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New York Times, Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6611/13/201210/28/201919
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
622187472
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 40 Missing: {FGJQXZ} This is puzzle # 9 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes:
I had quite a few PC & MAC candidates to choose from, so gridding was not as challenging as I had imagined. Still a bit tricky at ... read more

I had quite a few PC & MAC candidates to choose from, so gridding was not as challenging as I had imagined. Still a bit tricky at spots. I hope foodies and food bloggers spread "pomegranate arils" & "acai bowl" quickly so ARIL will not be treated as crosswordese, and ACAI will not be just a a trendy berry that often stumps some on our blog.

Jeff Chen notes:
Neat idea for a puzzle from C.C., who's becoming quite the force in the crosswords. Hard to imagine doing a language-based art form in ... read more

Neat idea for a puzzle from C.C., who's becoming quite the force in the crosswords. Hard to imagine doing a language-based art form in a non-native tongue — extremely impressive how prolific she's become.

Ah, MAC VS PC, the old debate. I really like the crazy MACVSPC string and the overall concept, and the intersecting PC / MAC pairs are an interesting way of doing expressing it. Whenever I think of MAC VS PC though, I hearken back to those funny "I'm a Mac" Apple ads with sort of a split-screen approach. So expecting the puzzle to half be filled with MACs and half with PCs (deciding which you'd put in the "right" half would be an interesting statement in itself), I scratched my head at the crossing MAC/PCs. There is more overlap these days what with operating system emulators, but to me there still seems to be much more a chasm than an intersection.

That being said, C.C. does well here in many aspects of grid execution. Look at how elegant the PC themers are: all four are two-worders, all of them snappy, and all of them split the P/C, rather than incorporate the PC within a single word (like HEPCAT JIVE or IPCRESS FILE). She then selects short MAC themers which hide the word well, as in SMACKS.

It's hard enough to fill a grid with four "pinwheel" themers plus a central entry, but it's that much harder when you have four additional crossing answers to deal with. True, she had some flexibility in using different *MAC* words, but still, all the overlap makes things rough. She does well to deploy some cheater squares through the grid to facilitate smoother fill. There are a few issues like AS RED, but note how SUMAC overlaps POP CULTURE. Not a whole lot you can do with the ?SR?? pattern. The only other area that made me pause was the ARILS section — ENAMEL and LIP BALM are both nice entries, but I'm not sure they made ARILS worth its while. Botanists may disagree, of course.

ADDED NOTE: I had forgotten about "pomegranate arils" until C.C. mentioned them in her notes. Although the wikipedia article doesn't mention the word ARIL, POM (a large manufacturer of pomegranates) features it on its packaging. Perhaps I've been too hard on the poor ARIL.

Finally, I liked seeing iTunes in the grid and was hoping to find more MAC and PC related entries. It felt a little weird to have just one thing by itself. Perhaps if you squint really hard, REPRO is a description of all the copycat products PC makers have put out?

Now to await all the angry emails from Microsoft people...

I jest, of course. Microsoft does an amazing 1-for-1 match on XWord Info's year-end donation to Treehouse for Kids, and their ability to double our donation is both much appreciated and to be applauded.

Finally, a really nice little pair of entries: BRUCE right next to BATMAN, great stuff. Never easy to put adjacent related entries into a grid. Well worth the cross-referencing!

1
M
2
O
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B
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I
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M
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M
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A
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D
9
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P
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A
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B
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B
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C
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B
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A
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P
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© 2014, The New York TimesNo. 0430 ( 23,549 )
Across
1
Unruly bunch : MOB
4
[Grr-r-r] : IMMAD
9
Pulls (out) : OPTS
13
Gate posting, for short : ETA
14
Ketchup is one : SAUCE
15
Aimée of "La Dolce Vita" : ANOUK
16
Bada Bing!, on "The Sopranos" : STRIPCLUB
18
Copy, for short : REPRO
19
Part of a car alarm, maybe : HORN
20
Puzzlers' direction: Abbr. : ACR
21
Loud kisses : SMACKS
22
Sitcom set at a Vermont inn : NEWHART
25
Like a well-kept lawn : LUSH
26
Ewers' mates : BASINS
29
Like Ogden Nash's verse : DROLL
31
Milo of "Ulysses" : OSHEA
32
Player of the hot-tempered Corleone : CAAN
33
Rubber ducky's spot : TUB
36
Peeples of "Fame" : NIA
37
Epic battle in technology ... or a hint to four crossings in this puzzle : MACVSPC
40
G.I. morale booster : USO
41
Locale for a hammer : EAR
42
"-zoic" periods : ERAS
43
Comparable to a beet? : ASRED
45
"Going Rogue" author : PALIN
47
Like Muddy Waters's music : BLUESY
48
Antiriot spray : MACE
50
Stick in a purse, maybe : LIPBALM
53
Online music source : ITUNES
55
"The signature of civilizations," per Beverly Sills : ART
56
Dark purple fruit : ACAI
60
"Two Women" star, 1960 : LOREN
61
Winning advantage : TRUMPCARD
63
Singer who's the subject of Carl Perkins's "The Whole World Misses You" : ELVIS
64
Award for 60-Across for her role in "Two Women" : OSCAR
65
Flying Cloud of autodom : REO
66
Large item in Santa's bag, maybe : SLED
67
Pint-size : TEENY
68
Close one : PAL
Down
1
Fit nicely : MESH
2
Palindromic man's name : OTTO
3
"Fierce working-class domestic goddess" of a sitcom : BARR
4
AOL, for many : ISP
5
Colorful parrots : MACAWS
6
Garden ground cover : MULCH
7
Honda line : ACURA
8
Ball belle : DEB
9
Early tie score : ONEALL
10
Movies, TV, hit songs, etc. : POPCULTURE
11
Lira spenders : TURKS
12
Wee bit : SKOSH
15
Escort's offer : ARM
17
Belly button type : INNIE
21
Subway handful : STRAP
23
Fabergé coating : ENAMEL
24
Nutritional figs. : RDAS
26
Doggie bag item : BONE
27
Home to most 11-Down : ASIA
28
Hairpin, e.g. : SHARPCURVE
30
At the ready : ONCALL
32
Rx-dispensing chain : CVS
34
Draws upon : USES
35
Soul mate? : BODY
38
Seed covers : ARILS
39
"Ple-e-ease?" : CANI
44
Poison ___ : SUMAC
46
Post-Trojan War epic : AENEID
47
Superhero ally of Commissioner Gordon : BATMAN
48
Marathon markers : MILES
49
Coral ring : ATOLL
51
Break down, in a way : PARSE
52
___ Wayne, a.k.a. 47-Down : BRUCE
54
U.S.N.A. grad: Abbr. : ENS
57
Be a nag : CARP
58
Field : AREA
59
Heathen's figurine : IDOL
61
Rug rat : TOT
62
Be nosy : PRY

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

Found bugs or have suggestions?