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New York Times, Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Author:
Timothy Polin
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
4812/11/201111/7/20182
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
74962002
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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