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New York Times, Friday, April 18, 2014

Author: James Mulhern
Editor: Will Shortz
James Mulhern
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2411/16/20096/23/20176
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ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60000

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 27 Missing: {JQX} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Mulhern. NYT links: Across Lite PDF

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James Mulhern notes: This puzzle began, as so many themeli (Jeff's note: what a great pluralization of 'themeless'!) do, in the northwest, where a ... more
James Mulhern notes: This puzzle began, as so many themeli (Jeff's note: what a great pluralization of "themeless"!) do, in the northwest, where a stroke of luck and some sage advice allowed me to extend 3-Down from SHARING to the awesome SHARING IS CARING. Unfortunately, from there the grid was already fairly constrained, and the compromises required to fill it are a bit too evident. There's definitely some other good stuff throughout the puzzle (I really like NOT MUCH TO LOOK AT, despite another "AT" dupe...), but there's also too much junk. The eternal constructing struggle!

In any case, I'm pleased with this puzzle, and I hope you are, too. Fo'shizzle.

Jeff Chen notes: Some really nice work today from James (who is now engaged!). Instead of the more typical triple stacks of 7's, 8's or 9's, he ... more
Jeff Chen notes: Some really nice work today from James (who is now engaged!). Instead of the more typical triple stacks of 7's, 8's or 9's, he removes one set of black squares to incorporate two beautiful 15's. SHARING IS CARING is my favorite debut in a while, and NOT MUCH TO LOOK AT isn't self-descriptive at all.

And what a bevy of nice answers in the grid. STANDING O looks so funny as STANDINGO (I tried so hard to parse it as STAND IN GO) and is such a great answer. Toss in LIKE CRAZY, MAN MADE, FAST ONE, BUCOLIC, and you have yourself a snappy puzzle.

One across is going to be divisive, methinks. On one hand, it's fun slang, with the crazy IZZLE ending. On the other, it feels to me about 10 years old, sort of like me showing off my Motorola Razr. I totally understand the effort to be more hip and cater to the younger generation, and if this had debuted even five years ago, I think I would have liked it better. Tough one; I'm sure some people will talk about it as their favorite answer in a while.

As I've progressed in my themeless construction skills, I've come to realize how competitive the business is, even more so than in the themeless / Sunday-size game. It takes an almost perfect grid for an acceptance, ripe with juicy entries, with nary a glue entry to be seen. James executes with great care and to nice effect. It's unfortunate that TOR, ORIG, and ULE read almost straight across one row, as there really isn't much else that sticks out.

Finally, two beautiful clues. [Learn to teach?] has nothing to do with teaching skills, but is a tricky way to give an example of an ANTONYM. And [It can be painful to pick up] for TAB ... I maintain that I have no idea who might have drunk so much on Will's TAB at the ACPT judges' dinner.

Cough coughLivengood

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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0418 ( 23,537 )
Across Down
1. "Definitely, dawg!" : FOSHIZZLE
10. Art enabled : CANST
15. Reading room : ATHENAEUM
16. Timeline segment : EPOCH
17. Reward for knocking 'em dead : STANDINGO
18. Moving supply : LITHE
19. Bare peak : TOR
20. Before retitling: Abbr. : ORIG
21. "It" : GLAMOR
22. Drop : OMIT
24. Name dropper's phrase : ETALII
26. Cousin of -kin or -let : ULE
27. Unpaid babysitters, maybe : NANAS
29. "Property Virgins" cable channel : HGTV
30. "Out!" : SCAT
31. It's often described by horses : ENGINE
33. Regard : EYE
34. "And ___ the field the road runs by": Tennyson : THRO
35. Common loss after a breakup : INLAW
37. Rush : RUNAT
39. Clipper feature : MAST
41. It can be painful to pick up : TAB
43. Radio racket : PAYOLA
46. Parentheses, e.g. : ARCS
47. Slight : SNUB
49. Subject of the 2011 book "The Rogue" : PALIN
50. Grp. seeking to improve No Child Left Behind : NEA
51. "Pensées" philosopher : PASCAL
53. It might mean "hello" or "goodbye" to a driver : TOOT
54. Woodchuck, e.g. : MARMOT
56. Bradley with five stars : OMAR
58. Musician who co-founded Nutopia : ONO
59. Popular type option : ARIAL
60. "The Pentagon Papers" Emmy nominee : ALANARKIN
62. Verbal equivalent of a shrug : DUNNO
63. Something awful : LIKECRAZY
64. A couple of rounds in a toaster? : EGGOS
65. Rain forest, e.g. : ECOSYSTEM
1. Subtle trick : FASTONE
2. Easy chair accompanier : OTTOMAN
3. Philanthropic mantra : SHARINGISCARING
4. Blue symbol of Delaware : HEN
5. Prefix with Germanic : INDO
6. The Congolese franc replaced it : ZAIRE
7. Crest : ZENITH
8. What's often on wheels in an airport : LUGGAGE
9. Some punk : EMO
10. Parts of many chamber groups : CELLI
11. Pacific port : APIA
12. Visually uninspiring : NOTMUCHTOLOOKAT
13. 15-Across frequenter, maybe : SCHOLAR
14. "Add ___ a tiger's chaudron, / For the ingredients of our cauldron": Shak. : THERETO
21. "No more guesses?" : GIVEUP
23. Blots : TAINTS
25. Astronomical distance: Abbr. : LTYR
28. It's associated with Chris Rock and 30 Rock : SNL
30. Occupy : STAYAT
32. Destroys insidiously : EATSAT
36. Pales : WANS
38. More than nod : NAP
39. Artificial : MANMADE
40. Relative of a throw : AREARUG
42. Country : BUCOLIC
44. Hero-worship : LIONIZE
45. Learn to teach? : ANTONYM
48. Capital on the Niger : BAMAKO
51. Some preppy wear : POLOS
52. Left Turn Only and others : LANES
55. A leader and follower? : MANO
57. A little blue : RACY
60. It can make you squiffy : ALE
61. Monopoly quartet: Abbr. : RRS

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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