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New York Times, Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Author:
Zhouqin Burnikel
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
6411/13/20126/26/201919
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620187472
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1.56281
Zhouqin Burnikel

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 39 Missing: {FJQVXZ} This is puzzle # 42 for Ms. Burnikel. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Zhouqin Burnikel notes:
I wish I could remove the black squares between 24A & 26A and its symmetrical spot (REMO / LEN & EME / AIWA). I tried to give ... read more

I wish I could remove the black squares between 24A & 26A and its symmetrical spot (REMO / LEN & EME / AIWA). I tried to give the grid more flow but failed. The theme entry choices were rather limited.

Jeff Chen notes:
Neat idea, C.C. giving us intersecting items that usually come in PAIRS. I uncovered SOCK / SOCK first, and that gave me a smile ... read more

Neat idea, C.C. giving us intersecting items that usually come in PAIRS. I uncovered SOCK / SOCK first, and that gave me a smile — amused me to see those SOCKs (sort of) knotted together. (Although, my style is to cram SOCKs into a drawer. Who needs matched PAIRS?)

Some great themers, too. TONGUE LASH is a fantastic answer on its own, and it hides TONG well. Same goes for PANTOMIME and PANT, and SOCKET SETS and SOCK. Excellent finds.

I hesitated on HAS KITTENS. Google says that this is a real phrase, meaning to lose one's cool, but I'd never heard it before. Perhaps it's a generational thing?

I also found it odd that two of the PAIRS were normal terms — SOCK and SKI — while PANT and TONG are rarely used in the singular. For me, it would have been much better to make all four of the same type. I might lean toward the PANT and TONG direction, as a previous puzzle played on this concept very well.

I also would have liked the PAIRS of items to be parallel rather than intersecting. As neat as it was to have two SOCKs knotted together, it's odd to see SKIs like this, as well as PANTs. (TONGs could go either way.) But running parallel theme PAIRS atop each other is much, much harder to do than intersecting them.

Don't get me wrong, intersecting theme pairs does cause all sorts of problems around the intersection. The lower left is a perfect example — PANTOMIMES / PANTRY are hard enough to fill around, but when you add in some more long slots with IM IN AWE and IN RETURN, you're bound to have trade-offs. In this case, OTROS / EME / RWY (railway?) is a heavy price to pay.

What could C.C. have done to ease this? Tough call, but compare the white space in the lower left region to the upper left — much easier to fill that upper left. Perhaps putting a black square at the first E of EME, and removing the black square between EME and AIWA? Constructing is usually a delicate balance, trying to make sure not one of your regions suffers too greatly.

I enjoyed the concept — very creative — but felt like the overall execution could have been better, especially given my elevating expectations around C.C.'s work.

1
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© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0523 ( 24,668 )

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Across
1
Make a pass at : HITON
6
Cousin of lager : ALE
9
Deposited soil : SILT
13
Dig deeply : ADORE
14
Baldwin known for his presidential impersonation : ALEC
15
Village Voice award : OBIE
16
Dress down : TONGUELASH
18
TD Garden athlete, informally : CELT
19
Gorge oneself, with "out" : PIG
20
Smidgen : TAD
21
Salmon type : SOCKEYE
23
Wash. neighbor : IDA
24
San ___, Italy : REMO
26
"Live Free or Die Hard" director Wiseman : LEN
27
Potentially offensive : NONPC
30
Bread that's often brushed with ghee : NAN
31
Early anesthetic : ETHER
34
Main line from the heart : AORTA
36
Aquafina competitor : DASANI
37
"Wow, unbelievable!" : IMINAWE
40
Cause of yawns : BOREDOM
41
Kitchen cabinet : PANTRY
42
Rainbow ___ : TROUT
43
Others, in Oaxaca : OTROS
44
"A Dream Within a Dream" writer : POE
45
Big college major, informally : PSYCH
49
Suffix with morph- : EME
50
Onetime giant in consumer electronics : AIWA
52
Fair-hiring letters : EOE
53
Audited, as a class : SATINON
56
"Be quiet!" : SHH
58
X-ray alternative : MRI
59
Coveted, as a position : PLUM
60
Throws a fit : HASKITTENS
63
Fairy tale meanie : OGRE
64
Marriott competitor : OMNI
65
Core belief : TENET
66
Lies by the pool, say : TANS
67
Penn of "Harold & Kumar" films : KAL
68
Figure skating event ... or what the circled items always come in : PAIRS
Down
1
Quaint fashion accessory : HATPIN
2
Enthusiastic assent : IDOIDO
3
Friendly Islands native : TONGAN
4
www.wikipedia.___ : ORG
5
Neither fem. nor masc. : NEUT
6
Pie ___ mode : ALA
7
Future perfect tense in grammar class, e.g. : LESSON
8
Bounce back : ECHO
9
Some mechanics' tool collections : SOCKETSETS
10
Informal cry from someone who is duped : IBEENHAD
11
Bloom on a pad : LILY
12
Part lopped off by la guillotine : TETE
14
How pasta may be prepared : ALDENTE
17
Talent for music : EAR
22
Fully explain : CLEARUP
25
Nanny goat's cry : MAA
28
Plays charades : PANTOMIMES
29
Make rough : COARSEN
32
Brian who composed "Discreet Music" : ENO
33
What an air ball misses : RIM
35
Train system: Abbr. : RWY
36
Scooby-___ : DOO
37
Big step for a young company, for short : IPO
38
Silent "Welcome" giver : MAT
39
Reciprocally : INRETURN
40
Cold one : BREWSKI
42
You, in Tours : TOI
44
Isthmus land : PANAMA
46
Native of Mocha : YEMENI
47
Drugstore location, often : CORNER
48
Bank jobs : HEISTS
51
Sashimi staple : AHI
53
Dalmatian feature : SPOT
54
Pond organism : ALGA
55
"Well, all right then" : OHOK
57
Start of a web address : HTTP
61
TV show that comes on at 11:29 (not 11:30) p.m. : SNL
62
Pekoe, for one : TEA

Answer summary: 1 unique to this puzzle, 3 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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