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New York Times, Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Author:
Jacob Stulberg
Editor:
Will Shortz
TotalDebutLatestCollabs
3012/25/20131/2/20190
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
3449640
ScrabbleRebusCirclePangram
1.597100
Jacob Stulberg

This puzzle:

Rows: 15, Columns: 15 Words: 78, Blocks: 38 Missing: {QWZ} Spans: 2 This is puzzle # 21 for Mr. Stulberg. NYT links: Across Lite PDF
Jacob Stulberg notes:
When several letters will work in a given square, I'll often choose the one with the higher Scrabble value, which tends to make for a ... read more

When several letters will work in a given square, I'll often choose the one with the higher Scrabble value, which tends to make for a more interesting grid. In today's puzzle, though, I deliberately broke this rule at the intersection of 41A and 30D. PIER/COP would have worked, but solvers might have (rightly) wondered why a PIER was intersecting the "fishing line" halfway down the grid. (As for CAVIAR, consider it a bonus theme answer.)

Jeff Chen notes:
Fun visual, a fishing line represented by a string of Is, ending with a J, which looks like a fish hook. I grokked the idea quickly ... read more

Fun visual, a fishing line represented by a string of Is, ending with a J, which looks like a fish hook. I grokked the idea quickly since I had had the pleasure of working on another J = hook puzzle, but I still enjoyed that imagery. (Thanks goes to Will and Joel for spacing out these two puzzles, so the hook (ha ha) still felt fresh!)

DON'T TAKE THE BAIT helped flesh out the theme, along with several types of fish that can double as a non-fish related word. I've highlighted them below to help them stand out — short answers tend to get lost in the shuffle.

Jacob does such a nice job with grid execution, as always; hardly a short, gluey entry to be seen. TSO is about all I could pick out, and I like General TSO's chicken. (I know, some Asian I am.) DISCI felt strange, but some dictionaries do list it as plural for "discus." "Discuses" does seem better to me, but both feel awkward. Maybe everyone should insure that there's only one discus in any one place at a time. Problem solved!

I appreciated the few long extras in LABRADOR, LIBELED / EXTORT (got something planned, eh, Jacob?), and even GLIMPSE is fun. LEGALIST was unfamiliar to me, but it appears to be dictionary-legit.

I would have liked a few more long bonuses that would have helped the grid shine, but it is tough to work around all those short themers plus the two 15-letter ones. Perhaps just a touch more crossword glue in exchange for another pair of good entries? I'd be curious to test out whether you could remove the block between APEX and ROBE to get a pair of great long bonus entries.

All in all, an amusing, well-crafted puzzle. It was a little too much of a one-liner (pun intended) to get my POW!, but an enjoyable solve.

Jim Horne notes:

In 2008, Liz Gorski used a similar string of I's to hold up an arachnid.

1
F
2
A
3
D
4
C
5
A
6
R
7
P
8
S
9
I
10
A
11
M
12
I
P
O
13
S
14
L
I
E
U
15
T
H
I
N
E
16
V
E
N
T
17
O
M
A
R
18
H
E
I
G
L
19
E
X
T
O
20
R
T
21
L
E
22
G
A
L
I
S
T
23
T
O
E
24
S
M
E
L
T
25
I
T
S
26
T
27
R
A
L
A
28
L
A
29
D
I
S
30
C
I
31
A
O
K
32
P
I
K
33
E
34
M
O
O
I
35
N
36
G
37
I
B
E
38
T
39
B
E
B
40
O
P
41
T
I
E
R
42
L
E
T
S
43
B
E
44
B
A
S
45
S
46
I
R
A
47
H
O
Y
L
48
E
49
T
E
R
50
R
I
F
Y
51
A
52
P
E
53
P
E
R
54
C
H
55
T
O
I
56
L
A
B
57
R
A
D
O
R
58
C
A
V
I
59
A
60
R
61
T
R
A
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T
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D
E
63
M
O
64
E
I
R
E
65
A
M
I
S
H
66
E
D
E
N
67
D
I
L
L
68
R
A
T
E
69
S
O
L
E
70
J
O
Y
© 2017, The New York TimesNo. 0531 ( 24,676 )

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Across
1
Ice Bucket Challenge, in 2014 : FAD
4
*Complain : CARP
8
"The King and I" setting : SIAM
12
Corp. milestones : IPOS
14
In ___ of : LIEU
15
What used to be yours? : THINE
16
Jacket feature : VENT
17
W.W. II general Bradley : OMAR
18
Katherine of "27 Dresses" : HEIGL
19
Take by force : EXTORT
21
One following statutes to the letter : LEGALIST
23
Hoof, essentially : TOE
24
*Extract with heat, in a way : SMELT
25
"___ All Over Now" (Rolling Stones hit) : ITS
26
Refrain from singing? : TRALALA
29
Things hurled at the Olympics : DISCI
31
Hunky-dory : AOK
32
*Weapon with a point : PIKE
34
Farmyard noise : MOOING
37
"A likely story!" : IBET
39
Swing successor : BEBOP
41
Level : TIER
42
Doesn't disturb : LETSBE
44
*The Mikado in "The Mikado," e.g. : BASS
46
Savings option, for short : IRA
47
Big name in games : HOYLE
49
Scare the bejeezus out of : TERRIFY
51
Mimic : APE
53
*Birdcage feature : PERCH
55
You, to Yvette : TOI
56
Neighbor of Quebec : LABRADOR
58
Fancy cracker topping : CAVIAR
61
Hazel eyes, e.g. : TRAIT
62
You might prepare one for potential investors : DEMO
64
Yeats's land : EIRE
65
Many rural Pennsylvanians : AMISH
66
Site of a famous eviction : EDEN
67
Pickle flavorer : DILL
68
"Per hour" or "per mile" figure : RATE
69
*Shoe part : SOLE
70
Rapture : JOY
Down
1
Solid orange ball : FIVE
2
Top : APEX
3
Warning for easily provoked types ... or for the answers to the six starred clues? : DONTTAKETHEBAIT
4
Cardiologist's concern : CLOT
5
Fire starter? : AIM
6
Area : REALM
7
Like baby food, often : PUREED
8
Poet Silverstein : SHEL
9
What might tempt the answers to the six starred clues? : IIIIIIIIIIIIIIJ
10
Unsettling feeling : ANGST
11
Softens : MELTS
13
Bar sight : STOOL
15
"Oh really?" : THATSO
20
Take in : REAP
22
Short notice? : GLIMPSE
24
"For heaven's ___!" : SAKE
26
Word before (or synonymous with) end : TAIL
27
Spa wear : ROBE
28
Cast aspersions on, in a way : LIBELED
30
Barracks sight : COT
33
Go down : EBB
35
___ Blaster (toy gun) : NERF
36
Ash, e.g. : GRAY
38
Name on Chinese restaurant menus : TSO
40
It might be bleeped : OATH
43
Indirect route : BYPATH
45
Mex. miss : SRTA
48
Wears : ERODES
50
Wandered aimlessly : ROVED
51
Where vows may be taken : ALTAR
52
Italian city known for its prosciutto and cheese : PARMA
54
Words to live by : CREDO
57
"All ___" : RISE
58
Part of a rocket : CONE
59
Singer Guthrie : ARLO
60
Bank (on) : RELY
63
Former senator and R.N.C. head Martinez : MEL

Answer summary: 3 unique to this puzzle.

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