SLED
53
Emmy classification : DRAMA
54
"W" is one in Welsh : VOWEL
56
School branch : SATELLITECAMPUS
62
Approximately : ONORABOUT
63
Starts on baby food, say : WEANS
64
___ a one (zero) : NARY
65
Moonshine holders : JUGS
66
Sharpshooter Oakley : ANNIE
Down
1
U.S.M.C. one-striper : PFC
2
What a doctor may have you say : AAH
3
Arcade game played on an incline : SKEEBALL
4
Motto for a 1-Down, informally : SEMPERFI
5
___ the Red : ERIC
6
Shooting marbles : AGATES
7
___-de-sac : CUL
8
Have one's fill : EAT
9
Rap's Dr. ___ : DRE
10
Bit of funny business : ANTIC
11
Pie-eyed : STINKO
12
Return addressee : SENDER
13
Prove false : NEGATE
16
Invite for coffee, say : ASKIN
18
.net alternative : COM
21
Kitchen meas. : TSP
22
Ear-related : OTIC
24
Largest country in Africa : ALGERIA
25
Of the flock : LAIC
26
Like skinny jeans : TIGHT
28
Dream state : REM
32
"Nick of Time" singer Bonnie : RAITT
35
Reds or Blues : TEAM
36
"Got it!" : AHA
37
5-Down and cohorts : NORSEMEN
38
Cast-iron cooker : GRILLPAN
39
Maneuver with care : EASE
42
Marked, as a ballot : XED
43
Builds a new room, say : ADDSON
44
Capital of Albania : TIRANA
45
"Friends, Romans, countrymen ..." sort of speaker : ORATOR
46
Teatro alla ___ : SCALA
47
Fixes firmly : RIVETS
50
Mani-pedi tool : EMERY
51
Position: Abbr. : LOC
55
Trumpet or guitar effect : WAWA
57
War on Poverty prez : LBJ
58
Note in a pot : IOU
59
Yank's cousin : TUG
60
College, in Down Under slang : UNI
61
Minn.-to-Ala. direction : SSE

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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