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New York Times, Friday, May 3, 2019

Author:
Trenton Charlson
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
164/26/201710/5/20191
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11022541
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.79012
Trenton Charlson

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 72, Blocks: 27 Missing: {QW} This is puzzle # 12 for Mr. Charlson. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Trenton Charlson notes:
This one takes me quite a ways back! Although this is my sixth themeless puzzle in the Times, it was the second one I constructed, ... read more

This one takes me quite a ways back! Although this is my sixth themeless puzzle in the Times, it was the second one I constructed, over two years ago—I enjoyed working with the layout of my first themeless and decided to try another similar one. I started in the upper-right with IZOMBIE, as I had just watched the first two seasons (and fittingly, its fifth season premiered yesterday!) I remember being quite pleased with how that corner turned out, and it still stands out to me now—I especially like how the J, X, and Z are each at the intersection of two 7- or 8-letter entries.

I think the rest of the puzzle still looks pretty good; it's perhaps not my flashiest puzzle ever, but I think it's solid all around, and filled with some nice entries that are accessible to a wide range of solvers. And what's not to like about the three instances of ‘AO' in down entries in the lower-right section?

Some of the clues of mine I'm particularly fond of in this one are those for 18-Across, 30-Across, 7-Down, 36-Down, 38-Down, and 40-Down. That said, I'd like to give a special mention to my clue for 22-Across, which I am delighted to see in the final version of the puzzle. Not only is "The Bottle Imp" one of my all-time favorite short stories, there's also a devilishly diabolical trick-taking card game of the same name that somehow manages to capture the feel and tension of Stevenson's story perfectly. Both are highly recommended!

Jeff Chen notes:
Trenton is one of the few constructors I'd trust with a themeless grid featuring a lot of 7-letter answers. One of his previous ones ... read more

Trenton is one of the few constructors I'd trust with a themeless grid featuring a lot of 7-letter answers. One of his previous ones was a standout, demonstrating his ability to carefully pick colorful answers for those mid-length slots, which are all too easy to fill with neutral material.

Some standouts today in that 7-letter territory: ALI BABA, CODE RED, DOG BITE, IN A HAZE, KUNG PAO, LOST ART, MOON PIE, PARADOX, RADIO DJ, SAFARIS … okay, I'm basically listing out all of his 7-letter entries!

Well, not quite all. TRIMSPA is outdated.

AREOLAE isn't great in the singular AREOLA, much less the plural AREOLAS. Er, AREOLAE. Especially when you already have AORTAE in the grid.

ACCRUAL won't win many awards, except for in the finance community, perhaps.

But overall, most themelesses featuring 7-letter entries have way under 50% of these mid-length slots filled with color. To have about 85% of your slots packed with snazz is fantastic work.

That percentage is high enough that I seriously considered this as a POW! contender. If Trenton's earlier puzzle hadn't came to mind immediately – and there had been one less of AREOLAE / AORTAE and ETTORE — perhaps I would have given this one the nod.

1
A
2
D
3
S
4
P
5
A
6
C
7
E
8
S
9
A
10
F
11
A
12
R
13
I
14
S
15
T
R
U
E
D
A
T
16
I
N
A
H
A
Z
E
17
L
O
S
T
A
R
T
18
P
A
R
A
D
O
X
19
A
P
P
20
M
O
O
21
N
P
I
E
22
I
M
P
23
N
O
E
24
S
25
B
R
A
Y
S
26
L
O
B
E
27
T
U
C
K
28
S
29
E
S
C
30
N
A
D
I
R
31
A
T
T
I
L
32
A
33
T
U
34
R
B
O
J
E
T
35
P
O
M
36
P
37
P
A
C
T
38
B
39
A
40
D
A
P
P
L
41
E
42
S
T
I
43
C
44
K
45
S
46
A
R
O
S
E
47
A
L
48
A
49
V
A
L
U
E
50
L
E
G
S
51
S
Y
S
O
52
P
53
N
A
N
A
54
L
O
B
55
C
O
D
E
R
E
56
D
57
M
G
S
58
A
L
I
59
B
A
B
A
60
T
R
I
61
M
S
P
A
62
D
A
T
A
S
E
T
63
A
C
C
R
U
A
L
64
S
E
E
H
E
R
E
65
E
Y
E
S
P
O
T
© 2019, The New York TimesNo. 0503 ( 25,378 )
Across
1
Sponsor's purchase : ADSPACE
8
Opportunities to watch the big game? : SAFARIS
15
"You said it!" : TRUEDAT
16
Befuddled : INAHAZE
17
Conversation, some say : LOSTART
18
Potential consequence of time travel : PARADOX
19
Useful piece of code : APP
20
Dessert traditionally served with an RC Cola in the South : MOONPIE
22
"The Bottle ___" (short story by Robert Louis Stevenson) : IMP
23
Disappointing R.S.V.P.s : NOES
25
Acts like an ass? : BRAYS
26
Ring site : LOBE
27
Some diving positions : TUCKS
29
F1 neighbor : ESC
30
As low as you can go : NADIR
31
Historical subject of a Verdi opera : ATTILA
33
Powerful engine : TURBOJET
35
Festival display : POMP
37
Bargain : PACT
38
No-goodnik : BADAPPLE
42
Impales : STICKS
46
Stopped lying : AROSE
47
In the style of : ALA
49
Treasure : VALUE
50
Staying power : LEGS
51
Virtual community admin : SYSOP
53
Zola title heroine : NANA
54
Long shot, typically : LOB
55
Emergency alert : CODERED
57
Classic sports cars : MGS
58
Titular woodcutter of a folk tale : ALIBABA
60
Bygone brand of weight-loss pills : TRIMSPA
62
Record collection? : DATASET
63
Increase in interest : ACCRUAL
64
"Now you listen to me!" : SEEHERE
65
Peacock feature : EYESPOT
Down
1
"Driving Miss Daisy" setting : ATLANTA
2
One with no class? : DROPOUT
3
Any character with a token in Clue : SUSPECT
4
Doll : PET
5
Fall guy? : ADAM
6
Ingredient in some chips : CAROB
7
Automaker Bugatti who reportedly said "I make my cars to go, not to stop" : ETTORE
8
It might prevent a spill : SIPPYCUP
9
First name in erotica : ANAIS
10
Get on : FARE
11
Palindromic exclamation : AHA
12
Record holder : RADIODJ
13
CW sitcom/horror drama about a medical examiner who eats brains : IZOMBIE
14
Dr. Ruth, for one : SEXPERT
21
Cartoonist Thomas : NAST
24
See 28-Down : SKIPASS
26
Kip spender : LAOTIAN
28
Destination of one with a 24-Down : SLOPE
30
Its headquarters are at 30 Rockefeller Plaza : NBCTV
32
Band aid : AMP
34
Hall monitors, for short : RAS
36
Recess appointment? : PLAYDATE
38
"Yesterday" and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," e.g. : BALLADS
39
Biological rings : AREOLAE
40
Boxer rebellion? : DOGBITE
41
If not : ELSE
43
Zips one's lip : CLAMSUP
44
Spicy Chinese dish with peanuts : KUNGPAO
45
Ingredient in some chips : SEASALT
48
Blood lines : AORTAE
51
Dry : SOBER
52
Friend of Thomas the Tank Engine : PERCY
55
Instance : CASE
56
"Bones" : DICE
59
"Poppycock!" : BAH
61
___ Peacock : MRS

Answer summary: 4 unique to this puzzle.

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