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New York Times, Thursday, May 3, 2018

Author:
Emily Carroll
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
68/22/20161/30/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
0113100
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.57130
Emily Carroll

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 34 Missing: {JQXZ} This is puzzle # 4 for Ms. Carroll. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Emily Carroll notes:
I love rebus puzzles. Years ago, back when I was more of a casual crossword solver, I remember doing this alien abduction themed ... read more

I love rebus puzzles. Years ago, back when I was more of a casual crossword solver, I remember doing this alien abduction themed puzzle where several squares had "ET" in the shape of a flying saucer and then there was a bonus "COW" rebus square underneath it. It completely blew my mind.

I think about that puzzle a lot when I'm hitting a writer's block and want to feel bad about how much more creative and ambitious other constructors can be.

So I've been trying to come up with a good rebus theme for a while. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there weren't any car rebuses in the XWord Info database because it seemed like every "thing in a box" idea that came to me had already been done before.

Initially I was trying to do something with"boxcars" as the revealer but I found that the 11-letter "compact cars" made for a better grid layout, plus I think is a more fun answer.

Jeff Chen notes:
Four cars rebusized today, with an apt COMPACT CARS revealer. FOR DUMMIES was fantastic, especially since I plunked in DUMMIES right ... read more

Four cars rebusized today, with an apt COMPACT CARS revealer. FOR DUMMIES was fantastic, especially since I plunked in DUMMIES right away, and then was stymied by the crossing AF? pattern. Delightful a-ha there.

ROPE LADDER was another great rebus entry. That's the way to get some juice out of your themers!

Unfortunately, OPEL stuck out to me, as I see FORDs, KIAs, AUDIs all the time, but I've only seen an OPEL in crosswords — even back when I was traveling all over the world. I would have much-preferred GMC (EGG MCMUFFIN, YOUNG MC), or even VW (ROE V WADE, UV WAVES). Probably others, too.

No doubt the GMC option would have required longer themer rebus answers, but that would have been nice. I enjoy rebuses the most when they're part of snazzy, long phrases, especially when those phrases are longer than 15 letters – it's so infrequent that you see a 16+ letter crossword entry!

In the past, Will has told me that for rebus puzzles, the longest entries in the grid ought to contain rebuses, and I'm fully on board with that now. PLAUDITS and GAUDIEST are fine words, but they're so short that they pale in comparison to the catchy OPEN AND SHUT and DANCE AROUND.

It also doesn't seem right that the so-so LIMA OHIO is the same length as GAUDIEST / PLAUDITS, and SLOVAKIA.

Fantastic misdirect on the "Casey at the Bat" clue. I struggled mightily to recall who wrote that (Ernest Thayer). Turns out I skimmed the clue too quickly – it's the autobiography of Casey STENGEL. Clever!

[Cellular carrier?] for RNA also shined.

And I appreciated Emily's effort to include bonuses in the fill. DIRT CHEAP, MANDELA, OLD SAWS helped make up for some of the ALII, SEL, ALC kind of crossword glue.

Overall, a solid rebus concept. These days though, the body of rebus work is so large, that new ones have to shine nearly perfectly or innovate to stand out.

