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New York Times, Thursday, April 7, 2016

Author:
John Lieb
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
145/14/20138/21/20184
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0432203
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.60110
John Lieb

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 76, Blocks: 36 Missing: {JKQWXZ} This is puzzle # 8 for Mr. Lieb. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
John Lieb notes:
This puzzle was such fun to write, as so many things went my way. Of course, the quote needed to break nicely into two 12-letter ... read more

This puzzle was such fun to write, as so many things went my way. Of course, the quote needed to break nicely into two 12-letter chunks to get things going, but after that other cool things emerged while making this, such as Paul Ryan having the same number of letters as a rebused Sarah Palin, realizing that Brian DePALma directed "Scarface", and getting several rebus entries to intersect with the quote so that the grid could be pretty wide-open.

When this quote struck me as the basis for a theme, I immediately thought that someone must have used it before, as it is an oft-quoted line. I searched around and could not find it ever used before. Then, the day after I learned this puzzle was coming out today, I encountered the write-up of this Wall Street Journal puzzle.

It fascinates me that two published puzzles used this well-known line within a month of each other! On the heels of "Gridgate", I'm confident that Matt Gaffney would rate this a 1 on his "Crossword Suspicion Scale." It did get me wondering what I would have done if I got the rebus idea after seeing Mr. Kahn's puzzle…I think the uses of the quote are different enough that each puzzle can stand independently, but it would have definitely been something I'd have to consider.

Thanks to Will and Joel for the terrific clue editing. I particularly loved their 17- and 31-Across clues (REGATTAS, EIEIO). I'm psyched that my clues for 55-Across and 39-Down (RAFT, INTEL) made it through — so much fun getting ?-mark clues through to publication and seeing how they tweak things in general.

Jeff Chen notes:
I've never actually seen 'Scarface,' but SAY HELLO TO MY / LITTLE FRIEND is so ubiquitous, the source for many internet memes. Great ... read more

I've never actually seen "Scarface," but SAY HELLO TO MY / LITTLE FRIEND is so ubiquitous, the source for many internet memes. Great idea to use it as a reason to rebus-ize PAL, making each of those squares literally a "little friend." Rebuses have become somewhat overdone, so having an added layer like this is much appreciated.

Even though I'm a bit rebused out, it's still fun to find those special squares, a bit of an Easter egg hunt. I like when they're hidden in colorful long phrases like FACE PALM, and I especially like when they run across a phrase like RAP ALBUM, disguising them even further. Not quite as fun to get them in shorties like NEPAL and SEPAL. I am glad that John chose all solid words though — he could have easily resorted to such oddities as PALA or PALP or COPAL or TYPAL or something.

Incorporating six rebus squares in a grid that already contains SAY HELLO MY / LITTLE FRIEND isn't easy. I do like the open feel of each of the four corners, giving those areas a themeless feel. Tough though — when you fix a crossing pair of answers into place, those big regions get much, much harder to fill smoothly and colorfully than usual. While I do love OH SNAP, BEER TENT, PLAYBOY, and OVEREASY spread through the four corners, each comes with a bit of ANENT, ABAS, LO-RES (dictionary has it as "low-res"), ALAE. ANENT feels particularly egregious without some hint of its old-school usage.

Two things some solvers might not get:

  • [Brady bunch, in headlines) — note that "bunch" isn't capitalized! Makes a huge difference, as the clue is referring to Tom Brady's PATS. (Boo!)
  • I love the clue for INTEL, but I don't know if people will understand how clever [Bond yield] is unless they know the term "bond yield" from finance. I immediately thought about bond payouts, maturities, etc. before realizing it was talking about James Bond.

So, some nice bonus fill and a great rebus rationale, with some roughs spots in execution.

Jim Horne notes:
Sarah Palin has been honored (if that's the right word) in crosswords before but this is the debut for her full name. Why did it take ... read more

Sarah Palin has been honored (if that's the right word) in crosswords before but this is the debut for her full name. Why did it take until 2016? Clearly, it's a conspiracy by the NYT and the rest of the lamestream media.

1
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PAL
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PAL
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PAL
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0407 ( 24,257 )
Across
1. Onetime debater with Joe Biden : SARAHPALIN
9. Response to a verbal slam : OHSNAP
15. Diner breakfast specification : OVEREASY
16. Golden galloper : PALOMINO
17. Tests of crews' control? : REGATTAS
18. Some tennis strokes : SLICES
19. You might leave them in stitches, for short : ERS
20. [snort] : IBET
22. Actress Graff : ILENE
23. Wings: Lat. : ALAE
25. Odor-Eaters, e.g. : INSERTS
27. With 48-Across, memorable Al Pacino movie line ... or a hint for this puzzle's theme : SAYHELLOTOMY
31. Refrain from farming? : EIEIO
32. Role in "Doubt" or "Dead Man Walking" : NUN
33. Drench : SOP
36. Becomes wearisome : PALLS
37. Tracks with malware, say : SPIESON
41. Ambitious climbers' mecca : NEPAL
43. "The Racer's Edge" product : STP
45. Ivanovic of women's tennis : ANA
46. One making introductions : EMCEE
48. See 27-Across : LITTLEFRIEND
52. 1909 Matisse masterpiece : LADANSE
55. Captain's logs? : RAFT
56. Follows : OBEYS
57. Secular : LAIC
59. Alma mater of 30-Down, for short : LSU
62. Kanye West's "Yeezus," for one : RAPALBUM
64. Oktoberfest venue : BEERTENT
67. Author ___ Leonard : ELMORE
68. Coal-mining center : APPALACHIA
69. Knocked out, as an audience : SLAYED
70. 2014 Record of the Year winner for "Stay With Me" : SAMSMITH
Down
1. Peeved : SORE
2. Not equivocate about : AVER
3. Rules, briefly : REGS
4. The Altar constellation : ARA
5. Boiling, with "up" : HET
6. Spacious and splendid : PALATIAL
7. "The Adventures of ___" (Ogden Nash poem) : ISABEL
8. Big Board inits. : NYSE
9. Some Australian exports : OPALS
10. Big-picture approach to patient care : HOLISM
11. Many emojis : SMILEYS
12. In better condition : NICER
13. Concerning : ANENT
14. Things made in a photo booth : POSES
21. Roman emperor who completed the Colosseum : TITUS
23. Sushi bar offering : AHI
24. They may be conceived around Halloween : LEOS
26. Texting while driving, e.g. : NONO
27. Calyx part : SEPAL
28. Suffers : AILS
29. Not long ago at all: Abbr. : YEST
30. 2000 N.B.A. M.V.P. with the Lakers : ONEAL
34. "Back in my day ..." : ONCE
35. Hammer extremity : PEEN
38. Brady bunch, in headlines : PATS
39. Bond yield? : INTEL
40. Big name in foam-based weaponry : NERF
42. Evidenced fear, in a way : PALED
44. Dallying sort : PLAYBOY
47. Sch. along the Charles : MIT
49. Arrange coverage for : INSURE
50. Quaker State city subject to lake-effect snow, for short : ERIEPA
51. Gesture indicating "How stupid of me!" : FACEPALM
52. Like the graphics on an Atari 2600, in brief : LORES
53. Level near the bottom of the minors, informally : ABALL
54. "Scarface" director : DEPALMA
58. "___ le roi!" (French Revolution cry) : ABAS
59. With 61-Down, city named for a Book of Mormon prophet : LEHI
60. Bad mood : SNIT
61. See 59-Down : UTAH
63. Subject of a scrip : MED
65. Dorm V.I.P.s : RAS
66. Film buff's channel : TCM

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle.

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