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New York Times, Thursday, April 13, 2017

Author:
Michael Shteyman
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
552/13/200111/11/20176
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336717694
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.62524
Michael Shteyman

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 74, Blocks: 42 Missing: {JQX} Spans: 1 This is puzzle # 53 for Mr. Shteyman. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Michael Shteyman notes:
This puzzle went through many transformations (e.g., TRIPLE[OT] and even 3OT serving as possible revealers) before I settled on the ... read more

This puzzle went through many transformations (e.g., TRIPLE[OT] and even 3OT serving as possible revealers) before I settled on the final set of theme answers. Not too proud of ESTS, RECT and [OT]ROS congregating in the bottom right, but that corner was just a big bad bear to fill, even with an extra black square at the end of 51-Across. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how the rest of the puzzle turned out.

Will and Joel smoothed out the solve by tightening a lot of the clues, though I do wish some of my attempts at being cute also made it to print: "Barely show?" for FLASH, "Call it a knight?" for SIR and "Medium for a musician?" for MEZZO. Maybe next (over)time.

Jeff Chen notes:
TRIPLE OVERTIMES = entries with three OT rebus squares apiece. There was something so pleasing about the OT x OT x OT alternation in ... read more

TRIPLE OVERTIMES = entries with three OT rebus squares apiece. There was something so pleasing about the OT x OT x OT alternation in DOT DOT DOT and HOT TO TROT. Very fun.

GOT TO THE OTHER SIDE … this one didn't hit for me, as it felt like a truncated punchline. With four featured themers, it would have been great to get a little more zip to this one.

A bunch of nice bonus fill, PUMP IRON, SALSA DIP, I THINK NOT, OTTER POPS all excellent. I liked that those last two included some of the OT squares; a nice touch. Often, the crossing answers to rebus themers can be a bit neutral to dull (OTTOS or OTROS, e.g.) so I enjoy when a rebus constructor goes the extra mile to work in snazzy crossing answers.

I finished with an error, AMOCA / OTRAS instead of AMOCO / OTROS. Peeved me at first, but I think it's probably fair — more my being careless than anything. OTRAS / OTROS is ambiguous, but AMOCO was a big company after all … and the CO = company should have been a dead giveaway. SHOOT!

Some blips in the short fill in IGOT OYE ESTS ZBAR (if I as a mechanical engineer struggles with this …), causing me some AGITA. Not unexpected given all the crossing themers.

The only place that I thought really suffered was the lower right, which Mike already called out. Not surprising given the TRIPLE OVERTIME / HOT TO TROT crossing causing so much inflexibility. ESTS / OTTOS / OTROS / AMOCO / RECT ... oof. Perhaps moving the three black squares at the end of FLASH down one row would have helped, but that could have easily created more problems.

As a basketball fan, I liked the solve. Would have been nice to get an extra layer of a-ha, but I'm not sure what that could have been.

1
I
2
P
3
A
4
D
5
S
6
P
7
Y
8
S
9
I
10
M
11
B
12
A
13
B
I
G
OT
14
S
H
O
O
15
A
T
E
A
M
16
E
N
I
D
17
M
O
O
D
18
L
H
A
S
A
19
G
OT
T
OT
20
H
E
OT
H
E
21
R
S
I
D
E
22
S
A
D
A
T
23
L
O
A
N
24
OT
T
A
25
W
26
A
27
E
D
K
28
O
29
C
30
H
31
G
32
A
33
P
34
N
A
L
35
A
36
I
N
S
U
M
37
O
N
E
38
P
39
OT
A
T
OT
W
40
O
P
OT
A
T
O
41
S
T
R
U
T
42
T
O
O
N
43
Y
E
S
44
H
I
T
M
E
45
N
46
F
L
A
47
S
48
H
49
P
R
I
50
M
51
L
I
OT
52
T
53
A
54
T
55
R
I
P
L
E
56
O
57
V
E
R
T
I
M
58
E
59
C
A
I
R
O
60
Z
B
A
R
61
OT
T
O
S
62
U
P
T
O
P
63
Z
E
S
T
64
R
E
C
T
65
B
E
A
N
S
66
O
Y
E
67
OT
R
O
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0413 ( 24,628 )
Across
1
Popular tablet : IPAD
5
Peeper : SPY
8
Famous feline of film : SIMBA
13
Close-minded sort : BIGOT
14
"Away!" : SHOO
15
Elite crew : ATEAM
16
It's an OK city : ENID
17
What an emoji might indicate : MOOD
18
Capital more than two miles above sea level : LHASA
19
Made it across : GOTTOTHEOTHERSIDE
22
1970s North African leader : SADAT
23
___ shark : LOAN
24
Major tributary of the St. Lawrence : OTTAWA
27
Three-term Big Apple mayor : EDKOCH
31
Breach : GAP
34
8-Across's mate : NALA
36
Altogether : INSUM
37
Start of a counting rhyme : ONEPOTATOTWOPOTATO
41
Auto stabilizer : STRUT
42
One drawn to kids' entertainment? : TOON
43
"No doubt about it" : YES
44
John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, in "Pulp Fiction" : HITMEN
46
Instant : FLASH
49
Demure : PRIM
51
Ray of "GoodFellas" : LIOTTA
54
Uncommon period in basketball ... or a hint to 19- and 37-Across and 4- and 48-Down : TRIPLEOVERTIME
59
"Raiders of the Lost Ark" destination : CAIRO
60
Letter-shaped construction piece : ZBAR
61
Chemistry Nobelist Hahn and others : OTTOS
62
Request for a high-five : UPTOP
63
Kick or punch : ZEST
64
Door shape: Abbr. : RECT
65
Protein source for a vegan : BEANS
66
Jorge's "Hey!" : OYE
67
Not estos or esos : OTROS
Down
1
"___ of you ..." : IBEG
2
Alternatives to cabs : PINOTS
3
Butterflies, so to speak : AGITA
4
Continuation indication : DOTDOTDOT
5
"Darn!" : SHOOT
6
"Fiddlesticks!" : POOH
7
Swiss air lines? : YODEL
8
Party bowlful : SALSADIP
9
"Doubtful" : ITHINKNOT
10
Honey brew : MEAD
11
Ignoble : BASE
12
Org. with the Rod of Asclepius in its logo : AMA
14
So-called "father of Czech music" : SMETANA
20
Magician's prop : HAT
21
Caviar : ROE
25
Power bit : WATT
26
Many : ALOTOF
28
Anthem opener : OSAY
29
Smart-alecky : CUTE
30
Employer-offered plans, for short : HMOS
31
"My oh my!" : GOSH
32
___-inflammatory : ANTI
33
Sassy : PERT
35
Reveille no-show : AWOL
38
Do some heavy lifting : PUMPIRON
39
Frozen treats with "six zippy flavors" : OTTERPOPS
40
Watchful : ONALERT
45
It's nothing, really : NIL
47
"My dear man" : SIR
48
Eager : HOTTOTROT
50
Certain opera singer, for short : MEZZO
52
Strength of a solution, in chemistry : TITER
53
Bygone fuel giant with a torch in its logo : AMOCO
54
Stick with it : TAPE
55
Actress Moreno : RITA
56
Comply with : OBEY
57
Piece in many a still life : VASE
58
Ballpark figs. : ESTS
59
New reporter : CUB

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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