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New York Times, Thursday, May 16, 2019

Author:
Jeff Chen
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
987/5/20105/16/201959
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2578172498
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.636212
Jeff Chen

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QV} This is puzzle # 98 for Mr. Chen. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jeff Chen notes:
Seems appropriate that MACHU PICCHU has UP in the middle of it. The Incas and their clever wordplay! I don't often build ... read more

Seems appropriate that MACHU PICCHU has UP in the middle of it. The Incas and their clever wordplay!

I don't often build crosswords around short themers, because these shorties tend to get lost amongst all the long fill that (generally) has to go in a puzzle. But I liked the concept and theme set well enough, that I decided to give it a try. How hard could it be?

Hard, as it turns out!

Just placing the symmetrical pairs and laying out black squares to separate them was tough enough. It took a couple of dozen tries to come up with an arrangement that seemed fillable.

But I had to deploy so many black squares in the center of the grid – four sets of three diagonals takes up a lot of real estate – that I ended up needing at least a few long across answers (where STAGE ACTOR and STATIONARY are now). That felt problematic, because wouldn't solvers wonder how these two were related to the theme?

Hmm.

Why not go whole hog, I reasoned, and throw even more long across fill in, that it felt more purposeful as fill? Surely that would fix the issue.

What? You wondered how SUPER SLO MO was part of the theme? Darn you!

Finally, I rarely use cheater squares in the way that I did just before KRAFT. It just looks fugly to me; seems cheap. But darned if I couldn't figure out a reasonable fill in the SW corner without it. I tried every usual trick in the book, but every single one dead-ended at some bizarre piece of fill.

Bah!

If you haven't gotten the chance to go up to MACHU PICCHU – and more importantly, even higher to the peak at Huayna Picchu – that's one to put on the bucket list. Not for the faint of heart, faint of breath, or faint from fear of falling to one's death off of towering heights that have virtually no safety measures, though.

1
S
2
O
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P
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A
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N
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G
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L
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E
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R
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E
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F
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S
H
O
O
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S
U
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L
O
M
O
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W
A
L
L
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S
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A
G
E
A
C
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O
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A
Z
A
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E
A
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C
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U
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G
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X
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D
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D
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A
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M
A
C
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K
E
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B
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K
U
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N
G
F
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L
A
M
A
Z
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U
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G
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H
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M
O
B
I
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L
E
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S
E
W
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G
O
O
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B
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R
L
E
A
S
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E
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L
O
L
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K
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G
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A
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R
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I
F
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O
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B
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R
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S
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I
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D
A
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N
J
O
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T
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S
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T
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A
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C
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K
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H
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K
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© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0516 ( 25,391 )
Across
1
Bread used for soup : SOP
4
Perspective : ANGLE
9
One to whom you might say "Boo!" : REF
12
"Begone!" : SHOO
13
Sports replay effect : SUPERSLOMO
16
Word after Great or before Street : WALL
17
Person behind the curtain? : STAGEACTOR
18
Relatives of rhododendrons : AZALEAS
21
Popular Samsung smartphone : GALAXY
22
"Net" preceder : DOT
26
South American landmark whose name means "old peak" : MACHUPICCHU
27
Jeong of "Crazy Rich Asians" : KEN
28
Try to win at auction : BIDON
29
2008 animated film set in ancient China : KUNGFUPANDA
31
Class with breathing techniques : LAMAZE
32
[groan] : UGH
35
Hung pieces of art : MOBILES
37
Put in stitches? : SEW
38
Doofus : GOOBER
42
Wears pajamas all day, e.g. : LOLLS
43
Powder holder : KEG
47
Start of a polite request : IFYOUPLEASE
48
Sound made while clasping oneself : BRR
49
Low-hanging clouds : STRATI
51
Fruit named for a region of France : DANJOUPEARS
53
Japanese floor coverings : TATAMIS
54
Inert : STATIONARY
57
Sgts. outrank them : CPLS
58
Button-downs? : KEYSTROKES
59
Kind of skirt : HULA
60
Cry accompanying a fist pump : YES
61
Parent company of Kool-Aid : KRAFT
62
Not many tracks are found on them, for short : EPS
Down
1
Superhero with a lightning bolt symbol : SHAZAM
2
"Well, ain't that fancy!" : OOLALA
3
"Three Days of the Condor" director : POLLACK
4
Test, in a way : ASSAY
5
"Dagnabbit!" : NUTS
6
A student might bring this up in an intro class : GPA
7
Large military unit : LEGION
8
Not slouching : ERECT
9
Buildings with circular floor plans : ROTUNDAS
10
Music genre for Weezer : EMO
11
One side of a debate : FOR
12
Goodie bag contents : SWAG
14
___ fly : SAC
15
Toast at a Jewish wedding : LCHAIM
19
Raises from the dead? : EXHUMES
22
Vandal : DEFILER
24
Go out for a bit : DOZE
25
Once again : ANEW
27
Org. disbanded in 1991 : KGB
28
Angela who played Tina Turner : BASSETT
30
Place name lead-in to -folk or -wich : NOR
31
Shepherd's locale : LEA
32
Wrinkly fruit : UGLI
33
Blunder : GOOF
34
High time in Judaism : HOLYDAYS
36
Part of a race : LEG
39
Swells : BLOATS
41
Swimmer's woe : EARACHE
43
Money in Malmö : KRONOR
45
Increase rapidly ... or a hint to connecting four pairs of answers in this puzzle : RAMPUP
46
Moonshiners' equipment : STILLS
48
One-named singer with an "ö" in her name : BJORK
49
Speak, as thou might : SAYST
50
Rae who created "The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl" : ISSA
52
Small carp : NIT
53
Not kosher, in Jewish law : TREF
54
N.C.A.A.'s Big ___ Conference : SKY
55
Ball holder : TEE
56
Letters between two names : AKA

Answer summary: 7 unique to this puzzle, 2 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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