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New York Times, Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Author:
Bruce Greig
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutCollabs
13/6/20180
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0010000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.61000
Bruce Greig

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQX} This is the debut puzzle for Mr. Greig. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Bruce Greig notes:
Finally! After five (or six?) submissions, I got Will's blessing. After just one, relatively straightforward, set of edits, it was ... read more

Finally! After five (or six?) submissions, I got Will's blessing. After just one, relatively straightforward, set of edits, it was ready to go.

The seed of this puzzle came from "turkey trot", as I was considering participating in the annual Detroit Thanksgiving 5k race by that name. I didn't end up running, but I did get a good puzzle idea out of it! Soon I was wracking my brain for similar "animal walk" phrases. "Bear crawl" and "frog march" all came pretty quickly, plus they were a crossword-friendly 9 letters to boot!

I knew I needed at least one more, or a revealer of some sort to put the puzzle into submission realm. I resorted to my old friend Google to search for animal phrases. "Goose step", also at 9 letters worked well, but frankly "Chicken Run" was my least favorite as it did not seem as "tight" as the others since it was not something "doable" by a human – like the others.

For my debut I was excited that Will used most of my fill, though probably less than half my clues. His cluing was certainly "fresher" than mine. I mean, "Raiders of the Lost __" ? That was just plain lazy. I love his replacement! After 35+ years of solving NYT puzzles, I am positively thrilled to finally join the club of constructors. One down, hopefully many more to go!

Jeff Chen notes:
Debut! Nice and consistent theme, phrases in the form of (animal + movement). I loved CHICKEN RUN, by the maker of 'Wallace and ... read more

Debut! Nice and consistent theme, phrases in the form of (animal + movement). I loved CHICKEN RUN, by the maker of "Wallace and Gromit," and BEAR CRAWL and TURKEY TROT are such fun terms.

FROG MARCH … a bit off-putting, but colorful nonetheless.

GOOSE STEP. Not sure a term so closely associated with the Nazis is something I want in my daily diversion. I might have chosen to leave it out, personally.

Another reason to leave it out – look how nicely BEAR CRAWL could slip into GOOSE STEP's spot – is that working with a middle 9-letter themer makes the construction SO much harder. With just four themers, you have so much flexibility. Pretty easy to produce a colorful and smooth grid.

Five themers, including a middle 9, is almost always going to require a couple of trade-offs. It creates all sorts of problems in the four corners.

Start with ABBES to kick off the puzzle. Probably worth the nice ALFALFA, BARRIOS, BROKERS. It's super important to have a solid 1-Across since there's only one first impression you can make on your solver, but I think that NW corner is pretty good.

In the SE, was ALLSTAR worth the price of WBA, LOGE, ELLO, SRA? To me, probably not. But I'd listen to arguments otherwise.

Toss in some OSMIC, DES, ERGS, ETES … I'd have liked a smoother result, given that it's an early-week theme. Eliminating a themer would have allowed for that, but more cheater squares could likely have helped too. I like Bruce's usage of black squares before BALD and after ERGS – that most certainly made the NE and SW corners smoother. Another pair of added black squares in the opposite corners could have been useful, too.

A good debut, especially in terms of themer consistency. A couple of hiccups in execution.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0306 ( 24,955 )
Across
1
French clerics : ABBES
6
Resource in the Mesabi Range : ORE
9
Lacking any tread : BALD
13
Florida's Key ___ : LARGO
14
Fruit center : PIT
15
Official state sport of Wyoming : RODEO
16
Forced walk with arms pinned behind the back : FROGMARCH
18
Relating to element #76 : OSMIC
19
Something "lost" in the highest-grossing movie of 1981 : ARK
20
Precalculator calculators : ABACI
21
Grace under pressure : POISE
22
"Hogwash!" : LIES
24
Hit 2000 animated film set on a farm : CHICKENRUN
26
Specialties : FORTES
28
State with conviction : ASSERT
29
Test, as 6-Across : ASSAY
30
Seriously injure : MAIM
33
___ Moines, Iowa : DES
34
Core-strengthening exercise performed on all fours : BEARCRAWL
38
Death on the Nile cause, perhaps : ASP
41
Commend : CITE
42
Swine : BOARS
46
Muss, as the hair : TOUSLE
49
Young raptor : EAGLET
50
Old ragtime dance : TURKEYTROT
54
Cockney greeting : ELLO
55
Courtyards : ATRIA
56
Trickled : OOZED
58
Bit of a draft? : SIP
59
Fire department V.I.P. : CHIEF
60
Straight-kneed military movement : GOOSESTEP
62
Any of eight English kings : HENRY
63
"Barbara ___" (Beach Boys hit) : ANN
64
Hunger for : CRAVE
65
Physics units : ERGS
66
"Get it?" : SEE
67
Propelled a boat : OARED
Down
1
Cattle or horse feed : ALFALFA
2
New York's Spanish Harlem and others : BARRIOS
3
Employees at Re/Max and Coldwell Banker : BROKERS
4
Bad thing to have on one's face : EGG
5
"Brave New World" drug : SOMA
6
Who said "I'm black. I don't feel burdened by it .... It's part of who I am. It does not define me" : OPRAH
7
Christina who played Wednesday Addams : RICCI
8
Honesty and hard work, e.g. : ETHIC
9
Particles in quantum mechanics : BOSONS
10
Looked up to : ADMIRED
11
Sports & ___ (Trivial Pursuit category) : LEISURE
12
Museum guides : DOCENTS
15
Borders of boxing rings : ROPES
17
Some kindergarten instruction : ABCS
23
Attack as Hamlet did Polonius : STAB
25
___ Sutra : KAMA
27
Hurricane's center : EYE
30
Noninvasive diagnostic procedure, for short : MRI
31
One of two in "Waiting for Godot" : ACT
32
Ill temper : IRE
35
___-deucey (card game) : ACEY
36
Org. awarding titles to Mike Tyson and Tyson Fury : WBA
37
Balcony section : LOGE
38
Embassy worker ... or something that worker might carry : ATTACHE
39
Wind that typically brings warmer air : SOUTHER
40
Operating smoothly, as an engine : PURRING
43
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, for a record 19 times : ALLSTAR
44
Take over for : RELIEVE
45
Clogged (up) : STOPPED
47
Super G competitors : SKIERS
48
Like lettuce, spinach and kale : LEAFY
49
French summers : ETES
51
Coverage of senators in ancient Rome? : TOGAS
52
Onetime news exec Arledge : ROONE
53
O3 : OZONE
57
Art ___ : DECO
61
Mme., in Madrid : SRA

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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