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New York Times, Friday, May 20, 2016

Author:
Kristian House
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
172/17/200911/28/20160
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0153323
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1.65023
Kristian House

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 26 Missing: {QVWYZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 15 for Mr. House. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Kristian House notes:
I had a lot of fun making this puzzle. I love the string of consonants in EGGMCMUFFIN, so I put that in the center and worked in the ... read more

I had a lot of fun making this puzzle. I love the string of consonants in EGGMCMUFFIN, so I put that in the center and worked in the two long down answers. From there, it was a matter of seeding the bigger corners with interesting entries and building it out.

My favorite part of the puzzle is the upper left corner, and I love the (accidental) placement of AROMARAMA next to ACHOO. I imagine a lot of sneezing going on as the different scents were sent wafting through the movie theater.

I hope everyone enjoys the puzzle!

Jeff Chen notes:
Great clue to kick off 1-Down: a RARE (or noble) GAS is one sitting at the very right of the Periodic Table, thus giving [Noble at the ... read more

Great clue to kick off 1-Down: a RARE (or noble) GAS is one sitting at the very right of the Periodic Table, thus giving [Noble at the end of a table?]. Got me thinking about King Arthur and the Round Table.

Sometimes themelesses featuring 15-letter answers can suffer, what with a lack of any other zest besides those long answers. Not so today! Kristian chooses some great grid-spanning entries in GO FOR THE JUGULAR and THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, and adds in a good amount of other strong fill, headlined by a beautiful triple in ROGER THAT/AROMARAMA/REFUSENIK.

Perhaps the most famous BOOM BOX in movie history?

That upper corner is so pretty. That sparkly triplet of answers is so tough to pull off, what with GO FOR THE JUGULAR already constraining it. But Kristian doesn't stop there, working in some seven-letter answers. RARE GAS is a great entry, and OREGANO adds some spice (terrible pun intended). All of that for a minor AMI and a not-quite-as-minor SOHN makes it a standout corner.

At 72 words — the max allowed for a themeless — I expect both a ton of snazzy fill and nearly zero gluey bits. I bent that last expectation a bit to allow for the difficulty of working in a pair of 15-letter answers — but not by much. So to get some CESTA / TITI / TENK (10-K) action in one region alone was a bit disappointing. Those first two are real words, but a bit on the esoteric / very-friendly-for-crosswords letter patterns. Along with some of the usual suspects — RIA, the outdated UAR, and the aforementioned SOHN, it felt like too much for me for a 72-worder.

Then again, Kristian does do more with his grid than most 72-worders. I did like the interlock of colorful answers, EGG MCMUFFIN intersecting the 15-letter answers, plus BOOM BOX running straight through it. So upon second glance, having a bit more gluey short material than what I'd like to see out of a 72-worder is all right.

1
R
2
O
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G
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E
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R
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T
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H
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A
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B
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© 2016, The New York TimesNo. 0520 ( 24,300 )

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Across
1
"I hear you" : ROGERTHAT
10
Flub : BOTCH
15
Smell-O-Vision competitor of 1950s cinema : AROMARAMA
16
Sound of an everyday explosion : ACHOO
17
Order-flouting protester : REFUSENIK
18
Butler who was expelled from West Point : RHETT
19
It welcomes compliments : EGO
20
Evil Queen's disguise in "Snow White and Seven Dwarfs" : HAG
21
Pops up : EMERGES
23
Decked out : GARBED
25
Accouterment for a diva : BOA
26
Isle named for a Gaelic goddess : EIRE
27
Opposing group : ANTIS
28
Best Actress winner for "Klute" : FONDA
30
Narrow waterway : RIA
31
Male offspring, in Munich : SOHN
32
1992 Olympic figure skating silver medalist : ITO
33
Good place to vent : OUTLET
35
Restaurant breakfast innovation of 1971 : EGGMCMUFFIN
38
Alternatives to Bartletts : ANJOUS
40
Mate 4 life? : BFF
41
Many a charity run : TENK
44
Paltry amount : SOU
45
Squinting cartoon character : MAGOO
47
Add with a beater : MIXIN
48
Curly-tailed dogs : PUGS
50
Office page? : FAX
51
World's second-largest retailer : COSTCO
52
Hit the roof : ERUPTED
54
Esquire's target audience : MEN
55
Advent time: Abbr. : DEC
56
Tiny hairs : CILIA
57
Item in the lobby of a country inn : GUESTBOOK
60
Peterhof Palace personages : TSARS
61
11-Down, e.g. : EARTHTONE
62
Kids' classic that opens "His mother was ugly and his father was ugly" : SHREK
63
Prized : TREASURED
Down
1
Noble at the end of a table? : RAREGAS
2
Sauce seasoning : OREGANO
3
Attack viciously : GOFORTHEJUGULAR
4
Prey for a dingo : EMU
5
Roseola symptoms : RASHES
6
Where the rubber meets the road : TREAD
7
Chill (with) : HANG
8
Renoir vis-à-vis Monet : AMI
9
Go up against : TAKEON
10
Lead-in to bones or knuckles : BARE
11
Canyon colour : OCHRE
12
Approachable, unglamorous sort : THEGIRLNEXTDOOR
13
Algonquin Round Table, e.g. : COTERIE
14
Pressure cooker : HOTSEAT
22
Big name in financial fraud : MADOFF
24
"Correct!" : BINGO
25
Music player for a break dancer : BOOMBOX
28
Org. with scam alerts : FTC
29
"Ariadne ___ Naxos" : AUF
32
Comforting words to a worried loved one : IMSAFE
34
South American monkeys : TITIS
36
Impulse buy at a checkout counter : GUM
37
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" craft : UFO
38
Parts : ASPECTS
39
Foster : NOURISH
42
"Impressive!" : NICEONE
43
Bad-mouthed : KNOCKED
46
Many an infomercial offering : GADGET
47
Three in a quarter : MONTHS
49
Burj Khalifa feature : SPIRE
51
Jai alai basket : CESTA
53
Mission : TASK
54
Piddling : MERE
58
Former Mideast org. : UAR
59
Grill measure, in brief : BTU

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle, 1 debuted here and reused later.

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