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New York Times, Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
5012/11/20118/8/20192
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74962202
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.626140
Timothy Polin

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 34 Missing: {QZ} Spans: 3 This is puzzle # 35 for Mr. Polin. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
PINOCCHIO's NOSE expanding throughout themers — neat idea. Concepts where the circled letters are all the same can be a bit ... read more

PINOCCHIO's NOSE expanding throughout themers — neat idea. Concepts where the circled letters are all the same can be a bit repetitive, but I liked the a-ha moment PINOCCHIO gave me.

Well executed grid, especially considering the high theme density. I'd expect some crossword glue, especially in those areas that have to work around two themers. But I'd also expect the overall product to be nice and smooth because Tim is a highly skilled constructor. Thankfully, the latter of my expectations won out, in spades.

Love how Tim kicked off the puzzle, giving us both a rare X and a great clue: [Fifth member in a noble line]. It's so innocuous, hinting at some royal family, yes? But no, it's referring to the noble gasses, of which XENON is the fifth. Clever!

There is an ODEA lurking, but I don't mind that so much.

I appreciated how many of those rare letters Tim worked in — those Js and Xs spice up the grid. The Big Four — J Q X Z — can be difficult to work in smoothly, but that wasn't a problem today. I especially dug the JX in the lower left, so elegantly worked in without any crossword glue required.

ICHAT is the only short entry that ate at me, in that it's defunct. But there's not a lot you can do with that I?H?? pattern, and when you have further inflexibility in the adjacent M?I?? and E?O?? patterns, the result in that region is still pretty good.

If only AS YOU WISH had been clued to "The Princess Bride," one of my favorite reads from the past few years (even better than the movie!) A guy can wish.

I like the idea to turn PINOCCHIO's growing nose into a crossword visual. It felt a little strange that his nose grew unevenly — the O forming a step function rather than going linearly, for example — and maybe there was a better way to visually represent that lengthening schnozz. But I thought Tim did a great job executing this particular interpretation.

1
X
2
F
3
L
4
G
5
R
6
A
7
T
8
E
9
S
10
T
11
A
12
I
13
D
14
E
R
A
15
R
E
L
A
Y
16
C
O
S
M
O
17
N
O
S
18
E
R
V
I
C
E
19
R
A
Y
O
N
20
O
D
E
A
21
O
B
I
22
P
E
S
O
23
N
O
R
S
24
E
L
I
T
25
E
R
A
T
U
26
R
27
E
28
T
U
T
29
G
E
M
30
W
A
X
31
E
32
M
33
B
E
R
34
S
35
A
G
E
36
M
I
N
I
37
N
E
U
R
O
38
S
C
I
E
N
39
T
I
S
T
S
40
D
A
R
N
41
C
U
R
D
42
I
M
H
O
T
43
O
R
S
44
J
A
B
45
V
E
E
46
N
A
T
47
I
O
N
A
48
L
49
P
A
S
T
50
I
51
M
52
E
53
O
N
U
S
54
Y
I
P
55
I
C
O
N
56
J
57
A
P
E
S
58
P
I
N
O
59
C
C
H
I
O
60
E
X
E
R
T
61
I
N
T
R
O
62
A
R
K
63
T
E
N
T
S
64
A
G
A
S
P
65
T
A
I
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0404 ( 24,619 )
Across
1
Defunct gridiron org. : XFL
4
Fireplace holder : GRATE
9
Rather conservative : STAID
14
Chapter in history : ERA
15
Race with batons : RELAY
16
Pink cocktail, informally : COSMO
17
What zero bars on a cellphone indicates : NOSERVICE
19
Synthetic fabric : RAYON
20
Old-fashioned theaters : ODEA
21
"Memoirs of a Geisha" accessory : OBI
22
Bit of dinero : PESO
23
Viking tales, e.g. : NORSELITERATURE
28
"Shame on you!" : TUT
29
Ring decoration : GEM
30
Opposite of wane : WAX
31
Glowing coal : EMBER
34
Like advice worth listening to : SAGE
36
Leg-revealing item of apparel : MINI
37
Experts on the brain : NEUROSCIENTISTS
40
"Shoot!" : DARN
41
Sour milk product : CURD
42
"Someone turn on a fan!" : IMHOT
43
Surgery locales, for short : ORS
44
Quick hit : JAB
45
Notch shape : VEE
46
Baseball, in America : NATIONALPASTIME
53
Cross to bear : ONUS
54
Puppy's plaint : YIP
55
Desktop image : ICON
56
Wisecracks : JAPES
58
Disney character hinted at by the circled letters : PINOCCHIO
60
Apply, as pressure : EXERT
61
Opening remarks : INTRO
62
Flood refuge : ARK
63
Refugee camp sights : TENTS
64
Visibly stunned : AGASP
65
___ chi : TAI
Down
1
Fifth member in a noble line : XENON
2
Tolkien hero : FRODO
3
Futuristic weapon : LASER
4
Canine warning : GRR
5
Uprising : REVOLT
6
"I was at the movies - nowhere near the crime," e.g. : ALIBI
7
Understood : TACIT
8
Look over : EYE
9
1996 horror movie with four sequels : SCREAM
10
Done for : TOAST
11
"Sure, go ahead" : ASYOUWISH
12
Texter's qualifier : IMO
13
Mafia V.I.P. : DON
18
Old airline with the slogan "We have to earn our wings every day" : EASTERN
22
Fuss over oneself : PREEN
24
Modern prefix with skeptic : EURO
25
Urged (on) : EGGED
26
Totaled, as a bill : RANTO
27
Have life : EXIST
31
Conclude with : ENDON
32
Stiller's longtime wife and comedy partner : MEARA
33
Explode : BURSTOPEN
34
Recreational device that holds 35-Down : SCUBA
35
See 34-Down : AIR
36
Imitative : MIMETIC
38
Reads carefully : SCANS
39
Gets even with? : TIES
44
Renaissance Faire events : JOUSTS
45
Steam and such : VAPORS
47
Sluggish : INERT
48
What causes the circled letters to grow? : LYING
49
Companion of the Niña and Santa Maria : PINTA
50
Apple's former instant-messaging program : ICHAT
51
"On the Beach" heroine : MOIRA
52
Gourmet mushroom : ENOKI
56
Boeing product : JET
57
Hacker, but not on a computer : AXE
58
___ mater (brain cover) : PIA
59
Admit (to) : COP

Answer summary: 2 unique to this puzzle.

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