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New York Times, Wednesday, March 30, 2016

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

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

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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 ... more
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 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, ... more
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, 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 Down
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
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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