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New York Times, Thursday, April 9, 2015

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/25/20131/2/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3449640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.597100
Jacob Stulberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 16 Words: 77, Blocks: 38 Missing: {JKQZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 5 for Mr. Stulberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes:
The first draft of this puzzle had no rebus squares — just theme answers containing WHO, WHAT and IDONTKNOW, with those letters ... read more

The first draft of this puzzle had no rebus squares — just theme answers containing WHO, WHAT and IDONTKNOW, with those letters positioned above the answers FIRST, SECOND and THIRD. Will suggested that the gimmick would work better if the players were positioned consistently and more directly above their corresponding bases. After trying to make this work for longer than I'd care to admit, I retooled the puzzle into a two-way rebus.

The next challenge: finding a suitable (and suitably long) theme answer for [IDONTKNOW]. A draft with [IDONTKNOW]HOWTOLOVEHIM crossing THE[THIRD]MAN was rejected as too obscure, but expanding the grid to 16 squares wide solved the problem nicely.

Jill Denny notes:
The Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, Abbott & Costello, and Laurel & Hardy are interchangeable in my world. On a good day, I can ... read more

Wait. Which Stooge is missing here? The Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, Abbott & Costello, and Laurel & Hardy are interchangeable in my world. On a good day, I can distinguish between Groucho Marx (cigar, caterpillar brows) and the Three Stooges (untrammeled idiocy), but beyond that, I'm lost. To me, "Who's On First" is a Rainman reference. V-E-R-N, Vern! Also, how is that there are more than three stooges in the Three Stooges?

While not the ideal audience for Mr. Stulberg's puzzle, I can certainly appreciate its merits.

  • First, the theme is RAD, even though the joke is only vaguely familiar to me. Placing the bases as if on a baseball diamond would have taken it to the next level, though that construction would have been a bear.
  • Second, it's clued to a difficult level, giving the brain an excellent workout. Ambiguity and misdirection abound, and I ERRED frequently. How many possible answers exist for 1a. [In]? Or for 10d. [Peg]? My brain was sweating by the end.
  • Third, it includes LYNX, which is my back-up spirit animal (after shark). Rowr.
1
C
2
H
3
I
4
C
5
H
6
O
7
P
8
E
9
S
10
T
11
A
12
G
13
E
14
L
A
N
E
15
L
E
P
E
R
16
A
H
M
E
D
17
E
T
A
L
18
L
A
T
T
E
19
T
R
I
M
S
20
A
C
N
E
21
O
D
I
E
22
L
I
O
N
23
T
H
E
B
24
O
Y
FIRST
C
R
25
I
E
D
W
O
26
L
27
F
28
R
A
D
29
O
R
A
L
30
A
A
A
31
S
32
P
33
R
I
T
34
B
35
L
U
E
P
E
36
N
C
I
L
37
W
H
E
T
38
G
U
E
S
S
SECOND
39
E
I
N
S
40
E
A
S
Y
41
T
A
R
G
E
T
42
H
E
D
G
E
43
E
S
E
44
O
M
N
I
45
S
A
D
46
T
E
L
47
L
M
E
S
O
48
M
49
E
T
H
I
50
N
51
G
52
THIRD
53
L
E
T
S
54
N
O
S
E
55
N
A
I
R
56
N
57
U
E
V
O
58
C
A
U
S
E
59
E
D
N
A
60
I
N
R
E
M
61
E
R
R
E
D
62
S
I
S
I
63
B
A
S
E
S
64
L
Y
N
X
65
S
A
U
L
© 2015, The New York TimesNo. 0409 ( 23,893 )
Across
1
In : CHIC
5
Cynic's lack : HOPE
9
Larva, e.g. : STAGE
14
Strike zone? : LANE
15
Biblical outcast : LEPER
16
"Arabian Nights" prince : AHMED
17
Citation abbr. : ETAL
18
Iced ___ : LATTE
19
Decorates : TRIMS
20
Bad marks in high school? : ACNE
21
Brown-eared comics character : ODIE
22
One jumping through hoops, maybe : LION
23
One of Aesop's fables : THEBOYWHOCRIEDWOLF
28
Nuclear plant unit : RAD
29
Like some contracts : ORAL
30
Notable tower, for short : AAA
31
Diagonal spar : SPRIT
34
Edit : BLUEPENCIL
37
Make keen : WHET
38
Lead-in to some surprising news : GUESSWHAT
39
One, in Austria : EINS
40
It gets more than its fair share of jokes : EASYTARGET
42
Not be definitive : HEDGE
43
Lagos-to-Dar es Salaam dir. : ESE
44
Prefix with science : OMNI
45
Down : SAD
46
"Well, obviously" : TELLMESOMETHINGIDONTKNOW
53
Instances when service isn't perfect? : LETS
54
You might hold it by a trash can : NOSE
55
Veet rival : NAIR
56
___ León (Mexican state) : NUEVO
58
Lead to : CAUSE
59
Woman's name that's an anagram of a man's name : EDNA
60
Against a thing, legally : INREM
61
Dropped the ball : ERRED
62
"They say" it in Spain, in an old Andrews Sisters hit : SISI
63
Contents of three squares in this puzzle, per an old comedy routine : BASES
64
Cat with tufted ears : LYNX
65
For whom David played the harp : SAUL
Down
1
Point on the field? : CLEAT
2
Originate : HATCH
3
Dumb : INANE
4
Star : CELEBRITY
5
How most babies come out : HEADFIRST
6
Part of FiOS : OPTIC
7
White House chief of staff after Rahm Emanuel : PETEROUSE
8
Poetic preposition : ERE
9
Did nothing : SATIDLE
10
Peg : THROW
11
Tryptophan or leucine : AMINOACID
12
Thing on a ring : GEM
13
Dict. versions : EDS
15
Frank ___, two-time Best Director Oscar winner : LLOYD
22
Tiny adjustment to an atomic clock : LEAPSECOND
24
Quaker ___ Bran : OAT
25
Start of an attorney's conclusion : IREST
26
Psychiatry writer R. D. ___ : LAING
27
"F" on a test : FALSE
31
"Awesome!" : SWEET
32
Half-moon, e.g. : PHASE
33
Pawnshops and such : RESELLERS
34
"Auld Lang Syne" writer : BURNS
35
Roman soldier : LEGIONARY
36
Poverty : NEEDINESS
38
Darts and hearts : GAMES
41
The Indians regularly beat them : TOMTOMS
42
"In your dreams!" : HAH
45
General transportation? : STEED
47
Surge protector? : LEVEE
48
Feel the loss of : MOURN
49
Clacton-on-Sea's county : ESSEX
50
Petrova of tennis : NADIA
51
Kind of knife : GINSU
52
Subway power source : THIRDRAIL
56
Pen part : NIB
57
Andean article : UNA
58
Image of Pluto, say : CEL

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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