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New York Times, Friday, April 3, 2015

Author: Patrick Berry
Editor: Will Shortz
Patrick Berry
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
2267/11/199910/6/20172
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
721241678512
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.54980
Puzzle of the Week

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 32 Missing: {JQVZ} This is puzzle # 196 for Mr. Berry. Jeff Chen's Puzzle of the Week pick NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes: Another beautiful Berry construction. He seems to be settling into a 66- or 68-word groove, a sweet (and challenging for mere ... more
Jeff Chen notes:

Another beautiful Berry construction. He seems to be settling into a 66- or 68-word groove, a sweet (and challenging for mere mortals) spot that allows him to incorporate 15ish excellent answers into the grid while keeping gluey bits to near zero. Also appreciated is his continual testing out of new black square patterns, giving us a new experience every time.

The most impressive aspect of this one is that it features two 14-letter entries — squished together! As Doug Peterson once told me, 14-letter answers (and 13s too) are super difficult to build themelesses around, since they constrain your grid in weird ways. That one black square at the end of a 14 starts fixing your skeleton into place almost immediately, reducing much-prized flexibility.

Played close to the diaper. Er, chest.

And the way he does it — 1.) choosing to put minimal space in between the 14s and 2.) separating them with a long word. Daunting task! Typically that would result in either a bit of glue to hold it all together or only neutral word right in the middle. But AFRIKANER is sparkly, made even better by giving us interesting trivia about Charlize Theron's background. Very impressive.

The clever cluing is another of Patrick's hallmarks:

  • [Impressive way to turn up?] is an impressive way to describe a figure skating jump.
  • Trade secrets are played close to the chest. So is a UKULELE.
  • [Magazine that's on the market?] refers to Forbes' coverage of the stock market. And crossing FORBES with STOCK EXCHANGES!

I vowed to try to spread the POWs around, but it's tough to do when Patrick consistently turns out such great work. I made some comments about him using few Scrabbly letters to avoid gluey entries, and now he comes back with three Xs, incorporated with silky smoothness? I'm running out of points to make to give a balanced review.

Hmm. Well, there aren't any "current" entries, i.e. this puzzle could have been equally enjoyed by NYT solvers from 10 years ago? As much as I disavow things that kids these days do (SNAPCHAT, BINGE WATCH, SELFIE STICK), perhaps a light touch of that might have been nice?

Ah, I'm stretching. Fantastic work.

1
F
2
O
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R
4
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S
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A
7
W
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C
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H
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U
11
M
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P
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A
14
M
15
H
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R
16
O
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U
17
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L
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A
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G
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W
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22
B
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23
M
Y
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27
B
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A
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H
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O
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A
Y
30
S
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31
K
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X
C
H
A
32
N
G
E
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33
A
F
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A
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R
34
T
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W
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L
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S
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C
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D
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M
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P
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P
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54
G
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A
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© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0403 ( 23,887 )
Across Down
1. Knew going in : FORESAW
8. Sucker : CHUMP
13. Term ender : FINALEXAM
15. Wild lover? : HIKER
16. Coming up, informally : ONTHEMENU
17. Get around : ELUDE
18. "Michael Collins" actor Stephen : REA
19. Evans of jazz : GIL
20. Become big after a hit : SWELLUP
22. Bonkers, in Britspeak : BARMY
24. Onetime competitor of Mad magazine : SICK
25. Gift that not everyone accepts : ESP
26. Cartman's first name on "South Park" : ERIC
27. Place to take an umbrella : BEACH
29. Procter & Gamble product line : OLAY
30. Trading places : STOCKEXCHANGES
33. Charlize Theron, e.g., by birth : AFRIKANER
34. 1837 short-story collection by Nathaniel Hawthorne : TWICETOLDTALES
39. Either Best Director winner of 2007 : COEN
40. Without a doubt : TRULY
41. Like sea caves : DANK
42. Minute worker : ANT
43. Topps card tidbit : STAT
44. Lauper of pop : CYNDI
45. Gentleman's agreement? : YESMAAM
47. ___ Jam (old arcade game) : NBA
49. Blackguard : CUR
50. Garden-variety : USUAL
51. Person who just can't lose? : POORSPORT
54. It "has very quick ears to an accusation," per Henry Fielding : GUILT
55. Now and then : SOMETIMES
56. In the right way : APTLY
57. Ships with speed : FEDEXES
1. Works at a gallery : FINEART
2. Neighbor of four Great Lakes : ONTARIO
3. Encouraging word : RAH
4. Lines of grief? : ELEGY
5. It's bigger than a quarter : SEMI
6. Impressive way to turn up? : AXEL
7. Faint : WAN
8. Sassiness : CHEEK
9. Reason to downshift : HILL
10. It's played close to the chest : UKULELE
11. Saucer-shaped jellyfish : MEDUSAS
12. Wearing a polo shirt and boat shoes, say : PREPPY
13. Magazine that's on the market? : FORBES
14. America : vaudeville :: England : ___ : MUSICHALL
21. Songwriter with the 1941 autobiography "Father of the Blues" : WCHANDY
23. Presidential candidate who once hosted "Saturday Night Live" : MCCAIN
24. Hit the hay : SACKOUT
27. Firearms company since 1526 : BERETTA
28. People get off on them : EXITRAMPS
29. "Sweet Rosie ___" (Betty Grable film) : OGRADY
31. Chain attached to buckets? : KFC
32. One cast in "Jaws"? : NET
34. Works out : TONESUP
35. Certain Coast Guard attire : WETSUIT
36. L'Oréal subsidiary : LANCOME
37. Lives on : ENDURES
38. Gets around : SKIRTS
39. Iroquois Confederacy tribe : CAYUGA
43. Full of oaths : SALTY
44. Social stratum : CASTE
46. Site of Santa sightings : MALL
47. Seward Peninsula city : NOME
48. Begat : BRED
52. Sound made with a wince : OOF
53. Some email attachments, informally : PIX

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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