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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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