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New York Times, Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Author: Alan Arbesfeld
Editor: Will Shortz
Alan Arbesfeld
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
1218/27/19814/10/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
25724342515
ScrabRebusCirclePangrampre-WS
1.605099

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQW} This is puzzle # 121 for Mr. Arbesfeld. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Okay, you all know the joke I'm going to make. But I'm still going to do it. Just hold on a sec while I analyze the puzzle. I ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Okay, you all know the joke I'm going to make. But I'm still going to do it. Just hold on a sec while I analyze the puzzle.

I couldn't quite figure out what the theme was at first. The themers … start with the same sound? CY, SI, SCI, PSY? Oh, wait. SAY and CI also have this sound, in SAYONARA and CITATION? Okay, that's pretty interesting, how many ways the sound can be spelled.

Another cool element: I couldn't come up with any other entries that would fit, with a different spelling of that sound. There's PSI, but PSI OMEGA or something doesn't work in the same way, as PSI is a full word. So I appreciated the tightness of the theme, a full set of six.

But the grid execution …

SIGH.

(You couldn't expect me to resist that, could you?)

Way too much crossword glue. These days, a puzzle can't allow TENN ERN RIATA SDAK UKE ATRI anymore, unless it was all working for an incredible theme. What ADRAG, indeed.

Yes, it's tough to execute on six themers, all of them pretty long. But there are a lot of ways of executing on six themers that work much better.

  • Swapping the shorter answers, SAYONARA / CITATION, with SILENT NIGHT / SCIENCE FAIR, often produces better spacing.
  • You can also try squishing themers together, say in rows 3 and 4.
  • Or putting two of the themers vertical.
  • Or perhaps sacrificing some of the long fill. URBAN MYTH and GO IT ALONE are nice, but not if the price to pay in terms of crossword glue is so high.

Although I had to think about the theme a lot, it's a neat concept. (Or maybe because I had to think about it?) But the gridwork let the puzzle down.

1
S
2
N
3
U
4
B
5
O
6
P
7
E
8
D
9
S
10
T
11
A
12
Z
13
O
14
E
A
R
L
15
K
I
R
O
V
16
A
D
I
N
17
C
Y
B
E
18
R
S
P
A
C
E
19
U
R
L
S
20
A
D
O
21
S
E
L
22
A
23
A
C
E
24
E
25
R
N
26
S
27
I
28
L
E
N
T
N
29
I
G
H
T
30
S
I
M
31
C
I
T
Y
32
T
E
N
N
33
S
A
Y
O
N
A
R
34
A
35
A
N
36
G
37
S
38
T
39
A
T
T
Y
40
L
A
R
41
V
42
A
43
A
O
N
E
44
Y
A
H
O
45
O
46
C
I
T
47
A
T
I
O
N
48
T
I
49
S
50
H
51
T
R
E
E
T
O
P
52
S
53
C
54
I
E
N
C
E
55
F
A
I
R
56
A
T
M
57
T
I
C
58
K
A
R
L
59
I
60
S
L
61
A
R
E
62
A
63
P
S
Y
64
C
65
H
E
D
O
66
U
67
T
68
I
C
A
N
69
E
E
N
I
E
70
A
N
K
A
71
N
E
X
T
72
S
Y
N
O
D
73
K
E
E
N
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0410 ( 24,990 )
Across Down
1. Cold-shoulder : SNUB
5. Opinion pieces : OPEDS
10. Brand of tea : TAZO
14. ___ Grey tea : EARL
15. Russian ballet company : KIROV
16. Score before deuce, maybe : ADIN
17. The online world : CYBERSPACE
19. They help you access 17-Across, for short : URLS
20. Commotion : ADO
21. Actress Ward of "Sisters" : SELA
23. King topper : ACE
24. Ending with east or west : ERN
26. Song whose first verse ends "Sleep in heavenly peace" : SILENTNIGHT
30. Pioneering building game for computers : SIMCITY
32. Graceland's home: Abbr. : TENN
33. Japanese farewell : SAYONARA
35. Woody Allen emotion : ANGST
39. Court fig. : ATTY
40. Grub or maggot : LARVA
43. Top-notch : AONE
44. "Whoopee!" : YAHOO
46. 1948 Triple Crown winner : CITATION
48. Mrs. Addams, to Gomez : TISH
51. Star's spot at Christmas : TREETOP
52. Big school event attended by parents : SCIENCEFAIR
56. Source of PIN money? : ATM
57. Spasm : TIC
58. Marx who co-wrote "The Communist Manifesto" : KARL
59. Manhattan, for one: Abbr. : ISL
61. One-half base x height, for a triangle : AREA
63. Undermined the confidence of : PSYCHEDOUT
68. Volunteer's offer : ICAN
69. Start of a kid's choosing rhyme : EENIE
70. "Puppy Love" hitmaker, 1960 : ANKA
71. On deck : NEXT
72. Church council : SYNOD
73. Sharp : KEEN
1. Jiffy : SEC
2. "I vote no" : NAY
3. Story debunked on Snopes.com : URBANMYTH
4. Ran, as fabric dye : BLED
5. Signs off on : OKS
6. Backup singer for Gladys Knight : PIP
7. Wipe the board clean : ERASE
8. Museum guide : DOCENT
9. Gracefully thin : SVELTE
10. Greek letter shaped like a cross : TAU
11. "What ___ it is getting old" (Rolling Stones lyric) : ADRAG
12. Nothing, informally : ZILCH
13. Beginning : ONSET
18. Bagful on a pitcher's mound : ROSIN
22. Fashion's Wintour : ANNA
24. Optional part of the SAT : ESSAY
25. Cowboy's lasso : RIATA
27. Slanted type: Abbr. : ITAL
28. Constellation named for a stringed instrument : LYRA
29. Present at birth : INNATE
31. Wild animal that yips : COYOTE
34. Path followed by a shooting star : ARC
36. Eschew help : GOITALONE
37. Supercilious sort : SNOOT
38. Local news hour, on some stations : TENPM
41. "La Dolce ___" : VITA
42. Longfellow's bell town : ATRI
45. Sound on Old MacDonald's farm : OINK
47. High home for a hawk : AERIE
49. Scenic vistas, briefly : SCAPES
50. "Hiroshima" author John : HERSEY
52. Blemish on one's reputation : STAIN
53. "Odyssey" temptress : CIRCE
54. Alpine climbing tool : ICEAX
55. Swashbuckling Errol : FLYNN
60. Badlands locale: Abbr. : SDAK
62. Picnic pest : ANT
64. Grp. in a 1955 labor merger : CIO
65. "If only ___ listened ..." : HED
66. Luau instrument, familiarly : UKE
67. Shade darker than beige : TAN

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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