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New York Times, Friday, March 31, 2017

Author: David C. Duncan Dekker
Editor: Will Shortz
David C. Duncan Dekker
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
43/7/20153/31/20170
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0001021
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
2.21004

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 27 Missing: none – this is a pangram. Scrabble average: 2.17 This is puzzle # 4 for Mr. Dekker. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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Jeff Chen notes: Check out all those rare letters! JQXZ are the Big Four in crosswords, letters that can be tough to incorporate into a grid. Dave ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Check out all those rare letters! JQXZ are the Big Four in crosswords, letters that can be tough to incorporate into a grid. Dave packs in an amazing quantity — hit the "Analyze" button at the bottom of this screen to see the letter distribution. Twelve of these Big Fours is cool to see.

I particularly liked the ZZ/ZZ pileup near the middle. Something so fun about the mash.

"Stunt puzzles" often don't resonate with me, since they tend to sacrifice so much to pull things off. So it was a pleasure to uncover a decent amount of great fill in this themeless, ALAKAZAM, QUIZ BOWL, along with DEMO TAPE, SWIM MEET. Not as much as I usually like to see in a themeless, but still enough to make all those Big Four letters feel worth it.

There were a few hiccups. AFFAIRE looks so odd with that ending E. ENQUIRY is an odd spelling. IMPEND feels weird compared to the more common IMPENDING usage. (TWOPENCE, which I thought was arbitrary, is apparently a synonym for "a trivial sum" — who knew?) And a handful of SHU, BSC (bachelor of science … and computing? Apparently it's another form of BS.), CAPT.

But all in all, I enjoyed what those 12 Big Four letters brought to the puzzle. Especially impressive how many Dave worked into the center of the puzzle. Very cool to sit back and study such a high concentration of rare letters into such a small area.

1
E
2
P
3
I
4
C
5
P
6
O
7
E
8
M
9
B
10
R
11
O
12
W
13
S
14
E
15
D
E
M
O
T
A
P
E
16
S
H
R
E
W
S
17
K
E
P
T
A
T
I
T
18
C
Y
C
L
I
C
19
O
D
E
T
S
20
S
H
21
U
22
S
A
L
M
A
23
C
E
N
A
24
B
O
O
Z
25
E
26
S
I
M
P
27
H
E
D
28
P
U
D
D
I
N
29
G
30
N
E
A
31
S
I
Z
E
S
32
Q
U
33
O
T
E
D
34
J
35
A
36
C
U
Z
Z
I
37
Q
U
I
X
O
T
E
38
A
L
O
N
Z
O
39
G
U
I
D
O
40
N
A
V
41
A
F
42
F
A
I
R
E
43
B
44
F
45
F
46
I
K
E
47
A
48
F
U
Z
Z
Y
49
W
Y
L
E
50
T
A
R
O
51
S
52
R
E
B
53
C
A
G
E
S
54
O
Z
A
R
K
55
S
56
T
O
57
M
A
T
O
E
S
58
R
A
G
T
O
P
59
T
W
O
P
E
N
C
E
60
S
M
E
A
R
Y
61
E
L
M
T
R
E
E
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0331 ( 24,615 )
Across Down
1. "Don Juan," for one : EPICPOEM
9. Look a little here, look a little there : BROWSE
15. Old means of getting discovered : DEMOTAPE
16. Mammals using echolocation : SHREWS
17. Stayed the course : KEPTATIT
18. Like biorhythms : CYCLIC
19. "The Flowering Peach" playwright : ODETS
20. Moo ___ : SHU
22. Hayek of "Grown Ups" : SALMA
23. John of pro wrestling : CENA
24. Hard stuff to swallow : BOOZE
26. Dunderhead : SIMP
27. Nancy Sinatra's "If ___ Love Me" : HED
28. Brown Betty, e.g. : PUDDING
30. Org. with a campaign called "Degrees Not Debt" : NEA
31. Options in a catalog : SIZES
32. In a sound bite, say : QUOTED
34. Jet stream locale : JACUZZI
37. Romantic visionary : QUIXOTE
38. N.B.A. Hall-of-Famer Mourning : ALONZO
39. Oscar-winning role in "Life Is Beautiful" : GUIDO
40. ___ system (GPS device) : NAV
41. Romantic liaison : AFFAIRE
43. Real pal, for short : BFF
46. Many of its products have legs : IKEA
48. Lacking focus : FUZZY
49. Noah of "Falling Skies" : WYLE
50. Plants of the arum family : TAROS
52. Ft. Sumter battler : REB
53. Pet shop purchases : CAGES
54. Range that's home to Ha Ha Tonka State Park : OZARKS
56. Units in modern film ratings? : TOMATOES
58. Convertible : RAGTOP
59. A trivial sum, informally : TWOPENCE
60. Like cream cheese on a bagel : SMEARY
61. Shady bunch? : ELMTREES
1. 1980s big-city mayor : EDKOCH
2. Alphabetically rhyming river name : PEEDEE
3. Loom : IMPEND
4. Baked, in Bologna : COTTA
5. Grps. supporting the 30-Across : PTAS
6. Wild thing? : OAT
7. Series opener : EPISODEI
8. Modi operandi : METHODS
9. Common four-year deg. : BSC
10. Novelist Jean with the 1966 best seller "Wide Sargasso Sea" : RHYS
11. Things in a pod : ORCAS
12. Not near the beginning of : WELLINTO
13. What has different strokes for different folks? : SWIMMEET
14. Bit of antics : ESCAPADE
21. AK-47 alternative : UZI
24. "Go away!" : BUZZOFF
25. Probe, to Brits : ENQUIRY
28. ___ topping : PIZZA
29. Leading figure : GUIDE
31. Light of the world : SUN
33. Big name in kitchen utensils : OXO
34. Cleanup crew : JANITORS
35. "Presto chango!" : ALAKAZAM
36. Media attention : COVERAGE
37. Good practice for the show "It's Academic" : QUIZBOWL
39. Montreal daily : GAZETTE
42. Winter coat lining : FUR
43. Past : BYGONE
44. Winter coat lining : FLEECE
45. Spills it, with "up" : FESSES
47. Trunk in the trunk : AORTA
49. Well-kept resource : WATER
51. Hershey bar : SKOR
53. Airline V.I.P.: Abbr. : CAPT
55. One wearing sunglasses, stereotypically : SPY
57. Pop enthusiast? : MOM

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?