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New York Times, Thursday, April 2, 2015

Author: Joe Krozel and Timothy Polin
Editor: Will Shortz
Joe Krozel
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
847/7/20061/12/201715
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
4147222521
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.48055
Timothy Polin
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3612/11/20114/16/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
62731602
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.614100

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 61, Blocks: 48 Missing: {FJQVYZ} Spans: 4, (1 triple stack) Grid is asymmetric This is puzzle # 75 for Mr. Krozel. This is puzzle # 13 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Constructor notes: TIM: Joe and I found two theme arrangements that allowed us to finish this puzzle. Because we weren't sure which grid Will and Joel ... more
Constructor notes:

TIM: Joe and I found two theme arrangements that allowed us to finish this puzzle. Because we weren't sure which grid Will and Joel would prefer if they liked the theme, we submitted both. Each has its pluses and minuses.

The alternative grid's biggest virtue is that its theme answers are well distributed throughout. The greater length of SHANTIES (8) over CABANAS (6) is another advantage.

There's a bunch of bouncy stuff (TRADE WAR, LIVE AMMO, ROOKIE MISTAKES, TAMPER RESISTANT, RUM RAISIN, SCIENTIST), but there's also a fair accumulation of junk (ADAH, RST, TSE, A KING, ATL, ENGR). From an aesthetics standpoint, SSSS looks much worse than SSS, while the triplication (and crossing) of SEASONED TO TASTE, REASON TO LIVE and TURN TO STONE is hardly ideal. And PARENTIS, a slice of abstruse legalese, might have been the worst submitted entry since the time some nitwit (that would be me) sent in a puzzle containing ADEEM a couple of years ago.

On the other hand, the spacing of themers in CABANAS isn't perfect, even if the placement of a theme answer at 1-A (one of Joe's original, starry-eyed ambitions) helps to make up for it. A few clunkers of its own aside, the overall fill of CABANAS feels a touch zippier, and I think both of us prefer it now that we're removed enough to judge through more objective eyes.

If nothing else, the opportunity to clue SPINAL TAP made this whole endeavor worthwhile.

Jeff Chen notes: Cool pattern! Totally brought me back to a Krozel from a few years ago, his famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) LIES ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Cool pattern! Totally brought me back to a Krozel from a few years ago, his famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) LIES puzzle. I was just starting to do the NYT puzzle at the time, and seeing the crazy LIES within the grid (and the clues!) helped hook me into the NYT puzzle and its Thursday trickery.

This one relies on anagramming the T H U S letters formed in black squares:

  • CABANAS = HUTS
  • SEAL = SHUT
  • REAR = TUSH
  • ERGO = THUS

Hoping for another "Break Like the Wind" reunion

Not as memorable a gimmick as the LIES puzzle, but I appreciate the new direction, the attempt to do something different.

Super, super hard grid to fill. I like the touch of no black squares outside of the four "letters," but that sure makes for a rough go. Not only is a triple-stack of 15s required, but another triple-stack of near-15s. I know some solvers will get frustrated with the number of gluey bits; that's to be expected. It's the price to pay for a wacky trick puzzle like this, especially considering that the four "themers" (CABANAS, SEAL, REAR, ERGO) further constrain the puzzle.

Loved so many of the clues:

  • [Action of a flipper] had nothing to do with pinball. (A "flipper" is slang for someone who buys houses on the cheap and flips them for profit.)
  • The "tag" in [Baseball tag] refers to a tagline. Baseball, America's NATIONAL PASTIME. (It really should be rock climbing, but I'd settle for curling.)
  • [Your highness?] made me laugh. "Highness" is a strange way to express ALTITUDE, but it works with a little humor and imagination.
  • Perfect that IMDB chooses to rate SPINAL TAP up to 11.

Just as with the LIES puzzles, I imagine some people will love this one as some will hate it. But one thing is hard to doubt — it will be remembered.

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C
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0402 ( 23,886 )
Across Down
1. [One arrangement of the letters in the grid] : CABANAS
8. Jaffe and Barrett : RONAS
13. Victor Herbert's "Babes in Toyland," e.g. : OPERETTA
15. Action of a flipper : RESALE
16. Censor : BLEEPOUT
17. Latino Walk of Fame locale, informally : EASTLA
18. Donald Duck, to his nephews : UNCA
19. People who've been framed? : PORTRAITS
21. [Another arrangement of the letters in the grid] : SEAL
22. The Beatles' "___ Mine" : IME
23. "What's this?!" : OHO
24. Give up the ghost : DIE
25. Favorable situation for sluggers : MENON
27. Royal Catherine : PARR
31. Some clones : PCS
32. Clear : ERASE
33. Protected from squalls : ALEE
34. 'Fore : ERE
35. Made one's desire clear, say : OGLED
36. Tears up : MUTILATES
38. Tom who played TV's Luke Duke : WOPAT
39. Titular rock band whose film's IMDb rating goes up to 11 rather than 10 : SPINALTAP
40. What may come after a long time? : AGO
41. Work out at the gym, say : GETEXERCISE
44. Accommodated, as passengers : SAT
45. Designer Gernreich : RUDI
46. "___ you what ..." : ITELL
47. "Sister, Sister" sister : TIA
48. ___ chief (mag. V.I.P.) : EDIN
49. Plants that are illegal to import : COCAS
50. Drive-___ : INS
51. Tiananmen Square demonstration suppressor : DENG
52. Krispy ___ : KREME
53. Tucson hrs. : MST
54. Angry cat's sound : SSS
55. When the French toast? : ETE
1. Cookout throwaway : COB
2. 100 : APLUS
3. Designer Geoffrey : BEENE
4. Tropical palm : ARECA
5. Landlocked land with only two neighbors : NEPAL
6. ___ Z : ATO
7. Classic late-night comedy bit : STUPIDPETTRICKS
8. [Another arrangement of the letters in the grid] : REAR
9. Thessaly's Mount ___ : OSSA
10. Baseball tag : NATIONALPASTIME
11. Naysayers? : ALLTHOSEAGAINST
12. Prepared exactly as one likes, say : SEASONEDTOTASTE
14. Core group? : ATOMICREACTORS
15. Out of commission?: Abbr. : RET
20. Movie candy? : REESESPIECES
25. ___ Mix : MEOW
26. [Another arrangement of the letters in the grid] : ERGO
27. Brought to financial ruin : PAUPERED
28. Your highness? : ALTITUDE
29. Brought under control : REINEDIN
30. Easeful : RELAXING
36. Dim sum additive : MSG
37. Order at a rathskeller : ALE
42. Tear into : SLAM
43. Further : ELSE

Answer summary: 8 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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