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New York Times, Friday, May 26, 2017

Author:
Robyn Weintraub
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
203/28/201112/29/20180
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
02320112
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.58000
Robyn Weintraub

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 70, Blocks: 31 Missing: {QXZ} This is puzzle # 11 for Ms. Weintraub. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Robyn Weintraub notes:
When I opened my Crossword folder to review the history of this puzzle, I was surprised to find just one lonely little file in the ... read more

When I opened my Crossword folder to review the history of this puzzle, I was surprised to find just one lonely little file in the folder. Most of my puzzles go through many variations, with file names that include "rev.", "v.6" or other indications that I've gone back to the drawing board multiple times.

Even with puzzles that fall into place relatively quickly, I still often pull out my least favorite 50% or so, redo those sections, and then compare the two versions side by side; the better version gets clued and submitted. Apparently, this one was a keeper from the get-go. I hope you agree.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Jeff Chen notes:
Robyn has a knack for packing vivid, colorful answers into her themelesses. Today, she used a grid featuring 14 long slots, and she ... read more

Robyn has a knack for packing vivid, colorful answers into her themelesses. Today, she used a grid featuring 14 long slots, and she managed to convert almost all of them into sizzling material like CATS PAJAMAS, ATOMIC CLOCK, RIDE SHOTGUN. Along with MOOD MUSIC / FINE PRINT, FUN FACTS, I'd say NOT TOO BAD at all. Felt like there was great material everywhere I looked.

I so badly wanted to give this one the POW! — so much sizzling fill! — but my stupid constructor's brain held me back. As with some of her other puzzles, there was too much segmentation in this grid, the diagonal of black squares splitting up the puzzle, with just two entries connecting the halves: TIMESTAMP and SOLDIER ON.

The segmentation makes construction easier, as you can work on one half of the puzzle independently of the other. But it makes for a choppy solve that can feel unfair if the solver gets stuck in one half or the other.

Sometimes wonder if my standards for short fill have gotten too strict. After I see about five dabs of crossword glue in a themeless, my constructor's brain sends up a yellow flag. So ACS, JCT (junction?), ACCTS in just the starting corner was already nearing too much for me. Throw in some ENGS, STA, STD, ONT / DEO, and it took away from my enjoyment.

And the clue for CATS PAJAMAS … as much as I love the entry itself, [Living end] didn't make sense to me. (Probably generational?) I wish there had been clever cluing rather than the oblique approach, as the clue sapped my enjoyment of the entry.

But overall, a lot of great material and an entertaining solve. I wonder if this is a Stephen King situation: some critics say that his earlier work, though rougher, was more entertaining than his recent work, which follows "the rules" of writing too tightly?

Stupid constructor's brain.

1
C
2
A
3
T
4
S
5
P
6
A
7
J
8
A
9
M
10
A
11
S
12
M
13
F
14
A
15
A
T
O
M
I
C
C
L
O
C
K
16
O
I
L
17
F
O
R
I
N
S
T
A
N
C
E
18
O
N
T
19
F
L
U
T
E
20
R
I
T
E
21
D
E
O
22
E
L
S
E
23
T
24
I
M
E
S
T
25
A
M
P
26
L
A
C
E
S
27
C
U
R
28
E
29
C
30
O
31
N
32
V
E
N
E
D
33
C
34
O
U
S
I
N
35
A
V
O
I
D
E
D
36
S
O
A
R
I
N
G
37
B
E
T
R
A
Y
38
F
U
N
F
A
C
T
S
39
S
R
T
A
40
R
O
M
A
S
41
S
O
L
42
D
43
I
E
R
O
N
44
L
45
E
46
S
47
S
48
E
L
O
49
A
L
E
C
50
B
A
L
O
O
51
W
E
B
52
R
I
D
E
53
S
54
H
O
T
G
U
N
55
E
P
A
56
K
E
E
P
T
A
L
K
I
N
G
57
S
T
D
58
O
D
D
S
A
N
D
E
N
D
S
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0526 ( 24,671 )
Across
1
Living end : CATSPAJAMAS
12
Writer's deg. : MFA
15
What doesn't have a second to lose? : ATOMICCLOCK
16
Cruet contents : OIL
17
"Here's one example ..." : FORINSTANCE
18
Neighbor of N.Y. : ONT
19
Glass with bubbles : FLUTE
20
Coronation, e.g. : RITE
21
To God, in a hymn : DEO
22
Alternatively : ELSE
23
Feature of some digital photos : TIMESTAMP
26
Puma parts : LACES
27
Quinine, for malaria : CURE
29
Met : CONVENED
33
Cricket, to a grasshopper, or vice versa : COUSIN
35
Skirted : AVOIDED
36
Highly inflationary : SOARING
37
Unknowingly reveal : BETRAY
38
Amusing bits of trivia : FUNFACTS
39
Dora the Explorer, for one: Abbr. : SRTA
40
Some plum tomatoes : ROMAS
41
Persevere : SOLDIERON
44
Taking away : LESS
48
"Strange Magic" band, for short : ELO
49
Smart ___ : ALEC
50
Bear in "The Jungle Book" : BALOO
51
Woven trap : WEB
52
A back-seat driver can't do this : RIDESHOTGUN
55
Org. that promotes Energy Star Day : EPA
56
"Tell me more ..." : KEEPTALKING
57
Part of E.S.T.: Abbr. : STD
58
Miscellany : ODDSANDENDS
Down
1
___ mocha : CAFFE
2
Something ring-shaped : ATOLL
3
Something ring-shaped : TORUS
4
Bible belt? : SMITE
5
Fragrant wood : PINE
6
They're often installed in the spring, for short : ACS
7
Highway sign abbr. : JCT
8
More than concerned : ALARMED
9
They're tender : MONIES
10
Places to keep 9-Down: Abbr. : ACCTS
11
Sport featuring clay disks : SKEET
12
Tunes to accompany dimmed lights : MOODMUSIC
13
Content often written by lawyers : FINEPRINT
14
Choir part : ALTO
23
Chief justice in the Dred Scott verdict : TANEY
24
Finished up, as cupcakes : ICED
25
Honda's luxury brand : ACURA
26
Mother of Helen of Troy : LEDA
28
Some Caltech alums: Abbr. : ENGS
29
They're hailed on Broadway : CABS
30
Stayed out when you shouldn't have? : OVERSLEPT
31
"I'm pleasantly surprised" : NOTTOOBAD
32
How some YouTube videos go : VIRAL
33
Talk show hosted by a Harvard grad : CONAN
34
Lumbering sorts : OAFS
36
Sport for rikishi : SUMO
38
Surgical tool : FORCEPS
40
Like clarinets : REEDED
42
Donnie of a 2001 cult film : DARKO
43
Terse admission of guilt : ILIED
44
Hanukkah serving : LATKE
45
The ___ Marbles (British Museum holding) : ELGIN
46
Solid : SOUND
47
Some tracks : SONGS
48
Feta sources : EWES
50
Gutsy : BOLD
53
Victoria, e.g.: Abbr. : STA
54
River or dynasty name : HAN

Answer summary: 6 unique to this puzzle.

Found bugs or have suggestions?