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New York Times, Saturday, April 7, 2018

Author:
Mark Diehl
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
7311/11/19848/18/20183
SunMonTueWedThuFriSatVariety
3214719352
ScrabRebusCirclePangramPre‑WS
1.571038
Mark Diehl

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 68, Blocks: 27 Missing: none – this is a pangram. This is puzzle # 71 for Mr. Diehl. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Mark Diehl notes:
On occasion, I've been ahead of the puzzle realm curve at the NYT with the use of a specific crossword entry. In 2011 I had a grid ... read more

On occasion, I've been ahead of the puzzle realm curve at the NYT with the use of a specific crossword entry.

In 2011 I had a grid with BUTT DIALED rejected as being unfamiliar, only to see its debut by someone else in 2013. The faucet manufacturer MOEN sunk the first version of one of my puzzles in the late 90s, but the brand has appeared 18 times since then. This puzzle initially featured the classic SLOW ZOMBIE at 1-Across (as opposed to the FAST ZOMBIES of "28 Days Later" or "World War Z") — I guess it will remain to be seen whether the zombie dichotomy will be deemed relevant by the NYT during some future apocalypse. So hold off adding SLOW ZOMBIE and FAST ZOMBIE to the XWord Info Word List just yet, Jeff.

In this revamped version I kept the grid pattern from the failed undead ZOMBIE draft and the entry ZENO'S PARADOX but scooched it from its original 5-Down position to the opposing 21-Down slot. The surrounding fill evolved from that seeded entry until this completely different puzzle emerged — hopefully a lively and enjoyable solve.

Jeff Chen notes:
ZENO'S PARADOX! When running a race, you must get halfway there. And then halfway of the remaining distance. And then halfway again. ... read more

ZENO'S PARADOX! When running a race, you must get halfway there. And then halfway of the remaining distance. And then halfway again. And so on … so it's impossible to actually finish.

My mind was blown when my dad told me this a kid. Blown!

I love it when themelesses have a couple of these standout entries, making them memorable. Nothing else quite hit that same mark for me – NBA DRAFT is great, but it's been used a couple of times now – but that's not a surprise in 68-word puzzles. So tough to get both sizzle and smoothness.

BEERGARITA came close. I'd never heard of it, but it's certainly inferable. Beer + margarita = refreshing drink, or completely disgusting? Maybe if I were younger ...

I've felt like some of Mark's puzzles, especially lower word-count ones, have contained a few iffy-sounding entries. Today, MENU PAGES didn't land for me, nor did TRAM ROUTES. In the end I convinced myself that they're both fine overall, but even then, they felt more workmanlike, filler that helped keep the puzzle together without having to resort to too much ONEA / HEWER type crossword glue.

I also wondered about FAIR DICE. Ultimately, I decided that it was a good entry. LOADED DICE feels much more like a colorful term (not-loaded dice are just called DICE). But the term FAIR DICE is certainly used in mathematical analyses.

A couple of toughies in PRECESS and TETANY. I love the former, as precession is a common phenomenon in physics. Yay, physics! But I can see how some solvers would give it the stink-eye – just like I did for TETANY. I thought that one was fair since it's related to tetanus … except that it's not! Huh.

Ultimately, a solid 68-worder, stuff like COFFEEMATE / IM NO EXPERT making it enjoyable. And a nice insider's nod to Diehl the dentist, OPENS WIDE with a great clue in [Prepares for a drill?]. This non-anti-dentite loved that one.

