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New York Times, Thursday, April 13, 2017

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

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 ... more
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 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 ... more
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 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
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0413 ( 24,628 )
Across Down
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
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: 6 unique to this puzzle.

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