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New York Times, Thursday, April 7, 2016

Author:
John Lieb
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
155/14/20132/16/20195
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0432204
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
S
2
A
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A
5
H
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PAL
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I
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N
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O
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H
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N
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A
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P
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O
V
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PAL
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17
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G
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A
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I
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S
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A
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Y
H
E
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L
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O
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O
M
Y
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E
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N
U
N
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S
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P
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PAL
L
S
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S
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P
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E
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O
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N
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E
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PAL
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T
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P
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A
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E
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M
C
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E
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L
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E
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F
R
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PAL
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A
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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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