1
C
2
O
3
F
4
F
5
E
6
E
7
M
8
A
9
T
10
E
11
T
12
O
13
J
14
O
15
O
N
I
O
N
B
A
G
E
L
16
U
P
O
N
17
B
E
E
R
G
A
R
I
T
A
18
N
E
V
E
19
R
A
N
K
I
N
20
T
A
N
21
Z
A
N
I
A
22
A
L
D
E
N
23
T
A
N
D
E
M
S
24
D
E
25
P
U
T
Y
26
N
E
W
27
E
28
L
29
R
30
I
31
M
32
N
I
N
E
33
P
O
L
I
T
E
34
I
R
E
35
F
U
S
E
36
L
O
S
T
D
O
G
37
P
A
N
A
M
A
38
D
O
U
P
39
E
N
O
40
S
Q
U
I
B
41
R
U
B
R
A
42
W
43
P
R
E
44
C
E
S
S
45
R
I
46
C
47
H
48
E
49
N
50
B
A
D
R
A
F
T
51
M
A
N
N
E
R
52
Y
O
G
I
53
C
O
P
54
I
E
D
D
O
W
N
55
A
L
E
C
56
T
R
A
M
R
O
U
T
E
S
57
H
O
S
E
58
I
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© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0407 ( 24,987 )
Across
1. Nestlé product first sold in 1961 : COFFEEMATE
11. Leader among the Axis powers : TOJO
15. Classic deli order : ONIONBAGEL
16. Shortly after : UPON
17. Corona with tequila and fruit juice, e.g. : BEERGARITA
18. Actress Campbell : NEVE
19. Jeannette ___, first U.S. congresswoman : RANKIN
20. Country formed by a 1964 merger : TANZANIA
22. John of the Plymouth Colony : ALDEN
23. Big rigs : TANDEMS
24. #2 : DEPUTY
26. Staircase element : NEWEL
29. Goaltending spot : RIM
32. CB radio emergency channel : NINE
33. ___ society : POLITE
34. "Count me out!" : IREFUSE
36. Headline on a neighborhood poster : LOSTDOG
37. Article of apparel not originating where its name would suggest : PANAMA
38. Fancify : DOUP
39. "The Ship" composer, 2016 : ENO
40. Small firecracker : SQUIB
41. Redden, in a way : RUBRAW
43. Spin like a gyroscope : PRECESS
45. Nouvelle ___ : RICHE
49. Annual June sports event : NBADRAFT
51. Style : MANNER
52. Headache for Ranger Smith : YOGI
53. Transcribed : COPIEDDOWN
55. One of the d'Urbervilles in "Tess of the d'Urbervilles" : ALEC
56. Track at Universal Studios and the like : TRAMROUTES
57. Pull a con on : HOSE
58. "You shouldn't rely on me" : IMNOEXPERT
Down
1. "The Jungle Book" beast : COBRA
2. Jermaine ___, six-time N.B.A. All-Star of the early 2000s : ONEAL
3. Real enthusiast : FIEND
4. Split : FORKED
5. Fire department ID : ENGINENUMBER
6. 2001 Israel Prize winner : EBAN
7. Ding, e.g. : MAR
8. Cause trouble : AGITATE
9. Condition caused by abnormal calcium levels : TETANY
10. Part of a savanna herd : ELAND
11. Classic diner order : TUNAMELT
12. Prepares for a drill? : OPENSWIDE
13. Bon ___ : JOVI
14. Suited to serve : ONEA
21. Early example of reductio ad absurdum : ZENOSPARADOX
23. Fix a flat for? : TUNE
25. Piazza dei Miracoli locale : PISA
27. Kind of collar : ETON
28. Block maker : LEGO
29. Dangerous currents : RIPS
30. Where dinars buy dinners : IRAQ
31. They're flipped at diners : MENUPAGES
33. Come down in buckets : POUR
35. Things that can't be loaded : FAIRDICE
36. Sends in a high arc : LOBS
38. Janitor's item : DUSTPAN
41. Go straight : REFORM
42. End ... or start : WINDUP
44. Scenery features in a Road Runner cartoon : CACTI
46. "Hundo" : CNOTE
47. Lumberjack at work : HEWER
48. Bond villain ___ Stavro Blofeld : ERNST
49. When repeated, a taunt : NYAH
50. Tie out West : BOLO
51. Just : MERE
54. "Methinks," in texts : IMO

Answer summary: 11 unique to this puzzle, 1 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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