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New York Times, Friday, April 22, 2016

Author:
Robyn Weintraub
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
233/28/201111/1/20190
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02320133
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Robyn Weintraub

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 31 Missing: {JQX} This is puzzle # 8 for Ms. Weintraub. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Robyn Weintraub notes:
I'm very excited to have my first published Friday puzzle. After banging my head against various hard surfaces over the years while ... read more

I'm very excited to have my first published Friday puzzle. After banging my head against various hard surfaces over the years while trying to come up with clever themes, I finally decided to focus on themeless puzzles. I think end-of-the-week is where you'll find me hanging out in the future.

This being my first themeless though, I'm not that surprised that my clues got a major overhaul from Mr. Shortz. I think my favorite clue that did make the cut (and one that I thought was a goner for sure) was "Fox coverage that may be controversial" for FUR. I also contributed Norwegian Ridgeback (though not the Chinese Fireball) from Harry Potter for DRAGON. I was a huge "thirtysomething" fan, so that's why my OLIN is for Ken, and not Lena. And my love for Dr. Seuss knows no bounds, so I'm glad to have introduced GREEN EGGS to the puzzleverse.

Jeff Chen notes:
There is so much to love about this puzzle. This stuck-in-fourth-grade-man-child loves the SMARTY PANTS / MADE YOU LOOK combination (I ... read more

There is so much to love about this puzzle. This stuck-in-fourth-grade-man-child loves the SMARTY PANTS / MADE YOU LOOK combination (I pulled that gag on my nephew the other day), and ORDER ONLINE makes for a beautiful third element in the starting triple-stack.

There was actually an "Order of the Dragon" created to defend Europe against the Turks in the 15th century. Cool!

70-word puzzles often have a limited number of long slots to begin with, but Robin pushes to squeeze in 14. That's important to me, as I've found that I need at least 10 strong entries in order for a themeless to really sing to me. There are a few neutral ones like EDGINESS and RADIATORS, but check out all the goodness in IVY LEAGUE, GREEN EGGS, LIVE A LITTLE! And this data junkie loves seeing a SPREADSHEET.

Also nice was that Robyn took advantage of her mid-length slots, often tough to convert to assets. NAIL GUN with its [Sharp shooter?] clue is great, and ZYDECO is such a cool word. And really, Robyn had me at DRAGON, giving us a taste of Harry Potter's beautifully crafted world filled with Chinese Fireballs, Norwegian Ridgebacks, Hungarian Horntails, Peruvian Vipertooths, Ukrainian Ironbellies okay okay I'll stop!

It's not a perfect puzzle, as there are a handful of gluey bits marring it. That's very common with triple-stacked 11s, entries like YOO and TYRE making that fine upper left corner possible. And we constructors all have our bugaboos, one of mine being five-letter partials wasting a slot that could be something as cool as MR YUK. So it's hard for me to give A REST a rest.

Overall though, so much to love here. I got a ton of enjoyment out of this one. A well-deserved POW!

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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0422 ( 24,272 )

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Across
1
Too-clever-by-half type : SMARTYPANTS
12
Important school fig. : GPA
15
Taunt to a head-turner : MADEYOULOOK
16
Head-butter : RAM
17
Make an Amazon visit, say : ORDERONLINE
18
Thoughtful gift? : ESP
19
Lady, for one : TITLE
20
What a pacer may be experiencing : EDGINESS
22
Project Mercury primate : ENOS
23
Still red, say : RARE
25
Flier not found in 49 states : NENE
26
Conform to the party line? : CONGA
27
Salon job, for short : PEDI
29
Hallmark occasion : BIRTHDAY
33
Chinese Fireball or Norwegian Ridgeback, in Harry Potter : DRAGON
35
Reproductive couple : OVARIES
36
Sharp shooter? : NAILGUN
37
Music style featuring accordions : ZYDECO
38
They play by themselves : SOLOISTS
39
Co-star of TV's "thirtysomething" : OLIN
40
Trickery : WILES
41
A unit : EACH
43
Years abroad : ANOS
44
Moose predator : PUMA
48
Broad in tastes : CATHOLIC
50
Like silt vis-à-vis sand : FINER
51
Years ___ : AGO
52
"Have some fun!" : LIVEALITTLE
55
Fox coverage that may be controversial? : FUR
56
What shoulders are often used for : EMERGENCIES
57
Some M.I.T. deg. holders : EES
58
It has many cells : SPREADSHEET
Down
1
Hit, old-style : SMOTE
2
Sausalito's county : MARIN
3
Increase : ADDTO
4
Casting needs : REELS
5
Roller on a carriageway : TYRE
6
___-hoo : YOO
7
Many a Weird Al Yankovic title : PUN
8
Cause of a rash response? : ALLERGY
9
"Got me" : NOIDEA
10
Pick up, as ice cubes : TONG
11
Crocheter's purchase : SKEIN
12
Title food in children's literature : GREENEGGS
13
Crashed : PASSEDOUT
14
Tour gear : AMPS
21
Relative of Sinhalese : NEPALI
23
Event with goat tying : RODEO
24
Santa ___ (weather phenomena) : ANAS
26
Tony : CHIC
28
Holiday spots? : INNS
29
Doofus : BOZO
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Lions, Tigers and Bears play in it : IVYLEAGUE
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Cold remedies? : RADIATORS
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Depression shared by soldiers : TRENCH
33
Hills' counterparts : DALES
34
Amazonas and Nilo : RIOS
36
Certain plea, for short : NOLO
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Not faking it : SINCERE
40
Legal release : WAIVER
42
Bad things to find in theories : HOLES
44
Singer's concern : PITCH
45
Let loose : UNTIE
46
Row with many people : MELEE
47
"Give it ___!" : AREST
48
Monk's on "Seinfeld," e.g. : CAFE
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Definitely not step lively : LIMP
50
Bass parts : FINS
53
Turkish chief : AGA
54
Set the pace : LED

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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