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New York Times, Monday, April 2, 2018

Author:
Jason Mueller
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
59/20/20154/2/20181
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1400000
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.55001
Jason Mueller

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Mueller. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jason Mueller notes:
I wanted to get a good number and variety of landmarks in this puzzle, and with five well-known places plus a revealer, I think I did ... read more

I wanted to get a good number and variety of landmarks in this puzzle, and with five well-known places plus a revealer, I think I did just that. The fill is solid, with SAFETY NET, KING MINOS, and NERF GUN providing some pizzazz. Also, I've never been to Paris.

Jeff Chen notes:
Tribute to PARIS, a listing of its famous landmarks. I visited Paris maybe 30 years ago — so much to see. THE LOUVRE and NOTRE ... read more

Tribute to PARIS, a listing of its famous landmarks. I visited Paris maybe 30 years ago — so much to see. THE LOUVRE and NOTRE DAME were amazing. I missed PONT NEUF, but apparently, it's quite beautiful as well.

It's hard to make a list puzzle stand out. More often than not, it comes across like reading a Wikipedia article — not super interesting. An extra level, whether it be theme tightness, a visual element, or a novel twist, can help it become memorable.

Tightness? That would be if there were a famous tourist term called "the five French landmarks," and all five were included. In today's puzzle, why PONT NEUF and not the ARC DE TRIOMPHE? Why the SORBONNE (without THE, like in THE LOUVRE, too) and not MONTMARTRE? These feel like arbitrary choices based solely on the need for crossword symmetry.

Visual element? Perhaps if the EIFFEL TOWEL had been oriented vertically? Or each monument was in the same geographical location as in a map of PARIS?

Novel twist? You tell me! Ideas?

I don't totally agree with Jason on the fill being solid. Granted, I have a very high bar for Monday puzzles. I think they need to be warm and welcoming to newcomers, allowing for a beautiful feeling of HELL YEAH, I CONQUERED A NYT CROSSWORD! Ultimately, everything in the grid is fair, but I can imagine newer solvers staring at FES, simultaneously at PONT NEUF, and wondering what the heck they had gotten themselves into.

SSR is a gluey bit I might move to "puzzle-killer" status. USSR, sure, but SSR feels like something constructors use when desperate. DES, ENE, ESTD, TOR are much more minor to me, but still, too much in one Monday puzzle. Yes, six themers is a feat, but a feat that usually comes with too many compromises.

Ending with just PARIS, instead of PARIS FRANCE, could have helped. Probably not many people thinking about Paris, Idaho after they uncover the EIFFEL TOWER.

But, I hope everyone gets a chance to see PARIS one day. I liked how the puzzle reminded me of my short time there.

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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0402 ( 24,982 )
Across
1. Arnaz of "I Love Lucy" : DESI
5. Skewered meat dishes : KEBABS
11. Col. Sanders's restaurant : KFC
14. Muscat's land : OMAN
15. Battery terminals : ANODES
16. Not feeling well : ILL
17. 62-Across landmark : EIFFELTOWER
19. Siegfried's partner in Vegas : ROY
20. Laurence who wrote "Tristram Shandy" : STERNE
21. Vietnamese holiday : TET
22. What's thrown in a cafeteria fight : FOOD
23. Blue Jays' home, for short : TOR
24. 62-Across museum : THELOUVRE
26. Turn down, as an offer : SAYNOTO
29. N.B.A. coach Steve : KERR
30. 62-Across bridge : PONTNEUF
32. "I know! I know!" : ASKME
36. Opposite of WSW : ENE
37. Basketball venue : ARENA
40. Roadside bomb, for short : IED
41. Artoo-___ of "Star Wars" : DETOO
44. 62-Across school : SORBONNE
47. Clutch : GRIP
50. Toy that shoots foam darts : NERFGUN
51. 62-Across cathedral : NOTREDAME
55. "... or so ___ told" : IAM
56. ___ vera : ALOE
57. Airport guess, for short : ETA
58. Exile : BANISH
61. Family members : KIN
62. World capital that's the theme of this puzzle : PARISFRANCE
64. She tasted the forbidden fruit : EVE
65. Many : ATONOF
66. One of three in a hat trick : GOAL
67. Dôme ___ Invalides (historic church) : DES
68. Extends, as a lease : RENEWS
69. Abbr. on many a cornerstone : ESTD
Down
1. Bucks' mates : DOES
2. Let out : EMIT
3. Social Security, Medicare, etc., collectively : SAFETYNET
4. Leading the pack : INFRONT
5. Green vegetable with tightly curled leaves : KALE
6. Suffix with differ : ENT
7. Diner seating option : BOOTH
8. Trade publication read along Madison Avenue : ADWEEK
9. Ladybug or scarab : BEETLE
10. Ukr., e.g., once : SSR
11. Big name in Russian ballet : KIROV
12. Elevator stop : FLOOR
13. Bonnie's partner in crime : CLYDE
18. Scandal-ridden company of the early 2000s : ENRON
22. Pelts : FURS
24. Grand ___ (cultural trip around Europe) : TOUR
25. "... man ___ mouse?" : ORA
26. Zoomed : SPED
27. Top-notch : AONE
28. Drink that's often iced : TEA
31. Second-largest city of Morocco, after Casablanca : FES
33. Mythical ruler of Crete : KINGMINOS
34. List of options : MENU
35. Genesis garden : EDEN
38. ___ of the above : NONE
39. "Vous êtes ici" ("You ___ here") : ARE
42. Shrek, e.g. : OGRE
43. Galena or bauxite : ORE
45. Hide-out for Br'er Rabbit : BRIAR
46. At the point in one's life : OFANAGE
48. Think up : IDEATE
49. St. Genevieve, for 62-Across : PATRON
51. Like a jaybird, in an idiom : NAKED
52. Shade of green : OLIVE
53. Shades of color : TONES
54. State formed as part of the Missouri Compromise : MAINE
58. Bosom buddies, in modern lingo : BFFS
59. Sing like Ella Fitzgerald : SCAT
60. Clutched : HELD
62. Golf course standard : PAR
63. Strew, as seed : SOW

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

Found bugs or have suggestions?