1
A
2
C
3
C
4
L
5
A
6
I
7
M
8
A
9
I
10
L
11
O
12
A
13
R
14
F
R
A
I
L
T
Y
15
R
N
A
16
P
R
OPEL
17
FORD
U
M
M
I
E
S
18
M
A
N
19
D
E
L
A
20
A
I
M
E
21
D
22
W
E
A
N
E
D
23
D
24
I
25
D
O
26
S
L
I
27
C
E
28
L
A
D
D
29
I
C
A
H
30
N
31
F
R
O
32
D
I
N
G
E
33
G
E
N
I
U
34
S
35
T
I
36
E
R
37
D
E
R
38
C
O
M
P
39
A
C
T
C
A
40
R
S
41
O
42
R
E
43
B
A
T
H
44
O
M
A
H
45
A
46
N
47
L
E
A
48
R
S
49
O
E
50
D
51
A
D
U
L
T
52
D
A
R
E
53
S
M
A
U
54
G
55
I
T
C
H
56
S
L
O
V
57
A
KIA
58
P
L
AUDI
59
T
S
60
A
B
U
S
E
R
61
S
62
L
E
A
S
63
H
64
E
65
S
66
W
O
N
67
R
E
P
68
E
S
P
O
U
S
E
69
S
Y
D
70
O
A
F
71
S
T
E
N
G
E
L
© 2018, The New York TimesNo. 0503 ( 25,013 )
Across
1
Praise : ACCLAIM
8
Have a bug, say : AIL
11
Boathouse item : OAR
14
Weakness : FRAILTY
15
Cellular carrier? : RNA
16
Move along : PROPEL
17
Self-deprecatingly titled instructional book series : FORDUMMIES
18
He shared a Nobel Prize with de Klerk : MANDELA
20
Used a scope : AIMED
22
Got off the bottle : WEANED
23
"White Flag" singer, 2003 : DIDO
26
Golfer's goof : SLICE
28
Actress Cheryl or Diane : LADD
29
Financial mogul Carl : ICAHN
31
To's partner : FRO
32
Griminess : DINGE
33
Brilliance : GENIUS
35
Piece of cake? : TIER
37
German "the" : DER
38
Easy-to-park vehicles ... or what can be found four times in this puzzle : COMPACTCARS
41
It can be hard to process : ORE
43
Big loss, figuratively : BATH
44
Warren Buffett, notably : OMAHAN
47
Some corporate jets : LEARS
49
It ends with "zyzzyva," in brief : OED
51
Certain ticket category : ADULT
52
"... if you ___!" : DARE
53
Tolkien dragon : SMAUG
55
Calamine target : ITCH
56
European nation since 1993 : SLOVAKIA
58
Praise : PLAUDITS
60
Vituperative sorts : ABUSERS
62
Reins cats and dogs? : LEASHES
66
Took first : WON
67
Gym unit : REP
68
Support, as a cause : ESPOUSE
69
Qantas hub, on tickets : SYD
70
Dolt : OAF
71
"Casey at the Bat" autobiographer : STENGEL
Down
1
Meet the expense of : AFFORD
2
Word on a magnum : CRU
3
2015 N.F.L. M.V.P. Newton : CAM
4
City in which "Glee" is set : LIMAOHIO
5
Listed "others" : ALII
6
Gossip column fodder : ITEMS
7
Walt Whitman's "Song of ___" : MYSELF
8
The Adriatic vis-à-vis the Mediterranean : ARM
9
Gobsmacked : INAWE
10
Bowling reservation : LANE
11
Easily decided : OPENANDSHUT
12
Longtime TV exec Roone : ARLEDGE
13
Access to a treehouse, maybe : ROPELADDER
19
"Lobster Telephone" artist : DALI
21
Bargain-priced : DIRTCHEAP
23
Archaeological site : DIG
24
Some bling : ICE
25
Evade, as a sensitive topic : DANCEAROUND
27
San Francisco's ___ Tower : COIT
30
Puts to sleep, say : NUMBS
32
Histrionics : DRAMA
34
Facial spot : SPA
36
Start to terrorism or tourism : ECO
39
Tiny power source : ATOM
40
Hilton alternative : RADISSON
41
Proverbs : OLDSAWS
42
Pinocchio, by the film's conclusion : REALBOY
45
Liquor: Abbr. : ALC
46
Last in a math series : NTH
48
Intensifies, with "up" : REVS
50
Airport whose main terminal was designed by Eero Saarinen : DULLES
53
Winter vacation destination : SKIAREA
54
Most over the top : GAUDIEST
57
Bubble-filled Nestlé chocolate bar : AERO
59
Tailor's aid : TAPE
61
50 is a very high one, in brief : SPF
63
Warm greeting : HUG
64
Common linguistic suffix : ESE
65
Pommes frites seasoning : SEL

Answer summary: 5 unique to this puzzle, 4 unique to Shortz Era but used previously.

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