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New York Times, Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Author: Gary Cee
Editor: Will Shortz
Gary Cee
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335/28/20094/24/20170
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1988421
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1.56011

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 81, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQXZ} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 28 for Mr. Cee. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Gary Cee notes: Will seems to like a good sports theme — he's run baseball and football crosswords that I have sent him. I don't think anyone has tackled ... more
Gary Cee notes:

Will seems to like a good sports theme — he's run baseball and football crosswords that I have sent him. I don't think anyone has tackled gymnastics. I hope solvers enjoy it.

Now let me get back to that lacrosse puzzle I've been working on ...

Jeff Chen notes: Gymnastics equipment, nicely disguised within snappy phrases. I wasn't exactly sure what the VERBAL part of VERBAL GYMNASTICS had to do with a ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Gymnastics equipment, nicely disguised within snappy phrases. I wasn't exactly sure what the VERBAL part of VERBAL GYMNASTICS had to do with a written puzzle — it would be kind of fun to watch people solve, screaming out the answers as they wrote them in — but sometimes I just need to poke myself and let things slide. Plus, VERBAL GYMNASTICS is such a cool phrase that it was worth the slight bit of confusion.

Sometimes I wonder if a revealer helps or hurts a puzzle. In this case, I think it was a good thing, especially given how snazzy VERBAL GYMNASTICS is. Plus, I don't know if the (pommel) horse or the (uneven) bars would be identifiable without some explicit exposition.

If you squint really hard, you can pretend this is me

Smoothly filled. Gary does a nice job of careful entry selection; just a smattering of A FAN and CON'T minor glue to keep it all together.

With a 16x15 grid, I think it's important to go the extra mile to keep solvers' attention. I sure enjoyed getting the entries like YOO HOO! and NOW WHAT? along with TORTELLINI and LARYNGITIS. For a normal 15x15 puzzle, that would have been fine for me.

But I would have loved to see the boundary pushed a bit, either by 1.) taking out the black square between MUG and ERECTS (difficult to do cleanly) or 2.) shifting the two black squares by STYNE/NAPA either to the left or the right in order to allow ASSUAGE to grow to a 9-letter answer (easier). Not absolutely necessary of course, but as a solver I appreciate those added touches. Given how clean the puzzle turned out, I think getting a bit more sparkle would be worth the price of a little more glue.

FYI, I wondered how difficult it would be to hold an iron cross on the rings. I rock climb a few times a week and am feeling comfortable about my chances on a salmon ladder, so it couldn't be that hard, could it? I was going to post my feeble attempt on my gym's Olympic rings, but it turns out that my videocamera doesn't operate fast enough to capture nanoseconds.

ADDED NOTE: Gary mentioned that his orginal intent was to have the themers clued in a wacky way, i.e. [Olympic event for shallots?] for ONION RINGS. Thus the VERBAL GYMNASTICS revealer would have been more apt.

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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0331 ( 23,884 )
Across Down
1. iTunes button : PLAY
5. Up and about : ASTIR
10. Illuminated : LITUP
15. San ___ (Italian resort) : REMO
16. Thomas who wrote "Common Sense" : PAINE
17. Removes wrinkles : IRONS
18. Deep-fried side dish : ONIONRINGS
20. ___ cotta : TERRA
21. Virility : MANHOOD
22. U2's homeland : EIRE
24. No. in a letterhead : TEL
25. Rent-to-___ : OWN
26. Metaphor for straightness : LASERBEAM
28. Let pass : ALLOW
31. Jollity : MIRTH
32. Right-angled additions : ELLS
33. Serving at a Chinese restaurant : TEA
34. Schlep : HAUL
36. British nobleman : EARL
38. Fancy, evasive language ... or a hint to the ends of 18-, 26-, 54- and 65-Across : VERBALGYMNASTICS
44. Abominable Snowman : YETI
45. Noshes : EATS
46. U.S. medical research agcy. : NIH
47. More to come: Abbr. : CONT
49. Disreputable : SEAMY
52. ___ Heep : URIAH
54. Snootiness : HIGHHORSE
56. Letter encl. with a manuscript : SAE
57. Gold medalist of 1960, under a previous name : ALI
58. Singles : ONES
59. Maine's capital : AUGUSTA
63. Not aligned on the margin : SETIN
65. Java joints : COFFEEBARS
67. Claptrap : TRIPE
68. "Don't ___ on me" : TREAD
69. U.S. city that's an anagram of 22-Across : ERIE
70. Part of a G.E.D. exam : ESSAY
71. Broadway composer Jule : STYNE
72. California county east of Sonoma : NAPA
1. Senior's big night out : PROM
2. Dunham of HBO's "Girls" : LENA
3. Dictator Idi : AMIN
4. "Over here!" : YOOHOO
5. Griller's garment : APRON
6. Put into words : SAID
7. Material in many camping utensils : TIN
8. Not idling : INGEAR
9. Be part of the opposition : RESIST
10. Soda bottle size : LITER
11. Indignation : IRE
12. Stuffed, rolled pasta : TORTELLINI
13. Make-believe : UNREAL
14. Source of the line "The Lord is thy keeper" : PSALMS
19. "You again?!" : NOWWHAT
23. Throw in the microwave, maybe : REHEAT
26. Easter bloom : LILY
27. Ernie's "Sesame Street" buddy : BERT
28. Rugged four-wheeler, briefly : ATV
29. Daniels who directed "The Butler" : LEE
30. Woe for a singer : LARYNGITIS
31. Root beer holder : MUG
35. 27-time Grammy winner Krauss : ALISON
37. Soften, as fears : ASSUAGE
39. New York's ___ Israel Medical Center : BETH
40. Something trending online : MEME
41. Yea's opposite : NAY
42. Covert org. : CIA
43. "Not so loud!" : SHH
47. Unsullied : CHASTE
48. Edmonton six : OILERS
50. Builds : ERECTS
51. Classify : ASSORT
53. Sandwich with sauerkraut : REUBEN
55. Sweetie : HONEY
56. Napped leather : SUEDE
59. Picasso's "Lady With ___" : AFAN
60. Singer Bareilles : SARA
61. Take a spill : TRIP
62. On the ocean : ASEA
64. Beer variety, familiarly : IPA
66. Tina who wrote the autobiographical "Bossypants" : FEY

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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